April 2013
In This Issue
Message from the President
Audubon Afternoon
Birdathon 2013
LEAPP Classes
Advocacy Update
Field Trips - Bird Walks
Other News

Upcoming Event

Conservation Counts
Join Jim Waggener in his ongoing wildlife surveys at two of Northern Virginia's best birding spots. Surveys alternate between Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area on Mason Neck.

Each survey is limited to four participants, and reservations are required. More information is available on the ASNV website.

Contact Jim via email or phone (703-567-3555) for more details or to reserve your space.
 General Surveys

Occoquan Bay NWR
  • Apr 24 
  • May 29       
Meadowood on Mason Neck
  • Apr 10 
  • May 15     

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys
Join Jim Waggener each Friday (April-October) in his ongoing survey of the butterflies and dragonflies at four locations in Fairfax and Prince William County.

Each survey is limited to four participants, and reservations are required. More information is available on the ASNV website.

Contact Jim via email or phone (703-567-3555) for more details or to reserve your space. (Note: Surveys may be cancelled for inclement weather.)
  • Apr 5 - Metz Wetlands
  • Apr 12 - Occoquan Regional Park
  • Apr 19 - Occoquan Bay NWR
  • Apr 26 - Meadowood 
  • May 3 - Metz Wetlands 
  • May 10 - Occoquan Regional Park
  • May 17 - Occoquan Bay NWR
  • May 24 - Meadowood
  • May 31 - Metz Wetlands 

Eakin Park Bird Walk
Hidden Oaks Nature Center (FCPA) sponsors weekly bird walks along the Accotink Stream Valley. Mondays,
7:00 AM March-Nov.;
7:30 AM Dec - Feb.

Help make a difference!
E-Activist Network.  The 
National Audubon Society invites all Auduboners to join their  e-activist network. When you subscribe to their newsletter, you'll receive alerts about important Congressional actions and information about how you can affect legislation by contacting your Members of Congress.

Climate Change.
We also need passionate volunteers across Virginia who can help us persuade our U. S. senators to support a strong climate change bill. If you would like to help us make a difference with climate change and other important issues, please contact Glenda Booth.

Research Plant Value to Wildlife. ASNV is looking 
for a Virgina master naturalist, or other interested volunteer, willing to research the wildlife value of specific native plants. 

More information about these and other opportunities can be found here.

Audubon at Home. People- 
oriented volunteers are needed to help spread the word about the Audubon At Home Wildlife Sanctuary Program at community and regional events. We schedule the dates, provide all the materials, and brief you on our message -- you supply the enthusiasm!

To volunteer or for more information, contact info@audubonva.org.
Message from the President

ASNV's service to our community is volunteer-driven. With our limited budget, this in effect means that virtually every activity and function is a result of a member wanting to help make it happen. I would like to recognize and thank volunteers regularly in this space and hope you will help me by sending suggestions.


The newsletter you are reading was launched and is maintained by Marilyn Gaizband, a former board member. Her husband, Sam Schaen, maintains our website, www.audubonva.org. What motivates their involvement? In her words, "Whenever I join an organization I always seem to volunteer my time as well as my husband's. My vocation was marketing and my avocation is wildlife photography with a specialization in birds. Sam's vocation is computers and his avocation is photography as well. It seems to us that since we get so much pleasure from our love of birds that contributing our time to the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia is payback.   Helping with the website, newsletter and other publications is just a way to say thank you."


Our organization has for some time spent more each year than we take in. As a result, we steadily tap into "savings." But we are rich in human assets. It's our volunteers who make the difference in a climate of minimal funding for overhead.   Thanks to Marilyn, Sam and many others, it is literally true, "We couldn't do it without you!" Thanks!  

Climate Change and Wildlife

Audubon Afternoon

Sunday, April 7, 2013, 3:00p - 5:00p

Potomac Overlook Regional Park


Dr. Chris Crosiar will speak to us about climate change and the effects it is having on wildlife. Dr. Crosiar researches the interactions of the complex adaptive systems of climate, water, energy, and food, and their impacts on people. Last August, she was trained and certified as a Climate Leader in the Climate Leadership Corps of the Climate Reality Project. The corps involves 1,000 volunteers worldwide who seek to inform the public about climate change science. For more information on this project, please visit http://climaterealityproject.org.



