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You are here: Home - Birding Sites - DC Sites - Georgetown/AU Corridor


The Georgetown/American University Corridor

Birdwatching in Lower and Central Northwest Washington, D.C.


Battery Kemble Park

Where is it?

There is more than one entrance. The starting point suggested here is on the Chain Bridge Road, .25 miles south of Loughboro Road.

When to go

Visit during migration in early morning. Fall and winter can also be productive.

Where to go

The parking lot is surrounded by small hills. Climb to the ridge and check each group of trees and bushes for migrants. In the fall, check the open areas near the hills if they have turned to meadow and grass. In fall and winter also check the open stands of Virginia Pines.

South of the parking lot there are two paths that lead to MacArthur Boulevard, about half a mile away. One follows the stream, the other the Western ridge.

What to see

Hills: Warblers and other migrants.
Meadow: Chipping, Field and other sparrows.

Dead snags: Red-headed Woodpecker in the fall.
Eastern Bluebirds have nested here in the past, but not recently.

Virginia Pines: kinglets, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Pine Siskins and possibly crossbills in fall and winter.

Stream Path: Migrant thrushes and breeding Veeries; Winter Wrens in fall and winter.

1998-2000 Recent and Notable Sightings: Mourning Warbler (5/22/98, 5/20/99); Canada Golden-winged, Tennessee, Blackburnian and Chestnut-sided Warblers (5/23/98); Black-billed Cuckoo (late April/early May 1998).

How to get there

By car: From M Street in Georgetown go west. At 44th Street take the left fork for MacArthur Boulevard and proceed to the Chain Bridge Road. Turn right and continue to the park entrance, .25 miles south of Loughboro Road. Turn right again into the park and turn left. Follow the dirt road to the parking lot at the bottom of the hill.

You can also take Wisconsin Avenue north to Reservoir Road and turn left. Proceed to Foxhall Road and turn right. Foxhall ends at Nebraska Avenue where you will turn left and then left again at Chain Bridge Road. The Wisconsin Avenue segment of this route is a very, very busy one and it is suggested that you avoid it if possible.

By Metro: From the Tenleytown Station on the Red Line take the M4 bus west on Nebraska Avenue to Foxhall Road. The Junction is at the northwest corner of the park. There is a trail which leads downhill into the park.

Accessibility and Comfort

This is a highly residential area. Food can be found along MacArthur Boulevard, or you can return to the Georgetown area.

Keys

American University, Georgetown.

 

Glover-Archbold Park

Where is it?

The park is a tall, fairly narrow piece of greenery that stretches from Canal Road in Georgetown north to Van Ness Street, but the wider portions of it lie between Reservoir Road at the NW tip of Georgetown University and Cathedral Avenue. It is encircled by Wisconsin Avenue on the East, Foxhall Road on the West, M Street to the south, and Nebraska Avenue to the north.

When to go

During migration. Evening chorus is good during June. Also can be interesting in Summer and Winter.

Where to go

Take the 1 mile trail that goes north from Reservoir Road just east of 44th Street.

What to see

Warblers and thrushes and other migratory land birds. Veeries breed in the park. Yellow-throated Vireos and Kentucky Warblers might be present. Sometimes a Screech Owl is resident, but Pileated Woodpeckers are common residents. In winter, Winter Wrens may be found along the stream (Foundry Branch), while flocks of White-throated Sparrows may be seen away from the trail in the brushier west side of the park.

1998-2000 Recent and Notable Sightings: Veery (6/15/98, 6/25/98).

How to get there

By Car: Take Wisconsin Avenue north to Reservoir Road and turn left. Proceed to 44th Street. Wisconsin Avenue through Georgetown proper is a narrow and very busy street. Alternatively, you may wish to take M Street until it branches right to Foxhall Road (around 44th Street). Make a right on Reservoir.

