This past weekend threatened to burn me out on field work. A trip was rescheduled for Saturday, postponed by previous snows, and I put in some extra time towards my term project, also deferred due to weather.
Our final field trip for winter tree ID visited Glen Carlyn and Bluemont Parks along Four Mile Run (someone should put together a course on nothing but the natural history of the Four Mile Run watershed) and Theodore Roosevelt Island. Bluemont offers the county champion Chestnut Oak (Quercus montana); the slopes leading down from Harrison Street into Glen Carlyn feature Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia); and Roosevelt Island has Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) on the marshy District side along with some magnificent American Elms (Ulmus americana) on the Virginia side. We took a lunch break at Teddy’s memorial. Elizabeth pointed out a trick for finding Black Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica): many of the trunks of mature trees have a sway about ten feet up, as if the tree is standing hip-cocked.
I picked up Leta and we hustled up to Little Bennett Regional Park in Clarksburg for a crepuscular show of American Woodcocks (Scolopax minor), on an outing led by Stephanie Mason. Beeent.
Sunday morning opened the work season at Huntley Meadows Park. Dave Lawlor and crew had already mounted three new boxes, including #80 here, so our job of filling and freshening with wood chips went fairly quickly. Melina and Larry found a Hooded Merganser nest already started; Alan and I evicted a squirrel from underused box #9.
Finally, an easy drive to Sky Meadows State Park to make some more IDs for my project. Mug shots of my two uncertain calls here: Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) on the left and Gray Birch (Betula populifolia) on the right.