Sunday, August 6, 2017

HUNTLEY MEADOWS PARK IN ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA

At the beginning of the boardwalk we saw Cardinal flowers blooming.  Their scientific name is 'Lobelia cardinalis' and can be found in marshy areas like this one.  


You can read more about them at this website.  


Huntley Meadows is an amazing area, a lovely park in the middle of a built up area, and rather hidden if you didn't know it was there.  


When we visited on August 2nd, we met a lady and her two young children on the path as we were all leaving.  She had a ready smile and asked us if we had been before, and when we said many times, she added that they had lived here for years, never knew about it and that it was their first visit.  We told her that we had also lived in the area for a few years before we found out about it.  I remember discovering it when searching online for places to enjoy walking.  


We discussed what wildlife we had seen that day, and the young boy excitedly chimed in that they had seen an otter.  I was happy to see his enthusiasm and told him that he was very lucky, we had not and that he would see many new things on every visit.  It was a very nice encounter.


In this post you will see the wood we walk through after we parked our car.  There is also a very nice visitor center we pass on the left.  Children were leaving in numbers, presumably having attended one of the nature classes they offer.  I also found another website that gives you more information on the park.



Cattails!  I had no idea you can make flour out of these.  Archeologists have found samples of this plant on grinding stones dating back 30,000 years ago.  If you are lost they will give you four sources for survival.  Water, food, shelter and a source of fuel for heat.  Those cigar-like heads that later turn to what you see in the photo above, contain thousands of seeds that will disperse with the wind.  If you collect enough of those fluffy seeds, you can stuff a pillow.  You can learn more fascinating facts about this versatile life-saver at this website.



I am not sure what kind of berries these are, whether they are edible or not (I wouldn't even hesitate to guess), but I liked how the tendrils wrapped around the branch.



The Swamp Mallow was blooming in profusion.  I have never been to the park and seen this many at one time.  

They were everywhere.


There was something else that seemed everywhere also, and if you look closely at the photo below you will see it.  Just above center a tad to the right.


A little closer.



Not one Canada Goose today but lots of Great Blue Herons.




There will be more of them in another post.






41 comments:

  1. Denise, I love everything in your photos! Sometimes I see berries in the Montreal area on bushes, but I have no idea if they are edible or not, but they sure are pretty, as are the ones you are sharing in your photo. I hope you are having a great weekend! Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Hi Linda, thank you and you are always welcome :) Have a great weekend too.

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  2. You go to the coolest places! I am house sitting at my brothers house for a week and since he is back near the lake and in the country there are always deer that stay around his property. Counted 15 today...

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    1. How wonderful to see all those deer Pam. Sounds like you are in a very cool place too :)

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  3. The Blue Herons are so impressive and huge! You got wonderful close up pictures! We always get excited whenever we see one, even after many years of sightings. And it is fun to watch them fish. They stay as still as a statue, then JAB! The mallows look like Hibiscus! Marshmallows used to be made from this plant, but no longer are. The Cardinal Flowers amaze me!! I have never seen or heard of them. They are beautiful and large. I love how the berry vine winds around the branch.

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    1. Thanks Ginny, us too. They are such fun birds. I didn't see any diving for fish this day, and we waited for as long as we could. So interesting about the marshmallows.

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  4. What an absolutely glorious place.
    Seeing an otter would be a red letter day for sure. As would seeing the deer, or the herons, or...

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    1. Thanks EC. Each sighting was a gift for sure.

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  5. Looks like a marvellous place to roam round. I too love the herons, one of my best photographs (I don't have many) was of a grey heron.

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    1. Thanks Valerie and I would love to see that heron photo next time you come across it.

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  6. amazing! what a great place to relax and spend the day. lovely selection of plants in this post, denise. thanks for sharing. xx

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    1. Thank you Betty and you are very welcome :)

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  7. your photos are fantastic. I love that red flower and have never seen one and the cat tail story is Amazing. I had no idea about any of that and have never seen them like they are here. only with the brown part. great post

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    1. Thank you Sandra, so happy you enjoyed the post :)

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  8. Hello, Denise. I have been to Huntley Meadows with my bird club years ago. It is a beautiful place for a walk. I love the flowers and the heron photos. Pretty deer. Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and new week ahead.

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    1. Thank you Eileen, and the same to you :) How interesting you went there way back.

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  9. Interesting post and those Cattails are fascinating. The Swamp mallow flower is so similar to a hibiscus flower but interesting that they actually live in the water. Love the herons. Great photos.
    Have a wonderful week Diane

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  10. What a gorgeous place to visit! Great shots. Love the cardinal flowers so much, and those wonderful Marsh Mallows! I like to call them Marsh Mallows instead of Swamp mallows because they originally made marshmallows from the roots. I think they are beautiful!

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    1. Thank you Marie, very happy you enjoyed this post. I found it amazing about the marshmallows. There will be more photos from here in a few days.

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  11. Denise, enjoyed viewing the Cardinal Flower. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. It is beautiful in a little mysterious park. There are beautiful plants, and animals. Lovely place to walk. Regards.

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    1. Thank you Giga. I tried to leave you another comment but could not get the box to open a second time. I hope you read this as I wanted to wish you well for your hip operation. You will be very much in my thoughts and prayers.

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  13. I have a great fondness for those blue herons. We see them here too this time of year.

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  14. Hi Denise, what a wonderful place to visit and walk through the flowers and birds and the little boys Otter, lucky youngster. Always love getting images of Herons myself. All the best, John

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    1. Thank you John, so important for our young to be introduced to all these amazing things in nature, the younger the better don't you think :) All the best to you too, Denise :)

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    2. Hi Denise and could not agree with you more, I had an Osprey duty a few weeks ago and had a bus load of Brownies in the hide and they were an absolute delight and fired questions all the time and showed such interest in all that was going on about them. In fact I would say all the questions we had were possibly more sensible and pertinent to the Ospreys than some we get from adults. It was a wonderful experience for me and hopefully all the little girls. All the best, John

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  15. lovely place but the most interesting is cattails

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    1. Thank you Gosia, glad you enjoyed my post.

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  16. Absolutely Gorgeous! Thank you for sharing! Places like this fill my soul!

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    1. You are very welcome Kellyn, glad you enjoyed the post.

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    1. Thank you Francisco, a hug and a good week to you :)

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  18. What a fabulous place, I'd love to go!
    Your photographs are all so nice to see and those Cardinal flowers are such a wonderful colour.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you Jan, always happy you enjoy my posts. All the best to you too :)

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  19. I would so love to visit this place...your first photo just pulled me in!

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    1. Thanks Rose, I remember the first time I saw the place. I was pulled in completely :)

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  20. I have a couple of places to walk in Florida that are like that -- something new every time. I like exploring new spots too, but it is fun to do the old familiar as well -- especially when they are as beautiful as your park here!

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    1. Thanks Sallie, having found many new walks on our trips down to Florida, I agree how enjoyable it is to find new places to walk, and then it's always lovely to go back to the familiar.

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