We visited Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Virginia today between lunch and dinner, mostly to walk around a bit to be able to eat more! This small park is between Centreville and Chantilly, a few miles south of Dulles, and owned by Fairfax County. It is a nice place for a walk with trails through a forested area nestled between a highway and smaller road. We planned on doing a loop but it turned into an out and back when we realized the western half of the trail was through partially swampy unmowed grass! We were rewarded for our efforts though as we spotted a species of bird that we’ve never seen before, the Eastern Towhee!
We parked by a small pond and immediately saw these turtles sunning themselves in the hot early afternoon sun. Oddly, there were two fake swans floating in the same pond. These turtles look real though!
A new species for us! This the Eastern Towhee that we came across, a type of sparrow! It is present where we live but we’ve never found one before. Unfortunately, we only saw this one from this obscured angle and there was no opportunity to get a better view. Definitely an interesting looking little bird! Hopefully we’ll eventually get a better look at one in the future.
While we do have a good amount of experience finding birds in our local neighborhood, its much harder in an actual forest. We heard birds everywhere but it was difficult to actually find them. We were lucky to spot this backlit Red-Bellied Woodpecker! We heard other woodpecker calls but didn’t find any of them.
As we hiked past the visitor center, there was a grassy clearing in front of us. We saw these two Chipping Sparrows in the grass! There were some other small birds nearby as well including a White-Throated Sparrow which we failed to properly photograph.
We heard many Northern Cardinals but this male is the only one we actually found! Pretty with all the new leaves on the trees!
Like all the other birds, we heard American Robins but only spotted one. This one was hunting on the trail. It flew to a nearby tree as we walked by.
We didn’t see much in the skies above, just this Turkey Vulture that was soaring. The next largest bird that we heard, but did not see, was an unknown species of hawk. We heard it call out once!
There were a variety of plants as we walked through the park but mostly only tiny flowers on the ground and the dogwoods, like this one, were in bloom.