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You are here: Home - Birding Sites - DC Sites - Central Corrdidor

The Central Corridor

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

Dumbarton Oaks/Montrose Parks

Where is it?

Not to be confused with the upper Dumbarton Oaks garden, the garden surrounding the Dumbarton Oaks Mansion, the lower garden is a public park. It is located on 32nd Street, N.W., near 17th Street. Official access is via Lovers' Lane and R Street just east of 31st Street. The park is contained within the larger administrative boundary for Rock Creek Park, a unit of the National Capital Region, National Park Service. The private upper gardens are open to the public, but visitors are charged a nominal fee to tour the site.

Montrose Park shares a border with Dumbarton Oaks Park at the base of Lovers' Lane. Montrose Park has both gardens and recreational features, whereas Dumbarton Oaks Park was designed by a notable landscape architect.

When to go

During migration, also in late fall and winter.

Where to go

The following is adapted from the Cultural Landscape Report for the park which was prepared by the National Park Service in September 1997, and updated in December 1997 and August 1998.

Generally, visitors follow a circular walk through Dunbarton Oaks Park. Starting at the main entrance to the park off Lovers' Lane, visitors follow the stream paths up to the designed woodland. From the designed woodland they cross through the westernmost meadow. They can then decide whether to return by either the path along the top of the meadows or the farm track over the stone bridge. Both routes return them to the Beech Grove and the Lovers' Lane entrance.

After visitors pass through the main entrance gate, they walk under a canopy of American beech. At the stone bridge you can see the stream, including several of the waterfalls. There is a large open space of the meadows extending to the right and beyond.

The path at this point splits into two separate trails. The left-hand path--generally referred to as "the stream path," "lower stream path," or "south stream path" continues through the woods along the south side of the stream. The other, on the right, crosses the bridge and runs on the old farm track to the west/northwest, following the base of the meadows.

The stream path follows the southern bank of the stream, running for most of its course through an open woodland. Certain sections of the path, particularly along the foot of Forsythia Hill, allow views up into Dumbarton Oaks Gardens. The woods generally become denser as the path progresses west, particularly on the south side of the path. To the north, looking across the stream, visitors can see glimpses or views up into the meadows on the Clifton Hill for the entire length of the path.

Just before the Laurel Pool, a wood plank laid across the stream leads to the Gray arbor memorial on the northern bank of the stream. From the arbor, a stepping-stone path, paralleled by a worn trail, connects back to the old farm track. From the Laurel Pool to the Tulip Glen, the path width along the stream increases to six feet.

Opposite West Laurel Falls is the overgrown remnant of the Hazel Walk, that runs up the southern slope to the boundary fence and is covered by a thick stand of brush. The path narrows again from Laurel Pool to the Old Pump House. The path then continues from the pump house to the spring grotto area, passing over the pebble stream. Crossing over the pebble stream there is an uphill slope along the path to the Stream Arbor.

Beyond the Stream Arbor the path narrows to two-and-a-half feet. Most people ford the stream at Clapper Bridge Falls, since the south stream path continues for only a short distance up the streambank before ending abruptly where the vegetation becomes too thick. The north bank of the stream is a more open woodland of primarily deciduous trees and shrubs. Wide swathes of herbaceous material grow beneath the trees. Another path parallels the stream on the north bank, starting at West Laurel Falls, where people ford the creek from the south side, then running to the Old Water Wheel Falls and on to Clapper Bridge Falls, the other fording spots from the south side. Visitors commonly use the dam structures to cross the stream.

A minor path from West Laurel Falls connects with the old farm track. The land is level for an extent of 100 feet or so between the stream and the foot of Clifton Hill. The farm track runs along the base of the hill. This south-facing slope of Clifton Hill is an open meadow area which is broken into separate meadows or compartments by lines of trees running north-south down the hill, generally following small ravines.

