Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Capitol Birds

Yesterday afternoon I walked around the reflecting pool in front of the Capitol. Most of the birds there were ring-billed gulls like the birds above. There was a small flock of mallards as well. To my surprise, two lesser scaup - a male and female - flew past and landed in the middle of the pool. I think today was the first time I have seen scaup at that location.

Two red-tailed hawks were circling together over Constitution Avenue and landed on top of the Labor Department. Later I saw the two circling together again, and later still, I saw one perched in a tall willow oak on the grounds of the Capitol. Could we have a pair downtown? This will bear watching.

The Indian Museum wetlands had the usual flock of mallards. I saw that an unusual-looking duck had joined the flock again. My guess is that this bird is a mallard X black duck hybrid. It looks mostly like a black duck, but it has a green crescent running along the top and back of each side of its head.

Today's sunset was gorgeous. There was just the right mix of sun and clouds to make for a dramatic sky. I shot the picture above from next to the reflecting pool; the picture below was taken near the Senate office buildings.