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You are here: Home - Birding Sites - DC Sites - National Mall/Foggy Bottom Corridor


The National Mall/Foggy Bottom Corridor

Birdwatching in Lower Northwest, Southwest, and Southeast Washington, D.C.
From the Lincoln Memorial to Capitol Hill


Constitution Gardens
Where is it?

Between Constitution Avenue and Independence Avenue, and the Lincoln Memorial and 17th Street.

When to go

This area is a migrant trap. The wide area of green space in the middle of an urban city attracts birds moving through the area. During migration, both from mid-April to May and in September/October. Visits in the Spring after South winds and in the Fall after a cold front seem to be most productive. Some days there is nothing unusual to see. Frequent visits will be more rewarding than occasional forays.

Where to go

There are several access points. One good point is at 19th Street and Constitution Avenue. Entering here will bring you immediately to a small pond. You can take the trail to the right, which will eventually bring you near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. You should carefully explore all areas around the Lincoln Monument, such as the Korean War Memorial and the DC Veteran's Memorial. The latter has the largest non-elm trees in the Mall area and the all-important understory of azaleas and other cover.

What to see

The following were reported during April and May 1999 and represent a fairly typical migration: Savannah Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Yellow Warbler, Blue-headed Vireo, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Brown Thrasher, Northern Flicker, Hermit Thrush, White-throated Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Black-and-White Warbler, Northern Parula, Palm Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Osprey, Veery, Prairie Warbler, Wood Thrush, Ovenbird, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Orchard Oriole, American Redstart, Canada Warbler, Swainson's Thrush, Blackpoll Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Great-crested Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Black-throated Green Warbler, Great Egret.

In winter you can see Ring-billed Gull, Canada Geese, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Great Blue Heron, Double-crested Cormorant, Cooper's Hawk and some waterfowl in the ponds if they do not freeze over.

1998-2000 Recent and Notable Sightings: Blue-winged Teal (4/22/99), Grasshopper Warbler (4/26/99), possible Willow Flycatcher (9/20/99), American Wigeon (12/29/99). A Yellow Rail was seen at the DC Veteran's Memorial when it was under construction.

How to get there

By car: Find your way to Constitution Avenue, west of 17th Street. You can park along Constitution Avenue easily on weekends, although weekday parking may be difficult and restricted.

By Metro: From the Farragut West Station on the Orange or Blue Lines, walk south on 17th or 18th street about eight blocks to the Northeast corner of Constitution Gardens. Alternatively, find your way to the Foggy Bottom station and walk south on 23rd street until you reach Constitution Avenue. Cross to the mall area and walk the sidewalk to your left until you find an entrance.

Accessibility and Comfort:

There is a rest room near the pond by the 19th Street entrance. This area is somewhat removed from the District's eating establishments. You can hike back toward the West end of the mall and the cafeterias in the various Smithsonian museums, grab a hot dog from a street vendor or walk up to Pennsylvania Avenue for more traditional fare. There are also eating establishments and a deli in Columbia Plaza on 23rd Street and Virginia Avenue, N.W.

Keys

Lincoln Monument, Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, War Memorial, Kennedy Center, White House, State Department, Foggy Bottom.

 

Other Areas

As you wander through other parts of the mall, and in and out of the various monuments, keep your eyes open for unusual species. The gardens and landscaping around the mall area, and the various gardens are often attractive to birds.

 

1998-2000 Recent and Notable Sightings not Reported Elsewhere

Virginia Rail (7/27/98 to 10/98) -- Smithsonian Castle grounds, Enid Haupt Garden, NW side of the Natural Museum of African Art.

Possible California Gull (7/23/98) -- Washington Monument.

Common Nighthawk flights (8/29-30/98, 5/14/99, 8/22/99) -- U.S. Capitol.

Ovenbird (10/16/98 to 11/11/98) -- Smithsonian Enid Haupt Garden.

Hermit Thrush (10/16/98) -- Smithsonian Enid Haupt Garden.

Common Nighthawk flights (8/17-18/99) -- Washington Monument.

Common Nighthawk flights (10/3/99) -- Lincoln Park (Capitol Hill)

Bonaparte's Gull (4/12/98) -- Potomac River (location unknown)

Horned Grebe (11/25/99) -- Potomac River (Memorial Bridge)

 
 
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