Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Walk with Aunt Martha

Aunt Martha took me on a bird walk yesterday. We were in search of a Long Tail Duck, that is not common in our area, but had been sighted recently. This was not the first bird walk I had been on with Aunt Martha. Years ago, I used to go with her on some of her walks. She would point out a bird in a tree and would tell me to notice the white spot under its tail. Usually, I was trying to figure out what tree she was pointing to and had little hope of finding the bird or a spot anywhere on it.

Today's walk was much the same because I was still trying to find the trees Aunt Martha was pointing to. Although occasionally, I thought I saw a bird. I supposedly saw a belted kingfisher, nuthatches, and Canadian geese among other things. Unfortunately, even with her trained eye, Aunt Martha didn't find the Long Tail Duck. However, we both considered the afternoon a birding success because we spent it with a Great Blue Heron (Blue). He started the same place we did and for the next two hours, Blue followed the water's edge as we walked on the path above it. I don't know how much you know about Great Blue Herons, but they are the perfect bird for me to watch. First of all, they're big and easy to see, and next they move very slowly. We saw him looking for fish, flying gracefully along the top of the water, and perching in a tree. Great Blue Herons are my new favorite bird.

Here are a few pictures from our walk.

We were walking along the tow path to the C &O Canal. We had the canal on one side and the Potomac River on the other. We first saw Blue along the lock entrance to the path where we began our hike.

Blue was checking for fish all the way down the bank.

There was still some ice on the water, so I guess Blue has adapted well to the cold.

The river water was moving pretty fast. Herons prefer calm waters, so Blue spent his time in the canal.

We all returned to the beginning of our hike where we were able to see Blue from above as we crossed the lock bridge.