Friday as I was driving near McLean, I decided to pick a random park out of my GPS to explore. The nearest on the list was Jefferson District Park. As it turns out, the full title is Jefferson District Park and Golf Course, and it wasn’t quite the experience I’d hoped for.

When I first arrived, I did a quick scout by car to find the most wooded area, but all I saw were families on playgrounds and people with golf gear. For a minute I thought it would be a total loss, but then I found a tucked away trail at the back of the park.

This short trail connected the park to the surrounding suburbia. Although a continuous walk could get you from beginning to end in less than 5 minutes, I slowly scanned the trees and the underbrush along the way. Read the rest of this entry »

Birding in Holmes Run

May 21, 2010

Thursday I mixed things up a bit and returned to Holmes Run Park in Alexandria. Aside from some young birds, very little was out. Read the rest of this entry »

I had never seen a Canada Goose molt, but I was able to on my last outing.

On Tuesday, I checked out Huntley Meadows Park and found an abundance of geese. According to the Humane Society, Canada Geese molt each summer and can’t fly for about a month while they replace their flight feathers. That might explain why some birds on Tuesday seemed to have such trouble taking off. One goose that I observed struggled so much that it aborted its takeoff and swam back to where it started. Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday’s trip to Huntley Meadows Park was dominated primarily by snapping turtles.

When I initially arrived at the park, I was concerned when I saw a full parking lot, including a school bus. I hate heavy weekend traffic. Luckily on the trails I found a fairly loose distribution of visitors that allowed for some relatively effective shooting. Read the rest of this entry »

What I thought would be a bust turned out to be a day of great shots.

Thursday evening in Huntley Meadows I began the outing with my usual scan of the boardwalk area. I found very little until I rounded a corner and saw a familiar sight. Read the rest of this entry »

Rain and relaxation

May 13, 2010

Wednesday’s time in Alexandria’s Huntley Meadows was rainy and mellow. So mellow in fact, that I nearly fell asleep on the boardwalk.

Initial scans yielded little results, but off in the distance were the highest number of egrets I’ve seen to date. I counted six in all, but there could have been more that I missed. Read the rest of this entry »

Rainy Merganser visit

May 12, 2010

Tuesday was another day of clouds and rain in Northern Virginia. Huntley Meadows was relatively quiet, but I did get some great face time with a female Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) and six of her young.

The day began with a scan of the woods, were I found a Pileated Woodpecker, but distance prevented the shot. On the boardwalk, I initially didn’t have much better luck, though I was able to watch some of the dive-bombing birds that I’ve mentioned in the past. In conversation with another shooter, we figured them to be Barn Swallows. Read the rest of this entry »

Day for the birds

May 11, 2010

Monday was a pleasant outing, without any major activity in Huntley Meadows.

The snakes from previous outings were nowhere to be found and the limited sightings were mostly dominated by birds.

A group of Mergansers with young in toe was milling about in the water, but never got closer than a hundred yards or so. Read the rest of this entry »

Ducklings vs. goslings

May 11, 2010

Baby ducks and geese. They are just about guaranteed to make you smile (unless you are actually a robot).

From the fluffy appearance to the awkward waddle and worldly curiosity, they’re just awesome. But how do you know if you’re looking at a Canada Goose gosling or a baby Mallard? It’s actually pretty easy once you know what to look for. Read the rest of this entry »

Friday evening was a simple relaxed visit to Huntley Meadows without any emerging theme during my time there.

The woods yielded little in the way of wildlife, and I initially saw very little on the boardwalk as well, although there are emerging signs of animals like the one below.

Don’t ask me what it is, because I honestly don’t know. I would be interested to find out, but don’t quite know how to research that one. Read the rest of this entry »