Nature Nearby

Nature Nearby: Take it slow, escargot

May 15, 2018

By FRED SEITZ — Spring appears to finally have arrived and, with it, some of our more unusual, and sometimes disliked, outdoor critters — snails and slugs. These terrestrial mollusks are often disparaged by gardeners because they eat leafy vegetables, strawberries, beans and citrus fruits, as [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: When slipping is a ball

January 21, 2018

BY FRED SEITZ — This time of year, slipping can be expected during snowy walks. However, even without snow, slipping frequently occurs with the help (or hindrance?) of the abundant and obvious sweetgum tree balls. These spiky, 1-inch diameter fruits of one of the Southeast’s tallest and most [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]

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]
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