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.

Carol Boston thesis on technology and
Sligo Sightings, 2011-2013 (48-page PDF)
  Notations by Friends of Sligo Creek
on Boston thesis (1-page PDF)

What Where When Reported by Comments
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-shouldered Hawk, Spicebush, Skunk Cabbage Between Kemp Mill stormwater ponds and Channing Drive Mon, Apr 2, 2018 Michael Wilpers I assumed the woodpecker was a Downy or a Hairy until I noticed the red neck. The hawk started quite a racket and flew to a perch near the adjoining backyard, just upstream from the barberry patch near Markwood and Ladd, so I veered away. Only a few Spicebush flower buds had opened. The persistence of the Skunk Cabbage flowers (though dried) during leaf-out might be due to the very cold January causing a delay in these very early flowering plants.
Spicebush Photo by Michael Wilpers
Skunk Cabbage Photo by Michael Wilpers
Bloodroot Flower Avenue playground (where the playground meets the woodlands) Sun, Apr 1, 2018 Michael Wilpers A small patch of a few bloodroot plants has reliably appeared in this spot the past few years.
Photo by Michael Wilpers
Turtles (Red-Eared Sliders, possibly others) Stormwater Pond 100 yards downstream from Forest Glen Road Sat, Mar 31, 2018, 12:30pm Dan Treadwell Nothing unusual about turtle sightings. What was unusual was the large number of turtles. One group of six and another group of five, for a total of eleven, at one time. However, it appears that some (all?) of these are red-eared sliders, an invasive species.
Photo 1 by Dan Treadwell
Photo 2 by Dan Treadwell
Adult Bald Eagle On a snag at the University Blvd. stormwater ponds Thurs, Mar 29, 2018, 2:15pm Leah Haygood Beautiful mature bald eagle with white head and tail sitting on a snag. It flew to another snag and back. Seemed pretty content to hang out and survey the ponds. I saw one overhead at the same spot about a week ago. I never used to see them in this area--anyone know if they're expanding their territory?
Great Egret Just past the footbridge north of Wayne Avenue Thurs, Mar 29, 2018, 9am Elizabeth Malone The bird was on rocks and branches over the creek, moving northward. A great feeling to see!
Photo by Elizabeth Malone
Belted Kingfisher Along Sligo Creek, downstream from Colesville Road, flying upstream Sun, Mar 25, 2018, mid-afternoon Katherine Payne
Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) in flower (see comments) Sat, Mar 24, 2018 Michael Wilpers It was late afternoon, so all of the flowers had closed for the day but one. About a dozen plants. I'd seen them there in past years, and glad to see them return.
Spotted along the north side of the footpath just west of New Hamsphire Ave (just below the confluence of Long Branch Creek where it meets Sligo Creek Pkwy).
Pair of wood ducks Sligo Creek SSIMS track, upstream (N) of Wayne Ave Tues, Mar 20, 2018, mid-afternoon Katherine Payne
Red-shouldered Hawk East side of Sligo Creek Pkwy just N of Piney Branch Road, opposite the tennis courts Tues, Mar 20, 2018, mid-afternoon Katherine Payne
Two Red-shouldered Hawks In woods north of Dale Drive neighborhood park Sun, Mar 18, 2018, 11:30am Hisao Yatsuhashi One feeding on small mammal. Near nest. Displaying apparent mating behavior.
Photo 1 by Hisao Yatsuhashi
Photo 2 by Hisao Yatsuhashi
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sligo Creek Trail, ~1/8 and 1/4 of a mile south of Piney Branch Road Sun, Mar 18, 2018 Hisao Yatsuhashi Seen twice this morning (10:40am and 11:40am), climbing up tree trunks.
Black Crowned Night Heron & Turtles Stormwater Pond 100 yards downstream from Forest Glen Road Wed, Mar 14, 2018, 1:45pm Dan Treadwell In addition, three turtles out sunning themselves on a nearby log.
Night Heron by Dan Treadwell
3 Turtles by Dan Treadwell
Unusual dense shrub layer in a woodland Between Drexel St. and the powerline meadow, near 16th Ave. Sat, Mar 10, 2018 Michael Wilpers In most of Sligo, the shrub layer has been almost wiped out by browsing of over-abundant deer. In this section of woodland, the understory is a dense thicket of greenbrier, which J. Parrish (in our 2003 native plant survey) calls "impenetrable; good protection for wildlife from predators." It should make good habitat for ground-nesting birds. Deer are common near the powerline, and they browse on greenbrier (despite the thorns), so it's not clear how this nice thicket persists (perhaps because it's so well established along the powerline edge).
White-Tail 9-point Buck Just S. of Wayne Ave, on W. side of Sligo Creek Fri, Mar 2, 2018, 1pm Jim Anderson We saw 5 bucks laying down below our house in the park. Four of the bucks still had nice racks, but the 5th did not have a rack. I was somewhat surprised the bucks still had their racks. When I went out to take the photo, all 5 stood up, but this one stood and looked at me. The others ran off before I could get a photo.
Photo by Jim Anderson
Red Fox Just S. of Wayne Ave, on W. side of Sligo Creek Sat, Jan 29 & Feb 17, 2018 Jim Anderson The photos were taken with a game camera set to take photos with a motion sensor. This particular area is visited by fox, raccoon, rabbits, o'possum, squirrels and many species of birds. It is very interesting to see the activity of animals though out the evening and nighttime hours.
Red fox in snow, Feb 17, Photo by Jim Anderson
Rec fox, Jan 29, Photo by Jim Anderson
Juvenile Bald Eagle Above tennis court at Woodside Park (Spring St. and 1st Ave) in Downtown SS Thurs, Feb 15, 2018, 4:40pm John Francis Bald eagle sized bird with slow wing beat flew about 40 feet over the tennis courts. Unmistakably large and mixed light and dark brown from below with coloration a good match. Could have been same bird reported the same day by Alan Abrams 1 mile north approx 2 hours earlier. Did not make out white markings on the tail (or on head for that matter) but it was a quick sighting and I was in the middle of a point. Stopped play (for a minute) but couldn't see if it roosted in an adjacent tree or moved on.
Possible Immature Bald Eagle Just south of the Golf Course Thurs, Feb 15, 2018, 2:50pm Alan Abrams As I was driving north on Sligo Creek Pkwy, a huge raptor flew out of the trees (below the soccer field) and straight over my head, bearing south. The bird did not have a white head, but it did have a clearly delineated, all-white tail. The tail was spread wide. Its belly and the underside of its wings were dark brown or gray.
Great Blue Heron and Deer Stormwater Pond 100 yards downstream from Forest Glen Road Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 9am Dan Treadwell Four Deer in the background. Just above the freezing mark; pond had light layer of ice on it in some areas.
Great Blue Heron In Long Branch, at the footbridge at the base of Houston Ave Tues, Jan 16, 2018, afternoon Ed Gertler A great blue in tiny Long Branch looks like a pterodactyl
2 Foxes, presumably red Along Sligo Pkwy just south of Riggs Road, near Powhatan Road Tues, Jan 16, 2018, 7:50am Glen W. The foxes ran away from each other, one crossing paved path heading northeast.
Fox, presumably red Along Sligo Creek Trail, east of NH and the powerline, just before EW Tues, Jan 16, 2018, 7:45am Glen W. Darted across paved path just in front of me, headed north-northeast. Was biking to work.
Southern Flying Squirrel Along the park between Forest Glen Road and Dennis Ave Sun, Jan 7, 2018 Elissa Seen in our kitchen (our house backs up to the park). It was just sitting on our counter, but ran, climbed and glided as we tried to catch it. Our cat corned it and we were able to catch and release it back outside. It’s the 4th one we’ve had to trap and relocate. They like to nest in our attic. A wildlife specialist told us they can come in through a quarter-sized hole.
Photo by Elissa
Bald Eagle Jefferson Avenue along Sligo Creek Parkway Sat, Dec 30, 2017 Melissa Male bald eagle, perched in a tree for about 15 minutes until crows surrounded him and squawked enough to be annoying. When he flew away, he flew toward Carroll Avenue. Gorgeous, enormous, majestic, serene ... perfect.

