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April 2015

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In this Newsletter

  • President's Corner  
  • Birdathon 2015
  • Hog Island Scholarship Awarded to Arlington Teacher
  • Cats Indoors Initiative -- Update on Arlington County
  • Advocacy Update
  • Field Trips - Bird Walks
  • Classes Being Offered
  • Other News

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

Meadowood on Mason Neck

  • April 15
  • May 13

Occoquan Bay NWR

  • April 29
  • May 27

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys

The butterfly/dragonfly surveys will be starting up in April. The time is 8:30am - 12:00pm. The location and dates for April are:
  • Meadowood SRMA - April 3
  • Metz Wetlands - April 10
  • Occoquan Regional Park - April 17
  • Occoquan Bay NWR - April 24 
  • Meadowood - May 1

Make a Difference!

Volunteer

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.
 

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.

President's Corner
 

It has been slow to get in gear, but spring migration has started.  Ospreys are filtering back in along the Potomac; tree swallows at Huntley Meadows.  Before you know it, warblers will be busy in the trees all around us.   Got House Wrens? 

All of which makes it a great time to get out and do some birding.  See our list of upcoming local birdwalks here and/or sign up to join a team for our upcoming Birdathon here.
  
This is also the time of the year that a lot of people start thinking about their yards and gardens  You may  have already heard our Audubon at Home message about making your outdoor spaces more wildlife friendly - by planting native plants, reducing or eliminating pesticide use, providing shelter and nesting areas, etc.  If you need a little more information, or encouragement, one of our Audubon at Home Ambassadors would be happy to help. Information can be found here.   It’s good for the birds and the bees, and the butterflies, too. 

Have a good month.
Carl Kikuchi
 

Birdathon 2015

Birdathon 2015 is nearly here. Please organize your teams and sign up 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. If you don't have a team, just let us know, and we'll find one for you.

The concept is simple:  Participants can bird in teams of two to five. Team members then make their own donations or secure pledges from sponsors – friends, family members, colleagues, neighborhood merchants, etc. Pledges can be a flat sum for your participation or an amount for each species seen. Then, during any 24-hour period between April 24 and May 17, teams search Northern Virginia to see how many bird species they can identify. Don’t have time for the 24-hour event?
Consider signing up for the four-hour competition. Some Important Links:

Hog Island Scholarship Awarded to Arlington Teacher

 
Kate Sydney, a science teacher at Glebe Elementary School in Arlington, has been chosen as the recipient of Audubon Society of Northern Virginia’s $1,000 scholarship to attend National Audubon Society's "Sharing Nature: An Educator’s Week" in Hog Island, Maine.
 
“Kate Sydney has often used her real-life experiences with science to impart knowledge and appreciation of the natural world to her students,” said Mary McLean, chairwoman of ASNV’s education committee. “She exemplifies what our organization wants to support in an educator.”
 
Kate is a National Board Certified Teacher and a Lead Instructional Teacher at Glebe which serves a diverse population of 577 students. She is currently working with 85 5th-graders to construct a student-designed bird habitat using native plants at the school. “Down the road, I envision this space to be a nature sanctuary that all Glebe students can explore and that teachers can use as an outdoor classroom,” she said.
As an educator for 25 years, Kate has participated in scientific research projects across the globe, from Western Australia to Greece. In Maine this July, she will join other educators in attending workshops and field trips, hiking through Hog Island’s unspoiled spruce forest, and traveling by boat to the restored Atlantic Puffin colony on Eastern Egg Rock

Cats Indoors Initiative -- Update on Arlington County



In late December 2014, ASNV asked Chairman Mary Hynes, newly-elected Chair of the Arlington County Board, to undertake a “Cats Safe Indoors” public education program. In early 2015, the county’s Joint Natural Resources Committee invited ASNV to make a presentation on March 2, 2015. The committee asked us to discuss the impact of cat predation on bird and small mammal populations, health risks for cats living outdoors and recent attempts in the Virginia legislature to legalize so-called “community cats programs.”
 
In our presentation and in a follow-up letter, we made the following suggestions:
 
  • Place cats indoors materials in all shelters, libraries and nature centers. Encourage animal control officers to hand out "Cats, Birds, and You" brochures (available from ABC as a pdf or print)
  • Hold joint programs with shelters and natural resource/parks managers explaining why cats should live indoors. Invite the American Bird Conservancy to participate. Hold some programs in locations such as Arlington’s Central Library
  • Involve the Audubon at Home volunteers in gathering information about the impact of cats in the natural environment and enlist them in sharing the message through their work. (Arlington Master Naturalists include information about outdoor cats in their materials already.)
  • Put programs/PSAs on county television, the county’s website and in county publications. These are readily available at the ABC website
  • Prepare and support measures to support "cats safe indoors = bird friendly communities" in the Arlington County Board's fall legislative recommendations to the 2016 session of Virginia General Assembly.

Advocacy Update


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. Read more...
 

How Did They Vote?

The League of Conservation Voters has issued a scorecard for federal elected officials, posted here. Read more...
 

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.

Field Trips - Bird Walks

 

Bles Park, Sterling, VA

We’ll take an easy, level walk through this park with wetlands and sections of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail and hope to find some early migrants. Jean Tatalias and Dixie Sommers will lead. Co-sponsored with the Northern Virginia Bird Club.
Getting there: From the intersection of VA Route 28 and VA Route 7, travel west on Rt. 7 for 1.3 miles and turn right onto Loudoun County Parkway. Turn right on George Washington Blvd., then left on Riverside Pkwy. Bles Park will be on your right at the end of Riverside Pkwy.

