Tag Archives: beaver

Not Dead Yet

This is a bit delayed but it’s never too late to show life standing up to the ravages of time and other deadly forces. In this post we cover recent visits to two local parks where signs of life remain despite the imminence of winter. Temperatures in the DC area have varied dramatically and there have been some very cold nights. Still …. see for yourself. Plants still live. Ducks are still around. And, of course, the beavers never stop. Neither do the people who tend to these places.

Huntley Meadows

Mason Neck

Mason Neck State Park is also the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge, though at this time of year the wildlife is sparse, or at least hard to spot. Nevertheless, we saw lots of woodpeckers although they were too small and flittish to photograph. Here is a sample of that walk on the roughly one-mile Bayview Trail. You will see that the beavers have been at work there as well. The squirrel appeared out of nowhere and scaled the tree in seconds, only to freeze, as they do, when he realized I was watching. He did not flinch for several minutes as I waited for a better photo angle. The duck blind was empty which may explain the casual attitude of the ducks and geese on the water.

Happy sunsets!

A Walk in the Park

 

Having barely survived the restraints of the pandemic in New York City before returning to Washington, we crave the outdoors, subject, of course, to the constraints of the insufferable heat and humidity. Fortunately, the area writ large has much to offer. One of our favorites has been Huntley Meadows in Alexandria. We returned there a couple of times in recent weeks, following an earlier visit when the plants were still dormant and it was cold, very cold. If you go in winter, wear warm clothes.

The recent trips were a cornucopia of delights, some of which are revealed by these photos, a small sample. The lead-in from the parking lot is a nice flat stroll on a fine-gravel path winding through tall trees and swamp-like undergrowth, in which you may see an occasional bird, but the goods lie ahead — when you enter the boardwalk.

You must pay attention to the near and the far to catch some of the remarkable sights.

More on the beaver in a moment. The turtles that inhabit Huntley Meadows can grow to surprising size but are hard to spot among the dense vegetation that surrounds the boardwalk. So too are the frogs whose relentless chorus you may hear, especially near evening:

The entire acreage of Huntley Meadows is covered with Swamp Roses that resemble hibiscus:

There are, however, many other beautiful flowers, sometimes hidden among the more prominent species:

The biggest treat for us are the foraging birds, who grow to shocking sizes, and the beaver on the special occasions when they fearlessly go about their business:

We’ve never had a boring visit to Huntley Meadows. Highly recommended. Best to go early or late because the parking lot can get crowded. And please leave a dollar or two in the box provided. Keep the beauty going.

Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens

This past Saturday we visited Kenilworth  Park & Aquatic Gardens in the Anacostia section of the District of Columbia. We arrived before noon and were shocked to find the place packed with people. There were some parking spots left, however, so it all worked out.

The Park is a National Park Service facility on the banks of the Anacostia River. It’s primary function is a large collection of ponds containing waterlilies and lotuses. We were fortunate to spot a young beaver — actually, my wife has a remarkable eye for spotting wildlife in obscure places but I took the photo looking into deep shadows that she assured me contained a critter. I did spot the two bumblebees … uh, making… bee whoopee in the flower shot below.

The other photos are a good sample of what can be seen at Kenilworth — of course, the real thing is always better. Visit the place — it’s a treat.

[To view as a slide show, click the first image]