FOSC Webmaster: During followup emails with Melissa to ascertain how she could identify the gender without close examination, she responded:

My great uncle was a bald eagle conservationist in Pennsylvania, so I spent a lot of time with him over the years learning the gender differences. Yes, DNA testing of the feathers and/or close-up anatomical observation would confirm. However, this bird’s pitch call was slightly higher than normal, and the bird was about a third-less of the size of what a female in this area typically is. I didn’t get to see the beak, but that’s also a good indicator (female bald eagles have a more distinct and larger hook of the beak).
Bald Eagle Corner of Jefferson and Freemont Aves, on a ridge above Sligo Creek Parkway Fri, Dec 29, 2017, 7:30am Holly McClain Perched on a treetop, so beautiful sitting in the morning sun for a while before crows succeeded in sending it onward.
Northern Dusky Salamander ~1,000 yards upstream from Forest Glen Road Fri, Dec 22, 2017, 3pm Stuart Armstrong I found it beneath a rock, photographed it, then carefully returned it to the leaves and rocks in the stream. The MD record is 5 inches, as was this--so this is as large as this type gets.
Photo #1 by Stuart Armstrong
Photo #2 by Stuart Armstrong
Witch Hazel in flower Along east edge of Sligo's hiker biker trail, between Jackson and Aspen Avenues Tues, Dec 19, 2017 Michael Wilpers The tree was in full flower, just slightly faded from their peak yellow. This native understory tree is the latest flowering plant in Sligo, described as flowering in "late autumn"
(in Woody Plants of MD) or "Oct-Dec" (in Flora of VA).
Photo by Michael Wilpers
Great Blue Heron Kemp Mill stormwater ponds Mon, Dec 11, 2017 Michael Wilpers It flew low overhead, from south to north, as we stood on the earthen berm along the south edge of the ponds. It perched about six feet up along the western edge of the western of the two ponds.

