Report a Sighting
Here is the place to post your sighting of animals and of plants in the Sligo Creek watershed or in the Park itself and to peruse what others have seen and reported. It is a fascinating list, growing year by year. No need to feel shy; what is of interest to you is what is fine to post, and interesting behavior and surprising locations are useful to record. Thanks for taking part - as a reader or as a reporter - in the web of life in Sligo Creek.
|Turkey Vulture and Blue Heron at the Ponds||Dennis Ave Water Retention Ponds||4pm, Fri, July 18, 2014||Michael Pollock||
Turkey Vulture Photo by Michael Pollock
Blue Heron Photo by Michael Pollock
|Yellow-crowned Night-Heron||In the creek below the Dennis Avenue Recreation Center||6:30am, Wed, July 16, 2014||Susan Hunt||The adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was hunting in the creek this morning.
June 4 Photo by Andrew Wood
|Eastern Box Turtle||Under Carroll Ave bridge||Wed, July 9, 2014||Patty Barden||as hanging out in the mud next to the path. By the time I returned it was heading up into the brush.
Photo by Patty Barden
|1. American germander flowers visited by a hawkmoth
2. Orange milkweed and Bottlebrush grass in flower
3. Indigo Bunting singing
4. Purple passionflower
|Pepco right-of-way corridor btw. New Hampshire and East-West Hwy||Sun, July 6, 2014||Michael Wilpers||A beautiful colony of a few dozen American germanders (a kind of mint) for the second summer on slope near the bottom of a gully. Hawkmoth visit was dramatic if brief. A handful of Orange milkweed were in a different location from last sighting in the ROW a few years ago. Bottlebrush grass was gorgeous against the setting sun, while the Indigo Bunting sang in blazing light half-way up a powerline tower. The purple passionflower was in bloom.
Album of photos by Michael Wilpers
|Bottlebrush buckeye in flower and doe tending to fawn||Between Carroll Ave. bridge and Flower Ave. (section 2)||Fri, July 4, 2014||Michael Wilpers|| The Bottlebrush buckeye is a small tree/tall shrub native to Alabama but occasionally planted further north. A spectacular flower array up to 2-feet tall, which I'd never seen. The doe seemed to have only the one, tiny fawn, which it licked all over while standing in the creek.
Deer with Fawn Photo by Michael Wilpers
Bottlebrush Buckeye Photo by Michael Wilpers
|Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and two fledglings||In the nest reported by John Abbott on June 13 (along the parkway across from the Windham Ln. pathway)in the big oak tree and near the nest in the creek||morning and afternoon, Fri, July 4, 2014||Susan Hunt||The adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was hunting in the creek this morning (around 7:30), and two ginormous fledglings were sitting in the nest tree at 2 in the afternoon. There was also a Great Crested Flycatcher sitting on the picnic table at the pull-off near the nest. Veeries and Wood Thrushes were singing in the morning.|
|Doe with two fawns||Just North of Wayne Avenue on Sligo Creek Trail||6:25am, Tue, July 1, 2014||Hugh A. Rand|| Very cute fawns
Photo by Hugh A. Rand
|Yellow-Crowned Night Heron||Sligo Creek Golf Course||morning, Sun, June 22, 2014||Woody Brosnan||
Photo by Woody Brosnan
|Eastern Garter Snake||Water body off the trail near Kemp Mill shopping center||Sun, June 22, 2014||Usmah||
It was about 2 ft long, moved very swiftly, and it vanished into the grass in less than 30 seconds.
|Female Red Tailed Hawk||Left bank between Wayne and Piney Branch (section 4)||Thu, June 18, 2014||J. Hunter||Found the body of a large adult (at least a year old) female red tailed hawk. Good size and weight, full crop and remnants of last meal on beak. No visible signs of injury. She likely died after ingesting a poisoned rodent.|
|PLANTS: Bracken fern. In bloom: Elderberry, Silky dogwood, Field chamomile||Pepco powerline corridor adjacent to the east side of the Creek||Sat & Sun, June 15 & 16, 2014||Michael Wilpers||
Bracken fern was listed as "very rare" in Sligo in the 2003 survey. This patch was on a slope between the two foot-paths. Two Common elderberry bushes were struggling to compete with porcelainberry (one btw hiker-biker path and the Creek; another on the south edge of the corridor). One Silky dogwood was on the north edge. Field chamomile (aka Corn chamomile, an alen) was in the mown area alongside the paved path.
