Thursday, April 05, 2007

Birding by Metro: Green and Yellow Lines

Last week, I introduced a new series about birding by Metro in and around the District of Columbia. Each post in the series will cover different routes. This week, we will look at sites on the Green and Yellow Lines, which run together through central Washington.

Green and Yellow Lines

Fort Totten Station

Fort Totten Park is on a grassy and wooded ridge that surrounds one of the forts built to protect the federal capital during the Civil War. While not a true migrant trap on the scale of Rock Creek Park, Fort Totten does attract birds, particularly in migration. Look for migrant warblers and vireos and nesting flycatchers. Hawks may be seen in all seasons. Directions: From the station, cross the parking lot and follow the asphalt path around the hill.

Green Line Only

Waterfront/SEU Station

The Southwest Waterfront provides an alternate view of waterbirds along Washington Channel. Check the channel for ducks, coots, gulls, and grebes. Washington Channel is most interesting for birding from November through April. Directions: Walk two blocks west along M Street to Water Street, and then follow Water Street along the docks.

Anacostia Station

Poplar Point is a small park under the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (South Capitol Street), near the mouth of the Anacostia River. This small peninsula offers views of the Anacostia River. Look for ducks, grebes, and gulls on the river. Flocks not visible from other vantage points may be visible here. Willow flycatchers and orchard orioles breed in this location, and gamebirds are sometimes seen in the tall grass along the road. The future of this site as a birding spot depends on what happens during construction of a soccer facility. Directions: From the station, follow Howard Road north into the park. (Watch for traffic near the entrance and exit ramps for 295.)

Yellow Line Only

Eisenhower Avenue

Cameron Run is a creek that empties into the Potomac River just south of Alexandria. When the river is at high tide, many shorebirds leave the river's mudflats to rest and forage along Cameron Run. This is probably the best Metro-accessible location to look for shorebirds, since it offers a short viewing distance from the sidewalk to the creekbed. The site is especially good during August. Directions: From the station, walk west along Eisenhower Avenue, crossing the Telegraph Road overpass and passing an office park. Start birding when the creek is visible from the sidewalk.

If you know of good, Metro-accessible sites not listed here, please note them in the comments. I especially would appreciate learning about sites outside of Washington's borders. Any feedback is welcome.