Belted Kingfisher Stormwater pond just S. of the Beltway, on W. side of Sligo Creek Pkwy Mon, Dec 11, 2017 Michael Wilpers It was perched about four feet above water level, facing south from the north bank of the eastern pond of the two.

Two Pairs of Wood Ducks Stormwater pond just S. of the Beltway, on W. side of Sligo Creek Pkwy Fri, Dec 1, 2017 Michael Wilpers Both pair were in the eastern pond and flew into the second one as we approached. A fifth duck was with them, perhaps a first-winter juvenile.

Red Fox Franklin Avenue, about half-way between Flower and Colesville Fri, Dec 1, 2017 Michael Wilpers The fox ran across Franklin, heading south, around sunset. Tail was extended horizontally back.

Blue Heron In the creek about 100 yards S. of Univ Blvd Sat, Nov 25, 2017, 3-4pm Ben Sands It stood still as people passed - I had to point it out to people, though if you looked it was quite visible. It was there for at least half an hour.
Native strawberry-bush in seed On the Long Branch paved trail, 10 feet upstream from the footbride closest the confluence with Sligo (just downstream from the Becca Lilly playground) Fri, Nov 10, 2017 Michael Wilpers The blazingly purple-pink of the seed capsule was a joy to see, especially on a specimen about 8-ft tall. Parrish called this species "uncommon" in Sligo in 2003. The Flora of Va says it's
"commonly reduced to small vegetative sprouts by deer browsing,"
so we're lucky to have this healthy individual in Sligo (for now).
Photo by Michael Wilpers
Turtles on a log Stormwater Pond just N. of Forest Glen Road Fri, Nov 3, 2017 Dan Treadwell Photo by Dan Treadwell
Opossum (dead) 1/4 mile upstream from Dennis Ave Fri, Nov 3, 2017 Dan Treadwell Laying close to the side of the road. Apparently hit by vehicle.
Why you should brake for 'possums

Wildflowers!
Dewberry (Blackberry)
Purple-stemmed Aster
Maryland Golden Aster
Heath Aster
Rough-stemmed Goldenrod
Tall goldenrod
Wingstem
Powerline meadow (between 16th Place and hiker-biker trail) Tues, Oct 17, 2017 Michael Wilpers
Wingstem was not reported in Sligo in the 2003 native plant survey. Only a few individuals were along north edge of meadow. I had not seen purple-stemmed aster before, though it was reported in the 2003 survey (it has purple flowers as well). Very unusual to see dewberry flowering now (normally in spring); perhaps it's in response to the recent mowing.
Dewberry (also called Blackberry) by Michael Wilpers
Purple-stemmed Aster by Michael Wilpers
Maryland Golden Aster by Michael Wilpers
Goldenrod by Michael Wilpers
Wingstem by Michael Wilpers
White-crossed Seed Bug
Spotted Cucumber Beetle
Powerline meadow (between 16th Place and hiker-biker trail) Tues, Oct 17, 2017 Michael Wilpers The white-crossed seed bug was on the dandelion-like seed head of pilewort or something like it.
The cucumber beetle was among the recently-closed flowers of wingstem.
White-Crossed Seek Bug by Michael Wilpers
White-Crossed Seek Bug (zoom) by Michael Wilpers
Representative photo of spotted cucumber beetle from BugGuide.Net
Two Black Vultures 100 yards upstream from Wayne Ave Mon, Oct 16, 2017, noon Dan Treadwell They were feeding on a dead deer that was nearby but flew up into a tree when I stopped.
Whole Lotta Turtles hangin' out Stormwater Pond just N. of Forest Glen Road Fri, Oct 20, 2017 Dan Treadwell Photo by Dan Treadwell

Bald Eagle Near the intersection of Domer and Flower Aves. Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 1pm Holly McClain Flying low, circling over Flower & Domer Aves.

Belted (male) Kingfisher and turtles Stormwater pond just below the beltway Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 10:45am Dan Treadwell Photo #1 by Dan Treadwell
Photo #2 by Dan Treadwell

Muscovy Duck By bridge near first playground upstream from Colesville Road Sat, Sept 23, 2017, 6:30pm Stuart Armstrong This one is different from the previous photos posted.