A dense woodland border along the crest of the hill defines the northern boundary of the park. The hill is fairly steep in the eastern part of the park on the far side of the stone bridge. It becomes even steeper in the central section of the park in the areas defined as the second, third, and fourth meadows. Here the hill also thrusts out to the south, before sweeping back around to the north and leveling out into the broad expanse of the fifth meadow. From Clapper Bridge Falls, the stream path (the "upper stream path") continues upstream along the foot of the fifth meadow before entering an area heavily overgrown with vines. The path runs through dense shrub and vine growth along the northern bank of the stream. Once past the last Jungle Falls, the vegetation changes drastically. Invasive shrubs and vines run rampant, blanketing the stream valley and the opposite side of the stream, including the steep slope behind the retail development (the Safeway store) which fronts on Wisconsin Avenue.

The path then leads eventually to a fairly dense woodland, identified as "the designed woodland." The first section of the path through the woods is still lined by overgrown rhododendrons and passes by a small island, or "Islet" in the course of the stream. Beyond this first section of the designed woodland path, a secondary path breaks off to the west, following the stream and ending abruptly when the stream course curves to the south. The main path soon forks, with one path continuing northwest up a steep hill to Whitehaven Street, and the other turning back toward the east through the woods. The path winds up to Whitehaven Street to a trailhead sign that directs visitors to either Dumbarton Oaks Park or to another trail that follows the northernmost boundary fence of Dunbarton Oaks Park. This path then leaves the woodland, passing to the south of the hidden Animal Graveyard and into the broad, flat, open area at the top of the fifth or westernmost meadow.

There are two options for making the return journey: taking the path which runs through the middle of this meadow back to the Clapper Bridge crossing, or following the path which runs over Clifton Hill along the edge of the woodland to the old farm track. On the latter path, a boardwalk spans an intermittent stream to keep visitors from having to tramp through mud or water. This path joins the farm track, continuing on the other side as the Clifton Hill path. The Clifton Hill path skirts the upper portion of the fourth and third meadows before running downhill through the third and second meadows and rejoining the old farm track near the stone bridge. A few other social trails meander through the stream valley and designed woodland, connecting with the more prominent paths.

What to see

Tall trees around the tennis courts and lawns: warblers.

By the stream: look for migrating warblers that may come here to bathe in midmorning; in winter look for Winter Wrens.

Mixed lawns, hedgerows and thickets; look for sparrows and migrants, in season.

North hemlock grove: Pine Siskins and other finches; Great Horned or Barred Owls; accipiters.

West hemlock/Rhododendron grove: migrating thrushes and woodcock.

Anywhere in winter: large flocks of American Robins and Cedar Waxwings.

1998-2000 Recent and Notable Sightings: None reported.

How to get there

By car: From M Street, N.W. in Georgetown travel travel north on Wisconsin Avenue, N.W. until you reach R Street, N.W. Turn right on R Street and park near 31st Street. Look for Lover's Lane just east of 31 Street on R, although this alley may be unmarked, and walk north to the entrance.

By Metro: Take the Red Line to Dupont Circle and then the D2, D4, D6 or D8 bus west on Q Street to 30th Street. Walk north on 30th (uphill) to R Street. Go left on R Street to Lover's Lane at the east end of the brick wall. Follow the lane north and downhill to the park.

There are three entrances into the park, one historic and two non-historic. The main, official entrance is on the eastern boundary at the bottom of Lover's Lane, where visitors enter through a pair of wooden gates hung between stone piers. Of the two non-historic entrances, one is located on the west, where visitors approach the site by descending a steep path leading from the western branch of Whitehaven Street (near Wisconsin Avenue) and entering through a gate opening in a chain-link fence on the park's boundary. The other connects from the eastern branch of Whitehaven Street to the north part of the farm track. A trail connecting the west and east sections of Whitehaven Street follows the northernmost park boundary fence, but does not connect to any of the internal path systems.

