Birding DC

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Washington DC: Rock Creek and Hains Point

The trip started in Alexandria but few birds were seen en route, probably due to the frigid conditions. There was a light but biting breeze but the temperature gauge in the car read 11 F early on.

Apart from the flocks of European Starlings and Feral Pigeons nothing was seen until out first stop.

Around the Nature Center in Rock Creek Park we studied various species visiting the feeders and then walked the wooded, hillside trail loop, disturbing – but only mildly – eight White-tailed Deer in the middle of the loop. After completing the loop we studied the woodland around the Center, picking up a few feeding parties. After visiting the very nice Center briefly, we drove Ross Drive, stopping at a couple of locations, and finally to the park, parking at the southern end of the closed section of Beach Road. Altogether a six woodpecker morning with multiples found of each (excluding the lone Flicker).

Leaving the Park south on Beach Road we headed towards the Watergate building and the monuments and headed out to Hains Point for the final bracing stop of the day. Here, however we connected with two quality birds in the form of a Merlin and, the best bird of the day, a young Long-tailed Duck.

Canada Goose Branta canadensis – 1000 seen at Hains Point plus 200-300 on the Potomac bank near the Lincoln Memorial.

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos – a few pairs at Hains Point

Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis – a young bird seen at Hains Point, at one point had to dive to avoid the attention of a pair of Bald Eagles.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle – this iconic species can be seen in several locations on most itineraries.

Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus – 2 at Hains Point, see above!

Merlin Falco columbarius – 1 perched in a tree, Hains Point, made off up river, towards downtown.

Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis – many around downtown, the Tidal Basin and Hains Point.

American Herring Gull Larus smithsonianus – several adult and juvenile birds at Hains Point.

Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus – several at Hains Point, also on the ice by the Jefferson Memorial.

Rock Pigeon Columba livia – seen at several locations downtown.

Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura – Common.

Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus – a few seen around the Nature Center and Ross Road.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius – the first bird we saw at the Nature Center, followed by another later there.

Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens – a few seen around the Nature Center and Beach Road.

Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus – a few seen around Ross Road and Beach Road.

Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus – One on the Woodland Trail.

Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus – two birds see destroying the integrity of rotting trees!

Crow sp. Corvus sp. – a distant, still and silent bird at Hains Point.

Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis – many around the Nature Center and Beach Road.

Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor – several around the Nature Center, c25 in a flock at Hains Point.

White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis – many seen and heard around the Nature Center and elsewhere.

Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus – single bird(s) at the Nature Center feeder.

European Starling Sturnus vulgaris – many seen at various urban locations.

Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia – several seen along Beach Road.

White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis – many around the Nature Center and along Beach Road.

Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis – a few around the Nature Center and a small flock at the first Picnic Area on Ross Road.

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis – several seen with small flocks of 6-10 birds, along Beach Road.

House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus – a few at the feeder.

American Goldfinch Spinus tristis – a couple of birds along Beach Road.