ASNV Birdathon

Support Your Organization  

While Enjoying the Outdoors

Our annual Birdathon will be held between April 26 and May 12 this year. This event is one of only two ASNV fund-raising efforts during the year, and we need your help. The process is simple:

  1. Form a team with a few friends, or join one at the ASNV website.
  2. Raise pledges and donations from friends, family, and colleagues.
  3. Get out and bird - for a full day or just a few hours, whatever suits your schedule. You may even win a prize for your effort. You will definitely help support ASNV's conservation and education programs.

You will notice a couple of differences in our program this year. First, for anyone who wants to participate but cannot form a team, you can join an existing team. On our website you will find the names of several team leaders, along with the date and area they plan to bird. Just sign up with the leader of your choice. Second, for those who do not have the time for a full day of birding, we are introducing a new category of competition for four-hour birdathons. Several of our team leaders will be competing in this category.


To learn more and sign up, or to pledge a donation, please go to our website.


Then enjoy your springtime birding.

LEAPP Classes

The LEAPP® (Learn, Enjoy, Appreciate, Preserve, and Protect) program offers Northern Virginians the opportunity to learn more about the natural world and be informed, active stewards for its care and protection.  Since its inception in 1999, students have found that LEAPP classes are fun and personally rewarding.  Don't miss out - register early!  Please note that registration is not complete until payment is received. (For Master Naturalists:  All workshops have been approved for Advanced Training hours.) To register, contact ASNV at 703-438-6008 or at info@audubonva.org

Audubon At Home and Beyond  
Saturday, June 1, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Carol and Jay Hadlock's backyard will be your classroom for this workshop, where you will learn to put the principles of Audubon at Home to work in your yard, creating a healthier environment for you, your family, and pets, while at the same time giving birds and pollinators a helping hand.  Things should be popping in the garden, the birds will be singing, and outdoor activities will make this a fun, informative day. 
Location:  515 Alabama Drive, Herndon, VA
Cost:  $30 for members and $35 for non-members.  Covers class materials. Bring a bag lunch and drinks will be provided.
Reservations required. Call the ASNV office at 703-438-6008 or e-mail info@audubonva.org. Maximum number of participants: 10
Instructor:  Carol Hadlock is an ASNV Master Naturalist and National Wildlife Federation Habitat Steward.

Advocacy Update
Conservation Depends On You
A More Conservation-minded Congress?  President Barack Obama was inaugurated and a new Congress convened in January 2013. Virginia will has a new U.S. Senator, Senator Timothy Kaine (D). Northern Virginia's House of Representatives' members are the same as in the previous Congress. What this Congress can accomplish and whether conservation issues will get priority attention remain to be seen, but all of our elected officials need to hear from people who care about conservation and natural resources.

Loudoun Great Blue Heron Rookery:   Several members responded to an ASNV alert and sent messages to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors regarding plans to build a minor league baseball near a large Great Blue Heron Rookery.  The messages asked that fireworks at the stadium be restricted during the early part of the nesting season, so as not to risk causing the herons to abandon their nests. ASNV Board Member Bill Brown delivered a similar message on behalf of ASNV in comments at a public hearing on March 25. Subsequently, Bill and former ASNV President Bruce Johnson witnessed a fireworks test at the site, ordered by the Board of Supervisors. During the test, the herons did not visibly react to fireworks fired from the site of the proposed stadium.   


Support Dyke Marsh Restoration: April 25 Deadline

On March 27, 2013, the U.S. National Park Service invited comments on a proposed agreement with National Airport under which the airport will provide $2.5 million for phase one of Dyke Marsh restoration to compensate for impacts associated with extending a runway at the airport. National Airport is   


required to extend Runway 15-33 RSA to meet Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety standards. NPS is accepting comments until April 25.  


