rants & recipes

Bike Trail Wildlife, 06-JUN-08

Posted by trktos on 6-June-2008

We headed westward on the W&OD, miles 8 through 17.5, between 08:30 and 12:00 and saw:

  • Six or seven chipmunks, very cute, with tails straight up; one jumped the grassy area beside the trail to get to the brush.
  • Two young/small cottontail rabbits, Evin spotted the first one and it remained frozen in the brush until Evin glanced at me – then it took off and I only saw its fast-moving rear end. The second one, we heard about 10 minutes later and further westward, scampering along the bike trail until it darted back through an opening in the brush.
  • One snapping turtle, crossing the trail, by a stream/bridge … he had a very long neck and was very green, mossy and scaly. Evin wishes to add that he was dirty, too!
  • One mama or papa groundhog with a young groundhog. I saw a big, bushy tail lumbering slowly into the brush when we stopped for a rest by a stream. The tail was too bushy and slow for a squirrel, so I went to check it out … the groundhog spotted me first and I called Evin over. He noticed more branches moving and that’s how I saw a smaller groundhog rump and tail, a little further away. After we all stared at each other a while, the adult groundhog went on about its groundhoggy business.
  • One Red Winged Blackbird, possibly with his mate and they were possibly watching a squirrel raid their nest. It was hard to tell.
  • One Indigo Bunting, on a branch, close to the trail, who let us both get a good look before flying away.
  • One American Goldfinch in breeding plumage.
  • Lots of male Cardinals, perched close to the trail, lots of rather bold American Robins.
  • One dove I got to see a little too closely – I thought she was going to fly into my face!
  • One medium sized, dark greyish bird with a dark blue rump and one small sparrow sized bird with an orangish rump, still trying to figure out what kinds of birds they are.
  • Lots of cute grey squirrels, who looked absolutely huge, after seeing all those tiny chipmunks!

We’re hoping to keep up with what we spot from now on but last real trip out, we saw a pair of Canada geese, with three fuzzy babies. They were grazing when we first saw them and then, the parents went out on the pound … the babies were hesitant to follow but eventually got too nervous to stay on the shore with the parents paddling away, so in they plunged.

This year, we’ve also seen a box-type turtle, Goldfinches, Red Winged Blackbirds, Blue Jays, two rabbits (one really big fella and a smaller one – both on an eastern bike trip), some fish in a stream in Arlington where we took a break amoung the rocks, a bunch of hawks, circling over the trail and some black squirrels, in two parks. We’ve also seen a small doe, running scared along the trail, in Alexandria.

We watched a solitary grackle, hunting for food in a little clearing, by a bench. Finally, it found a worm and began tearing at it, while holding the worm down by stepping on it with a foot. The grackle finally decided he should take his prize elsewhere to finish eating it, and flew away.

And I forgot to add – we saw two bikers today with lots of packs on their bikes and a laminated sign that read “Argentina to Canada”.


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