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casual birding in the District

Eight and a half months in the Washington DC area seemed like an eternity considering how little time we had spent Stateside during our first two tours with the State Department. We made lofty goals of exploring the District’s green spaces, as neither of us had spent much time in the area before. S bought a couple of hiking books that were replete with enticing trails, which unfortunately we never found time to explore. We did make it out to two parks on our list, both of which proved excellent birding destinations.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

We especially liked Kennilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens because we could bring our dog along, and we went back there several times. We did not get to do much actual hiking because all Munchkin wanted to do was throw pebbles into the water, but even barely entering the park one can glimpse at least a dozen different bird species.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens - red-winged blackbird

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, located near Wolf Trap in Vienna, are even more beautiful. Again, we did not do much hiking – there were fish in the pond, so once we found some pebbles and got near the water’s edge, Munchkin proved impossible to budge. As with Kennilworth, there were a ton of birds, and D regretted not bringing our telephoto lens and teleconverter.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens - barn swallows

Other than our park visits with Munchkin, we did not do much birding during our time in the United States, which is one of many reasons D is excited to return to East Africa. The birds we did manage to photograph during our recent travels are below.

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