Sunday, January 28, 2007

Arboretum Walk

Yesterday morning I met with a friend for a walk in the National Arboretum. It was a quiet morning, with less human activity than usual until the day warmed significantly. The birds were out, though, in good numbers. We covered my usual circuit to the Anacostia and back, with a detour through the Azalea Gardens.

The biggest surprise of the day was an eastern meadowlark near the Capitol columns. I had heard of meadowlark sightings there before, but I had never actually seen one at the Arboretum. It rose up out of the grass and flew to perch in a shrub as we walked a path through the meadow. It had its back to us, so the yellow and black breast was not visible, but the shape and white tail feathers gave away its identity.

At the river we had several common mergansers and a gadwall, plus some of the usual suspects. A belted kingfisher cruised along the river. One red-tailed hawk flushed from the trees in the meadow at the south end of the trail.

Eastern phoebes were still around - and still finding insect food - despite last week's cold snap. A hermit thrush foraged in the underbrush on one of the Azalea Garden trails.


Canada Goose
Common Merganser
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Carolina Wren
Northern Mockingbird
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
European Starling
Eastern Towhee
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Eastern Meadowlark
American Goldfinch