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Features (Creature Feature)

These aerial acrobats have the appetites of wolves

The hot summer months bring out hordes of mosquitoes and other flying, biting insects. One of the nemesis of the winged bugs is the dragonfly. Dragonflies are the wolves of the air. They are able to eat their own body weight in mosquitoes in an hour. Thus, a dragonfly can consume several hundred biting insects a day. 

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The red fox lives by cunning, guile and cover of night
 

Vulpes volpes, the subject of fairy tales and folklore, are in real life blamed for raiding chicken coops, killing pets and keeping people up at night with their cries. Red foxes have about three octaves of vocalization, and many of their sounds are unpleasant, even scary.  
    They are hunted with dogs and horses, poisoned and trapped for their skins. Yet still they remain very common.
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Roseate spoonbill visits North Beach

    This month, North Beach hosted an unexpected guest. Roseate spoonbills are usually residents of Florida and other warm, wet places in North and South America. This usually ­doesn’t include North Beach, where reader Jan Smith Bennett photographed one.
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Election Day Comes Early
Vote June 26 … or June 14-21
      Maryland’s Primary Election day is June 26, with polls open statewide from 7am to 8pm.
     Can’t wait that long?
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Courtship, propagation and babies amid the flora and fauna

      The dogwood and redbud trees are now in their full green-leaf splendor, and another school year will be soon coming to a close. In your neighborhood the smell of charcoal permeates the evening air and the songbirds are singing. Spring is transferring into summer. From marsh to forest, Chesapeake Country invites you to experience a new season.
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A living fossil spawns again
       Horseshoe crabs are more closely related to scorpions than to our blue crab. They are living fossils virtually unchanged over 250 million years. They were on earth before the dinosaurs.
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This nocturnal neighbor hides in plain sight in our own back yards

     Squirrels are acrobats. Maryland’s common eastern gray squirrels run utility-line tightropes, scamper up giant trees and leap branch to branch, heedless of the void of space beneath them.
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High schoolers take on English ivy

       Ivy-covered homes may look charming, but the more English ivy grows, the more malignant it becomes. Brought over by early European colonists looking to add a bit of home to their new landscape, English ivy is now one of the most devastating invasive species in the United States. The leafy vine climbs tress and chokes whole forests.
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Their prayerful attitude is deceptive, for all three species are cannibals
      Three species of praying mantis live in Maryland: the Chinese, the European and the Carolina. As you can tell by the names, two are introduced species and one is native. All have a similar life cycle but differ a little in their preferred habitats.
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Don’t let your ear fool you

      Several North American birds imitate sounds that they hear around them. These mimics usually copy other birds, like the blue jay that commonly makes the call of a red-tailed hawk. As I follow birdcalls to take a photograph, I have to admit that I have been fooled more than once by a well-tuned blue jay. 
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