By Metro: Find your way to the Dupont Circle Station on the Red Line. Take the D4 or D8 bus to the first stop west of the Georgetown University Hospital on Reservoir Road.

Accessibility and Comfort

To be determined.

Keys

Georgetown.

 

Fletcher's Boathouse/Chain Bridge

Where is it?

It is located at Reservoir and Canal roads in N. W. Washington, D. C. One mile below Chain Bridge towards town or 2.5 miles above Key Bridge. The facility is actually alongside the C&O Canal. A note from Joe Fletcher, "Come enjoy the many birds in our area."

When to go

Visit during migration or in winter.

Where to go

Check out the River's edge and picnic areas. Then walk along the towpath or the abandoned railroad tracks north from the boathouse. This path passes along a wooded area. After about a mile, the towpath passes under Chain Bridge. Look for a path that goes left under the bridge to a group of overgrown ponds. You may also wish to climb to the bridge for a better look at the ponds and the river. Return to the towpath, where you can walk to the DC/Maryland line. Look for a concrete platform along the east bank of the river. This generally marks the line.

What to see

Picnic Area: Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, Warbling Vireos.
Along the River: Black and Turkey Vultures sometimes nest. In migration swallows, Chimney Swifts, gulls and Caspian Terns concentrate here. Diving Ducks, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Greater and Lesser Scaup or often seen.

Towpath Woods: Breeding Barred Owls and Wood Ducks, Prothonotary Warblers. Yellow-throated is now a fairly common breeder in the sycamores along the towpath, although they were rare prior to 1990. Cerulean Warblers bred here in the past, and although not a recent breeder, could reestablish itself here in the future.

Chain Bridge/Ponds Area: Osprey, teal, snipe, American Bittern in migration, sparrows in winter. Green Heron and Canada Geese nest here. Black-crowned Night Herons are sometimes found roosting; Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are rare visitors in summer. Also the bridge is a good place to watch for raptors in fall and winter. One day in November 1999 produced Cooper's Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Turkey Vulture, American Kestrel and a probably Red-shouldered Hawk.

1998-2000 Recent and Notable Sightings: Yellow-throated, Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers near the boathouse (4/11/99). Bonaparte's and Ring-billed Gulls, Caspian Terns, and Osprey (4/11/99) on the River. Little Blue Heron (7/3/98), Blue-winged Teal (4/17/99) and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (6/19/99 and also present in summer 1998) by the Ponds/Chain Bridge. Red- Shouldered Hawk (1/16/00).

How to get there

By car: Travel via M Street west from Georgetown and take the left fork to MacArthur Boulevard. Turn left on Reservoir Road and continue to the entrance to the boathouse.

By Metro: Take the D4 or D8 bus from the Red Line's Dupont Circle Station west. It will take you to the far end of Georgetown Reservoir on MacArthur Boulevard. Walk across the boulevard and go downhill on Reservoir, bearing left in about a quarter of a mile.

Accessibility and Comfort:

You can obtain food in Georgetown.

Keys:

Georgetown, American University.

 

Georgetown Reservoir

Where is it?

On MacArthur Boulevard, just south of Reservoir Road.

When to go

October to December and March to April are most productive. Use a scope to view the entire reservoir, but you can see much of the area without one. Morning light -- before 10 am -- is generally best.

Where to go

Scope or view the reservoir from the sidewalks, to include the dikes and the banks. Watch for hawks from the lawn on the south end of the reservoir. You can also walk west across the lawn until you reach a lane that was once a trolley route. The route goes NW along the far side of the reservoir. Hawks may also pass over the route, but you will see them better from the lawn. The route will take you to Reservoir Road and Fletcher's Boathouse in about 3/4 of a mile.

What to see

Waterfowl and raptors are the main attractions, but you can find other interesting species at the reservoir or in the close vicinity. Among the waterfowl species present are Ring-necked Duck, Canvasback, Ruddy Duck, Bufflehead, Greater and Lesser Scaup, American Wigeon, American Coot, and Pied-billed Grebe. Other species can be found, but stay for shorter periods and visit less frequently. These include: Oldsquaw, Redhead, Gadwall, all three mergansers, Common Goldeneye, White-winged Scoter, Horned Grebe, and Common Loon.

