A Few Random Pictures

Seen recently along the C&O Canal and Potomac River in Montgomery County. I’m still posting pictures instead of writing…

Green heron (Butorides virescens). Picture taken with 24-70mm lens. I bought a 70-200mm lens a week later. But no matter how long a lens you get, it’s never enough.


Look at all the algae on the canal!





Damselfly. I’m not sure which species. Not even sure which family.





Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on a smartweed (Persicaria, species to be determined).

Reward for Rain Hiking


I was stalking irises with a friend over Memorial Day weekend when the weather turned gray, and a light rain fell, stranding most towpath users under trees for awhile. My friend unfurled his umbrella while I pulled out a poncho, and on we trekked. I hate being rained on, and was trying not to be grumpy about it, when my friend pointed to a log in the canal.

wait, what?

This is a black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), a bird that isn’t usually seen in the middle of the day, but they sometimes come out when it’s overcast and rainy. This one hung out on the log for awhile, eventually working its way down to the water. I think it was fishing.

what’s that you say?



Read more about them at the excellent All About Birds site.







I’ve never seen one before. Of course I don’t have a good (long) lens for birding, but I took what pictures I could, hurriedly, before the camera got wet.

where’s the fish?!


Speaking of long lenses, last January a friend loaned me one, and with it I was barely able to capture a belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) perching in a tree, then cruising along the canal.

I hate photographers


Oh and here’s a double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) drying its wings in the middle of the Potomac.


I will not get into birding. Will not. will not. will not…

Red-Shoulder Hawk


Buteo lineatus





There’s a nest right next to the Carderock parking lot, and I hear the birds often enough, but I seldom see them.  And when I do, it’s never in time to raise the camera to get a clear shot while the subject is nearby.  One of these days I will buy a more appropriate lens for long-distance shots, but in the meantime I have to make do with the stock 55mm lens and the crop function in Lightroom.

Bird of the Day: Barred Owl

aka Hoot Owl; Strix varia


So I was walking along the towpath, looking down for flowers of course, when this loud FLUMPH! startled me.  I’d just been strafed by an owl!  He disappeared into trees across the canal with a loud call.  I couldn’t find him, but then I heard the sound again, in two different places.  In the deep, deep shade of a sycamore and some pawpaws were two birds.  One was clumsily flapping around, down to the ground, then to a low branch, then back up to perch near the other bird, which was stationed on the same branch the entire time.  I’m pretty sure the one bird was a fledgling.  Go to owlpages.com, scroll down to “calls”, and click on “juvenile” to hear what I heard.

I don’t have any sort of zoom lens.  I zoomed as much as I could with the 55mm lens, used a wide open aperture and as slow a shutter speed as I dared, ISO 6400.  At home I used Lightroom to zoom in to the subject (in the untouched photos all you can see are dark blobs).  I took 70 photos in 17 minutes.  Here’s a completely untouched pic; click on it and zoom in to see the bird perched in the V of the tree.


Very excited and happy.  I hear these owls at night fairly often, but the is the first time I’ve ever seen one – or three.