We started our day at the Maryland side of the Great Falls, a section of rapids on the Potomac river that separates Maryland and Virginia. This area is part of the C&O Canal National Historic Park. It was foggy when we arrived but rather nice when we got to the viewpoint in the middle of the river. Afterwards, we headed to an early lunch and then onward to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. We were there to see what birds were around and to check out the fall foliage. But it seems we’ve missed much of fall already!
Great Falls, Maryland
While the sky was clear as we drove to the Maryland side of the Great Falls, it was very foggy in the immediate area. And it was still foggy when we crossed the bridge over the C&O Canal.
Luckily, there was less fog once we crossed over the bridges between the rocky islands in the middle of the Potomac River. The water was quite vigorous as it always is here.
It was still relatively early when we arrived at the main viewing area. The terrain here drastically reduces the width of the Potomac, resulting in this section of rapids. There are often kayakers here and today was no exception. We saw three of them on our side of the river and one closer to the Virginia side. We watched them for a bit but it is a bit like a baseball game – a little bit of action and then nothing really going on at all!
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
When we arrived at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, it was quite different from our last visit! They are starting to set up for the Winter Walk of Lights so there are various lighted decorations up and some that are still being assembled. Also, there aren’t nearly as many flowers in bloom. But we still found some right away!
We quickly saw an Eastern Bluebird on the greenhouse near the entrance. There were probably two of them but this is the one we followed to photograph.
We also saw this Northern Mockingbird.
This butterfly happened to land on a flower right in front of us! We actually first saw it on a flower but it flew away right as we started to photograph it. It then flew around a bit and then landed again!
This plant is apparently called Lamb’s Ear! Its probably been here all along but we’ve never noticed it, likely due to all the flowers that have been present here in the past.
We decided to take one of the paths through a more heavily forested area of the park. Unfortunately, not much fall colors to see. But we found this Tufted Titmouse!
We did find some beautiful if a bit localized patches of color!
We found another Eastern Bluebird!
We continued walking, enjoying the fall colors where we could find them.
We also enjoyed the flowers that we came across.
This plant was pretty unique in its appearance and yet to fully flower.
These grasses looked quite beautiful when illuminated by the sun!
There were a few large scale examples of beautiful fall colors. But as is common in the region, it was mostly a mix of green leaves, various stages of fall color, and trees that were already done of the season.
We eventually came across this Ruby-Crowned Kinglet! We identified it before noticing a bit of its ruby crown was visible, though we did see one fairly recently near home.
There were a few trees by the ponds that had nice fall colors.
This one tree on the opposite side looked quite nice, particularly with a calm pond surface resulting in a nice reflection!
We saw some additional large scale examples of mixed fall colors.
And some more of those pretty grasses illuminated by the bright noon sun.
We’ve probably photographed this flower before…
One last example of fall colors as we headed out!