Photos by Michael Wilpers
|INSECTS: Plume moths and Grape leafroller moths||Pepco powerline corridor adjacent to the east side of the Creek||Sat & Sun, June 15 & 16, 2014||Michael Wilpers||
The plume moth is one of the stranger-looking insects I have ever seen, with spiny legs and what the field guides call an "airplane" look when resting. These could be Buck's plume moths (resting in bright sun on common milkweed). There were a couple dozen Grape leafroller moths (wide black wings with white markings) resting on and flying around one of their caterpillar host plants: the ubiquitous porcelainberry, at dusk. Perhaps these native moths can help retard the spread of this invasive vines.
Plume Moth Photo by Michael Wilpers
Web Photo of Grape Leafroller Moth
|Yellow-Crowned Night Heron Family||In the same nest as my two previous sightings (along the parkway across from the Windham Ln. pathway)||3:30pm, Fri, June 13, 2014||John C. Abbott||
This visit has increased the count of nestlings to 5! Four can easily be seen from the south side of the nest (especially when they are active). From the north side a 5th nestling can be seen (it seems to want to look out that side). They are getting big, and when the parent arrived there were wings flapping everywhere and table manners went out the door!
North-side Photo by John C. Abbott
Souuth-side Photo by John C. Abbott
|Female Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)||Upstream from Wayne Ave about 20 feet from the water's edge||10am, Fri, June 14, 2014||Mitch Greene||Turtle was actively engaged in egg-laying. I left her to go get a camera for documentation and to avoid stressing her. Was gone less than 15 minutes and she had left the spot. Looked like she re-entered the water a little upstream from where she exited, but I'm an awful tracker. My other thought is that she reentered at the exact same spot. (My two-year old promptly destroyed the tracks--sorry!) Nest is appx 0.5m in diameter as was the turtle's shell. She had a distinctive hole on the left rear side of her shell. I witnessed her hind legs digging and at one point what I thought was a stream of eggs that were promptly buried (I was appx 3m away) before I left.|
|Yellow-Crowned Night Heron Family||Between Creek and Parkway, north of Dennis Ave. opposite Windham Lane||2:30pm, Sun, June 8, 2014||John C. Abbott||
Previously I was only able to see one nestling, but today I saw 2 for sure, and possibly a 3rd.
Photo by John C. Abbott
|Yellow-Crowned Night Heron||Near Dennis Avenue by the set of 3 picnic tables, nest in the tree above the road||Wed, June 4, 2014||Andrew Wood||
Photos by Andrew Wood
|Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron Family||Between Creek and Parkway, north of Dennis Ave||Fri, May 30, 2014||John C. Abbott||
Sighted one nestling, actively being fed by both parents. This is a new nesting location, no longer visible from the paved path now that the trees have leafed out. Nest is in a large, spreading oak.
Nestling Photo by John C. Abbott
Parent Photo by John C. Abbott
Directions to nesting site (PDF)
|Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron Pair||In the field just north of where Wayne Ave. crosses Sligo Creek||6:24am, Wed, May 28, 2014||Hugh A. Rand||
The two Yellow-crowned Night-Herons were foraging in the middle of the grassy field. It looked like one found a large earthworm and ate it.
Photo by Hugh A. Rand
|Snapping Turtle||On the Sligo Creek Trail, 100 yards or so south of Piney Branch Road||11:30am, Fri, May 16, 2014||Sam Stokes||
I would guess that the shell was 12-14 inches long. It didn't appear to move a muscle for the ten minutes or so that I observed it.
Photo by Sam Stokes
|Wild Ginger Plants||Between Piney Branch & Wayne (section 4)||Thu, May 15, 2014||Jim Anderson||
Wild ginger was found in a patch that seemed to be expanding. I didn't know what it was until I found the flowers at ground level under the leaves. This is a relatively rare plant in Sligo Creek Park, as noted in the native plants of Sligo Creek inventory. It was reported in Section 3 and is now also found in Section 4.
Leaves Photo by Jim Anderson
Flowers Photo by Jim Anderson
|Two Eastern box turtles||Right next to the Sligo Hiker-Biker Trail midway between Dennis Ave. and the Forest Grove Park Playground||9:30am, Tue, May 13, 2014||Christina||
They appeared to be fighting over territory. The smaller on held its ground and drove the larger one off across the trail. Neither was the least bit disturbed by or afraid of people or dogs that were passing by.
|Swainson's Thrush||A pair has been regularly seen (and heard) on the Northwood Chesapeake Bay trail (behind the Northwood High School ball fields).||Almost daily since May 6, 2014||Angela Atwood-Moore||
The song definitely ascends, and the fieldmarks that distinguish it from Grey-cheeked or Bicknell's (notable eye-ring) and Veery (more extensive chest streaking but less so than Wood Thrush) have also been clear on repeated sightings now. This seems to be a pair, perhaps looking to nest (or already nesting) in this little grove where they continue to hang out.
