Thursday, June 17, 2021

WALK AT HUNTLEY MEADOWS PARK, ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA ON 5-22-21 - PART 2

A sign greeted us along our walk.  I included this as I think it will be of interest in the years ahead.  Fortunately at the time of putting this post together, we are seeing signs of a return to normal life, and the mask mandate was cancelled the day we went to the park.  I hope the world is seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, though I know we still have a very long road.  It will be interesting to see what the history books make of all of this.

Just to warn you, several photos down there is a close up of a snake.  I say this just in case you have an aversion to them.
This is the Multiflora rose, an ornamental climbing shrub that grows wild here.  
Next is the Arrowwood viburnum, a plant native to regions from New Brunswick to Minnesota, and south to Georgia.  The name arrowwood is inspired by the Native Americans for using the strong shoots which developed from the roots for the shafts of their arrows. 
One of my favorites below, the Honeysuckle.  When we first moved into our home 30 years ago it grew wild in the back garden.
Its scent was intoxicating.  It needs full sun.  Over the years after the trees grew tall and created more shade, it slowly died out.
This is the second part of our walk and is an area often covered with a larger area of water.  I wouldn't be surprised if the North American Beavers have worked their magic.  I once asked someone in the visitor center and they told me this was the case.  For the most part they leave them alone to build their dams and let the natural order run its course.
I finally found out what this is.  I thought it was something to do with nesting and I found information at this website.  It has very interesting videos with information on what they are and another on how to build them.  Ostensibly a site for hunters.  However, there is no hunting allowed here so the ducks can nest in safety.  
The Snapping Turtle stayed under the water and though I saw its head pop up before I turned to take its photo, it submerged again.  I stayed there for a while but eventually the boardwalk called to me and I was on my way.  You can click on its name above which will take you to great information on these prehistoric-looking amphibians.
This is Floating pennywort, also known as Floating marshpennywort or Water pennywort.   It is a perennial and native to North and South America and parts of Africa.  
I have never been here at the right time to see it blooming, but apparently they do have small flowers.  In some parts of North and South America, this aquatic plant is listed as a threatened species.  However, "in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands it is considered an invasive species.  It was brought into the UK in the aquatic nursery trade and was first found in the wild in Britain in 1990 at a site in Essex.  Since then it has spread rapidly and is proving to be particularly invasive in Norfolk.  Since 2014 it has been banned from sale and it is illegal to plant or cause this species to grow in the wild."  If you click on this link it will take you to where I found this information and more. 
So, what did we see next while looking at this very interesting plant?  If you don't like snakes fast forward! Gregg is a good spotter.  We saw several that day.  I am not sure of its ID but I looked at those found at this website - Virginia Herpetological Society From looking at the differences, I thought perhaps it wasn't venomous.  We were were making our way along the board walk that takes us over the marshy area, high up enough and safely away from contact.  
I have never had an aversion to reptiles but like all wild things I keep a respectful distance, for their benefit as well as my own.  Gregg was using our larger camera with the zoom lens.  
Perhaps one of you dear blogging friends will be able to ID this beauty for sure.
These two photos were taken with my cell phone.  At least it will give you more of an idea of how far up we were. The snake can be seen just coming out of the reflection of the sun.
We took the short route today and didn't go any further than this large open area, leaving the smaller ponds for another day.  This is the only Egret we saw.
The following photos show some of the frogs we came across.  Gregg took close-ups of them also and I used my cell phone.
This is an American Bullfrog.




Here are Gregg's photos.


A Damsel Fly, what kind I'm not sure.  There seem to be very similar ones at this website.  Another photo taken by Gregg.
There are several of these information stands, which I never get tired of reading.  Always a good refresher during our visit.
This is a mother duck.  We watched her with several ducklings behind her, and she saw to it that they all huddled in the bush on the left.  I wish I had time to take a photo of them waddling into the undergrowth.  They were so cute!  But it became apparent that they were going to stay longer than I was prepared to wait.  And I did wait but decided no photo op of her little darlings were forthcoming.  You can see my shadow on the right.
The ducklings were well and truly hidden.
Mum was doing a good job at keeping them safe.



A photo showing the boardwalk we used.
We were now walking through the wood, but made use of one of several benches available.  We tend to sit down and take everything in at different spots in the park.  This little dog stopped to say hello.  Her name is Kiko.  She is an Ikita Inu and is considered a national treasure in Japan where these dogs originated. While sitting on one of those benches, she and her owners walked by and started chatting. Kiko came over for a fuss and that was enough to start a conversation.  The lady told me she was a rescue dog from a puppy mill.  Thankfully she is leading the best kind of life now, and is receiving a lot of love from her humans.  I'm glad she found a happy, loving home. In Japan the Akita Inu symbolizes good health, happiness and longevity.  Often the Japanese people will gift a small Akita-shaped statue to friends and family as a "Get Well Soon" token, or if someone has just had a baby.  The statue is considered a way to tell loved ones that you wish them good health in the future.  What a wonderful tradition!  You can learn more about these dogs here.
The bird watchers were out and about...
but I was also looking down at my feet and found a Sweetgum pod on the ground.  
One last photo of an interesting bug.  It landed on Gregg's hat and he automatically brushed it off and landed at my feet.  It is called an Eastern-eyed Click Beetle. It gets its name from the sound they make when they flip themselves upright. The loud noise is made when it snaps a 'spine' under its thorax.  This propels the beetle into the air and helps turn it right-side up if it is on its back.  And now we know.  I don't remember ever seeing one before so I was very interested in finding out what it was.