During spring and fall raptors can concentrate here, but flights are unpredictable. Warm days with NW winds in early October have been productive. In the fall, flight direction is SW; NE in the spring. Sometimes flights are along the Potomac River, which is behind the Reservoir. Broad-wings and Sharp-shins are most numerous, but Golden Eagles have been seen twice in October and a Rough-legged Hawk was once sighted in November. On October 30, 1999, the following were seen: Golden Eagle, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture! There are now at least 5 records of Golden Eagle from Georgetown reservoir, all from the Oct 30-Nov 10 period.

Gulls rest on the dikes, and you may sometimes see a Lesser Black-backed Gull or an even rarer Iceland Gull. A Yellow-legged Gull, the first US sighting, spent five winters here between 1990 and 1994-95, but was not seen in 1996-97.

Barn and Rough-winged Swallows nest along the dikes and can be seen in season. Turkey and Black Vultures visit on occasion and a yellowlegs or Solitary Sandpiper may be seen on the banks. American bitterns have been seen in the reeds on the far bank.

Look for swallows along the trolley route and Grasshopper and Savannah Sparrows along its grassy banks. Yellow-breasted Chats sometimes breed here.

1998-2000 Recent and Notable Sightings: California Gull (1/23/99), Thayer's Gull (1/24/99), Black Skimmer (9/7/99), Golden Eagle (10/30/99), Bald Eagle (10/30/99), Sharp-shinned Hawk (10/30/99), Cooper's Hawk (10/30/99), Red-tailed Hawk (10/30/99), Red Shouldered Hawk (10/30/99), Peregrine Falcon (11/18/99), Bonaparte's Gull (12/13/99), Common Loon (4/7/98), Caspian Tern (4/17/98), Ruddy Turnstone (4/10/98), Lesser Black-backed Gull (12/13/99, 12/26/98, 1/25/98, 2/16/98, 2/28/98, 3/2/98), Ring-necked Duck (12/26/98, 11/25/99), Red-breasted Merganser (11/25/99, 2/8/98, 4/7/98), Horned Grebe (11/12/99, 4/30/98, 5/2/98), Peregrine Falcon (11/18/99, 8/10/98).

How to get there

By car: From M Street in Georgetown go west. At the fork, take MacArthur Boulevard on the left. Continue on MacArthur until you reach the Reservoir on your left.

By Metro: Find your way to Dupont Circle Station on the Red Line and then take either the D4 or D8 bus to the reservoir.

Accessibility and Comfort

A block past the Reservoir, along MacArthur Boulevard, is a Safeway with a deli. You will also find a small cafe and one or two other small restaurants. Further along MacArthur Boulevard, near Dana Place are other eating establishments and convenience stores, including a Starbucks. Another small group of eating establishments can be found still further up the road near Cathedral Avenue. You can also return to Georgetown or Wisconsin Avenue.

There are no public rest room facilities at the Reservoir. In case of an emergency, Sibley Hospital is about ten minutes north at the intersection of MacArthur Boulevard and Nebraska Avenue. The sidewalk across from the Reservoir is accessible via residential driveways, but the side of the street by the Reservoir itself is mainly dirt and grassy ground.

Keys

American University, Georgetown.

 

1998-2000 Recent And Notable Sightings Not Reported Elsewhere

Chimney Swift and Common Nighthawk Flights -- 25th And Q Streets, N.W. (10/3/99)

 
 
[Anacostia Corridor] [Central Corridor] [Georgetown/American University Corridor]
[National Mall/Foggy Bottom Corridor] [Northeast Corridor]
[Potomac Viewing Corridor] [Washington Waterfront Corridor]