Nature Nearby

Nature Nearby: Not necessarily a ‘Silent Night’

January 7, 2020

By FRED SEITZ — p‘Twas a few days past Christmas and all through my house, several critters were stirring, especially house mouse (Mus musculus). My dog (Canis familiaris) was nestled and snug in my bed, while both he and the mouse hoped soon to be fed. Normally consuming small tidbits of seed, [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: Pending blessed event in Magruder Park

August 19, 2019

By FRED SEITZ — Early on a warm day in June, I was walking my pseudo-fierce dog in Magruder Park. As we ventured downhill, I spotted a common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina, for Latin buffs) depositing a number of cream colored, ping pong ball-sized eggs into a hole in the ground. While [read more]

Nature Nearby: Hearing fewer croaks?

June 14, 2019

By FRED SEITZ — I often listen at the edge of Magruder Park in the early evening. While the sounds of traffic and loud music have frequently competed with the natural sounds in the park, Mom Nature’s voice seems more muted now than in previous springs and early summers. In past years, I’ve [read more]

Nature Nearby: Fireflies light up our nights

May 17, 2019

By FRED SEITZ — On a warm evening a few weeks ago, my wife and I walked down to Magruder Park in hopes of seeing the Lyrid meteor shower, which occurs every year in April. Unfortunately, it was a bit cloudy, plus local light pollution prevented us from seeing the meteors. (The Lyrids were [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: Music of the Night

September 24, 2018

By FRED SEITZ — It’s hard to miss the daytime and evening melodies of our local insects, including an assortment of grasshoppers, crickets, katydids and cicadas. These orthopterans (the first three) and hemipterans (the last one) grab our attention from tree limbs, fields and sometimes our [read more]

Nature Nearby: Denizens of a dark, damp domain

July 16, 2018

By FRED SEITZ — Early in June, I was doing a bit of work in my yard. I got an interesting reception when I moved some flat boards that had been lying there since last fall. Three of Mom Nature’s small offspring — a millipede, some pill bugs and a single skink — wiggled out with a modicum of [read more]
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