Urban Oasis

Frying Pan Farm Park is is a small county park located in Fairfax County, Virginia. It has a working farm (Kidwell Farm), a Visitor Center, a country store, an indoor arena (for equestrian competitions and practices) and other recreational facilities. But it also has nature trails and wildlife habitats.

Although Frying Pan Farm Park is just a little piece of land hemmed in Northern Virginia’s immense suburbia, although it is not created as a wildlife refuge as such, whatever still remains here — woods, thickets, streams, ponds — still provide a sanctuary for wildlife. So, while it may be a stretch to call it “urban oasis” or anything like that, it does have its wild side.

Over the years I’ve taken countless strolls in the park, most of the time with a camera slung over my shoulder. I’ve had many encounters with wildlife. I will show a few highlights on this blog.

The topmost predators that one will see in the park are Red Foxes, hawks (Red-shouldered, Red-tailed, Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned, owls, and occasionally an American Kestrel.

Red Fox

Red Fox

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

The most thrilling encounters are the seasonal migrants, especially warblers. These delicate and beautiful creatures migrate every spring from the tropics or as far as South America, and back in the autumn. They add color and music to our woods.

Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Prairie Warbler

Prairie Warbler

But warblers are not the only migrants. kinglets, phoebes, thrashers, swallows also pass through or nest in the park.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

But to me the most incredible encounter is with the Solitary Sandpiper — each year they migrate between South America and the Arctic. Categorized as a “shore bird” and covering such immense distance in their migration, that they choose to stay, however briefly, at Frying Pan Farm Park, is no less a miracle to me.

Solitary Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

But year-round residents are no less special to me; they keep me company throughout the year. In the cold months, the loud and melodious songs of a Carolina Wren can warm one’s heart and seeming even melt the snow.

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

American Robin

American Robin

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

I have in fact too many pictures to show in this blog, and I’ve created a page on my website to celebrate the wildlife at Frying Pan Farm Park (and surrounding areas). If you are interested, you may visit my Wildlife at Frying Pan Farm Park (and surrounding areas) page.

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