Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Ice on the Potomac
Inauguration morning didn’t look any different than any other along the George Washington Parkway, except that the traffic was much lighter and there was a Coast Guard ship sitting at anchor in the mostly frozen river.
Having spent some time along the parkway over the last couple of weeks, I recognized a perched Red-shouldered Hawk and a Cooper’s Hawk that flashed by as likely regulars. A few Killdeer passed overhead, headed for some mud alongside open water.
Hoping to find the four warblers I saw a few days ago, I managed to locate only the previously camera-shy Common Yellowthroat. Chipping vigorously and foraging in low vegetation, he let me snap a couple of photos. He looked like a first fall male to me, with some mottling on his cheeks, suggesting the black mask he will acquire.
Both kinglet species know how to handle winter and a small flock of Golden-crowned and a Ruby-crowned were working the understory for nourishment to handle their energy requirements for another cold night.
No, not frozen swallows, they're only milkweed pods, possibly coated with a fungus of some kind.
Startled to come upon this fox, I drew back to a safe distance, not knowing if it was asleep or dead. It quickly became apparent it was dead. Its healthy appearance and beautiful, thick and lustrous coat gave no clue as to what might have taken it. Too bad.
Crossing over the stone bridge which spans Hunting Creek, I noticed a Pied-billed Grebe.
and nearby, two female ducks, a Lesser Scaup and Common Goldeneye.
The sewage treatment plant of the Alexandria Sanitation Authority discharges reclaimed water into Hunting Creek just upstream, so the creek is open and unfrozen. Many hundreds of geese and gulls were resting and cavorting on the creek.
Leaving in time to watch the swearing-in ceremony of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, I felt a bit like this Golden-crowned Kinglet who appeared to be jumping with joy.