Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lotuses and Lilies at Kenilworth

During most of the year, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is one of the quietest spots in the District. Relatively few residents know about it, and even fewer visit, so one can spend an entire morning there and only meet a handful of people. Then for a brief period in the middle of summer, the park turns into a bustling hub of activity as people from around the area visit to see the waterlilies and lotuses at their peak.

The park was already full of people when we gathered this morning for DC Audubon's bird walk in honor of today's Waterlily Festival. Many serious photographers were already in attendance to catch lotuses in full morning light. This year's festival seemed better attended than last year's, perhaps due to the Post article earlier this week.

Sadly, we missed the yellow-crowned night heron that has been spotted in the Gardens over the past few weeks. We saw (or heard) most of the local breeding birds, especially eastern kingbirds, red-winged blackbirds, common yellowthroats, very young robins, and barn swallows. One flock of cedar waxwings flushed from within the aquatic vegetation in the marsh; usually I associate those with fruit trees but apparently they like marshes as well. A lone greater yellowlegs in the marsh marked the beginning of fall migration. We saw two raptors - the resident red-shouldered hawk chasing a crow (usually it's the other way around!) and an osprey carrying and then eating a fish.


Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
Red-shouldered Hawk
Greater Yellowlegs
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cedar Waxwing
Carolina Wren
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
American Robin
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
European Starling
Red-eyed Vireo
Common Yellowthroat
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle