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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

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natural history

Moot Swans

Just in case readers assume the title of this post is a typo, let me assure you it is not. I'm fully aware that the photos featured here are of mute swans (Cygnus olor) but, like any wordsmith worth her... Continue Reading →

Flat as a Pancake

Ever notice how many of the colloquialisms we use for comparisons aren't all that apropos, or even true?  Like... graceful as a swan (have you ever seen one on land?) dull as ditchwater (believe me, that liquid is lively at... Continue Reading →

Socially Distant

Lately, when I'm feeling especially stressed or anxious, I find it comforting to escape reality by watching a sitcom episode, or three, from "the before-times," a term now being use as shorthand for "everything prior to the first quarter of... Continue Reading →

Red-headed Stranger

If the stranger hoped to slip into Lafayette Square unnoticed he went about it all wrong. Sure, choosing a plain white top beneath an unadorned black waistcoat might sound like a reasonable way to avoid detection, especially when one is... Continue Reading →

Back Up!

“This is my favorite place in the whole entire world,” I murmured to myself. Admittedly, for then 6-year-old me, the whole entire world consisted of a 150 mile ring around two river confluences of great consequence in my life —... Continue Reading →

Headfirst

Watching a white-breasted nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) cascade along the steep slope of a tree brought to mind the playground at Oakville Elementary, and made me wonder if the species' iconic bottoms-up foraging style is the result of a dare. The... Continue Reading →

Dee-Lovely

How often do you come across a bird so dee-lightful, so dee-lectable that it captured the attention of characters as disparate as W.C. Fields and Cole Porter? Quite often, actually, because chickadees (Poecile spp) are far from rare in North... Continue Reading →

Tickbait

7 Weird Tricks for Preventing Tick Bites You Can't Afford to Ignore! 4 Dirty Secrets Borrelia spp. Bacteria Hope You Never Learn! 10 Sneaky Signs of Lyme Disease (#9 Will Blow Your Mind)! If only Peromyscus mice could read, maybe... Continue Reading →

Dashiell Hears A Hoot

[In honor of (and with apologies to) Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss.]  On February the fourth, 'neath skies colored gray, In the dimming light, at the end of the day, He was walking, the sights and smells thrilling, When Dashiell... Continue Reading →

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