Under the agreement, funds would be used to construct a stone breakwater in the southern part of Dyke Marsh to replace the historic promontory removed by Smoot Sand and Gravel. This is phase one of a more extensive restoration plan. Points you could make:

  • Human activity removed 270 acres of material from the marsh. Today, 60 acres of marshland remain. Humans should restore it.
  • Dyke Marsh is losing 1.5 to 2 acres a year (U.S. Geological Survey) and could be gone in 30-40 years without action.     Dyke Marsh is a remnant of the once extensive tidal marshes that lined the Potomac River.
  • A restored promontory can protect the tidal marsh and restore ecosystem services that benefit the Potomac River, the Chesapeake Bay and the community. Restoring the promontory can encourage accretion and deposition of sediment in area that was historically wetlands.
  • Building the breakwater can enhance the success of the full restoration by stabilizing this part of the shoreline. Full restoration can increase buffering from storms and flooding.
  • Mitigation funds can be devoted to a long overdue restoration project in northern Virginia, an area where few natural areas remain.

Potomac Overlook Park Plans Draw OppositionThe Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has proposed several projects in Arlington's Potomac Overlook Regional Park that conservation advocates say will significantly affect the largest remaining wooded area in Arlington. Even though an original plan was revised, some are still concerned. Read the revised plan.


The entire Park is designated a Resource Protection Area according to Arlington County's Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance (see Potomac Overlook Regional Park. General Management Plan. http://www.nvrpa.org/uploads/Files/content/PotomacPlan.pdf ). According to the current management plan, "The mission of Potomac Overlook Regional Park is to provide a protected woodland sanctuary, in order to preserve environmental quality and species diversity; to provide environmental and cultural education, stressing the relationship between all living organisms and to provide a natural setting in which to enjoy low impact recreational activities and physical exercise."


The revised plan deletes a proposed zip line and rock climbing feature, but retains other proposals that would remove large portions of the tree canopy, in conflict with the Park's mission and purposes, according to conservation advocate Ellen Jones. You can learn more at the Potomac Overlook Preservation Association website,  

Field Trips - Bird Walks

Migration Mornings at Potomac Overlook Regional Park

Every Saturday in April, starting April 6, 8-10:00 AM

Join Naturalist Casey Pittrizzi every Saturday morning in April to explore the park and see what bird species are arriving and leaving during the migration season. Every week will bring us new surprises as we scope out our local birds. Casey will demonstrate basic bird identification techniques by using songs, call notes, and behavior. Call 703-528-5406 to make a reservation. Meet at the nature center.   


Horsepen Run Stream Valley Park, Oak Hill, VA                     

Saturday, April 6, 2013, 8:00 AM.

No charge, but registration required

Stream valleys in Fairfax County are protected with buffers providing habitat close to home for bird and wildflower lovers. This area harbors Bloodroot, Slender Toothwort and Trout Lily.

Getting there: From the Fairfax County Parkway take West Ox Rd. west. Then turn left onto McLearen Rd. Turn right onto Centerville Rd. Turn right onto Lake Shore Dr. (past the storage facility). Park on the right where the path begins. OR take Rt 28 to McLearen Rd. Turn left onto Centerville Rd and then right onto Lake Shore Dr. Park at the beginning of the paved path on Lake Shore Dr. We will have a car parked on the other end of the park to shuttle you back. Register with Sheryl Pollock sopol@yahoo.com or 703-400-8225 cell


Brown's Chapel, Reston

Sunday, April 7, 2013, 7:30-10:30 AM

A mix of habitats-woods, lake and open field-make this an interesting walk in spring. Andy Rabin will lead.

Getting there: From Baron Cameron Ave. in Reston, turn north on Village Rd. and immediately right on Brown's Chapel Rd. Park by the ball field.


Bluebells at Bull Run

Sunday, April 7, 2013, 2-4:00 PM

A spectacular show of bluebells, spring beauties and other spring wildflowers along a 1 ½ mile path! Join us for this 30+ year tradition. All ages. This walk is co-sponsored with Potomac Overlook Regional Park and led by Casey Pittrizzi. No reservations required. Call the nature center at 703-528-5406 or Bull Run Regional Park directly at 703-631-0550 for more info.
Getting there: Bull Run Regional Park is located at 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville, VA 20121.


