Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge Wood Marsh Trail February 7 2009

The Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge is located on the Mason Neck peninsula between Gunston Hall and the Mason Neck State Park. The Wood Marsh is one of two major trails leading to the marshy area and home of the bald eagles. The other trail is the Great Marsh Trail.

My friend Ken and I walked about 3/4 of a mile from the parking lot to the end of the Wood Marsh Trail. We were pleasantly surprised to find a very new covered shelter at the end, replete with benches and a rail to set cameras and binoculars on.

This trip was an experiment for me. Except for the first and last picture, I took all pictures using my Canon XSi's manually focused Live View mode, coupled to a Canon 300mm L IS lens, magnified by a Kenko 2x teleconverter, most taken on a tripod. Even the "action" shots were taken in manual Live View mode.

An interesting evergreen emerging from the leaves.

This was one of a pair of Eastern Bluebirds staying close to the shelter. This is the state an adult is in before they change to the classic blud color.
In a tree at the far edge of the marsh perched three bald eagles: two immature and one adult. Several immature eagles flew around the marsh and overhead while we were there.

After we had been at the shelter for a while, white swams began arriving--noisily!

Two more caught in flight.

Also present in the marsh were a large number of American Black Ducks. They are in the foreground here.
After the bald eagles flew away, a great blue heron began to stalk for fish.
Later we walked to Raccoon Creek beyond the Wood Marsh and found a great blue heron up in a tree!

Interior view of the shelter looking out into the marsh; Ken and I have our cameras set up.

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