Connor Christenson won our Sunday photo contest with this shot of a red-bellied woodpecker.
The pileated woodpecker is the most spectacular woodpecker in the east. I have photographed many of them, but have never got "the shot" of one of them. This drives me a bit nuts, and I keep trying.
So I saw one at Lake Accotink Park, and took a photo.
Another not awesome photo of the bird. They like to be around these trees with vines on them, seeming to like the berries on the vines, but it makes it hard to get a good photo. So I tried again.
I kinda accidentally grabbed this photo of a pileated in flight as I was framing it up just as it took off.
And then there were two woodpeckers. I never saw the second one until it showed up on the same tree as the one I was looking at.
And to finish with the photos, a third pileated woodpecker showed up.
And to finish with the text, in the same tree was a flicker (a type of woodpecker), a downy woodpecker and a red-bellied woodpecker. My photos of the others aren't up to my standards for publishing here. But it certainly was a woodpecker-friendly tree.
Today was a long hike across most of the property to set up some trail cams. Others were working on getting their frog call recordings from the frog loggers and most were off getting their feet wet doing water sampling.
So only have pics of my bit, the trail cam hike, but should be a lot of pics on the student's blog about their activities.
On the way up the hill, we saw some peccaries but couldn't get a photo as it was too brushy. But got this...
This frog, or toad, was maybe a quarter inch long. Very tiny animal. I will have an ID on it shortly. But near the top, saw this unusual fungi...
And while sitting in the leaf litter taking a photo of the maybe-named fungus above, I saw a scouting party of leaf-cutter ants working my way. But they had to contend with this predator first...
But the project was to get up ten trail cameras to record the things that wander around the property that we don't see.
We ended the day with a long hike up and down the beaches of Hacienda Baru, but didn't find any sea turtles coming in to lay eggs so got back here just before midnight.
And thus, I am mostly caught up with the blog. It is really, really late and I will have to get up again tomorrow morning and get to work. Work I love, but I am pretty tired right now, and my alarm is set for five hours from now.
Northside Park, Vienna, Virginia
And this is no where near Borneo or related to caves. I am dipping this post in here as I got out on a fine Easter Sunday for a walk in the park just before sunset. As I like to do, I hit a park I've never been to, to see it and maybe take a photo or two.
I'll get back to Borneo caves, but tonight's post is from a park just outside the town of Vienna, in Virginia, US.
It was a short walk, less than two miles covered, but a nice one.
Accotink Park (part III - final)
The pedestrian bridge over the train tracks was not exactly on the loop around the lake. But seemed like a nice side bit if I was going to see as much of the park as possible during a loop trip.
So back to the trail...
And thus I end the photos from Accotink Park. As always, I hope you enjoyed my walk as much as I did.
And to finish, I include yet another great blue heron photo, which I started this bit with, and have said I wouldn't be posting more of...
Monday and Tuesday the schools were closed due to snow, so did not get to go for a walk in a park. Today the schools had a two-hour delay, so just enough time to sneak in a 1.5 hour walk at Mill Creek Park. This is a riparian park that follows Accotink Creek, with a paved trail (under snow today).
This creek floods, and generally isn't awesome for pics as there is flood debris all over the place. But with the snow, it became pretty.
And as always, there were things to photograph.
Which is the start of what was good day birding, and another very average photo of a pileated woodpecker (a great shot still eludes me).
But then there were two woodpeckers, a pair!
But lots of smaller birds as well
And then... Don't get me started!!! The Hokey Pokey started and this red-shouldered hawk got into it...
Hope you enjoyed this walk with me along Accotink Creek. But just one more thing. I was observing my surrounding, looking for things, and caught the toss of a tail through a lot of brush. Thinking a deer, I moved into position to get a look, and...
Great Falls National Park
For a variety of reasons, I have not been able to get out and walk as much as I prefer. But today was just so nice out with temperatures in the low 50s and blue sky for most of the morning.
So off I went to Great Falls National Park. Their website is:
http://www.nps.gov/grfa/index.htm and I learned something. I have always inserted the word "National" into the name of parks, as I did in the title of this blog post. But this is just Great Falls Park. So how about others? I used that same website to quickly look up the pages for a few other famous parks. Yellowstone National Park. Death Valley National Park. Yosemite National Park. While I didn't search too heavily, only Great Falls seems to be missing the word "National." Go figure
So, the obvious thing to do is to have a look at the falls from the three observation decks. The water was up a bit with the snow melt, and infeeders near the left bank were muddying things up a bit while the water in the center channel was running pretty clear.
And speaking of infeeders...
So I started my walk, and it got a lot quieter away from the falls. But still there was this little babbling brook of snow melt gurgling away. But after that it was mostly just the crunching of snow underfoot. And a hint: It is far easier to see birds and wildlife if you don't have to watch where you are walking, so I wear 18 inch high waterproof muck boots and just walk though the snow and puddles without have to dance around.
And then I spotted a lovely...
And it was just totally quiet while I stood still to photograph the bird, so I decided to put on some music. The bird looked right at me and...
I couldn't believe it, but you have to know the song I was playing...
Okay, so I'm making all this up, but it is what I was thinking. And so songs kept running through my head as I encountered various things along the way like...
I'm not going to put all the videos in this post, but links if you are curious.
Bang Your Head
So next came a...
And right after I took this picture, I saw another large bird coming above the treetops, and got this shot of a raven also sailing by.
Okay, so I had been standing there long enough that the wildlife activity was picking back up, and right down the tree in front of me comes...
The Mississippi Squirrel Revival
So what more could happen on one short walk? Well I ended up hiking upstream after going downstream. Made sense to me, and upstream is where there are usually...
The Duck Song And if that isn't enough Duck Song, there are at least two sequels.
And I heard a bird on the ground, slowly turned and spotted this...
Walk Like an Egyptian And yes, this is the best video version.
And that was the last thing of interest I saw. I walked back to my car along the road just to do something different and didn't see much.
Hope you enjoyed my walk as much as I did.
Yesterday, it was 20 degrees outside and I was hiking an urban trail in Fairfax, Virginia. The trail goes along a little stream, and while I had never been there before, I do plan to go back in the spring as it should be full of birds during the migration.
Riverbend Park is just upstream from the National Park of Great Falls. Lots of hiking available here. A few pics from my walk.
Burke Lake V2
I hadn't planned to go back to Burke Lake today, but...
When I returned home yesterday I found that the top of my hiking tripod was missing! Think, think, think. The only place I got tangled up yesterday was in a birch tree while trying to find a geocache. So today included a two-mile hike to the site, and yes a recovery of the tripod top that was stuck in a tree, and a two-mile extraction hike.
And here are a few pics I took along the way.
Keith Christenson - Wildlife Biologist