Photos: Barbara Saffir, unless otherwise labeled
On January 15th, 2022, with the temperature in the 20’s, or “seasonally brisk” as one hiker described the day, a hardy group of Fairfax Master Naturalists hiked through Foxstone Park in Vienna. This was a Continuing Education, or CE, Hike. (Our first stop was at a bridge in a nearby neighborhood which FBI spy Robert Hanssen used as his “dead drop” site.) Jim McGlone, pictured above in tan gloves, FMN Chapter Adviser and hike leader, gave an informative talk on the botany of skunk cabbage. Although too cold for note taking with pen and paper, cameras were in top form, resulting in this photo essay. See an excellent handout on skunk cabbage.
The second half of the day took a smaller group into Washington, D.C. We didn’t find as many ducks at Constitution Gardens and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pond as we would have liked, but we still saw relatively up close several kitten-cute buffleheads, a dozen ring-necked ducks, a gadwall, a northern shoveler, and other birds braving the cold. Some ducks came REALLY close to our five naturalists like they had been PAID to do that on cue. Some male mallards jumped out of the pond right in front of us and came to visit right at our feet. Of course, if they had been rainbow-colored wood ducks instead of mallards, it would have been more memorable. See an excellent handout on Winter Ducks in the DMV.