Wildflowers at Riverbend Park

Sunday, April 14, 2-4:00 PM

No charge, but registration required

Join Katy Simenson for this always popular walk to view the bluebells and other spring wildflowers that carpet the floodplain. Register with Katy at 703-281-7129.

Getting there: From Rt. 193 east of the village of Great Falls, take Riverbend Rd. to Jeffery Rd. and turn into the main park entrance. Meet at the visitor center.  


Wildflowers at Twin Branches, Reston, VA                                                         

Thursday, April 18, 2013, 8:00 AM

No charge, but registration required

Following Snakeden Branch, this park highlights a carpet of wildflowers and ferns.

Getting there: Meeting Place: Lake Audubon Pool parking lot on Twin Branches Rd. From Baron Cameron Ave. (Rt 606) in Reston, turn south onto Wiehle Ave. Turn left onto Sunrise Valley Dr. Turn right onto South Lakes Drive. Turn left onto Twin Branches Rd. The pool will be on your right.

Register with Sheryl Pollock sopol@yahoo.com or 703-400-8225 cell


Family Bird Walk in Reston

Saturday, April 20, 8-10:00 AM

Search for some of the more colorful birds that Spring brings to our area in the first of a series of walks geared to families with children aged 10 and older. We will take the time to help all participants - especially new bird watchers - see and identify birds that regularly visit our parks and back yards. Bring binoculars, if you have them, and curiosity.

Getting there:  Meet at the Brown's Chapel Park in Reston. From Baron Cameron Ave. in Reston, turn north on Village Rd. and immediately right on Brown's Chapel Rd.  Park by the ball field.


Twin Branches, Reston

Sunday, April 21, 7:30-10:30 AM

Matt Bender will lead this walk through stream valley and mature forest. Surprises often turn up here. The first part of the trail is rather steep and rocky downhill so wear appropriate footwear.

Getting there: Go south on Reston Parkway and then east on Glade Drive to the intersection with Twin Branches. Park along Glade Dr. and meet at the corner.


Meadowlark Gardens, Vienna, VA

Thursday, April 25, 2013, 10:00 AM

No charge, but registration required

This walk will feature an even greater show of late spring wildflowers occurring in the wildflower collection.

Getting there: Meeting Place: the steps in front of the visitor center. The gardens are located off Beulah Rd. between Rt. 7 and Rt. 123, south of the Dulles Access Rd. From the Beltway at Tyson's Corner, take Rt. 7 west, 4.5 miles to Beulah Rd. Turn left and go 2.5 miles to the gardens entrance after the bridge. 
Note: there is an entrance fee.
Register with Sheryl Pollack at sopol@yahoo.com or 703-400-8225 (cell).   


Wildflowers & Pollinators at Scott's Run, Great Falls, VA

Thursday, May 2, 8:00-11:00 AM

No charge, reservation required. We will search for the Wild Sarsaparilla at this lovely park on the banks of the Potomac River and see what surprise sightings come our way. Contact Sheryl Pollock sopol@yahoo.com or call (c)703-400-8225 or (h)703-860-8273). Sheryl will give complete directions when you call to register.


Bright Pond, Reston, VA

Sunday, May 5, 7:30-10:30 AM

Always a popular spot in spring migration, this natural area in the midst of residential development is a magnet for arriving songbirds.

Getting there: From Baron Cameron Ave. in Reston, take Reston Parkway north. Turn right on Bright Pond Lane and go to the cul des sac to park and meet the leaders, Carol & Jay Hadlock


Wildflowers & Pollinators at Riverbend Park

Thursday, May 9, 8:00-11:00 AM

No charge, reservation required. The focus today will be on Zebra Swallowtails and Bees. Contact Sheryl Pollock-see May 2 above.

This is the first of what will be regular 2nd-Thursday-of-the-month walks at Riverbend which will focus on various aspects of nature as the seasons change through the year.  Meet at the Visitor Center patio.


Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, Ft. Belvoir, VA

Saturday, May 11, 8:00-11:00 AM

Ken Rosenthal is a Naturalist at Walker Nature Center in Reston. He will lead the exploration of this 1,200 acre refuge which includes wetland and deciduous forest, offering opportunities for migrant and resident songbirds, shore birds and waterfowl.

We will meet in the Refuge parking lot on the right just before Tulley Gate on Pohick Road. You shouldn't need ID since we will not actually enter the installation, but bring a photo ID with you just to be safe.

Getting there: From points north and east, take I-95 S to exit 166A and follow VA-286 S/Fairfax County Pkwy to U.S. 1 N. Go left on U.S. 1 N, and turn right onto Pohick Road.

From points south, take I-95 N to exit 161, and merge onto U.S. 1 N. After 5.5 miles, turn left onto Pohick Road.



NEW!!  Red-cockaded Woodpeckers at Piney Grove Nature Preserve, 

Sussex Co, VA

Saturday, May 11-Sunday, May 12

Cost: $20, plus lodging and voluntary donation to Nature Conservancy.

Registration required, limit 10, $20 fee must accompany registration.

We will visit the Nature Conservancy's Piney Grove Preserve in Sussex County for a guided walk to Virginia's only breeding area for the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker. We plan to travel Saturday morning and do some afternoon birding at the Great Dismal Swamp, where Swainson's Warblers nest. We will spend the night at the Airfield Conference Center, where comfortable Executive Suites run $63/single, $76/double. We'll meet our guide at Piney Grove early Sunday morning to be at the nesting site when the birds begin to leave their nests to feed their young.   At this time of day and this time of year, woodpecker sightings are very likely. Depending on the length of the walk we may visit another local site before heading home. The Nature Conservancy limits group size to 10 participants.

Register and pay online or send check to ASNV office, 11100 Wildlife Drive, Reston, VA, 20190. Additional information will be provided when registrations are received.


Thompson Wildlife Management Area

Wednesday, May 15, 8:00 AM- early afternoon

Registration required

Does your heart beat faster at the prospect of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Scarlet Tanagers, Cerulean, Hooded and Kentucky Warblers? If so, join Carol & Jay Hadlock and we'll throw in trilliums and other spring wildflowers for good measure.

Getting there: We will carpool. Meet at the Newgate Shopping Center, at the intersection of Rt. 29 and Rt. 28 in Centreville. The shopping center is in the northwest quadrant of the intersection and can only be accessed from Rt. 29, just west of the intersection.

Limit 10. Call Carol & Jay at 703-437-7451. Lunch at the Apple House, Dutch treat, optional.

Important notice: Virginia DGIF requires a permit to enter all state wildlife management areas. This can be a daily use permit, an annual permit, a valid freshwater fishing license or a hunting license. A daily permit can be purchased for $4 and you must have the permit with you while on the property. Go to the DGIF website to find where the permits are for sale near you, or purchase online, and make sure you have one and have it with you if you plan to go on this trip.


Wildflowers & Pollinators at Fraser Preserve, Gt. Falls, VA

Thursday, May 16, 8:00-11:00 AM

No charge, reservation required. We will look for the State Champion American Elm tree and learn what makes it so special. Contact Sheryl Pollock-see May 2 above.


RESCHEDULED!  Elizabeth Mills Riverfront Park, Loudoun County

Wednesday, May 22, 7:30-10:30 AM

Snow stopped us once, but this park is worth trying again. Jenny Vick and Bill Brown have been scouting this new park for some time and are ready to introduce birders to the interesting things that can be found here. The habitat is mostly riparian woods along the Potomac Heritage Trail. Meet in the parking lot.

Getting there: Traveling on Rt. 7 towards Leesburg, turn right (north) on Landsdowne Blvd. After about a quarter mile, turn right onto Riverpoint Dr. and right again on Squirrel Ridge Place. As you approach the end of the cul de sac, turn right and then left again to reach the parking lot.


Wildflowers & Pollinators at Bles Park, Loudoun Co. VA

Thursday, May 23, 8:00-11:00 AM

No charge, reservation required.  Butterflies and dragonflies and the plants they favor will be the theme for this walk. Contact Sheryl Pollock-see May 2 above.


FULL Delaware Bay Weekend
Friday, May 24-Sunday, May 26


Family Bird Walk in Herndon

Saturday, May 25, 8:00-10:00 AM

The second in our series of family bird walks will take place at Runnymede Park in Herndon, where we'll look for birds in the woods, along the streamside, and in a meadow. The walk is geared toward families with children aged 10 and older, and will help new birders identify and learn about resident birds and those that come in the summer to breed. Bring binoculars and curiosity.

Getting There: Runnymede Park is located at 195 Herndon Pkwy, Herndon VA.


Lower Glade Stream Valley, Reston, VA

Sunday, May 26, 7:30-10:30 AM

This is one of Reston's birding hotspots, and for leaders, Joanne & David Bauer, it's their backyard. Join them for a morning of fine birding.

Getting there: From Reston Parkway, take Glade Dr. to the intersection with Twin Branches. Park along Glade Dr. Meet at the corner.


Clark's Crossing, Vienna, VA

Wednesday, May 29, 7:30-10:30 AM

Join Carol & Jay Hadlock to walk a stretch of the W&OD Trail looking for Indigo Buntings, Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, Yellow-Breasted Chats and spring warblers.

Getting there: Clark's Crossing Rd. is off Beulah Rd. about halfway between the Toll Rd. and Maple Ave.


Wildflowers at Meadowlark Gardens, Vienna, VA

Thursday, May 30, 10:00 AM-12:00 Noon

Entrance fee, reservations required. Contact Sheryl Pollock-see May 2 above.

This is the first of what will be regular last-Thursday-of-the-month walks at Meadowlark which will focus on various aspects of nature as they change throughout the seasons.

Meet at the pit inside the gardens.


Buttermilk Creek, Reston, VA

Sunday, June 9, 7:30-10:30 AM

With meadow, forest and the backside of Lake Fairfax, this walk in spring always produces lots of birds.

Getting there: From Baron Cameron Ave. (Rt. 606) in Reston, go south on Wiehle Ave., turn left on North Shore Dr. and at the intersection with Ring Rd., turn into the parking lot for the pool and tennis courts.


Family Bird Walk in Reston

Saturday, June 15, 8:00-10:00 AM

In our third family bird walk we will explore the woods and stream valley around Reston's Nature House. The walk is geared toward families with children aged 10 and older, and will help budding naturalists identify and learn more about our beautiful local birds. Bring binoculars and curiosity.

Getting There: Meet at the Walker Nature House at 11450 Glade Dr., Reston


Other News
Virginia Society of Ornithology Annual Meeting - April 26-28
This year's Virginia Society of Ornithology Annual Meeting on April 26 - 28 is rapidly approaching! Hosted by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, the weekend will include two great programs, exhibits, vendors, scientific paper presentations and of course - great birding! Spring birding in the northern Piedmont offers local specialties, unexpected rarities as well as migrants amidst beautiful spring wildflowers in a wide range of habitats.  Read more... 

Larry Cartwright to receive Virginia Society of Ornithology's Jackson M. Abbott Conservation Award.  After receiving many letters of support, Larry will receive this award at the society's annual meeting.  He has managed ASNV's winter waterfowl count since 2008 and we are all very proud that he is part of our team.
Bluebell Festival at Merrimac Farm.  Save the Date - Sunday, April 7, 2013! We'll have hikes for photographers, hikes to discover the best places to find birds and butterflies, and hikes to identify native plants - in other words, something for everyone!

The Magic of Monarchs - Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 7:00 p.m., Morven Park in Lessburg.  Nicole Hamilton and six friends traveled to the mountains of Mexico to visit the Monarch sanctuaries this past February. Come hear their tales of adventure, learn about the status of the Monarch population, and gather materials and information to jump in to the 2013 Monarch Butterfly campaign for people across Loudoun to plant Monarch Waystations and raise and release 2,013 Monarchs this summer and fall! Registration required: Sign Up Online. Questions: Contact Jill Miller at jmiller@loudounwildlife.org.