Most visitors enter the site by going down Lover's Lane from R Street, where they pass around a metal NPS gate located at the top of the lane. Others follow social trails worn down the slopes through Montrose Park. Once visitors reach the bottom of the hill, the entrance to Dunbarton Oaks Park is on the left. On their right is a path that follows the stream to Rock Creek. Lovers' Lane continues across the stream, then leads up to Whitehaven Street and Massachusetts Avenue.

Accessibility and Comfort

To be determined.


Naval Observatory, National Cathedral, Embassy Row.


The National Zoological Park

Where is it?

The National Zoo is located on Connecticut Avenue, just north of Cathedral Avenue. Weather permitting, the Zoo is open every day except December 25. From May 1 to September 15, the grounds are open 6 am to 8 PM. Buildings are open from 10 am to 6 PM. From September 16 to April 30, the ground are open 6 am to 6 PM; building from 10 am to 4:30 PM, unless otherwise posted. Entrance to the grounds and buildings is free, but there is a charge for parking. Parking is very limited. From May to September lots may be filled by 10:30 am.

When to go

Winter is a good time to visit; also Spring/Summer for certain breeders.

Where to go

From entrance, walk to the bird house and waterfowl ponds. Check the trees around the pond and those that overhang cages.

Watch other cages for birds attracted by the bird seed and heated drinking water.

Check the mammal compounds.

Check out any feeders on the property. In the past, some were reported on the path that leads to the seal house.

Check ornamental plantings of holly, cedar, and hemlock that are scattered throughout the zoo.

There is a bridge near the Polar Bear cage that crosses Rock Creek. The bike path there will take you through some fields and wooded areas that may be productive in winter.

What to see

There is a Black-crowned Night Heron colony, usually present from later march to July or August, in the trees by the waterfowl pond and eagle cage. Some may be present during the winter and Yellow-crowned Night Heron has been seen here in August.

In the heated cages with seed you may find Song, White-throated, Field, Fox and Tree Sparrows, although the latter two are more rare.

In the waterfowl pond look for Wood Duck, American Black Duck, American Wigeon, and Gadwall. Be sure to separate the captives from the wild ducks if you intend to count these birds on your lists.

Vultures, and Red-tailed, Cooper's, and Sharp-shinned Hawks have been known to frequent the mammal compounds.

Look at the ornamental evergreens for a Barn or Saw-whet Owl, but these are extremely rare.

1998-2000 Recent and Notable Sightings: Yellow-crowned Night Heron (4/5/98).

How to get there

By car: Take Connecticut Avenue, N.W. north to the Cleveland Park Area. The Zoo is on the right; street number 3001. Be sure to turn into the correct driveway to the parking lot. Unwary visitors often turn into the driveway for the Kennedy-Warren apartments garage. You can also access the parking lots from the George Washington Memorial Parkway, but be mindful that this parkway is one-way travel during rush hours. Take Virginia Avenue, N.W. towards the Kennedy Center and continue to the t-junction. Turn right into the parkway and continue until you reach the parking lot exit past the Cathedral/Connecticut Avenue exits.

By Metro: Take the Red Line to the Woodley Park--Zoo Station. Walk north about two blocks. The zoo is across the street. You really can't miss it.

Accessibility and Comfort

Food is available inside the zoo and on Connecticut Avenue. There are rest areas throughout the premises and many parts are accessible. You can obtain a guide for disabled visitors and a guide to using a wheelchair on premises from the information booths.


National Cathedral.


Reno Reservoir

Where is it?

Fessenden and 39th Street in NW Washington.

When to go
During migration, both in May and in August/September.
Where to go

The site is adjacent to Fort Reno, a Civil War relic of which no trace remains. It is the highest point in the District of Columbia. The reservoir is underground and there is no visible water, but there is a fenced in field on top that attracts open-country birds in migration. From street level, climb to the top of the hill at a point where you have clear view to the fence. The area just below 39th Street should be accessible. If you climb up to the fence just south of 39th Street, the shrubbery is low and you can see over most of the grassy field. Watch the field from any point where you have a clear view. You may continue around the fence towards 39th Street and Belt Road. You will enter an area abounded on both sides by shrubbery, much of it with berries, through which a narrow trail will run. Eventually, you will reach a barbed wire barricade that will prevent you from going further. This section is at the top of a steep incline, and although the shrubbery presents good possibilities, especially for sparrows, you must watch your footing and take care not to become entangled in loose snags. Proceed slowly and carefully. When you reach the barbed wire fencing, return to your starting point.