Listen to the song of Swainson's Thrush
|Acadian Flycatcher and Black-throated Blue Warbler||Edges of Sligo woodlands, north of Forest Glen Road||Sun, March 4, 2014||Early-bird outing led by David Blockstein||
The group of 50+ adults and some youngsters saw these two species among other, more commonly seen birds -- with especially clear views of the Acadian Flycatcher perched out on a branch, brightly lit by sunshine.
Details of tour
Black-throated Blue Warbler
|Black Turkey||East West Highway and Linden Avenue - about halfway between New Hampshire Ave and Sligo Creek on EW Highway||11am, Tue, March 11, 2014||Ann Graham||I saw the bird as I was exiting Linden Avenue onto East West High Way. The bird crossed the street from the open land on the side of EWHY and Fairview avenue over to HWHY and Linden Avenue. I actually thought I saw an exotic bird and I called the Humane Society of PG county and left a message but no one returned my call. Now that I visited your website I am confident that it was a turkey. I could not imagine a turkey in Takoma Park.|
|Swainson's Thrush||Comstock Branch which joins Sligo just upstream from Maple Ave||Tue, May 6, 2014||Tori||
I was excited to hear what I think was a Swainson's Thrush this morning, near Comstock Branch. I didn't see it, only heard it sing for about ten minutes. It's possible this was a different thrush (a veery?) but it sounded to me like the song was ascending in pitch, like a Swainson's. Such a beautiful song!!
Listen to the song of Swainson's Thrush
|Wild Turkey||New pedestrian/bike path at the end of Colt Terrace - upstream from University Blvd||5:30pm, Mon, May 5, 2014||RK Wild||Solo turkey was casually walking from west to east across the new pedestrian/bike path. I saw it from my car as I returned home. ! ran inside for a camera and was back out in 2 minutes, but turkey had disappeared into the ribbon of woods between the Colt Terrace field that terminates at the junction of Arcola and Kemp Mill.|
|Eastern tent caterpillars feeding on multiflora rose||Between the creek and the hiker-biker trail at the upstream edge of the Pepco powerline corridor||Sat, May 3, 2014||Michael Wilpers||
There were at least three of these native caterpillars feeding on one branch of the multiflora rose. It was heartening to see a native caterpillar feeding on a non-native invasive shrub.
Photo by Michael Wilpers
|Natives in flower: Common fleabane, Dwarf cinqefoil, Bluets, Dewberry, Common blue violets||In the Pepco powerline corridor on east side of Sligo Creek (btw. NH Ave. and E-W Hwy||Sat, May 3, 2014||Michael Wilpers||
Among the naturalized non-natives in bloom were Spring vetch (a pea w/purple flowers) and Common winter cress (aka Yellow Rocket, a mustard)
Photo Album by Michael Wilpers
|Herd of 9 deer, including one juvenile||In the woods near the playground where Flower Avenue crosses Sligo Creek - section 2||7:45pm, Sat, Apr 26, 2014||Michelle and Xavier|
|Black-crowned Night Heron||Slightly downstream of where Windham comes into the path, perched in a tree near the Parkway and adjacent to the tree with the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron nest - section 8||11:30am, Thu, May 1, 2014||Susan Hunt||
We couldn't see if the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was on its nest, but we were glad to see that the nest is still there after yesterday's torrential downpour. The Black-crowned Night-Heron was perched in a nearby tree.
File Photo by Lenore Boulet
|Green Heron||Between the 2nd & 3rd foot bridges downstream from New Hampshire Ave||Sat, April 19, 2014||Alan Abrams and Janet Kinzer||
Initially, the bird was stalking in the creek. When we noticed it, it flew up to a low branch along the bank.
Photo by Alan Abrams
|Poison ivy--new growth||It is everywhere!||Sat, April 26, 2014||Laura Mol||
These images were taken along the paved path just north of the bridge crossing the creek to the Sligo-Dennis Community Building. Ya gotta admire the vigor of poison ivy, as well as its beauty in spring and fall (and wildlife value). And it's good to know--for precautionary reasons--what poison ivy looks like, in its many varied forms across the seasons.
