Aquatic Gardens/Kenilworth Marsh
Where is it?
The entrance is on Anacostia
Avenue between Quarles and Douglas Streets. It is just west of the I-295,
otherwise known as Kenilworth Avenue. The park is situated on 14 acres of
land along the east bank of the Anacostia River and is dedicated to the
propagation and display of aquatic plants.
Kenilworth Marsh adds
another 77 acres of swamp forest to explore. It is assessed via the Aquatic
Gardens and borders it on three sides.
When to go
Migration is the best
time to visit, but the area can be interesting at other times, and June/July
is the best time to see the flowering aquatic plants!
Where to go
From the parking lot
follow a narrow dirt path into the facility. You will shortly reach a point
where several paths cross. Take the left path to the Nature Center, where
you can obtain a map. Then walk around the impoundments. When you return
to the path crossroads on the other side of the impoundments, take the first
path on your left to the River Trail, a .7 mile long path that winds through
Kenilworth Marsh and ends at the channel that connects the marsh to the
tidal Anacostia River. There is also a weedy field just south of the park
that is worth exploring in Spring. At the northeast corner of the impoundments
a new Interpretive Boardwalk is under construction. It will eventually provide
access to the Anacostia River from the impoundment area.
What to see
Herons and other Marsh
birds, including Marsh Wrens and American Bittern; shorebirds; we found
Glossy Ibis on the River Trail one year and a pair of Peregrine Falcons
by the nature center. A day in April brought in 64 species including five
herons: Great Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Little Blue Heron, Green
Heron, Great Blue Heron, Killdeer, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted
Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, Palm Warbler, Wood Thrush.
Weedy field: Common
Snipe, Savannah Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Blue Grosbeak.
and Notable Sightings: Great Egret (4/24/98, 5/29/99, 2/28/98, 8/1/98);
Little Blue Heron (4/24/99, 8/1/98, Glossy Ibis (4/23/99); Black-crowned
Night-Heron (5/29/99); Possible Tri-colored Heron (5/29/99); Probable Mississippi
Kite (5/29/99); Wood Duck (12/29/99); Marsh Wren, Orchard and Baltimore
Orioles (5/28/99); Prothonotary Warbler (8/9/98, 5/28/99); American Bittern
(8/29/99, 11/22/98); Black-billed Cuckoo (5/1/99); Fox Sparrow (12/29/99);
Least and Alder Flycatchers (5/31/99); Alder Flycatchers (5/23/99) (Acadians
are customary here); Eastern Phoebe (1/29/99); Rusty Blackbird (4/23/99),
Mississippi Kite (5/29/99).
How to get there
By Car: Follow
Independence Avenue, S.W. east. In Capitol Hill around 3rd Street, S.E.,
you must turn left to continue on Independence Avenue. If you proceed straight,
you will find yourself on Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E. So, look for the Starplex
Stadium/Armory sign and turn left to continue traveling Independence Avenue,
S.W. eastbound. Proceed past RFK Stadium and the DC Hospital and over the
Whitney Young Memorial Bridge. Follow the signs to 295 South/95 North and
exit on your right. Take the left fork (95 North). You are now on DC 295.
Move to the right lane and exit at Quarles Street/Eastern Avenue, N.E.,
which is on your right. You will see a Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens sign just
before the exit. Stay in the the left lane and turn left at the light on
Eastern Avenue, N.E. This will bring you around onto Kenilworth Avenue,
N.E. in what will look like a "U" turn. Turn right on Douglas
Street, N.W. and right again on Anacostia Avenue, N.E. at the T junction.
Finally, turn left into the Aquatic Gardens at the sign. Proceed to the
By Metro: The
orange line will take you to the Minnesota Avenue exit. We will post explicit
directions from here when confirmed.
Accessibility and Comfort
There is a rest facility
at the Nature Center, but there is no food on-site. The dirt paths are fairly
level, but may be difficult to walk when wet. After a sustained period of
wetness, there will be small puddles.
Where is it?
The Arboretum is a 446-acre
site that contains display gardens, botanical collections, and historical
monuments set among native stands of eastern deciduous trees. The Arboretum
grounds are open every day of the year except December 25th from 8:00 a.m.
to 5:00 p.m. The Administration Building is open Monday through Friday 8:00
a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on weekends 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Arboretum is located
in northeast Washington, 2.2 miles from the U.S. Capitol. It is bordered
on the west by Bladensburg Road, on the north by New York Avenue, and on
the south by M Street. Visitor entrances are located on New York Avenue
and on R Street. This review assumes that you will enter via the gate at
the end of R Street, about one-half mile south of the intersection of Bladensburg
Road and New York Avenue (US 50).
