Birding in (& en route to) Annapolis
Birding was not a priority during our weekend trip to Annapolis, but we did see some species that we would not see otherwise, and I got a few photos. On our way up there on Saturday afternoon, at the southern end of the Potomac River bridge on Route 301, we saw an Osprey nest, and I managed to get some quick photos. In the distance, there were a number of Double-crested Cormorants flying just above the water, but my photos of them were not very good.
In the water by the docks in downtown Annapolis there were many Mallards, and I photographed a female at close range. Once or twice I heard and saw what I believe were Boat-tailed Grackles, the range of which extends along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Just as we got started on a boat tour of the Annapolis harbor at noon on Sunday, a small grayish bird landed in our midst, causing a flurry of commotion. It turned out to be a recently-fledged Barn Swallow, and I took a photo of it. One of the crew members placed it on the roof of the boat, in hopes that it might recover and/or regain contact with its parents. On the roof of one of the Naval Academy buildings, I saw many gulls, including a Great Black-backed Gull. I saw a few Laughing Gulls, identified by their distinctive black heads, but only got mediocre photos of them. Then during the return leg of the boat excursion, there was another bird photo-op: we passed an Osprey nest that had been built on a small navigation tower. There were three juveniles (presumably already fledged) in the nest, and one adult Osprey perched alongside. The other gulls were probably Ring-billed Gulls. There were also a few Double-crested Cormorants.