Photo Album by Laura Mol
|Yellow-crowned Night Heron||Standing in the creek, just downstream from Wayne Ave||Wed, April 23, 2014||Corinne & Doug Stephens||
We also saw a Yellow-crowned Night Heron in the creek a few days before, just north of Wayne, by the track field. We didn't have a camera with us either time, but we'll try to get a photo!
Photo 1 by Doug Stephens
Photo 2 by Doug Stephens
|Blood root flowering; cut-leaf toothwort; Dutchman breeches; and trout lily||Blood root was found blooming in Section 4 below Piney Branch Road and in the woods along Dale Drive above the playing field. The cut-leaf toothwort, Dutchman breeches and trout lily were found in the woods between the Creek and the inside path.||April 9, 2014 (blood root), others on April 16, 2014||James Anderson||
There are lots of patches of trout lily in most areas of Sligo Creek Park. Unfortunately, lesser celandine is over growing most areas where there are early blooming plants in Sligo Creek.
Photos by James Anderson
|Common Ribbonsnake||Trail near the Kemp Mill shopping mall||2:45pm, Sun, Apr 13, 2014||Will K.||
Large for the species (30+ inches I think), and very active, moving quickly through the brush near the trail. Healthy-looking animal.
|American Bittern||Close to the Parkway, just downstream from Schuyler Road, in a tuliptree adjacent to the tree with the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron nest||9:30am-7:30pm, Sun, Apr 13, 2014||Susan Hunt||
Seems unusual to see a bittern in a tree but it was quite unmistakable, viewed by many passersby and birders.
|Two Yellow-crowned Night Herons||Slightly downstream of where Windham comes into the path, in a tree right next to the Parkway - section 8||8am, Thu, Apr 10, 2014||Susan Hunt||
They were sitting close together on a small pile of sticks, fairly high in the tree--looks like nesting behavior to me
File Photo by Don Olson
|Great Blue Heron||Upstream from Dennis Ave, section 8||2pm, Wed, Apr 9, 2014||M. Faigin||
Amazing! It's a huge bird! Saw it swallow a large fish in one gulp.
Photo by Don Olson May 2009
|Kestrels mating, Red-bellied Woodpecker tending nest, Towhee singing, 2 Black Vultures soaring||In the Pepco powerline corridor along Sligo (btw NH Ave and EW Highway)||Sun, Apr 6, 2014||Michael Wilpers||
The two Kestrels were on a horizontal branch about 20 feet up across from the 16th Pl entrance to the corridor, along the S border of the meadow. Further W along that border, the woodpecker was venturing into and out of a perfectly round hole at the top (30-ft up) of a decapitated Sycamore. The Towhee was singing from a branch about 15 ft up right where 16th Pl. meet the powerline corridor, but it sooned dashed into dense brush to the east. The vultures were circling high in the sky, eventually disappearing from sight.
American Kestrel File Photo
|Yellow-crowned Night Herons||Schuyler Road and Sligo Creek Parkway just upstream from Wayne Ave||Tue, Apr 1, 2014||Pamela Maslen||
There are two herons nesting together.
Photo by Pamela Maslen
|Eastern Bluebirds||Section 9 along the bike path at the intersection of the path into the Kemp Mill Shopping Center||2pm, Mon, Mar 31, 2014||Leah Haygood||
Two bluebirds (a pair?) were softly singing. Also a Phoebe nearby -- the first I've seen this season
|In flower: Spicebush, Persian speedwell, Corn speedwell, Common chickweed, Purple dead-nettle, Hairy bitter cress, Lesser celandine||Lower Sligo, between New Hampshire Ave. and East West Highway||Sat, Mar 15, 2014||Michael Wilpers||
The Spicebush flowers might be males, but difficult to tell as it looked like the reproductive parts had not yet emerged. The celandine is a highly invasive alien. The rest are naturalized non-invasives and were restricted to the mown areas on either side of the paved hiker-biker trail at the Pepco powerline corridor.
Photos by Michael Wilpers
|A bat||Between Univ. Blvd and the Dennis Ave. recreation area, flying south over the Parkway||Dusk, Mon, Mar 10, 2014||Michael Wilpers||
The bat had a wing span of about 10-12 inches and a fairly steady flight path approximately 15-20 feet above the Parkway. It was flying south about 100 feet in front of my car and stayed directly above the Parkway for about 200 yards before I lost track of it. All our bats (7 species considered "expected" or "possible") are insectivores, so it seems likely that some adult moths are already flying about.
