Sunday, January 09, 2005

Sunday Walk

It was chilly and a little overcast, but we took a nice walk this afternoon through the neighborhood and down to the Anacostia, eventually ending up at Bladensburg Waterfront Park. In total, it was probably a few miles (and it got quite warm for me with Celeste all snug in the BabyBjörn zipped half inside my jacket), but I wanted to see if they'd finished the pedestrian/bike bridge across the river there. It's part of the planned Anacostia bike trail that will eventually lead downtown to the Mall.

It turns out the bridge is in place, and we got to walk around the waterfront a bit, too, but the coolest thing was when we crossed through a small wooded area just past the confluence of the Northeast and Northwest Branches. We saw some cardinals flying about in the brush and then, all of the sudden, this hawk smashed down into the woods not 15 meters away from us. He flew back up (it looked like he missed his prey) and perched on a branch before resuming a circling search pattern. We got some really good looks at him, and I'm pretty certain it was a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) based on the rust-colored tail feathers. We watched him circle for a while, gradually getting higher and higher, before he suddenly tucked and started a dive off in a different direction.

On the walk back through the same bit of woods, we saw three other hawks (not at all sure of the type) moving from branch to branch through the trees. I'm not sure if they were chasing one another away from a territorial claim or just moving through the area fairly noisily, but it was really cool.

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