Bird Watching at Huntly Meadows

{huntly} Searching for the SnipeRecently, we have been studying Matthew 7:7 where it says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”. On an event-packed, fellowship-filled vacation to the Wilkes’ a few weeks ago, we had the perfect opportunity to apply and experience this verse. 

{huntly} The trail to the marshEarly on Saturday morning, April 28, most of us Staddons and many of the Wilkes Team piled in the van and drove to the small but wildlife-abundant Huntley Meadows Park. Located in Fairfax County Virginia along the Potomac River, the park is an extraordinary sanctuary for birds and reptiles alike. We asked God to bring by an abundance of wildlife and then we started seeking for them.

Red-winged Blackbird in flightIt was the perfect morning for birdwatching! The sun was just coming up when we arrived and the birds were already active. Slowly and quietly we hiked through wood and marsh on trail and boardwalk, stopping to examine everything with binocular and camera.

{huntly} A beautiful Yellowthroat{huntly} What's up?It was amazing all the wildlife that God brought by! Early on, Donald identified all kinds of sparrows, sandpipers, and waders. The Glossy Ibis, Northern Waterthrush, and Snipe were some relatively hard-to-find birds which everyone, especially Donald, was excited to see. Later in the day the secretive American Bittern ventured from it’s hiding place for just enough time for us to examine it before vanishing into the vast forest of cattails and weeds. Other birds of interest were the White-eyed Vireo, Least Sandpiper, and Wood Duck. Over the entire morning, we saw or heard no less than 45 different species of birds.

{huntly} The Glossy Ibis was an uncommon sighting

{huntly} Everyone out on the boardwalk{huntly} Least Sandpipers; Donald's first

{huntly} Close up of the Ribbon SnakeAs it turned out, it was a good reptile-watching day too. At noon, the sun came out from behind the clouds and all kinds of critters came out to warm up. We saw many frogs, toads and turtles which were relatively common but still exciting to see. Then, to top off an already-successful day, we found a beautiful Eastern Ribbon Snake which many of us had never seen before.

{huntly} A Spotted Turtle peeps out from the murky wateAs I look back, I am surprised how amazingly close the animals came for picture-taking. We had received what we asked for with our lips and found what we searched for with our eyes, but I am convinced that God also “opened the shutter” for what I had “knocked” for with the camera. 

{huntly} Pilated Woodpecker working away{huntly} A greater Yellowlegs searching for a bite to e{huntly} American Coots{huntly} An energetic White-eyed Vireo

Thank you Wilkes for making this memorable excursion possible!


  1. Donald May 15, 2007 at 4:24 pm #

    Wow!!! James, I marvel at such a thorough post as well as how many “fowls of the air” the Lord brought as we sought! The Glossy Ibis is the same one I mentioned on the post about Mount Vernon. I still remember standing behind some veteran birdwatchers on that day (my 13th birthday) as they identified it with us and commented that they had never seen it actually land in the park. Now we’ve seen the Lord bring it into close range twice in the three trips we’ve made there. What a story. Remember Matthew 6:26!

  2. Joshua May 15, 2007 at 4:49 pm #

    You’r right Donald. The Lord blessed that trip. I was amazed by how many different species of birds flew our way. Since then I have told many how much that trip helped me gain a new appreciation for God’s diverse, unique, and simply beautiful creation. Having only bird watched a little, this was almost a completely new experience. Thank you for taking the time to invest into us. Each one will remember that trip for years to come! I don’t recall seeing the coots James. That was a great shot! My favorite though is probably the Red Winged Blackbird in flight.

  3. Robert May 15, 2007 at 9:02 pm #

    Beautiful pictures, James! What a lot of wildlife! It brings back fond memories of birdwatching together all over the US.

  4. Donna May 17, 2007 at 7:23 am #

    Enjoyed the sight. It was like being there with you without all the walking! Great pictures.

  5. Jonathan May 18, 2007 at 12:59 pm #

    That was a fantastic park! I really enjoyed seeing those birds. My favorite was the glossy ibis. Can’t wait to go bird watching with you again!

  6. paul staddon June 19, 2007 at 12:04 pm #

    Just typed my surname into the computer and your site aroused my curiosity. Good to see my namesakes doing well overseas. Don’t know a great deal about the staddon side of my family, but good to see there’s an abundance of us out there, and red haired too!

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  1. The Wilkes Team » Blog Archive » 5 days of Joyful fellowship! - May 15, 2007

    […] packed these 5 days from sun rise to sun set with lots of exciting activities. Bird watching was a huge highlight at Huntley Meadows, a near by 1500 acre park! Some went and visited a petting farm, as well as a horse riding […]

  2. The Wilkes Team » Blog Archive » Birthday Considerations - June 21, 2007

    […] our family has been developing a passion for birdwatching. This was sparked on a former trip to Huntley Meadows Park with the Staddon family. So many overlooked miracles transpire daily right in our own backyards. Its little wonder that […]

  3. The Wilkes Team » Blog Archive » 5 days of Joyful fellowship! - September 2, 2013

    […] packed these 5 days from sun rise to sun set with lots of exciting activities. Bird watching was a huge highlight at Huntley Meadows, a near by 1500 acre park! Some went and visited a petting farm, as well as a horse riding […]

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