Nature Nearby

Nature Nearby: Nature’s winter forecaster?

November 15, 2017

BY FRED SEITZ — Walking down the street on a mild October afternoon, my wife and I encountered one of winter’s most famous and visible harbingers, a banded woolly bear caterpillar (aka woolly worm or fuzzy worm). Pyrrharctia isabella is the caterpillar, or larval form, of the Isabella tiger [read more]

Nature Nearby: The fungus among us

September 20, 2017

BY FRED SEITZ — The extensive rain in the past few months has raised the visibility of one of the most adaptive, diverse and mysterious organisms: fungus. A walk in the woods will reveal fungi from the familiar toadstools, to various shelf-type fungi on trees and logs, to some brilliant [read more]

Nature Nearby: Pump down the volume

July 15, 2017

BY FRED SEITZ — The fireworks of the Fourth of July and summer parties are upon us, bringing their booming — and sometimes downright startling — noise. Such loud noise is enjoyable for some humans, but not for many of our nearby nature’s neighbors. Pet owners are very familiar with how [read more]

Nature Nearby: Batting a thousand

May 10, 2017

BY FRED SEITZ – Spring brings not only flowers, allergens and baseball bats, but also some small night fliers with unfortunate, unwarranted reputations as rabies carriers and bloodsuckers — our local bats. Although a small proportion of bats do, in fact, carry rabies, any warmblooded [read more]

Nature Nearby: Green invaders in Magruder Park

February 27, 2017

BY FRED SEITZ — Walk along the bike path near the Northwest Branch and you may notice signs about a research project at the edge of the woods. On a mild winter day, I saw a team of entomologists from the University of Maryland (UMD), one of whom told me that they were working on a project to [read more]

Nature Nearby: Interview with a box turtle

December 20, 2016

BY FRED SEITZ — I was walking in Magruder Park on a mild fall day when I encountered a park resident that I and my various dogs have repeatedly encountered for at least the past 20 years: an Eastern box turtle, who I have presumptively named Ralph. Although several of my dogs, including my [read more]

Nature Nearby: Raiders of the lost dark

September 22, 2016

BY FRED SEITZ — In mid-August, I went in my backyard about 3 a.m. to watch the Perseid meteor shower. While I did see several dozen meteors on the clear and pleasant night, I was surprised at how much glare was in the sky at that time. The meteor shower was less impressive than the one I’d seen [read more]

Nature Nearby: A hillside architect

July 20, 2016

BY FRED SEITZ — Walk along the bike path next to the Northwest Branch and you may notice a pair of conspicuous holes in an adjacent hill. Between the holes there is a faint path marked by worn grass and obscured by recent rains. While the path’s traveller has not shown himself during the [read more]

Nature Nearby: Who cooks for you?

June 13, 2016

BY FRED SEITZ — Hyattsville’s most familiar and vocal owl has been up to his spring calls again this year as he reclaims his territory or summons a mate. The barred owl, which is the second largest in Maryland and quite common in treed suburbs, has been a regular caller for several years in our [read more]

Nature Nearby: A smelly harbinger of spring

March 13, 2016

BY FRED SEITZ — Walk around the Trumbule Trail (the boardwalk through the Magruder Park swamp) and you’ll easily notice one of the earliest spring flowers: skunk cabbage. The mottled, reddish hoods (spathe) help protect this flower cluster in its earliest spring growth. The chemical process [read more]
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