Photo by Stuart Armstrong

Ring Neck Snake Edge of Sligo Creek foot/bicycle path, ~100 yards from Holy Cross Hospital Sat, Sept 23, 2017, 5:30pm Alan Gerstle Don't have a photo. Snake was about 18" long, no more than one inch in circumferance

Groundhog

(i.e., woodchuck)

Downstream from University Blvd Sat, Sept 23, 2017, 5:15pm Dan Treadwell It was sitting out about 5 feet from the shoulder of road and I went right by it on my bicycle.
I circled back to get a picture and it ran over to a nearby tree.

Photo by Dan Treadwell

Common Yellowthroat Warbler Near Wayne Ave & Sligo Creek Pkwy Wed, Sept 20, 2017, ~9:30am Barbara Neu Lovely, friendly group of four birds!

Baby Black Rat Snake Inside my house on Parkside Road Tues, Sept 19, 2017, 5am Mike Livingston Found a surprise guest on the bathroom counter this morning: a live gray reticulated snake approx. 8" long and not much more than 1/4" diameter. Googled images of babies of several local snake species and it seems to have been a baby rat snake. Sorry no pictures, but I wanted to move it outside before it disappeared into some crack or drain.

Wood Ducks and Snapping Turtle Stormwater Pond Along Sligo Creek just south of Beltway overpass Fri, Sept 15, 2017, 9:45am Dan Treadwell Male and Female Wood Duck, three ducklings, plus a Snapping Turtle

Photo of Female Wood Duck by Dan Treadwell
Photo of Female Wood Duck and Snapping Turtle by Dan Treadwell
Photo of Male Wood Duck by Dan Treadwell
Photo of Wood Ducks and Snapping Turtle by Dan Treadwell

Belted Kingfisher Stormwater Pond Along Sligo Creek just south of Beltway overpass Mon, Sept 4, 2017, 9:45am Dan Treadwell I've seen this bird several times, but it doesn't hang around long enough to get a very good picture.

(FOSC: See 10/1/17 sighting for later shots Dan made.)

Luna Moth Sligo Creek Bike Path near soccer field below Colt Terrace Mon, Aug 28, 2017, 1pm Dan Treadwell Moth was laying in bicycle path on the asphalt. Large; about 5 inches across. Alive, but barely moving.

Photo by Dan Treadwell

Muscovy Duck 3rd parking lot from Colesville Road heading towards Wayne Ave. Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 7:45pm Liz M This is the second time I've seen this very large duck. I have no idea what it is. It's brown with a red caruncle. At first glance we mistook it for a turkey but it is definitely a duck or a goose. I googled for it and the closest thing was Muscovy duck.

From FOSC: The bird has been identified as a Moscovy Duck.
Please see the Aug 12 entry for Jean Cavanaugh for more info.

Muscovy Duck Loitering just upstream from Sligo Creek and Three Oaks. Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 6am and 5pm Janet Kinzer I'm guessing this is a goose of some kind - heavy black legs, webbed feet, heavy body, slow moving. It waddles away if you approach. Yellow billed, shaped like a ducks,with a red mask or wattle.The head is about to my knee. The body is mottled mostly brown. Nver opened the wings though I approached.

Photo by Janet Kinzer

From FOSC: The bird has been identified as a Moscovy Duck.
Please see the Aug 12 entry for Jean Cavanaugh for more info.

Great Egret Downstream from Maple Avenue, where the smaller stream meets Sligo Creek. Sun, Aug 13, 2017, 9am Beth Baker First one I've seen in decades of walking in the park.

Photo by Beth Baker

Tree Fungus Along Sligo Creek trail, near Dallas and Brunett Avenues Sat, Aug 12, 2017 Steve Fine

Photo by Steve Fine

Muscovy Duck In underbrush near creek at the end of Three Oaks Drive. Sat, Aug 12, 2017, ~6:30pm Jean Cavanaugh My neighbor posted a photo of the duck on our neighborhood listserv, and another neighbor identified it. I was out walking the dog this evening, and we saw the duck pecking for insects in the underbrush and forest along the creek. It was definitely a duck, with a duck bill. It was also larger than the typical duck we see in the creek. The coloring was striking - dark green and brownish, with red on face/bill area.

Photo by Susan Hunt

From FOSC: These dabbling ducks are wild along the Rio Grande River, Texas, and south into Brazil. A Sligo sighting must be of an escaped domesticated Muscovy.

Black Crowned Heron The pond ~100 yards downstream from Forest Glen Road. Sun, Aug 6, 2017, 6:20am Dan Treadwell When I got too close for his liking, he flew into nearby tree.

