Nature Nearby

Nature Nearby: Dragons and damsels in Magruder Park

July 18, 2015

FRED SEITZ — In late spring and early summer, Magruder Park goes into medieval mode as the air fills with dragonflies and damselflies. These moderately large insects emerge from their multi-year development in the streams and swamp to swarm the park to dazzle viewers with their colorful [read more]

Nature Nearby: Spring rains open the witches’ umbrellas

May 19, 2015

FRED SEITZ The recent mini-deluges have helped “spring up” one of the woodland’s familiar leafy faces, the mayapple, also known as the witches’ umbrella, the American mandrake, or the hog apple. The plant has umbrella like leaves and may grow up to two feet tall. It favors moist soil and [read more]

Nature Nearby: Oh what a tangled web

April 10, 2015

BY FRED SEITZ — We have all encountered the tangled webs in our basements and sheds, around our ceilings or under furniture. Cobweb spiders, while maligned for these webs, are one of the many species of spiders that hunt for pests in and near our homes. Both the black widow and the common house [read more]

Nature Nearby: Our noisy neighbors

November 17, 2014

BY FRED SEITZ — The abundant gatherings of one of our most common and vocal “songbirds,” the common crow, will either amuse or annoy locals walking or driving in fall and early winter.   This season is when we often witness some of the most gregarious behavior of the large (about 18 inches [read more]

Nature Nearby: “God’s Dog” visits Hyattsville

August 14, 2014

BY FRED SEITZ — Early in July, a character known as the Trickster in Native American lore visited a Hyattsville backyard not far from the West Hyattsville Metro stop. Homeowner Marybeth Shea, a trained forest ecologist, easily recognized the animal as a coyote rather than a fox or large dog. The [read more]

Nature Nearby: Snake not in the grass

July 10, 2014

BY FRED SEITZ — One fine May afternoon, I saw the mailman on my front sidewalk waving his hands at me somewhat frantically.  I thought maybe my dogs, who were doing their “drive the mailman away” routine, might have spooked him more than usual. I opened the front door as the mailman said, [read more]

Nature Nearby: A scream at night

May 22, 2014

BY FRED SEITZ — It was a dark, but not so stormy night; rain and fog had mostly passed when a series of short screech screams emanated from Magruder Park.  Too short for a ghastly murder, but creepy enough to bring drowsy dogs to alert.  Not unlike the sound of a very frightened person, the [read more]

Nature Nearby: Time to hop into Spring

March 15, 2014

BY FRED SEITZ — Valentine’s Day has passed without the usual love songs from the swamp.  Spring is a bit slow in coming this year and the chorus of spring peepers that normally sings in late January or early February has been silent, due to the frozen ground.  Soon, however, we should hear [read more]

Nature Nearby: Empty nests in winter

January 10, 2014

BY FRED SEITZ — One of the revelations winter brings is the display of animal homes aloft in the trees and elsewhere.  Last winter, I reported on the seasonal show of bird and squirrel nests, but recent walks in Hyattsville reminded me of other local homebuilders and homesteaders. A walk with [read more]

Dark shadows overhead

November 18, 2013

– FRED SEITZ – A casual walk along the bike path or around Magruder Park might provide a view of a large shadow soaring overhead.  Initial inclination might prompt the viewer to remark about the “dirty, disease-carrying” buzzard.  This unfortunate and incorrect stigma is sometimes [read more]
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