Naturalist’s Notes

  • There are around 400 bee species in Maryland, but the most recognizable is the European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera). As their name suggests, honey bees are not native to the Americas—they come from Europe, Asia, and Africa. The first documented arrival of honey bees to North America was in 1622 when English colonists brought them […]

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  • Dandelions are starting to show themselves all over the park—a sure sign of Spring. This cheerful little plant has often been cast as public enemy number one by gardeners. However, it was originally brought here from Europe as a garden crop. Its name comes from the French dent de lion (lion’s tooth) and refers to […]

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  • After a long, cold Winter, Spring has begun to awaken the natural world. The loud choruses of some amphibians are a sure sign of a change in season. However, one of our largest and most striking amphibians arrived quietly with the first rainstorm of March. Spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) are members of the mole salamander […]

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  • Spring is standing on our doorstep and its signs are becoming more plentiful with each passing day. The red-winged blackbirds have returned to our park and to marshes throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. Their distinct call and coloration appeal to senses dulled by the chills of a long and snowy winter. Burning its way through […]

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  • With another fresh blanket of snow on the ground after an especially cold and snowy winter, one of the first and noisiest signs of Spring has been delayed this year. However, a few days of warmer temperatures will be enough to bring out the wood frog and begin an amphibian breeding season that will last […]

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  • Seldom seen, sometimes heard, and surrounded by stories and myth, few animals are as familiar yet mysterious as owls. When darkness falls, humans often head indoors and flip on the lights, but owls ready their wings and hunt for dinner. Owls are well-adapted to their nocturnal lifestyle. While rarely seen, their silent flight, large eyes, […]

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  • Blue Crabs are buried in the mud, White Perch have hunkered down in deep water, Ospreys are enjoying the Florida sun, but Winter on the Chesapeake has brought dozens of different types of waterfowl to the creeks around Marshy Point. The old timers recall rafts of ducks so thick that “you could almost walk across […]

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