Photo 1 by Dan Treadwell
Photo 2 by Dan Treadwell

Flying Squirrel Back yard on Haverford Road. Two blocks west of New Hampshire and about 200 yards north of the convergence of Long Branch and Sligo Creek (Becca Lilly Park). Fri, July 28, 2017, just after sunset Bill In the waning dusk, three family members sitting in their backyard after sunset noticed what was first thought to be a wounded bat or wood pecker landing awkwardly on a tall oak tree in the back yard. As they observed the creature starting to climb the tree the 13 year old member observed that it looked like a chipmunk--at which point it was determined to be a flying squirrel.
Great Blue Heron The pond just inside the beltway along Sligo Creek Road, ~100 feet downstream from Forest Glen Road. Mon, July 17, 2017, 7:15am Dan Treadwell

Photo by Dan Treadwell

Northern Water Snakes (2) Just upstream from Park Valley Bridge. Sun, July 16, 2017 Kit Gage Saw two intertwined northern water snakes just upstream from Park Valley Bridge. They were right up from the creek, in the sun. One slithered away quickly. The other just stayed in the greenery. About 4 feet long.

Photo by Kit Gage

Yellow-Crowned Night Herons (2) Toward the beginning of the rocky diversion path after Park Valley Road. Sat, July 15, 2017, 2:30pm Alys Cohen We saw them land on the edge of the creek. They were so well camoflaged that it was hard to keep track of them or photograph them.
Yellow-Crowned Night Heron The pond just inside the beltway along Sligo Creek Road, ~100 feet downstream from Forest Glen Road. Mon, July 2, 2017, 7am Dan Treadwell Very skittish creature - I was lucky to get so close.

Photo by Dan Treadwell

Painted Turtle University Blvd stormwater ponds (just N of Univ. Blvd) Sat, June 29, 2017, 9:30am Ed Murtagh Painted Turtle laying eggs.

Photo by Ed Murtagh

House Wren Perched on top of bird house on trail down from soccer fields, upstream from Colesville Rd. The Wren popped into the bird house. Tues, June 27, 2017, 11am Katherine Payne
Coopers Hawk ~1/2 mile upstream from University Blvd, on the bike path about half way between end of Colt Terrace and main Sligo Creek trail. Sun, June 16, 2017, 1:15pm Dan Treadwell Was lying dead alongside the bike path.
Black-Crowned Night Heron In the stream about 300 feet from the intersection of Sligo Creek Pkway and the Beltway Sun, June 11, 2017, 6:30pm Linda Keenan I might have seen another Black-crowned Night Heron farther downstream just northwest of Brunett Ave.
Venus' Looking Glass, Butterfly Weed, Bracted Plantain in bloom In the powerline meadow that crosses East-West Hwy Thurs, June 8, 2017, 4pm Michael Wilpers The plantain is within the footpath through the meadow between 16th Place and the second tower. The others are near that tower (the one closest to the paved Sligo trail and footpath through the meadow). Neither Butterfly Weed nor Bracted Plantain were reported as occurring within Sligo in the 2003 survey of our native plants. Venus' Looking Glass was reported only in this section.

Bracted Plantain by Michael Wilpers
Butterfly Weed by Michael Wilpers
Venus' Looking Glass by Michael Wilpers

Black-Crowned Night Heron Near the footbridge by Heather Ave and Sligo Creek Parkway Tues, June 6, 2017, 4pm Craig Lapreziosa Photo taken from the Sligo Creek Trail.
The bird sat there for a few minutes before flying off up the creek.

Black-Crowned Night Heron by Craig Lapreziosa

Downy Woodpecker Sligo Creek Pkwy 1/4 mile upstream from Piney Branch Road Sun, June 4, 2017 Dan Treadwell Lying in the road dead

Photo by Dan Treadwell

Raven Along Comstock Branch, between Boulder Ave and Piney Branch Road Wed, May 24, 2017, 11:20am Heather Livingston I could hear something VERY different sounding outside, so loud and deep croaky call, repeated, close. Looked out my back door and there was a very large dark black bird in a low young tree, I think it had been trying to get a squirrel. It stood on the low branch and croaked several times. I could see well its size and long hooked black beak. Definitely not a crow. I caught a glimpse of black wings of another nearby bird flying away but don't know if that was another raven or a crow. There was a much smaller grayish bird at one point near the raven, not sure what type, pecking at it I think and then it flew away. The squirrels all hid. After a couple more croaks the raven flew away and I didn't hear it again. Estimated height (very rough guess) about 18 inches. Cloudy damp day, but not raining.
Eastern Box Turtle Crossing Park Crest Drive at Sussex Road (one block from Sligo Creek Park) Sat, May 20, 2017, 9:20am Dreen Maahs

Info on the Eastern Box Turtle

Black-Crowned Night Heron University Blvd Stormwater Ponds Thurs, May 18, 2017, 9am Ed Murtagh Lots of turtles and herons at the ponds this morning too.

