Bike riding is excellent exercise. It has one shortcoming; it is not weight bearing. After 150 miles of bike commuting, I could use a little change of pace. Today, I decided to go for a long walk.
The Morningside bald eagle nest on the Mount Vernon Trail is about 2 1/2 or 3 miles from my house. Off I went with my hiking boots on. Even with the brisk pace I set, things move by so slowly compared to cycling. For that matter, things more slowly compared to distance running. I arrived at the nest eventually. I call it the Morningside nest because it is situated on the Mount Vernon Trail across from the Morningside Drive exit from the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
This time of year, when the trees have no leaves, the nest is relatively easy to spot. In a couple of months it will be almost completely obscured by green. The nest is in a tree that is about 30 yards from the trail. I brought my Canon EOS Rebel camera with a decent zoom lens. I was hoping to see an eagle at the nest but that didn’t happen so I took a picture or two of the nest and walked on. Not 100 feet later I spotted an eagle about 100 yards away, perched in a tree beyond the nest tree at the waterline of the river. (You can’t call it a riverbank here because the Potomac is tidal here; the river’s edge varies quite a lot.)
Thanks to the zoom lens on the camera I actually was able to get a semi-decent picture of the eagle. As soon as I snapped the pic, the eagle launched and headed downriver.
I kept walking and spotted a big woodpecker, maybe 12 inches in length, working on a distressed tree. I tried to get a picture but, not being at the top of the food chain, he flew off as soon as he spotted me.
I continued walking to the Dyke Marsh bridge then reversed course. I took a few more pics of the nest. Now with a blue sky in the background I thought I could get a better picture.
I waited for the eagle to return but after 15 minutes I gave up and headed for home. Being used to covering my route home by bike the walk seemed interminable. It didn’t help much that my bum left knee was sending electric shocks into my leg every few minutes.
Despite the knee zaps, I made it home with the feeling that I had redeemed my weekend of couch surfing. It will be interesting to see how my legs feel when I saddle up for the ride to work in the morning
The pix are here.