Cathy, Dorothy, and I walked around Lake Needwood today, starting from (and ending at) Needwood Mansion and walking clockwise. I carried my long lens (and monopod) and at first didn’t think I’d see much. There were a lot of folks out so any little birds that might normally be near the trail were few and far between. On the north side of the lake, however, we passed a man with a long lens similar to mine. I asked if he was photographing birds and he said he was, that he had just seen a pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus). It wasn’t visible from right there but a little further along I could hear it’s call. We actually saw two of them and I got one photo with both in it, but I was shooting through branches and it isn’t worth sharing. Most of the shots, in fact, were not all that good, either blurry or with intervening branches. Even this one has a branch with stems in front of the bird, but they are small the bird is reasonably sharp. Not as good as I’d like, but pretty clear what it is. We also saw mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), hooded mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus), and a ruby-crowned kinglet (Corthylio calendula).
Monthly Archives: February 2023
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)
Mandala Stone Puzzle
After the Dahlia puzzle (see Friday, January 20, 2023) we decided to put out a new one. This time it’s a picture of painted mandala stones. At a glance Cathy and I thought they were Murano (Venetian) Glass Paperweights but looking a little closer, they clearly are not glass. Ravensburger’s title for the 1,500 piece puzzle is simply “One Dot at a Time.” This turned out to be even harder than the Dahlia puzzle. We’d go for long stretches without finding any pieces and then we’d get a bunch all together. Each stone became a separate entity, although a few of them were similar enough that it was sometimes hard to know to which a certain piece belonged. Especially without the box to look at (because that would be cheating).
Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
Cathy and I have walked many stretches of the C&O Canal together. We haven’t been to the stretch above Little Falls together. We both hiked—separately—from Georgetown back in the 1970 but decided to go there today. We saw a few turtles including this painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) and quite a few red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans). I got one photo of a turtle I don’t recognize. I’m working on identifying that one. I got a few pictures of a Common Merganser (Mergus merganser), also. It was a lovely day and it’s always good to be outdoors.
I spent the day with Dorothy at Rocklands today. She has been clearing the undergrowth from an old fence line for a good while. It’s almost a quarter of a mile long and was quite overgrown in places, so it was a big job. Most of the brush has been cleared but some stumps needed to be cut closer to the ground. That was my task. This Stihl chainsaw was my dad’s and I’m very comfortable with it. It’s on the small side (only a 16″ bar) but for this sort of work, that’s actually better than something larger. As I get older, my upper body strength is a bit less than it used to be, as well, so if it were heavier, I’d give out that much sooner. I have it in for servicing a few weeks ago and it starts up very easily and runs very well.
While I worked on stumps, Dorothy pulled out the old fencing. It’s rusted and in places buried, going through an occasional tree. Getting all of that out is a big job. After I finished with the stumps (except for those I assume are still under the piles of brush) I moved Dorothy’s piles of wire to one spot where they can be loaded onto a truck and hauled away. It was a tiring day’s work but nice to be outdoors and away from the office.
Cathy at Brighton Dam
We decided to walk around below Brighton Dam and Triadelphia Reservoir today. It was lovely out, although cool. We saw a heron on the river (the Patuxent), who flew downstream as we got closer. Later, when were were further down, we saw the heron again wading in the water with a few Canada geese (Branta canadensis) paddling around the same area. There were lots of little birds in the underbrush, as well. But I only had my 17-40mm lens, so close ups were not possible. On the far bank, camouflaged in the dried grass and weeds, was a fox. That was a treat. I can see it in a few of my photos but so small that it’s not worth posting any of those.
Cathy posed for me on this stone as we walked back up towards the parking area. Across the street from the parking lot and visitor center is the Brighton Azalea Garden, dedicated to Raymond W. Bellamy, Sr., the Chairman of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission from 1951 to 1955. “Mr. Bellamy took the first steps to start plantation of flowering trees and azaleas on the perimeter lands of this water supply lake. His idea ultimately blossomed to become this garden and offer this scenic by-product for the pleasure of the public.” At this point, it’s just evergreen shrubs. But come the spring, it’s really something to see.
The locals gathered for mom’s birthday late this afternoon. Tsai-Hong was good enough to offer to host. She ordered food from The Big Greek Cafe and Cathy and I picked it up (since it’s so close to our house). As usual, there was a bit of noise from the younger generation, but I think a good time was had by all. From left to right: Dot, Iris, Tsai-Hong, Seth with Eloise on his lap, and Dorothy (plus the top of Silus’ head in the lower right). The others were all outside the frame of the photograph.