Bats of Sligo Creek
|Smooth Alder bush (Alnus serrulata)||Just below the first parking lot downstream (south) of Univ. Blvd., on the right (stream) side of the Parkway||Mon, Feb 17, 2014||Michael Wilpers||
This shrub in the Birch family is listed as "uncommon" in the 2003 inventory of native plants of Sligo. I hadn't seen it here before. The dried fruits look like tiny pine cones. This particular plant had retained most of its leaves (all gnarled up), even at this late date(see photo), like some Ironwood trees I noticed this year (C. caroliniana), also a birch.
Photo 1 by Michael Wilpers
Photo 2 by Michael Wilpers
|Pair of Red-tailed Hawks||Atop a snag (dead tree) at the Kemp Mill stormwater ponds, located just north (upstream) from Univ. Blvd.||Dusk Mon, Feb 17, 2014||Michael Wilpers||
I've seen Red-shouldered Hawks here before but this my first Red-tailed. I didn't notice them in the dimming light until one of the pair flew off. Thanks to Susan Hunt for help with the ID.
Photo by Michael Wilpers
|Active Hawk Nest||between Park Valley Rd and Piney Branch||Sat, Mar 8, 2014||Kit Gage||
Huge nest, high up in a medium sized sycamore tree. Will try to determine the kind of hawk.
Photo by Kit Gage
|Emerging leaves of Spring Beauty||Sligo woods, N of Dennis, W of paved path||Wed, Feb 26, 2014||Laura Mol||
Snowcover recently melted, the linear leaf of this early woodland wildflower is just starting to emerge and be visible against the leaf layer--now mostly oak leaves remaining. This first sighting is on a south-facing slope that is part of the rise from tuliptree-spicebush bottomland to oak-hickory upland, notable for an annual late-March show of many little flowers of Spring Beauty (Claytonia) amid also-eye-catching cobbles of mica-schist.
Photo by Laura Mol
|Woodchuck Skull||Between Piney Branch and Wayne (38.998609, -77.010201)||2:15pm, Sun, Mar 2, 2014||Hugh A. Rand||
The large post-orbital processes and large size of skull (along with squirrel-like incisors) make it a woodchuck. It was just lying on the ground - not buried at all. No other bones were found.
Photo by Hugh A. Rand
|Eastern Phoebe||Along the Sligo Creek trail between Forest Glen Road and Dennis Avenue||9:30am, Thu, Feb 20, 2014||Angela Atwood-Moore||
I don't recall every seeing Phoebe's this early. Last years mild winter seemed to bring them in a little earlier than usual (or maybe I was just out and about sooner with milder conditions), but I was very surprised to see this guy this morning, on a brisk February day. He will either establish a very coveted territory or he will freeze his little bouncing tail feathers off. I'm hoping for the former.
|Wild Turkey||Walking down Westland Drive then onto Balfour Drive (which backs onto the creek) - downstream from Riggs Rd in Hyattsville||10am, Mon, Dec 30, 2013||BJ Miller||
Another person says he's seen the turkey twice in the Creek area at the bridge entrance from Balfour Drive.
Photo by BJ Miller
|Mallard ducks||In Sligo Creek across from the golf course||Fri, Dec 27, 2013||Laura Mol||
Paddling about in the creek, 22 mallard ducks--11 of whom were green-headed drakes (males). About 7:30 a.m. in brisk cold; location is a bit south of the Beltway.
File Photo by Don Olson
|Red Fox||Forest Glen Road at Sligo Park||Mon, Dec 23, 2013||Laura Mol||
Just past dusk and seen in car headlights, a Red Fox was moving rather quickly northward (upstream) across Forest Glen and into Sligo Park just east of the stream. It was identifiable by the white tip to its bushy tail.
File Photo by Kit Gage
|Coyote||My yard next to Crosby Road bridge across from golf course||9am, Sat, Dec 7, 2013||Debbie Morley||
I have seen her in my yard twice before after the squirrels.
YouTube video explaining how to tell the difference between a fox and a coyote ?
|Wood Duck pair||On the water in Long Branch, just upstream from the playground at Kennebec||3pm, Sun, Dec 1, 2013||Michael Wilpers||
My sister Helen and her husband (visiting from Seattle) saw a "very colorful duck" while on a walk and identified it from a field guide after returning to my place. To my recollection, this is the first I've heard of a Wood Duck being spotted in Long Branch.
2011 Photo by Don Olson
|Bald Eagle||Upstream from University Blvd near the pond on the west side of the trail||Wed, Dec 4, 2013||Anne||I was cycling south on the trail, heard a bunch of agitated ducks, and suddenly a huge bird with a wide wingspan and a bright white tail flew out and up in front of me. I was not able to keep up with it on my bike, and it vanished from view.|