Friday, July 15, 2005

National Mall Walk

I repeated last night's walk tonight, but this time I did it without getting drenched. Many of the museums along the Mall have gardens associated with them. These gardens frequently may provide bird habitat despite the large numbers of people that pass through every day, especially during the summer. Last summer a new garden was added with the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian, and another garden will soon open adjacent to the U.S. Botanical Garden building. (The latter is in addition to Bartholdi Park, across Independence Ave from the Botanical Garden building.)

The garden at the National Museum of the American Indian has improved substantially since I first saw it last summer. The plants are all looking full-leaved and healthy. The gardens are supposed to represent four habitats present in eastern North America before the arrival of Europeans: woodlands, wetlands, agricultural lands, and meadows. The first and last are the least well-defined at this point. The "woodland" areas need some time to grow. At this point the woodland section is dominated by blooming phlox and cardinal flowers (?), as well as some short birch trees. The marsh is covered with cattails and waterlilies, which are about to bloom.

A few mallards seem to have taken up residence in the "wetlands" area. I still would like to see a few less common species turn up in the garden during migration, or perhaps stay to breed. A song sparrow was singing from the shrubs tonight, so that is a start, but it sure would be nice to see this garden become a source of biodiversity in downtown DC.

As of tonight, the house finches in my neighborhood were still singing.

Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
American Robin
Fish Crow
European Starling
House Sparrow
House Finch
Song Sparrow
Common Grackle