Miss Floribunda: Rain, rain, go away?

November 19, 2019

Dear Miss Floribunda,  The drought seems to be over, and autumn is finally here, with trees in full color. I am hearing different opinions about whether dry weather or wet weather makes for more beautiful autumn foliage. Also, some are arguing about whether the drought has made autumn late this [read more]

Nature Nearby: A Calming Green Carpet

October 15, 2019

By FRED SEITZ — Walk down the trail to Magruder Park and admire the logs bordering the trail, and you cannot help but notice beautiful green moss growing on them. These lovely bryophytes that enjoy shade and moisture have about 12,000 different relatives and a history dating back nearly 300 [read more]

Nature Nearby: Who went there? Tracking the tracks

March 20, 2019

By FRED SEITZ — The recent rains and spotty snows have provided a marvelous opportunity to see the passing activities of our furry and feathered friends. Whether in mud or snow, animals’ prints, diggings and other marks have been more obvious than they may be in drier times. Our own boot and [read more]

Nature Nearby: A little smelly start to spring

January 10, 2019

By FRED SEITZ — Walking along the Trolley Trail the last week in December, I noticed some familiar green shoots vigorously coming up.   Then on New Year’s Day, I spotted a reddish spathe (a large sheathing bract enclosing the flower cluster) along the boardwalk in Magruder Swamp.   The [read more]

Nature Nearby: When deer are in a rut

November 20, 2018

By FRED SEITZ — If you wandered in or near Magruder Park in late September or early October, you may have noticed several young male deer, or bucks, standing around. For several days in early October, I observed groups of five to seven antlered gentlemen gathering nearby. When I approached [read more]

Nature Nearby: Return of the Night Screamer

March 28, 2018

By FRED SEITZ — It was a dark, but not necessarily stormy, night. A blood-curdling scream pierces the air. Some neighbors awaken puzzled at the sound; others have called police in past years thinking harm was being inflicted. Inside our house, our dog awakens and stares out the front window. [read more]

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]

My Two Cents: A river of humanity converges in Hyattsville

July 25, 2016

BY BEN SIMASEK — Today, I took a bike ride on the trail along the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River, which features some beautiful park land. I stopped on a footbridge, listened to the water trickling 20 feet beneath me and the birds chirping above, and watched the colors of the fading sun [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]
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