I did a low key today because I’m getting over a slight cold. I didn’t particularly feel like being aggressive in visiting places (I’d been hoping to go to NASA Goddard in Maryland (free!), but I wanted to be well enough to spend time to enjoy it). So it was off to the Long Branch Nature Center for a little local research.
It was also a nice day out, so I didn’t want to stay inside the entire time, cold or not. No humidity and a nice 78 degrees.
One of the problems with hitting my typical research points for Washington, DC, is that the tour books talk about the monuments and the other big tourist places, but not common plants, birds, and animals. Anything more than tour books will give me lists and scientific names but not answer what’s common.
So first, I made my rounds in the nature center, stopping first at the glass tanks with the snakes and the handy maps showing where these guys were common. I’ve never seen a copperhead, but they’re supposed to be common in my area and along the Potomac River.
There were also posters on the walls of various animals, as well as rocks in the area. Since I thinking of a story about stone magic (Washington, DC is a city of stone), I noted that we had Clarendon Granite and Quartz. A poster also showed me all the fish you can find in the rivers; I just took down the most common ones like Largemouth bass, white perch, and the northern snakehead. Mostly, I try to look for names that people will associate with the place — it’s an instant way of identifying a place.
A quick trip to the flyer section gets me a trifold of the birds in the area, broken down into common and uncommon, as well as flyers for several natural centers, including more animals.
After that, I wandered around in the garden outside and caught some summer colors:
How I take these notes: I just use a composition book, which are on sale now at Target for a $1 each and also can be purchased at the Dollar Store for the same price. After that, I transfer the information into Evernote — just one page covering all the common things, because I want to be able to reuse the information on future stories.