When I arrived at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens this morning, I was greeted by a chorus of crows. Both species were represented - fish and American. Both did their best to make the gardens a noisy place. I think the crows even set the other birds on edge, because the Canada geese in one pond took off when a nearby American bittern made its pumping call. The raucous crows fit the gloomy mood of the day, which was overcast and cold. The sun tried to break through around noon, but soon was pushed back by the blanket of clouds.
While looking for the bittern, I came across an American tree sparrow. This lovely little bird with the rufous cap is fairly unusual for DC, even if it is more common further north. Today, in fact, turned out to be a good day for sparrows. In addition to the tree sparrow, there were several fox sparrows along the boardwalk, and swamp sparrows on the river trail.
The marsh at the end of the boardwalk held American black ducks and common mergansers, as well as a few killdeer. A large flock of red-winged blackbirds passed overhead and settled on the far side of the channel. At this point I began to feel very cold and realized I ought to have dressed more warmly. Still, I pressed on for the river trail. As I made my way back through the ponds, I found a yellow-bellied sapsucker (pictured above).
The river trail held several flocks of sparrows and woodpeckers. There was also one flock of tufted titmice and Carolina chickadees that held several chickadees that almost looked like black-cappeds, but were not quite convincing enough. As I walked further along, a brown thrasher disappeared into the brush on the right side of the path. At the very end of the river trail were three eastern bluebirds and a few yellow-rumped warblers. On the way back, I found a gray catbird eating poison ivy berries. That made it a three-mimid day, which is very good for January.
After finishing up at the aquatic gardens, I headed over to the neighboring Kenilworth Park to look around. The only bird I saw there that I had not seen at the aquatic gardens was a peregrine falcon. There were a few sparrows in the no-mow areas, but I could not get a good look at any of them.
This picture of the Anacostia was taken from Kenilworth Park in the early afternoon.
SPECIES SEEN: 41
Great Blue Heron
American Black Duck
American Tree Sparrow