Sunday, April 26, 2009

Liz Hartwell Mason Neck NWR April 25 2009

Liz Hartwell was a staunch environmentalist who set out to preserve the Mason Neck peninsula of Va (above Mount Vernon) and make it a sanctuary for bald eagles. In 1969, the Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge was created. The "Eagle Festival" took place on the 40th anniversary of this event at the adjacent Mason Neck State Park.

In addition to presentations by Reptiles Alive and the Raptor Conservancy of Va., I was looking forward to the trip to the Great Blue Heron Rookery--opened to the public once a year: today.

The Mason Neck State Park includes a small boat launch, canoes for rent, a shoreline and view onto Belmont Bay, flowers, birds, and a playground. It is one of my favorite state parks.

Pictures below shall almost all aspects of the park. Unfortunately, when I got to the rookery a little after 11am, most of the great blue herons had departed for a cooler location--temperatures were already in the unseasonable upper 80's. However, there was a real bonus on the way back: a pair of wood ducks in a pond by the road!

The Raptor Conservancy presented two eastern screech owls and a red tailed hawk as part of their outreach. Pictures of them are below.

Great Blue Heron above Belmont Bay

Many heron nests above the marsh

Great Blue Heron perched in a tree

Wood duck!

Reptiles Alive presents a bull snake.

A blue skank is now being displayed!

The Northern Va Astronomy Club was setting up for some evening star gazing.

Bluets by the road side.

An old stump by the water's edge.

A turtle sunning himself by the small boat put-in

Other turtles behind him.

A gorgeous tree in bloom.

Another small shrub in bloom.

A new butterfly (to me) enjoying the tree in bloom.

My favorite presentation by the Raptor Conservancy

An Eastern Screech Owl

A companion Eastern Screech Owl

Another view of the first owl

A nervous Red Tailed Hawk is presented to the crowd

Frontal view--note the talons!

Side view

Back view of the red tailed hawk

One more view

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

John: Thanks for your enjoyment and support of Mom's life work. Your pictures are great! Spread the word!

Rob Hartwell
Liz Hartwell Environmental Education Fund