A good way to get an
overview of the Arboretum's various habitats is to ride the tram. This is
a 40-minute professionally-driven open-air tram ride with a trained volunteer
guide to point out history and highlights. The tram runs only on Saturdays
and Sundays beginning in the Spring. There are about six runs each day.
There is a charge. Check with the Arboretum for additional information.
When to go
Winter for hawks, sparrows
and owls. Summer for Northern Bobwhite.
Where to go
Drive east about one
mile to Hickory Hill, where you will find groves of cedar, spruce and white
pine; check the ornamental conifer gardens to the northeast. South of Hickory
Hill you will find a large open area with hollies, hemlocks and fruit trees.
Then, follow paths east of Hickory Hill which lead to the Anacostia River.
What to see
Pick up a map at the
Visitor Center. Hickory Hill: Barred and Great Horned Owls are resident.
Long-eared and Barn Owls are less common. Saw-whet Owl, once resident, is
a winter visitor, but hasn't been seen in a number of years, due in part
to destruction of the groves it preferred. It is probably still present,
but the may be hard to find. Look in the spruce groves in late December-February.
You can also check for Saw-whets in the conifer grove, along with kinglets
and Red-breasted Nuthatch. The Virginia pines are good for lingering warblers
in December or January. Cape May, Blackburnian, Pine, Palm, Black-throated
Blue and Orange-Crowned have been found. Pine Siskins and crossbills have
been found in the hemlock grove, although crossbills are rare and not seen
each year. This is one of the few areas in the city where Eastern Bluebird
South of Hickory
Hill: Look for flocks of American Robin and Cedar Waxwing. A single
Bohemian Waxwing was found in a Cedar flock one winter.
Here you may find some diving ducks, especially mergansers, and sometimes
may see a Bald Eagle.
for breeding Northern Bobwhite in season.
and Notable Sightings: Barred Owl, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Gray Catbird,
Purple Finch, Red-breasted and Hooded Mergansers, along with Eastern Towhee,
Brown Thrasher, Hermit Thrush, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Bluebird and American
Robin flocks (12/18/99). There have been recent winter records of Yellow-breasted
Chat (12/98) and Baltimore Oriole (1/00).
How to get there
Travel north on 7th Street,
N.W. or North Capitol Street, N.E. and turn right onto New York Avenue.
Take care when using North Capitol Street since you must move into the service
road to make a right turn on New York Avenue. Continue to Bladensburg Road,
N.E. and turn right. Proceed to R Street, N.E. and make a left turn. Travel
down R Street to the Arboretum gate. You can also take Independence Avenue,
S.W. eastbound to 2nd Street, S.E. and go north to Maryland Avenue, N.E.
Turn right and proceed to Bladensburg Road, N.E. Proceed along Bladensburg
and turn right onto R Street, N.E. Continue to the gate.
By Metro: From
the Stadium-Armory Station on the Orange or Blue Lines, take the B2 or B4
bus northeast up Bladensburg Road to R Street. Then walk east to the entrance.
Accessibility and Comfort
There are rest facilities
on-site and a picnic area. You can bird many areas from the car. Many of
the gardens are accessible. Food is available on Bladensburg Road, N.E.
and New York Avenue, N.E.
The U.S. Capitol, Gallaudet
University, Catholic University.
Areas To Explore
Kenilworth Park -- This
park is near the Aquatic Gardens. The weedy borders of the playing fields
here have the District's only breeding Grasshopper Sparrows and Blue Grosbeaks,
while Yellow-breasted Chat may also breed. In 1999 there were intriguing mid-summer
records of Horned Lark and Eastern Meadowlark, indicating they may breed somewhere
nearby. This area is also good in migration for sparrows (Vesper has been
seen here), snipe, and Bobolink (almost always present in May).
Fort Lincoln -- Brushy
areas are good for wintering sparrows and hawks. In the past, nesting Blue
Grosbeaks, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Grasshopper Sparrow have been reported
from this location.
Catholic University --
Woody areas are good during migration and sometimes in winter. Lincoln's Sparrow
have been seen here in October. Check pines for owls and tree snags for hawks.
Peregrine Falcons (2/9/98, 3/14/98) have been known to nest on window ledges
of the National Shrine.
Lake Kingman -- Reachable
from RFK Stadium, this spot is good in winter for ducks, gulls, hawks, and