Rainy visit to Huntley Meadows

April 26, 2010

Monday afternoon, with storms looming, I packed up my gear and headed to Huntley Meadows Park. Some might think it’s strange to be out in rain, but I like it. From a photographic standpoint you get better tones and, despite what a lot of people might think, rain generally doesn’t keep the wildlife away. It was beautiful from the start and I was the only person in the park.

The foliage is coming back stronger now, which is closing in on the visibility, but also providing nice a habitat for forest creatures. I guess it’s a trade-off in that way.

Making my way down toward the boardwalk, I scanned as deep into the surrounding areas as I was able to, and found a new sight in the park – deer.

After watching them for a distance for a while, I maneuvered to a better vantage point and photographed several at close range. Obviously it wasn’t anything like Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park, but it was still a nice change for Alexandria.

As the only person on any of the trails, I took extra care to be quiet. Normally there is always another visitor who will blow that by being loud, but since I had the chance to use stealth-mode uninterrupted, I took advantage of it.

Although I saw no signs of activity near the goose nest, I did find plenty of tadpoles near where I had seen toads mating.

Further down the boardwalk, I even noticed leeches in the water. Leeches are horrible little creatures, but I suppose they serve a purpose in the ecosystem.

Bird sightings included the Red-winged Blackbirds, Canada Geese, Mallards, an Osprey and a few Great Egrets, among others. The egret was fantastic because I got a shot I’m very pleased with of the bird with a fresh little catch. It doesn’t do it justice to show it as small as I’m able here, so that’s another one for the next book layout.

One of the more mysterious birds was the one below, which seemed to be following me for a while. Anyone know the species?

In the mammal department, I had a few interesting observations including the …distraction… below.

Next to the egret shot, the most interesting part of the outing was a close observation of a very large beaver. It’s body was easily two feet long without counting the tail and it could have been upwards of 40 pounds or more.

After I’d made several images I took my chances with a slow approach, but he retreated into the water and disappeared under the boardwalk. With the light fading after three hours on the paths, I made my way out, past Mr. Happy Frog below.

3 Responses to “Rainy visit to Huntley Meadows”

  1. Renee Says:

    I’m going to take a guess and say that’s a Green Heron.

  2. Renee Says:

    nice shots, by the way! I love the bright green of spring foliage!

  3. […] foot traffic was heavier than last time (easy to beat when that number was zero) but I was still able to have some quality shooting […]

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