Black-Crowned Night Heron by Ed Murtagh

Yellow Finch Next to berm between Sligo Creek and Takoma Park Elementary. Wed, May 10, 2017 Judy Dougherty, Jim Dougherty, Miro & Seneca Honzak
Lone Cedar Waxwing, Wood Duck, Black Throated Blue and (female) Mourning Warbler Downstream from Colesville Road between Tennis Court and along playground area. Wed, May 10, 2017, 10:30am-noon Katherine Payne
Peregrine Falcon Circling over University Blvd. stormwater pond. Fri, May 5, 2017, 4:20pm Leah Haygood Magnificent bird! I got a good look at his/her "hood" as it circled the stormwater pond a few times and then flew off. I've never seen one in Sligo Creek before but I've heard there are some nesting in downtown Silver Spring.

Representative photo from Audubon Society

Snapping Turtle About 200 yards upstream from Forest Glen Road. Fri, May 5, 2017, 1:15pm Dan Treadwell Large Snapping Turtle. Did not have a tape with me, but I laid a copy of today's Express newspaper beside him to show scale.

Snapping turtle, Photo #1 by Dan Treadwell
Snapping turtle, Photo #2 by Dan Treadwell

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron From the Ten-Block Ford that crosses the Wheaton Branch just upstream of its joining the Sligo Creek mainstem (a bit upstream from prior 2017 sightings). Mon, May 1, 2017, 9am Laura Mol Sighted an adult YCNH impressively soaring into low trees along the Branch, watching/resting?/hunting? and then swooping closer in and upstream, alighting on a largish branch overhanging the water, continuing its water-watching. Overcast, 70 degrees F.

All About Birds

Eastern Box Turtle About 20 feet away from the Bennington Tributary. Fri, Apr 28, 2017 Anne Vorce Reported by a neighbor. Medium size. Maybe the same one we have seen for years. I had wondered if he were still around.

Info on the Eastern Box Turtle

Black-Crowned Night Heron Sitting on rock in Sligo Creek adjacent to Dale Drive Neighborhood Park. Fri, Apr 28, 2017, ~7:45am Hisao Yatsuhashi

Info on this bird from the Chesapeake Bay Program

Two nesting pairs of Yellow-Crowned Night Herons Directly over the parkway. Walk north from the Park Valley Bridge along the trail. After crossing the first hiker/biker bridge start looking overhead--or look for bird droppings on the southbound lane of the parkway and then look up! Thurs, Apr 27, 2017 Sam Stokes For several years a pair has nested above the parkway in this location. This year there are two. The large nests are easy to spot, but you'll need binoculars for a good look at the occupants. For more information on this bird, go to:

All About Birds

Green Heron At the Ladd Street entrance to the Park, near the new wetland development. Wed, Apr 26, 2017, ~11am Dana Best

Info on this bird from the Chesapeake Bay Program

Green Heron University Blvd. stormwater ponds, the large one closest to the path. Mon, Apr 24, 2017, ~4pm Leah Haygood Lone Green Heron fishing along the edge. Great Blue Herons are common here but you don't usually see Green Herons.

Representative photo from BirdingInformation.com

Blue Toadflax and other native wildflowers blooming The powerline meadow (between New Hampshire Ave & East-West Hwy) Sun, Apr 23, 2017 Michael Wilpers This species, with its delicate, sparse blue flowers on 8-inch-tall stems, was labeled "rare" in Sligo in our 2003 survey of native plants and only in this section. I saw it in a small colony of a couple-dozen stems covering an area of about 2-3 square feet about half-way between the two tall powerline towers. Other natives blooming were Bluets, Plantain-leaved Pussytoes, Cinquefoil (Common or Dwarf), and a large number of Dewberry.

Blue toadflax, Photo by Michael Wilpers
Cinquefoil, Photo by Michael Wilpers
Dewberry, Photo by Michael Wilpers
Pennsylvania Fleabane, Photo by Michael Wilpers
Plantain-leaved Pussytoes and Bluets, Photo by Michael Wilpers

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron Downstream from Piney Branch Rd. and Sligo Creek Parkway between the two foot bridges. Sat, Apr 22, 2017, 9:30am Irene Walton Fishing in the creek.
Hooded Merganser, male ~175 yards downstream from the 4/16 sighting below. This time seen from the last creek-crossing bridge above (N/W, just upstream of) Piney Branch Road Fri, Apr 21, late afternoon Laura Mol He was in a patch of sunlight, on a rock near the bank of the Creek, preening and then still for 10+ minutes, with a Mallard pair in the water close by for part of the time. When a crow flew in, he took to the water and raised his impressive "hammerhead," white-flashing crest. What a gorgeous duck! MD BB Atlas #2 reports increasing H-Merganser nesting along the Patuxent River (roughly 10+ miles NE of Sligo Creek).
Hooded Merganser Near the trail bridge between the Dale Ave. playground and the "bog" off Sligo Creek Road (on the way to Wayne Ave.) Sun, Apr 16, 2017, morning Barbara Neu This very fancy and dramatic waterfowl was a wonder to see!

