Sunday, November 13, 2005

Birding Along The Anacostia

When I watch birds I tend to visit the same places quite frequently; readers of this blog will notice a report on the National Arboretum practically every weekend. Part of this is that, being dependent on Metro, I need to find places that are easy to access. There is also benefit in birding a patch. But I do like to explore new areas from time to time. That is what I did today.

Anacostia Park is a narrow strip of open greenery that runs along the east side of the Anacostia River from the U.S. Naval Air Station north to Benning Road, NE. In practice, however, the usable parts of it are smaller, mainly the areas on either side of Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, south to the 11th Street Bridge and north to the CSX railroad tracks. I had long been puzzled about how to access the park as its east side is bounded by a highway (Route 295/Anacostia Freeway). With the help of Google Earth (a really neat service), I found that the correct approach was to use the Potomac Avenue stop on the Metro and walk across the Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge.

A small part of Anacostia Park. Pennsylvania Avenue is in the upper right.

Unfortunately there were not too many birds to be seen today. I think I may have covered the park at a lull in the season. There were plenty of gulls on hand, including all four locally regular species for fall migration: ring-billed, herring, great black-backed, and laughing gulls. The laughing gulls seemed to keep to themselves a bit more while the others mixed it up. One gull seemed to be trying to pull a crayfish out of the water.

Back on the west side of the river, I walked up a gated roadway that runs behind the Congressional Cemetery and DC General Hospital and up to RFK Stadium. (It seemed to be okay for people to walk here; it was closed to vehicles but not blocked for pedestrians.) The road was lined with trees and underbrush on both sides. Flocks of golden-crowned kinglets and dark-eyed juncos moved ahead of me as I walked down the path. Up at the stadium there was a reprise of more of the same gulls, plus a few Canada geese.


Double-crested Cormorant
Canada Goose
Turkey Vulture
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
American Herring Gull
Laughing Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Downy Woodpecker
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Northern Mockingbird
Fish Crow
European Starling
House Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal