An oxbow is formed when a river seeks a new channel and its older, curved channel is cut off. The Dutch Gap Conservation Area on the James River is a good example of such a feature, and with me having the day off yesterday, I went hiking there.
I am liking my job a lot better for the last 7 months or so. Before that, it was not a very fun day being at work for a long time. I am very grateful that things are improving, and generally enjoy my time at work now. But even the best day at work cannot compete with a day outside, hiking in an interesting place. The Dutch Gap area always has interesting wildlife sightings. I saw a kingfisher, cormorants, an unknown hawk, an osprey, Canada geese, mallards, bluebirds, cardinals, chickadees, an unknown woodpecker, great blue herons, gray squirrels, and a deer. I came up on at least six of the great blues just as they spotted me and flew away, croaking in alarm at my intrusion. Even though I took my bigger camera with the 10 power zoom lens, I couldn't get any wildlife photos.
It was a cool day, and I wore my new Icebreaker 200 Merino wool shirt. At the start, I wore a fleece and light gloves, but shed all that after about a mile. I was plenty warm enough in just the shirt. The hike is interesting - one is never far from water as you can see from the map:
The trail is very level, and there is plenty of evidence of human activity here, including a huge coal-fired power plant that is visible at times. As I neared the end of my hike, it started raining, a few drops at first and then a steady, moderate rain that unexpectedly lasted until sometime during the wee hours of the night.
Here are a few photos from my interesting hike at Dutch Gap, starting with a large flock of double-crested cormorants out in the old river channel. I need a new pair of binoculars. Santa, I've been good this year!
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