Once again, I returned to bird the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Why not? I enjoy seeing familiar avian faces and seem to discover something new each time I visit.
As I crossed the stone bridge over Hunting Creek, I spotted the two female ducks, a Lesser Scaup and a Common Goldeneye, who appeared to be sticking together here two days ago. No others of their species were in the immediate area, although many Lesser Scaup were on the Potomac within a mile or two. I've seen no other Common Goldeneyes anywhere else along the river this season. Maybe these two decided to be winter companions. Standing on the bridge with my camera didn't seem to spook the goldeneye.
Today, I followed the call of a Killdeer to its foraging spot on the edges of the little creek that runs along part of the boundary of the Belle Haven Country Club golf course.
You might think that pickin's would be slim here in late January, but this Killdeer nabbed a nice- sized insect larva.
Off it went to hunt a little further downstream.
I passed the dead fox, lying in the same position as when I first saw it two days ago. I was surprised that it had not obviously deteriorated nor been taken by a scavenger.
Keeping an eye out for the warblers I saw along this stretch of the parkway recently, I was delighted to see the Palm Warbler again. I didn't manage a photo, but was relieved to know it got through the night when the temperature fell to 8 degrees. I was able to find the Common Yellowthroat after the deep freeze but, so far, not the Orange-crowned or Yellow I saw here last week.
Today, I missed the Cooper's and Red-shouldered Hawks that I've seen on most visits, but rather a Red-tailed Hawk perched for a time on a two different trees alongside the golf course.
Ducks, geese, swans, eagles, gulls and herons can be found in the river at many spots from Hunting Creek to Riverside Park and it's fun to drive down the parkway, stopping at pull-offs and finally at Riverside to look for them. Every day, the birds are distributed a little differently, sometimes affording good views and even photos. So much of the river is frozen now, but the birds find the open areas and often congregate in tight rafts.
A couple of Tundra Swans were close to the shore at the Vernon View pull-off, but naturally, they took off in the direction of Maryland as I approached the water.
A good ear and sharp eye is often needed to spot a Brown Creeper. Fortunately for me, both were provided by a friend whom I bumped into along the parkway this morning.