Birding the Mall
Kate and I and millions of tourists strolled through the monuments on a lovely Sunday afternoon. I wasn't looking especially hard for birds, but I had no trouble seeing them.
One of the best things about birding is how accessible it is. If I want to go fishing, I've gotta get all my stuff together, drive to the lake or ocean, launch the boat, get it all set and finally I'm fishing. With birding, I can stroll along the FDR monument with a can of soda and see a Palm Warbler 5 feet from my face. Maybe that's why I like it so much. Not because birding's easy (it ain't), but because you've always got to be ready. You're not gonna catch a perch from your cubicle, but you might see a hawk or a falcon.
Back to the Mall...I saw my first Golden-Crowned Kinglet, Yellow-Rumped Warbler and Palm Warblers of the fall without much effort. The Kinglets and YR Wablers were near the Jefferson Memorial (my favorite DC monument. The rest of the List is as follows: Jefferson, Lincoln, Vietnam, Washington, WWII, Korea, FDR. Just so you know.) and the Palms were at the FDR.
In fact, there were YR and Palm Warblers everywhere. Good times. Other highlights included a Caspian Tern flyover and about 15 Laughing Gulls at the Tidal Basin.
Another note: Try the National Building Museum. Great exhibits, no crowds.