What to see

Sparrows (Savannah, Field, Chipping, White-crowned, Grasshopper), Killdeer, Eastern Meadowlark and Cattle Egret if the grass has been allowed to grow. Bobolinks in May; Common Nighthawks during August/September eves. The site looks like a good point for hawk watching, but we saw none during the time we visited in late September.

1998-2000 Notable Sightings: None reported.

How to get there

By car: Take Connecticut Avenue North to Fessenden Street and turn left. Proceed to 39th Street. The reservoir is on your left. Park on any street. There is a two-hour limit for parking for non-residents Monday to Friday.

By Metro: Find your way to Tenleytown Station on the Red Line. Walk north two blocks on Fort Drive to Chesapeake Street. You will find yourself at the south edge of the reservoir.

Accessibility and Comfort

The site is up a steep incline, and very little can be seen from the street. Food is available on Connecticut and Wisconsin Avenues.


American University, Chevy Chase.


Rock Creek Park

Where is it?

At 1700 acres, Rock Creek Park is one of the largest urban parks in the nation. The park runs due north and south from the MD/DC line, between Oregon Avenue and 16th Street, through the Zoological Park, almost to the Potomac River. It is the major migration route of birds through the urban desert of Washington, and thus has become famous as a site to view warblers and other migrants. Claudia Wilds called it the best migrant trap in the area. In autumn 1998, a bird survey conducted by two observers, in just 27 days recorded over 10,000 individuals of over 60 neotropical migrant species passing along the West Ridge. Over 180 species, including all the northeastern breeding warblers, flycatchers, vireos and thrushes, have been reported here, including several species rare in the region.

The area of greatest interest to birders is the West Ridge, from Military Road south to Broad Branch Road, encompassing Military Field, the Nature Center, Maintenance Yard, Horse Center and a number of adjacent picnic areas. This area is considered the most important for migrating land birds in the District of Columbia. Primary access is along Glover and Ross Roads, which are generally free of the commuter traffic which degrades Beach Drive. Be aware, however, that during weekends Beach Drive is closed to vehicular traffic and that at times more cars use Glover Road. Caution should always be used as cars and bicycles may appear quickly, so bird from the grassy areas. Park in established lots or in one of the many picnic stops.

Other areas which can be productive, but which are not as well-watched, include the area around Pierce Mill, Melvin Hazen Park, and the stream valley along Broad Branch west of the ridge.

When to go

The park is open during daylight hours. The Nature Center is open Wednesday through Sunday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. It is closed on New Years Day, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. However, during a recent visit on another holiday we found the Center closed, so it's best to check ahead.

As noted above, this area is best during migration, that is, in spring from mid-April to the end of May, and in autumn from mid-August to mid-October. Visit early in the morning when migrants are concentrated along the high, forested ridge. Later in the day the birds disperse to rest and feed in the surrounding forest and lower areas of the park, and can be harder to locate. The park can also be productive in the summer months. Winter birding is much slower.

In general, migration birding is best on the days immediately following a front -- a warm front in spring and a cool front in autumn. When early morning fog or rain follows an otherwise good night for migration, impressive classic fallouts can occur, when, as Claudia Wilds wrote, the trees are dripping warblers. On April 30, 1995, in such conditions, over 1000 warblers of 15 species, including Golden-winged, were estimated in the trees from the Nature Center south to picnic areas 17/18! Even on slow days a birder may be able to locate migrants off-passage; one hot day in late August 1998 only five individual warblers were seen, but one was a Connecticut and another a Golden-winged!