Representative photo from PurelyPoultry.com

Two Lightning Bugs Just up from Sligo Creek upstream from Park Valley Road Mon, Apr 10, 2017, ~8pm Kit Gage It was a hot day - high 80s. But still this is the earliest I can recall seeing them in the spring.
Male Red-winged Blackbirds wrestling; also Wood Duck, 3 Snapping Turtles, 4 species of mustard, field pansies Wheaton Branch stormwater ponds (at Dennis Ave) Sun, Apr 9, 2017 Michael Wilpers Three male Red-wings had been singing from low perches around the Dennis Ave end of the larger pond when two confronted each other in shallow water along the edge, one appearing to pin the other (wrestling style) for a few seconds only for the ruckus to start again. The whole encounter lasted about a minute with wild flashes of red and black feathers. The south and east banks were carpeted with tall white-flowered spikes of (probably) Wild Peppergrass, with scattered bursts of dramatic yellow from at least three other mustard species, probably Field Mustard, Creeping Yellow Grass, and Common Winter Cress (aka Yellow Rocket). Many Field Pansies on the far slope of the eastern-most berm.

Common Wintercress and Field Peppergrass (lepidium campestre) Photo by Michael Wilpers
Field mustard (brassica rapa) Photo by Michael Wilpers
Creeping yellowcress (rorippa sylvestris) Photo by Michael Wilpers

Northern Harrier, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, American Toads mating, Green Frog, Skunk Cabbage in fresh leaf Kemp Mill area of the Park between Univ Blvd and Channing Drive Tues, Apr 4, 2017 Michael Wilpers and Helen Read The harrier soared high above the stormwater ponds. The gnatchatcher flitted about near the tops of the young Red Maples along the side-trail that branches off NE from the main path. The American Toads mated in the new tributary channel created last month by Parks, near where Nicholas joins Ladd. American Toads in "amplexus", the smaller male on top, with strings of fertilized eggs extending back a couple of feet. A Green Frog sat in the shallow water a few feet away. Fresh giant leaves of Skunk Cabbage decorated the landscape prolifically on both sides of the trail.

American toads mating, photo by Matt Harper, MCNPPC
Skunk cabbage, photo by Michael Wilpers

Great egret in breeding plumage University Boulevard stormwater pond Mon, Apr 3, 2017, ~2:30pm Leah Haygood Seemed to be having some success fishing. Hanging out near a Great Blue Heron, comparable in size.
Giant Native Grape Vine Along the left bank of the creek, about 30 feet upstream from the first parking area downstream from Wayne Ave. Tue, Mar 28, 2017 Michael Wilpers This is the third huge native grape vine of this size (6" diameter) I've seen in Sligo. The other two are located (a) about 30 feet downstream from Wayne and (b) about 100 ft downstream from Dennis, both on the right bank of the creek (facing downstream).

Photo by Michael Wilpers

Two Pileated Woodpeckers On the south side of the creek between the footbridge near Brunett Ave. and before the playground heading west. Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 1:15pm Linda Keenan We saw one pileated woodpecker on a tree. After a short time, it flew to another tree. Then as we continued down the path, a second pileated woodpecker flew from one tree to another.

Representative photo from AllAboutBirds.org

Brown Creeper, Phoebe, Yellow Crown Night Heron, and a 'flock' of Golden Crown Kinglets The playground just south of Colesville Road along Sligo Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 2pm Katherine Payne It was flying around near the back of the third pond and keeping very well hidden most of the time but occasionally gave me a good enough look to positively identify it before it disappeared.

Representative photo of Brown Creeper (Certhia Americana) from NH Public TV
Representative photo of Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis) from Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL
Representative photo of Yellow Crown Night Heron from Shoal Creek Conservancy, Austin, TX
Representative photo of Golden Crowned Kinglets from AllAboutBirds.org

Bats
(Probable Brown Bats)
The neighborhood near SS Int'l Middle School Sat, Mar 25, 2017, 7pm Bruce Sidwell Likely brown bats due to size and behavior (fly in straight line, rather than erratic). Brown bats are also most common in this area. The sighting means they are out of hiberation now.
Eastern Meadowlark Wheaton Branch Stormwater Management Ponds Thur, Mar 23, 2017, 2pm Bob Cantor It was flying around near the back of the third pond and keeping very well hidden most of the time but occasionally gave me a good enough look to positively identify it before it disappeared.

