Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

It has been around a month since our last visit to the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Northern Virginia. We headed over in the early afternoon for a walk through the park. As usual, we saw quite a few birds though the swallows were absent. And as usual we saw quite a few flowers!

The first bird we noticed was an Eastern Bluebird. It was pretty far away though. Then we saw another and another! This one was a little bit closer in some wood chip mulch. Perhaps not the prettiest photo to lead with?

This Eastern Bluebird flew to a branch after diving down to hunt. Most of the ones we saw today were actively looking for food.

This Eastern Bluebird appears to be going through its first molt and looks almost like an adult now.

Although we saw the Eastern Bluebirds dive down to the ground many times, this is the only photo we got one one with something in its mouth. Hard to tell exactly what it is holding though!

Of course, we also looked at all the pretty flowers! The intricate details are always interesting to see.

Though we saw many Eastern Bluebirds today, we saw other species as well. Such as this Red-Eyed Vireo!

We also saw this little fellow, a Chipping Sparrow! It appears to be a molting adult? Or is it a juvenile? Notable is the absence of visible tail feathers. I’m guessing this is more likely to be a molting adult who happened to drop all its tail feathers at once but I’m not sure this is a correct interpretation of what is seen here.

Just in case there were doubts that we saw many Eastern Bluebirds!

These flowers are interesting and rather different from the typical ones that we see everywhere.

Also something different, a larger plant that was flowering.

A variety of colors – red, orange, and yellow!

More flowers of the same type but in different phases of growth.

We eventually walked to where we saw many lotuses on previous visits. There were only two lotus flowers left. This one was in a little better shape than the other and stood all alone and the edge of a lotus field, if one can describe the water where lotuses grow as a field.

The other lotus flower had dropped most of its petals. A turtle is approaching to investigate. Or maybe it is just simply headed in that direction!

More pretty flowers, though rather typical in appearance.

We saw this flying insect land on some flowers. It appears to be drinking their nectar! While we’re typically able to identify most birds that we come across, we basically don’t know any butterflies at all. After a bit of internet searching, this appears to possibly be a Sachem, a type of butterfly.

Almost upon returning to the entrance to the gardens, we came across this flycatcher on a branch. It seems likely to be an Eastern Phoebe based on general appearance and likelihood for this area given in eBird.

One final flower! Too bad we can’t remember what color it appeared to be, yellow or orange? Sometimes, different image processing options yield consistent colors but in this case it is inconclusive. I ended up processing this photo in a way that resulted in the colors being half way between the two extremes!


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