Where to go

There are several areas to explore. The best sites are the trails behind the Nature/Visitor Center, the Horse Center/Stables and Maintenance Yard areas, and the "ridge," otherwise known as picnic areas #17/18. The equestrian corral area by picnic area #25/26 can also be productive. Military Field, at the junction of Glover and Military Roads, is being restored as meadow habitat and is especially good in autumn when vegetation is thick. There is a mowed path running between the trees and the field edge which is worth careful attention.

Birders in the know start at dawn on the West Ridge, usually at picnic areas #17/18, although the area directly around the Nature Center parking lot can also prove exciting. Action can sometimes be hot and heavy, with scores or sometimes even hundreds of birds moving through the trees, which are just catching the rising sun. Usually by midmorning this first activity slows as birds begin to disperse to feed. Birders themselves disperse to other areas, looking and listening for feeding flocks. The blacktop path north of the Nature Center crosses a small meadow with a little pool which attracts migrants. It is wheelchair accessible and there are also benches from which you can peer into the treetops in relative comfort. The Woodlands Trail behind the Nature Center, is also worth exploring for feeding warbler flocks, and is especially good for Migrating thrushes in mid-May. On hot days the drip/birdbath directly behind the Nature Center attracts bathing birds of many species.

The edge habitat around the stable, the indoor riding ring, and the horse paddocks should also be investigated. From the Horse Center follow the bridle trail which runs from the stable east along the fenced Maintenance Yard, cutting in by an obvious path into the open area beyond the fence. The stone blocks, columns and carved panels you see stacked here are from the original west front of the Capitol Building! The vegetated area, runoff pools, and secondary growth around the clearing form one of the best traps for migrants, especially in the autumn, and a number of rarities have been seen here.The bridle trail continues down to Rock Creek where Louisiana Waterthrush sometimes breeds.

The woods edge near the equestrian corral by picnic sites #25/26 should also be investigated. This lower clearing often proves better for migrants than area #17/18 on windy days. In autumn, fruiting chokecherries are attractive to a wide range of species.

Other areas: In Broad Branch check the bushes and areas along the creek. Explore the thicket around the Art Barn by Pierce Mill.

The Melvin Hazen Park area is also a good migrant trap. Check the snags around Klingle House and the area around the barn. Walk through the woods and meadows around the House. You can further explore the park via trails that lead north to Pierce Mill up a shaded ravine or west to Connecticut Avenue.

What to see

Migration: Rock Creek is exciting in spring from about mid-April to the end of May, and in autumn from mid-August to mid-October. The most common neotropical migrants include Red-eyed Vireo, Swainsons Thrush, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Black and White, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Bay-breasted and Canada Warblers, Northern Parula, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Scarlet Tanager. Twenty-plus species of warbler can often be recorded on good days in both seasons. Trees and shrubs along the ridge are best for spring and fall migrant warblers, vireos and flycatchers, while thrushes seem to favor the wooded areas with good leaf litter and relatively sparse undergrowth. Field areas are generally most productive in autumn, when vegetation is mature and when fruiting Devils Walking Stick, Porcelainberry and Chokecherry attract a surprising variety of migrants. Any overgrown lawn or roadside, as well as the larger fields at Military Road and the Maintenance Yard, should be checked for the abundant migrant sparrows, which can include Lincoln's. Orange-crowned, Mourning and Connecticut (autumn only) Warblers can also be found in these habitats. Unusual species which are seen virtually every year in Rock Creek include Red-headed Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied and Olive-sided Flycatchers, Black-billed Cuckoo, Philadelphia Vireo and Gray-cheeked Thrush. Rarities that have been recorded include Whip-poor-will, Clay-colored and Lark Sparrows, Lawrence's Warbler, Evening Grosbeak and Red Crossbill.

