Category Archive: Nature

Red Fox Den

A friend took me to see an active red fox den off of Trotter Road in my home town of Clarksville, Maryland. I met the landowner and gained permission to take photos. Once… Continue reading

Wild Lupine

Wild Lupine Lupinus perennis By permission of the land owner (thank you Mr. McCarthy), Leslie Wood Mummert and I were fortunate to observe a large colony of wild lupine at peak bloom on… Continue reading

What’s in Flower During the Last Week of August and First Week of September

I performed environmental studies on a large tract of land in southern Maryland for three days during late August and early September of 2018.  The study area had three types of natural areas… Continue reading

What Do Bluebirds Eat?


What’s In Flower During Mid-August?

I designed a compensatory wetland mitigation project that was constructed in 2017, and now is in it’s first year of a Maryland Department of the Environment and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 5-year… Continue reading

Milkweeds and their Natural Plant Communities

The Maryland Native Plant Society hosted a presentation on Milkweeds and their Natural Plant Communities on Tuesday, July 31, 2018, which I attended.  The speakers were Rochelle Bartolomei and Becky Melzer.  Rochelle Bartolomei… Continue reading

Black Bear Sighting

While on vacation to Nags Head, North Carolina, we did an inland day trip to allow our sun burns to mellow.  We made an appointment for a select guided tour of the 152,000-acre,… Continue reading

OBX Crabbing & Shrimping

It’s vacation week for the Burchick’s, renting a five bedroom house on the Outer Banks (Kitty Hawk-Nags Head) for twelve.  The week was hot and mostly sunny.  One of the highlights for the… Continue reading

The Grass is Greener on the Other Side of the Fence?

I observed a juvenile snapping turtle at a land development site in Wheaton/Layhill, Montgomery County, Maryland.  The turtle was climbing a fence to get into a stormwater management pond, and was coming from… Continue reading

A Nighttime View of the Bee Hive

A Nighttime View of the Bee Hive I took two photos of three of six of our bee hives at 8:30 PM using a FLIR Scout, thermal night vision camera that detects “hot”… Continue reading

Dinosaurs Walked Within Miles of the Burchick’s Greenbelt Residence

NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD Our neighbor and friend Tom D’Asto works at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), and was able to give us a private tour of the just added… Continue reading

Fight Club

Dominance Hierarchies at Bird Feeders The following article provides an animated scale of birds based on “successful displacement,” whereby a bird can scare away other birds at feeders.  The most alpha bird of… Continue reading

Blackwater Wildlife Refuge

Tom and Jennifer D’Asto, my wife Michelle and I spent the day at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, Maryland. We arrived in the morning and the air… Continue reading

Timber Rattlesnake Documented in Howard County, MD

The Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) was a 5-year survey (2010-2014) to systematically document amphibian and reptile distributions throughout Maryland.  The MARA mapping now complete, documents the distribution of amphibians and reptiles,… Continue reading

Jug Bay Fishing

Time to fish the fresh tidal Patuxent River at Jug Bay.  Joining in were Tom and Nick D’Asto, and Nick’s girlfriend Alix, from Jacksonville, Florida. We launched at the peak of low-tide/slack-tide and… Continue reading

Red-Shouldered Hawk

With the sun very low in the sky and quickly setting, my wife noticed a hawk in our garden. The hawk was perched on a bluebird box and was intensely staring at the… Continue reading

Wood Turtle

While working much of last week at a 15,000-acre job site doing environmental studies, in the mountains of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, Jim and I came across two separate wood turtles.  Having never seen… Continue reading

Twist and Shout!

While performing wetlands/waters delineation work in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, I happened upon a loose aggregate of an autumn flowering orchid called Nodding Ladies-Tresses (Spiranthes cernua). The bright white of these small orchids helps… Continue reading

Closed Gentian

While performing a multi-day wetland delineation of a military installation in the ridge and valley mountains of Lebanon County, the Home of Hershey Chocolates, I came across Closed Gentian, aka Meadow Bottle Gentian… Continue reading

Meadow Beauty

How to Tell the Difference Between Maryland and Virginia Meadow Beauty? Rhexia virginica Virginia Meadow Beauty has bright purple flowers, a square stem with wings, and the leaves are egg-shaped to oval and… Continue reading

Basking in Totality

At the urging of my son Mark, Michelle and I, along with Mark’s girlfriend Jena, went to visit my brother Jamie and his wife Anna in Columbia, South Carolina.  Columbia is in the… Continue reading

Mid-August Wildflowers and Things Nearby

Natural History Observations for mid to late August. Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta). Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis). Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis), alternate view. Silver-Spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) on a monarda. Sachem (Atalopedes campestris) feeding… Continue reading

Wolf’s Milk Slime Mold

While working at a stream restoration job site in Indian Head, Charles County, MD, I happened across some Wolf’s Milk Slime Mold, Lycogala epidendaum, growing from a rotting log. The following is an… Continue reading

Basic Oak-Hickory Forest Community

I was charged with performing a rare plant survey for the federally endangered Harperella Ptilinium nodosum, also known as Piedmont Mock Bishopweed, an obligate (OBL) wetland plant that likes rocky riverbeds, rocky and… Continue reading

Company Fishing Trip

Work hard, play hard! It’s time for the Environmental Systems Analysis, Inc. (ESA) fishing trip, the premiere natural resources management and ecological restoration company, restoring the central Atlantic States at competitive prices! We… Continue reading