Representative photo from the St. Lucie, FL Audubon Society

A Barred Owl One block from Sligo, at juncture of Three Oaks Drive & Manchester Road Wed, Mar 22, 2017, 7:30pm Katherine Payne Heard a barred owl call three times.

Representative call

A Barred Owl Near the juncture of Pershing Drive & Bennington Drive Tue, Mar 21, 2017, after 9pm Anne Vorce Heard a barred owl call.
Yellow Crowned Night Heron On the trail near the intersection of Hilltop Road and Geneva Ave Mon, Mar 20, 2017 Adam Landsman Beautiful mature yellow crowned night heron sitting on a branch above the creek.

Photo 1 by Adam Landsman
Photo 2 by Adam Landsman

Giant grape vine 30 feet downstream from Wayne Ave Mon, Mar 6, 2017 Michael Wilpers Between the creek and the hiker-biker trail. About 6 inches in diameter at the widest. Unfortunately, some "branches" of the one at Wayne have been cut.

Photo by Michael Wilpers

A Barred Owl Near juncture of Sligo Creek Pkwy & Brunett Ave Wed/Thurs, Mar 1-2, 2017, evening Debra Benator March 1: Along Sligo between Colesville Road & Brunett Avenue, spotted high in the trees.
March 2: The owl was active in the trees on the right as you turn onto Brunett from Sligo.

Representative photo from Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Groundhog On the paved Sligo walking path, ~200 feet south of Dennis Mon, Feb 27, 2017 Tamara Forys The groundhog ran across the path from the creek side to the west side. It did not appear to have the white nose of the groundhog previously spotted.
Bald Eagle Flying over Sligo Creek between Forest Glen Road and Dennis Avenue Fri, Feb 24, 2017, late afternoon Dominic Quattrocchi, Craig Oaks
Eastern Comma Butterfly Near trail between Forest Glen Road and Dallas Avenue Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 12:30pm Julie Mangin Eastern comma butterflies are among the few species of butterflies that overwinter as adults. They must be confused with this unseasonably warm weather.

Representative photo from the North American Butterfly Association

Shepherd's Purse in flower At the corner of Flower Ave and Division Ave Sat, Feb 18, 2017 Michael Wilpers A naturalized annual in the Mustard Family, this species was first documented in N. America in 1672 as among "such plants as have sprung up since the English planted and kept cattle in New England" (Del Tredici, "Wild Urban Plants"). All sources I looked at (including the 2012 Flora of VA) list flowering in March or later.

Photo by Michael Wilpers
Representative photo from a Manitoba, Canadian government website

Canada Geese Saw a couple of Geese at Wheaton Park baseball field, and a large flock in and around the stormwater ponds about 100 yards downstream from the Kemp Mill shopping center on Arcola Ave. Fri, Feb 17, 2017 ~noon Dan Treadwell Canadian Geese are frequently seen within the Sligo Creek watershed.

Photo 1 by Dan Treadwell
Photo 2 by Dan Treadwell

Belted Kingfisher Flying north over the new managed meadow between the soccer fields and the two stormwater ponds just downstream from the Beltway Wed, Feb 15, 2017 12:30pm Michael Wilpers Could have been the same individual as recently reported downstream from Colesville. Their breeding territories average only 0.6 miles of stream-length, but couldn't find info on their winter home-range.
Belted Kingfisher Downstream from Colesville Road, at bridge of first playground. Wed, Feb 8, 2017 ~noon Katherine Payne
A fox calling Heard from Tenbrook Drive (Sligo Woods neighborhood) Fri, Jan 27, 2017 ~8pm Susan Hunt We've heard this call occasionally since we moved here about 9 years ago, never been quite sure what it was.

Fox chasing dog, then calling (starting at 0:28sec, representative call)

Red Fox Trotting from Sligo Woods neighborhood, west across Tenbrook Drive, into Sligo Park (sledding slope, across Parkway from ball courts; between Dennis & University) Sun, Jan 22, 2017 Laura Mol A healthy/vigorous-looking, rather large red fox--in contrast to a sighting a year ago (2-29-2016) of a very mange-ridden fox on exactly the same flight path.

Representative photo of winter fox by Bonnie Coates Ott

Two black squirrels with white tips on tail Grounds of Washington Adventist University on the banks of Sligo Creek at Carroll Ave Fri, Jan 6, 2017 Jack Cohen & Clair Garman Black squirrels are relatively often seen. The white tips on their tails made these squirrels unique.

Photo by Jack Cohen
Photo by Jack Cohen