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“Dear PoPville,

Yesterday I took my first walk along the tow path in Georgetown since moving to DC 8 years ago. I’m not sure why I never visited it sooner, but I was impressed with how clean the water looked and was kind of surprised at all the aquatic life I saw enjoying a warm summer day. But then like a screeching record, I spotted this (see attached pics).

There it was … a snakehead just chilling out. I have heard they’re incredibly invasive and can inflict significant damage in the waters where they live. I’m wondering what PoPville readers know about them. Is the canal infested with them? Can anything be done to get rid of them? Or are they just part of the ecosystem now and not anything to worry about?”

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From the Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders fact sheet:

Aren’t those “Frankenfish” in there?
Yes, there are Northern Snakehead (Channa argus) in the Tidal Potomac River. The Snakehead is a non-native species to this watershed, but so are Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass (introduced in 1854). Snakeheads are a blast to catch. They will take a well presented fly, fight hard, and make great table fare.

If I catch a Snakehead, what should I do?
There is no legal requirement to kill a Snakehead if you catch one. However, it is illegal to possess one alive. The laws require that you either release the fish or kill it on the spot if you are keeping it. While it is not illegal to release a Snakehead if you choose, the VDGIF, MDDNR, and the USFWS are still asking anglers to kill all Snakeheads caught in an effort to help control the propagation of this species. Please visit their respective websites for more details. If you catch a Snakehead bearing a USFWS tag, you are asked to kill the fish, retain the tag, and call the number on it. You will be asked questions about where it was caught, how it was caught, its size, and its approximate weight. Also, the USFWS may wish to collect the fish. For your efforts, you will be rewarded with a “Snakehead Control” hat, which is a coveted prize among TPFR members.”

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From the Montgomery County Police Department:

“Recently, Damascus area residents have reported multiple sightings of a black bear at locations in and around the Oak Ridge Park. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds residents that sightings in suburban areas are not uncommon this time of year. In early summer, young bears begin to find their territory.

The Montgomery County Police are cautioning residents not to approach or feed bears that they encounter. Furthermore, no one should ever corner a bear, but allow a bear a route of escape or a way out.

For more information or to report a bear sighting, contact DNR Wildlife & Heritage Service at 410-260-8540. After-hour non-emergency sightings, please leave a message; after-hour emergency, 410-260-8888. Residents may still call 9-1-1 if there is an immediate threat due to the bear’s behavior.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user John Cochran

Been a rough day today – thank you for this John Cochran, thank you.

“This squirrel managed to work the top of our bird feeder and get inside. He’d hit the jackpot. Then one of his squirrel buddies knocked the top and trapped him inside. He got out eventually, but it took a while.”

And absolutely, please consider this a bonus caption contest photo.

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Lauren Parnell Marino

From an email:

“I am pleased to announce that I’m coordinating DC’s first Master Naturalist Program scheduled to run this summer! If you have ever been interested in learning more about the natural world around you, and have the desire to “give back”, this program may be a good fit for you!

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Master Naturalist Program, it has two components: an intensive volunteer training that gives a comprehensive overview of DC’s natural history, followed by a year-long period in which trainees complete 40 hours of volunteer service with pre-approved projects that advance conservation, environmental stewardship, and outreach in the District.

The classes will focus on DC’s physical environment, ecology, and then move on to DC’s flora and fauna. Class examples include: geology, forest ecology, taxonomy, birds, aquatic life, etc. Each class is taught by a local expert and is approximately 3 hours long, consisting of a presentation/lecture followed by a hands-on or field activity. (more…)

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Nice find from @NanksH:

“A penguin under Key Bridge?? What kind of bird is this?”

@JasonWardNY with the score: “Black-crowned Night Heron”.

From Audubon:

“Seen by day, these chunky herons seem dull and lethargic, with groups sitting hunched and motionless in trees near water. They become more active at dusk, flying out to foraging sites, calling “wok” as they pass high overhead in the darkness. Some studies suggest that they feed at night because they are dominated by other herons and egrets by day. A cosmopolitan species, nesting on every continent except Australia and Antarctica.”

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Thanks to a reader for sending in:

“The K Street Vultures that roost on the corner of 11th and K NW. They usually perch on the chimney and steeple of the church across the street but often land on our office’s windowsill in the mornings. They’ve become a bit like office mascots. Apparently they were interested in my breakfast today.”

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