Migrating hawks and Nighthawks can often be seen flying over, although the view can be somewhat limited by trees. Sometimes loons, geese, cormorants and swans are also tallied. During an irruption year, look for passing Pine Siskins, Purple Finches and Evening Grosbeaks at the Ridge or at the Maintenance Yard. The Equestrian Corral area can produce many of the same species. Check for migrants later in the day in areas described above, inclusing areas along Broad Branch. The Art Barn by Pierce Mill may have woodcock. In Melvin Hazen Park look for migrants. Olive-sided Flycatcher is sometimes seen near Klingle House. Also around the house you may find Alder Flycatchers or Mourning and Connecticut Warblers. The trail north from Pierce Mill is good for Black-throated Blue Warblers.

Patches of giant ragweed should be checked especially thoroughly in fall for Connecticut and Mourning Warblers, Lincoln's Sparrow and other goodies. Unfortunately, in the last 2-3 years some of the best patches have overgrown and sightings of Connecticut Warblers have diminished accordingly, although they are still reported annually. In the early 90s, 4-6 were reported each fall. However, both species are still seen every year, the best locations being the Maintenance Yard and Military Field.

More about warblers. Although all the northeastern species have been reported, warblers more associated with riparian bottomlands, such as Yellowthroated or Prothonotary, are very rarely seen. Most abundant are the edge and forest species noted earlier. Birders visiting Rock Creek Park have often reported spectacular waves of warbler flights. On May 15, 1998, a birder reported Blackburnian, Brewster's, Black-throated Blue, Ovenbird, Black-throated Green, Magnolia, Canada, American Redstart, Black and White, and Northern Parula Warblers. Similarly, on April 28, 1999, a typical spring day, the following warbler species were observed: Golden-winged, Cerulean, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Ovenbird, Hooded, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow, Palm, Worm-eating, Black-and-White, Nashville, and Louisiana Waterthrush.

Fall migration will sometimes produce results that are just as rich in warbler sightings. On August 16, Blackburnian, Canada, Chestnut-sided, Black-and-White, Northern Parula, American Redstart, Worm-eating, and Yellow Warblers were sighted. Three days later: Black-and-White, Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Ovenbird, Blue-winged, Redstart, Yellow , Tennessee,and Worm-eating were sighted. Warbler migration continued through September when 18 species were seen on September 18, with 25 species seen during the week, including Connecticut. Then from October 12-15 Orange-crowned, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, and Blackpoll were reported. Best time to catch the action is after a cold front. Summer visits: Red-shouldered and Broad-winged Hawks, Barred and Great Horned Owls nest in small numbers. Pileated Woodpeckers are fairly common. Eastern Screech-Owls nest along the streams, but you are not likely to see them during the day. Night birding is not recommended here. Songbirds that may nest include Acadian Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Wood Thrush, Veery, Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager, and Louisiana Waterthrush. The trail down to Rock Creek from the Equestrian Corral is often worth checking for the breeding Louisiana Waterthrushes. Sometimes Brown Creeper and Hooded, Kentucky, Worm-eating, and Cerulean Warblers can be found. Look for Wood Duck and Belted Kingfisher along the creek by Broad Branch. In the Melvin Hazen Park area Broad-winged Hawks sometimes nest in the woods near Klingle House and House Wrens may nest around the barn. Look for resident Veeries on the trail north from the Pierce Mill parking lot. Winter visits: Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadee, and kinglets. Accipiters winter over and you may find Red-breasted Nuthatches and lingering warblers in the pine trees. The feeders at the Nature Center have produced Evening Grosbeaks and Common Redpolls during an irruption year.

1998-2000 Notable Sightings: Eastern Phoebe (3/4-6/98), Red-breasted Merganser (5/16/98), Mourning Warbler (9/13/98, 9/23/98), Red-headed Woodpecker (9/29/98), Least Flycatcher (5/20/99), Gray-cheeked Thrush (5/20/99), Olive-sided Flycatcher (8/19/99), Broad-winged Hawk (9/18/99), Philadelphia Vireo (9/19/99), Black-billed Cuckoo (8/10/99), Red-breasted Nuthatch (1st week of 11/99).

