Monday, November 12, 2007

Nature Stories

Two stories caught our eye this weekend.

One was by WaPo outdoors writer Angus Phillips on the hunter who bagged two deer during the managed hunt at the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area near Clarksville. The hunter happened across the buck of a lifetime and a nervous doe, but under the rules of engagement, had to shoot the doe first (for population control reasons).

"Sure enough, the buck ran away, but, 'I thought he might come back, so I stayed real still,' " the hunter told Phillips. " 'Sure enough, he went off about 80 yards, then five minutes later he came back. I guess he was just so infatuated with her, he couldn't believe it was over.' "

Poor lovestruck devil.

The other was a Sun piece about the discovery on a West Friendship farm of what it believed to be the largest big-leaf magnolia in the nation.

"Although not especially tall, the tree is notable for its huge leaves and flowers. The soft green leaves might be up to 30 inches long, while the aromatic white flowers might be a foot wide," the Sun say.

The Magnolia macrophylla's "measurements are being sent to American Forests, a nonprofit conservation organization that catalogs the largest specimens of 826 species of native and naturalized trees in the country, which will determine the national champions, said American Forests Executive Director Deborah Gangloff.

"The Washington, D.C.-based group has been documenting big trees since 1940, when it adopted a program originally developed by Fred W. Besley, Maryland's state forester from 1906 to 1942."

The Sun's keeping the tree's location secret at the request of the landowners.

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