Sabotage By Raccoon

It was planned well ahead of time that Joshua would have his annual summer day of crabbing on the Chesapeake Bay.  Coming off of last year when he caught two bushels of crabs… Continue reading

Flushed Fawn

I was on a job-site along the Patuxent River in Laurel, Maryland, and came upon a baby whitetail deer fawn. I’ve encountered this several times over many years in the woods, but never… Continue reading

Walnut Creek

Dave Knorr and I were investigating a site for suitability as an area for compensatory wetland creation.  Important for consideration are non-forested locations that have positive hydrology indicators. Arriving to the site in… Continue reading

Memorial Day Fishing

    Tom D’Asto, his son Nick and I spent the morning fishing on the Potomac River.  We launched out of Slavin’s on the Mattawoman and made our way over to the Chicamuxen.… Continue reading

True Forget-Me-Not

While working on my Saturday “honey-do” list, I was trimming invasive vines (Oriental bittersweet and multiflora rose) along a section of stream that runs through our property, and took a break for some… Continue reading

What’s With The Cicadas?

Why the appearance of cicadas (the 17-year locust) in the greater Washington D.C. area? Perhaps it’s climate confusion.  Maybe it’s just really hard for a 17-year cicada to count down the years while he’s… Continue reading

Pointed Blue-Eyed Grass

I did a wetlands/waters delineation near Waldorf, Maryland, of a tributary of Mattawoman Creek (Piney Run).  Early in the morning near where I parked my truck, I noticed several patches of Blue-Eyed Grass… Continue reading

Climate Science


Thug Life – The Opossum

Research led by scientists at the Carey Instituter of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook Illinois placed different species into cages and covered them in ticks and waited.  The opossum ate 96% of the ticks!… Continue reading

Trapped Turtle in Trouble

While on a job-site with two other gentlemen, we all noticed a male eastern box turtle stuck in between a super silt fence.  His claws were embedded in the fabric, and the turtle… Continue reading

Good Friday Fishing on the Pocomoke

It’s becoming a tradition to take-off and fish each Good Friday prior to Easter, and this year was no exception. As usual, Dave Knorr and I went to Shad Landing State Park on… Continue reading

European Corn Salad

This One Took A While To Key Out Valerianella locusta (European Corn Salad) Observed 4/13/17 at the Kettering SWM facility as an aspect dominant of the basin and side slopes.  This plant is… Continue reading

Kerr Lake Weekend

Michelle and I spent the weekend with Dan and Patti Betz, at their Kerr Lake waterfront property in Henderson, North Carolina. I took my DJI  Mavic Pro and took a few aerial photos. … Continue reading

The Orange Octopus

A gall known as Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae is the plant pathogen that causes cedar-apple rust. In virtually any location where apples, crabapples and eastern red cedar coexist, cedar-apple rust can be a destructive or… Continue reading

Virginia Pennywort

Obolaria virginica Virginia Pennywort is an uncommon spring ephemeral and native perennial that occurs in the southeast, from Pennsylvania, south to Florida and west to Texas.  In Maryland, this plant is only found… Continue reading


As Observed in the Field The 4-Poster Tickicide device is a passive feeding station designed to control ticks that utilize white-tail deer as a primary host.  As deer feed on bait corn at… Continue reading

Fishing & Weather Were Hot!

It was a beautiful Saturday in the greater Washington DC area.  High’s inland made it up to 80-degrees today, and the low 70’s on the fresh tidal Potomac River.  I’m sure that everyone… Continue reading

St. Patrick’s Day Guided Fishing

Dan and I took off from our respective places of employment Friday, March 17, 2017, St. Patrick’s Day, to take a guided fishing trip on the Potomac River.  Our guide for the day… Continue reading

Round-Lobed Hepatica

I’m working on an upcoming presentation for the Nature Conservancy and an energy company, where we are considering particularly sensitive ecological restoration practices when installing utilities through natural areas. I’ve managed two similar… Continue reading

A 75-Degree February Friday!

Observations from the Field. The fall line.  This is the last set of rock outcrops and grade drop on the Piedmont of the Patuxent River in Laurel, Maryland, and is the location of… Continue reading

Blonding of Ash Trees

Another gentleman and I performed a wetland delineation of a forested wetland (PFO1A) on February 10, 2017.  The site was in Bowie, Maryland, on an unnamed tributary of Collington Branch, which ultimately flows… Continue reading

Cooper’s Hawk

I am working at a Potomac River waterfront job site and I stopped off at Roy Rodgers for lunch at Belle Haven in Alexandria (Dyke Marsh).  Coming out of the restaurant, I saw… Continue reading

Blessing of the Hounds

Opening Day for Fox Chasing Thank you to the McMakin Family for the invitation to attend Opening Day and Blessing of the Hounds, for the 2016/17 fox hunt season. Please remember that you… Continue reading

Giant Cane

Giant Cane  Arundinaria gigantea (FACW) Our firm is beginning the concept design work for a stream restoration project in Glen Burnie, Anne Arundel County, Maryland.  While in the field Dave Knorr noticed a… Continue reading

Fishing With The Gulls

Tom and I went fishing early this morning, launching out of Smith’s Marina in Crownsville, Maryland, and then out onto the Severn River and the Chesapeake Bay, south of Annapolis. The morning was… Continue reading