Picnic Areas 17-18: Brewster's Warbler 5/5-6/98, Philadelphia Vireo (9/5/98), Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (9/12/98), Connecticut Warbler (9/14/98), Golden-winged Warbler (9/11-14/98), Wilson's Warbler (9/11/98), Pine Siskin (10/15/99), Warbling Vireo (10/21/99), Blue-headed Vireo (10/21/99), Hermit Thrush (10/21/99), Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets (12/21/99).

Picnic Area 14: Red Crossbill flyover (5/15/98)

Maintenance Yard: Clay-colored Sparrow (9-4-7/98), Connecticut Warbler (9/15/98, 9/13/99), Philadelphia Vireo (9/9, 12,18/98), Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (9/18/98), Savannah Sparrow (9/18/98), Brewster's Warbler (5/20/99), Least Flycatcher (9/19/99), Evening Grosbeak (10/28/99).

Nature Center: Connecticut Warbler (9/13 & 25/99), Philadelphia Vireo (9/25/99).

Stable Area: Mourning Warbler (5/17/99).

How to get there

Take Connecticut Avenue, N.W. northbound to Military Road, N.W. Take a right on Military Road to Glover Road on your right. On your left the street is named Oregon Avenue. Go right on Glover and follow the signs to the Nature Center, officially at 5200 Glover Road. You can also reach the park by traveling north on 16th Street, N.W. until you reach Military Road, where you will turn left. Again, follow the signs to the Nature Center. They will take you to the parking lots. There are two fair-size lots around a circle with one-way traffic. Pick up a trail map at the Nature Center. There are usually some in an outside container near the front door.

As you leave the parking lot proceed to the stop sign by the main road and turn left. Notice the picnic areas along the road. Each has a number. Park first in picnic areas #17 or 18. This site is just before Ross Drive.

Proceed to picnic areas #25/26 near the equestrian corral. This site is just after Ross Drive. Don't attempt to bird these areas from your car; speeding cars abound. Park at a picnic area and walk.

Return to Ridge Road and continue south. Turn left on Broad Branch Road and and an immediate right into the parking lot. Visit the creek and walk down the bicycle path to Pierce Mill. This area becomes extremely congested in the mid-morning on weekends and you may find it impossible to park. In any event, your time will be better spent at the ridge.

To reach Melvin Hazen Park, leave the Broad Branch Road lot and turn right, then right again onto Beach Drive. Follow Beach Drive south until you reach Porter Street. Make another right on Porter and a final right onto Williamsburg Lane. This is a steep hill which turns to gravel. You can park in the dirt lot at the top.

These are the most popular routes. However, there are many more areas to explore. Search out the wider areas of the park north of Military Road where there are large blocks of forest where you can look for breeding species.

By Metro: Take the Red Line to the Friendship Heights Station. From here, grab the E2 or E4 bus, which will take you east on Military Road to Glover Road. Walk up the bike path that parallels Glover Road until you reach the Nature Center.

Accessibility and Comfort

The Nature Center is accessible including the restrooms, the planetarium, exhibit hall, and auditorium. The first floor of the Old Stone House, the exercise course at 16th and Kennedy streets, the Carter Barron Amphitheater and Picnic Groves #1, #6, #23, and #24 are accessible. There is an accessible self guiding nature trail at the Nature Center. This is a black-top walkway with benches. There are also toilets at the indoor riding arena, located between the Nature Center and the stable. It opens very early 7 days a weeks and has toilets just inside the front door, but these are not wheelchair accessible.


National Zoo (southern end), Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

[Our thanks to Gail Mackiernan and Barry Cooper for their extensive contributions to this section.]

Other 1998-2000 Recent and Notable Sightings Not Reported Elsewhere

American Woodcock -- Connecticut Avenue and L Street, N.W. (10/26/98)

Possible Rufous or Allen's Hummingbird -- Sherrier Place, N.W. (11/12-21/1998)

Blue Grosbeak -- Washington National Cathedral (9/30/1999)

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