National Arboretum and the Fern Valley

After having lunch inside the DC beltway, we decided to head a bit further in to the National Arboretum. We parked at the National Grove of State Trees and ultimately found ourselves walking along the short Fern Valley loop trail. A nice walk with a nice breeze, lots of shade, some flowers, and a few birds.

After parking, we walked northwards and wound up at the capitol columns. These columns were part of the capitol building until they were replaced in a renovation. They were stored somewhere and ultimately wound up here in 1990!

We walked around a bit enjoying the scenery and the strong breeze.

We found ourselves facing this path, the entrance to the Fern Valley!

There was a small flower garden out in the open before the trail went into the forest for good. There were a few pretty flowers in bloom.

We ultimately didn’t find too many ferns in the Fern Valley. But there were some here and there.

While meandering through the forest, we found a few flowers that were in bloom.

We also encountered this interesting stalk of flowers. There were a few of these plants in the area.

While approaching a curve in the trail, we spooked an American Robin that we didn’t see. We walked forward a bit more, saw one on the ground, and it immediately spooked and flew away after seeing us. This third one though stayed put. It stayed there for awhile before we started walking again. Like the other two, it flew away before we got close.

The third American Robin had its feathers puffed up, as did the second. We often see this in the winter as it helps them keep warm. Apparently, they can also spread out their feathers during warm but windy weather as it helps the wind reach their skin to cool it down!

There was a sign that we saw early on that indicated this was a loop trail. We ended up wandering along various paths, most of which took us to the road on the wrong side of the forest! We did eventually make our way back and complete the loop without exiting prematurely.

As we headed to our car, we noticed this Northern Mockingbird surveying the area while perched atop a dead tree that was cut.

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