And that's all now from our trip to Huntley Meadows.  Thank you so much for coming along with us and enjoy your day.





42 comments:

  1. Interesting post. You saw a lot there; thanks for sharing.

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    1. You're very welcome Linda, happy you enjoyed :)

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  2. Yet another delightful outing. Thank you.
    Most of our snakes are venomous so I am not a fan. I can appreciate their beauty, and their work as rat/rodent control. From a very safe distance.

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    1. Thanks Sue, no I wouldn't be a fan of your venomous snakes. We have a few but nothing compared to yours. Always enjoy them at a distance and I remember one time my son's class having a local zoo guy bring in some reptiles. I actually got to hold one. A good memory!

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  3. Thanks for taking us on your lovely walk with so many flower, frogs, snakes and birds.

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    1. You are very welcome Margaret and thank you :)

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  4. That's a lovely wooded area to explore with so many creatures there that we don't have in the UK which makes it an interesting blog post. It's good that there is a broadwalk. I'm pleased you can take your time, sit for a while on those benches that must be a facility that one welcomes along the way.

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    1. Thank you Linda, there were a lot of things to see that day :) The benches are always welcome as I find I am more in need of them these days.

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  5. Uma bela reportagem fotográfica que gostei de ver.
    Um abraço e continuação de uma boa semana.

    Andarilhar
    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
    O prazer dos livros

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    1. Muito obrigado :) Um abraço e uma boa semana.

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  6. It is hard to believe you found all of this on the short walk I am now wondering what you would have found on a long walk haha. Love the bullfrog love the snake love the dog and all the beautiful plants. So much Beauty and nature just waiting to be found

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    1. It was a treasure trove of goodies in the way of wildlife :) Yes, if only we have the eyes to see as the old saying goes. Thanks Sandra!

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  7. What a wonderful day out and it looks like such a great place. Thank you for taking us along with you!

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    1. You are very welcome Martha, happy you had fun looking at my photos :)

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  8. A splendid post and visit -- but I did fast forward through the snakes! Thanks for the head's up!

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    1. Glad I gave you the heads up Jeanie, I know they are not everyone's cup of tea :)

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  9. I really enjoyed this post and good to see what creatures you have there. I am quite fond of snakes but I do not know the snakes of your area so ID is difficult. Keep well Diane

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  10. Nice walk! I love that pretty egret.

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  11. A walk is so educational, thanks for sharing!

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    1. You are very welcome Christine, happy you enjoyed :)

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  12. Hello Denise! That was quite an interesting walk you took. Thank you for sharing! So many critters, and your area is so green compared on here! Can't help you on that snake, but I have no aversion to snakes. We have lots of lizards here and they are fun to watch. Here we have to watch out for rattlesnakes; so far I've never encountered one, and hopefully never will!

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    1. Hello Sara, you are always welcome and glad you had fun looking at my photos. Wish I had seen some lizards that day but hopefully when it gets warmer :) I can't be too greed ;) We have rattlesnakes in Virginia also but I think they are found in the more mountainous regions. Don't quote me though, I have no idea why I said that. I will have to do some research.

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  13. I have never seen the first two flowers, they are impressive! And I had no idea about the Japanese dogs! I always thought they were Huskies! I always learn something cool here. We have what we call Snap Beetles, and they do curl up, click, and jump way up hight.But ours do not have the two big spots like this one. There must be different kinds.

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    1. Thank you Ginny and it's interesting about your snap beetles :)

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  14. Some more very nice views of your trip to Huntley Meadows.

    Other than a visit to a zoo some years ago now, I haven't come face to face with a snake.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you Jan! It has been a long time since I went to a zoo but I always headed for the reptile house :)

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  15. Your walks are so interesting, Denise. I enjoy the information that always accompanies your posts. The boardwalk certainly affords great viewing! You and your husband certainly share lovely photos here.

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    1. Thank you Martha Ellen :) so glad you enjoyed our photos.

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  16. Snapping turtles are such formidable animals.

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  17. What a great walk you had. I don't think the snake is venomous but I don't know what it is.

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  18. A very productive walk you had, Denise. The snake is a harmless Northern Water Snake, which can be a little bad tempered if you try to pick it up, and it will bite, but it is not venomous.

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    1. Hello David, we certainly did :) Thank you for ID'ing this snake and describing its temperament. I will have to remember that.

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  19. Thank you for the beauty and the education!! I have to admit, I love all creatures, but I would have walked away fast from the snake! LOL! Big Hugs!

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    1. That’s great and always happy for our zoom lens ;) Thanks MLC and big hugs from me too xo

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