Thursday, July 21, 2005

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

This morning I braved the heat and humidity to do some birding along the other side of the Anacostia. The day was extremely hazy right from the start, and the grass in Kenilworth Park was so covered with dew that my feet were soaked for the rest of the morning despite my "waterproof" sneakers. By the time I was done, the temperature had hit 90, with the heat index somewhere above that; at least the relative humidity was "only" 41% this morning.

Kenilworth Park has a reputation for being good for shorebirds and field species. Sure enough, I found a couple of early least sandpipers mixed in with about a dozen killdeer. Those sandpipers and a few great egrets in the river near the Metro bridge are signs that fall migration is underway here. Other than that, not much was stirring in the park.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens also seemed fairly quiet at first. The tide was high so not much was to be seen out in the marsh. There were lots of young birds, especially young American robins still in their spotted plumage. As I walked along the boardwalk, young barn swallows would land less than five feet away from me and not fly off until I was almost on top of them. I also saw family groups of eastern kingbirds in both the park and the aquatic gardens.

Since the birds were not too active this morning, I spent some time looking at butterflies and dragonflies. There appear to be about a half-dozen common local species of dragonflies; I have not learned what these are yet because I do not currently have a guide. Some are very pretty and all are rather ancient-looking. The butterflies are tricky to identify. I had one land on my foot and still could not identify until a few hours later when I looked through my guidebook thoroughly. That was the red-spotted purple. Viceroys were common along the boardwalk, and there were several zebra swallowtails along the river trail.

I had one unwelcome first-time sighting this morning. As I ascended the escalator to the Metro platform, I saw one of the advertising-wrapped cars that Metro is using. It is unfortunate that Metro had to resort to that, because it looks bad.


Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Green Heron
Canada Goose
Least Sandpiper
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
Purple Martin
Barn Swallow
Cedar Waxwing
Carolina Wren
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
American Robin
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
American Crow
European Starling
House Sparrow
Northern Parula
Common Yellowthroat
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle


Zebra Swallowtail
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Spicebush Swallowtail
Cabbage White
Cloudless Sulphur
Spring Azure
Eastern Comma
Red Admiral
Red-spotted Purple
Silver-spotted Skipper