Day 3 and 4 in Washington DC

Continuing notes on my US visit…

Friday.

I’m enjoying walking in DC, apart from the heat. The grid system has North-South roads lettered ascendingly, moving away

from the river, and east-west roads numbered. That’s not very imaginative, but it makes it very hard to get lost. The central area is also very compact, and thankfully, flat.

I spent most of the day National Air and Space Museum, the whose collection includes aircraft of mind-blowing significance: The Wright Flyer, Liberty Bell, the first aircraft to exceed the speed of sound, the first space capsule used for a US spacewalk, the Apollo 11 command capsule the highest-flying aircraft ever, and so on. It was well worth the time I spent there, and I hope to visit their annexe, with larger aircraft, before I leave.

Then, in the evening, I went to a concert at the Austrian Embassy, who had kindly invited people in town for Wikimania, the conference I’m attending next week. A duo of classical pianist and violinist, both very proficient, performed arrangements of popular tunes, but the drum track made it a bit too James Last for my taste.

Saturday

Today has been the highlight of my trip so far. , with whom I’ve corresponded on line for a couple of years or so, and who is content director for The Encyclopedia of Life , kindly responded to my appeal for a local birder to show me the ropes, and acted above and beyond the call of duty. She picked me up in her car, drove us to Jug Bay Wetlands nature reserve in Maryland and helped me to find and identify a number of species of birds, almost all new to me (the exceptions being Osprey and Barn Swallow), plus some fantastic butterflies and other “critters”, not least a Beaver. Lindsay Hollister at the reserve’s visitor centre was a welcoming and cordial host.

The 21 new bird species I saw were:

  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Acadian Flycatcher
  • Brown-Headed Cowbird
  • Mourning Dove
  • Pied Grebe
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Brown Thrasher
  • Yellow-throated Vireo
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Orchard Oriole
  • Gray Catbird
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Eastern Kingbird
  • Cardinal
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Black Vulture
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Northern Mockingbird

We then had lunch at a rural, roadside “Mom and Pop” diner, where I enjoyed my first ever root beer.

And now I’m off in search of a bar…

[Pictures to be added later]

About Andy Mabbett

Enjoying my freelance career, helping organisations to understand on-line communities, open content, and related issues; often as a Wikimedian (or Wikipedian) in Residence.

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