Birding New Zealand
With Ray Smith
Sunday, March 22, 2015, 3-5 PM
National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive
Reston VA 20190
Join us for an afternoon Birding New Zealand! Ray and Anne Smith recently returned from a VENT birding trip to New Zealand that covered both of the main islands and many of the surrounding smaller islands. They found it so interesting and enjoyable that Ray has agreed to give us a talk about the experience.
Audubon at Home in Northern Virginia
Wildlife Sanctuary Certification through 2014
ASNV now has four years of experience with our community-based conservation outreach program promoting the principles of Audubon at Home. Through personal contact with property owners, our partners, volunteers, and members are making an impact on restoration of natural ecosystems in our heavily urbanized region. Over 90 percent of the land on the East Coast is privately held, so only with educated choices can we and our neighbors help stem the steady loss of natural habitat facing future generations.
On May 13, William Young will give a presentation titled "99 Reasons to be Fascinated by Birds," based on his book, The Fascination of Birds: from the Albatross to the Yellowthroat (Dover Publications, 2014). He will explore the connections between birds and subjects such as biology, ecology, literature, music, history, politics, economics, religion, geography, physics, chemistry, linguistics, the visual arts, the performing arts, sports and comedy. This FODM quarterly meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Huntley Meadows Park Visitor Center and is cosponsored by the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and the Northern Virginia Bird Club. If you use a GPS device to find the park, enter the park’s address, 3701 Lockheed Boulevard, Alexandria, VA 22306, not the park’s name.
Speak Up for Conservation
Budgets reflect priorities. Where does conservation stand? Local governments make decisions on many policies, for example, parks and the types of parks, land use, tree conservation, "pest" control, animal shelters, stormwater management, pollution and more.
Weigh in with Candidates
Virginians will elect every member of the Virginia General Assembly on November 3 and many local governing boards as well. To find out which offices will be on the ballot where you live, visit the Virginia Department of Elections website.
Candidates will have to file to run for office by deadlines. These campaigns offer Auduboners opportunities to advocate for conservation and to learn candidates' views.
ASNV’s Cats Indoors Initiative Update
Update on the 2015 Virginia Legislature’s Actions
During the Virginia General Assembly’s 2015 session, several controversial bills addressing pet cats were considered. We sent our members two action alerts about bills that would legalize the practice of “trap, neuter and release” (TNR) and encourage feral cat colonies. These bills were bad for birds and cats because they essentially legitimized outdoor cat "colonies" and allowed people in so-called “community cats” programs to introduce free-roaming, non-native predators to the environment and release people of ownership. Under current law, this is considered to be abandonment of an animal and is a misdemeanor.
We are pleased to report that all the bills failed. Three bills failed in committee, but one Senate bill passed the full Senate. It then failed in a House of Delegates' subcommittee. Thank s to everyone who contacted their legislators about this important conservation issue. Your action helped!
Stop Spraying Caterpillars - Online Petition
ASNV has launched an online petition to urge Fairfax and Prince William counties to stop spraying an insecticide targeting the native fall cankerworm, an insecticide that potentially kills all exposed caterpillars in the spring when birds are migrating through and/or raising their young. Be sure to sign it at https://works.audubon.org/node/2651. It’s quick. And tell your member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to stop this spraying. Eleven organizations, local and national, are trying to convince the county to stop. You can see the list and other information here: http://www.audubonva.org/index.php/advocacy-efforts/asnv-urges-stop-killing-caterpillars.
Alexandria -- Stop Dumping Raw Sewage into the Potomac River
Part of Alexandria is served by a combined sewer system which dumps untreated sewage into streams flowing to the Potomac River during many storm events. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has given the city many permits for this system and in the most recent one is requiring the city to develop a long-term control plan for Hunting Creek bacteria no later than December 31, 2035. Repeat: 2035, 20 years from now!
Fairfax County Parks Plans
The Fairfax County Park Authority is developing several master plans for parks, great opportunities for ASNVers to weigh in:
Mount Vernon Woods
Located between the Mount Vernon Woods Elementary School and Huntley Meadows Park, the 7.1 acre Mount Vernon Woods Park has a large open lawn, playground, picnic pavilion and wooded area. The park is classified as a local park, expected to serve the surrounding residential neighborhoods. The park was first master planned in 1965 and developed with the existing features in addition to tennis courts and a baseball diamond that have since been removed. The Park Authority is undertaking this park master plan revision to consider new facilities. The plan could have an impact on Huntley Meadows Park. Comments can also be provided throughout the process by email to:email@example.com.
Green Spring Gardens
Green Spring Gardens is focused on gardening and historic influences on the land and cultural resources. Green Spring Gardens offers a horticulture center, library, demonstration gardens, a historic landscape and buildings, and a wooded stream valley with ponds.
Prince William “Eco-Park”
Prince William County is, according to its website, “transforming its landfill into a community resource, called an “Eco-Park.” http://www.pwcgov.org/government/dept/publicworks/trash/Pages/Eco-Park.aspx . Hopefully an Auduboner will investigate the details and merit.
Native Seedling Sale Announced for 2015
Order by April 22
Order by Monday, April 22, or until supplies run out. Orders may be picked up on Friday, May 1, 2015 from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., or Saturday, May 2, 2015 9:00 a.m.-noon.
Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count
RESULTS OF THE 2014 MANASSAS-BULL RUN CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT
The 33rd Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count was conducted on December 14, 2014. A cloudy morning gave way to a sunny, windy afternoon; for the day a total of 121 people counted 89 species and 23,690 birds. The overall results were very good and in line with the experience of our previous several years and higher than our past 15 year average. The 121 birders are the most we have ever had on our CBC and the 89 species are an all-time high for our count.
The days are getting longer, which means Birdathon 2015 can't be far behind. It's not too early to start organizing your teams for our annual spring migration birding competition. It's a fun outing with an array of great prizes. And it raises much-needed contributions to support ASNV's conservation and education programs.
- Take Back the Forest - Next spring there will be a HUGE push to control invasive species in Fairfax County parks & Take Back the Forest. Over 500 volunteers will work to remove invasive plants, replant native plants, and restore local forests back to health. All volunteers will get a free t-shirt.
- The Bird Feeder in Reston offers a 10% discount to current ASNV members, good on all purchases excluding optics and sale merchandise. When you visit, just tell them you are a member of ASNV and ask for the discount.
See the calendar (at right) for more events.
Counts and Surveys
The table below has links to various counts and surveys in which ASNV participants participate along with upcoming dates. The links on the left point to pages with additional information about the count—often including links to compiled data from previously held counts.
Great Backyard Bird Count
Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz
Annual Butterfly Count
|Scheduled Wednesdays, monthly
|Scheduled Wednesdays, monthly