Wednesday, April 8

8:30 AM

Bright Pond, Reston, VA

This natural area in the midst of residential development is always a magnet for arriving songbirds. Bill Brown leads. Walk sponsored by the Bird Feeder of Reston and the Reston Association.
Getting there: Take the Reston Parkway north from the Dulles Toll Road or from Baron Cameron Ave. Turn right on Bright Pond Lane and park around the cul-de-sac and along the street.

Sunday, April 12

7:30-10:30 AM

 

Wildflower Walk, Riverbend Park, Fairfax County VA

Enjoy the spectacle of spring wildflowers before they fade. Join Ruth Schrott for a leisurely stroll along the river to admire the bluebells and learn about the many beauties of this park.
Getting there: Georgetown Pike (Rte 193) to Riverbend Road (Rte 603). In 0.2 miles turn right on Jeffery Road and go 0.8 miles to park entrance sign on right. Turn right and continue 0.5 miles to Visitor Center parking. Meet at the Visitor Center.

Thursday, April 16

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM

Lake Newport/ Brown’s Chapel, Reston, VA

We’ll look for spring migrants as we check the woods around the lake park. Brian Peters will lead. Walk sponsored by the Bird Feeder of Reston and the Reston Association.
Getting there: From Route 7, go west on Baron Cameron Ave, and turn north on Village Rd. (opposite Lake Anne Village Center). Make an immediate right onto Brown’s Chapel Rd. and park by the ball field. 1575 Brown’s Chapel Road.

Sunday, April 26

7:30-10:30 AM

Daniels Run Park, Fairfax, VA

Close out April with a spring weekday walk through this wooded park, checking for migrants and woodland residents. Leaders are Catherine Kubo and Dixie Sommers. Co-sponsored with the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From the Capital Beltway, take US 50 W 2.7 mi to Fairfax Circle. Exit the circle SW on Old Lee Highway. In 1.2 mi, turn left on Old Post Rd (just past Historic Blenheim on the right). Drive 1 ½ blocks to the end of the street. We have a walk-day permission to park in the Country Club Hills pool parking lot. 3721 Tedrich Blvd, Fairfax, VA 22031

Thursday, April 30

8:30 AM

Wolftrap Park, Reston, VA

For almost two years now, ASNV has fielded teams surveying the bird life of Wolftrap Park and building a seasonal bird list for Park sponsors. Join us on one of our counting walks, where we identify species, track numbers, and look for the signs of pairing and nesting behaviors. This sector of the park has some steep sections, but they’re short and we’ll be going slowly. Led by Margaret Grieshaber and Jean Tatalias.
Getting there: From Rt. 7, take Towlston Rd. to the park. Turn left at the main entrance toward the Filene Center. From Vienna, cross the Toll Rd. and turn right into the main entrance to the Filene Center. Bear right and go down the road behind and to the right of the Center. Park in the back Parking Lot 1, near the restrooms and trailhead.

Thursday, May 7

8:00 AM -10:30 AM

Stratton Woods Park, Reston, VA

Breakfast in bed is overrated!! Treat Mom to an early morning birdwalk and we will look and listen for spring songbirds. Carol and Jay Hadlock will lead. Sponsored by the Bird Feeder of Reston and the Reston Association.
Getting there: From westbound Dulles Access Road, go south on the Fairfax County Parkway. From the Parkway, go west on Fox Mill Rd and take the first right turn into the parking lot for the park. 2431 Fox Mills Road.

Sunday May 10

7:30 AM- 10:30 AM

Walker Nature Center, Reston, VA

We’ll walk through the woods to Lake Audubon to enjoy our spring nesters and possibly some late migrants. Led by Catherine Kubo and Jean Tatalias. Co-sponsored with the Northern Virginia Bird Club.
Getting there: From Westbound Dulles Toll Road take exit 14 (Hunter Mill Road/VA-674). Turn left onto Hunter Mill Rd (VA-674), right onto Sunrise Valley Drive, left onto S Lakes Drive, left onto Twin Branches Rd. Then take third right onto Glade Drive. Meet at the Nature House at 11450 Glade Drive in Reston.

Thursday, May 21

8:30 AM

Delaware Bay Weekend Trip

Ray Smith will lead this trip meeting Friday at 3:00 PM in Lewes, Delaware at the Beacon Motel parking lot at 514 East Savannah Road, Lewes. The motel (1-302-645-4888) is on the main road in Lewes (Rte. 9) just over the bridge after the historic business district. Birding locations will include Cape Henlopen State Park, Broad Kill Beach, Prime Hook, and Bombay Hook. Detailed itinerary available upon registration with Ray at 571-286-7856 or bluebird58@verizon.net.

Limit: 20 Act quickly. Trip is almost full!

Reservations Required

Fee: $20 Fee payable to ASNV for reservation to be final.

Friday May 29 through Sunday May 31

Sapsucker Woods, Reston, VA

We don’t expect to find sapsuckers at the end of May, but in this stretch of the Glade Stream Valley, we will find plenty of other woodpeckers and songbirds. Carol and Jay Hadlock will lead. Sponsored by the Bird Feeder of Reston and the Reston Association.
Getting there: Take the Dulles Toll Road West, to Exit 13, Wiehle Ave. Turn left onto Wiehle, Right onto Sunrise Valley Drive, Left onto Soapstone Drive, and then Right onto Glade Drive. Meet in the parking lot of the Glade Community Pool and Tennis Courts. 11550 Glade Drive.

Sunday May 31

7:30 AM – 10:30 AM

 

 

Fascinating Birds


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.

Classes Being Offered

Beginning Birding

Class: April 15; Field Trip April 18

As a variety of spring birds return to our area, ASNV and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts will offer a Beginning Birding class. The program is designed for novice birders who want to learn how to observe, identify, and enjoy the fascinating birds of Northern Virginia. Parents are encouraged to bring children over the age of 10 to introduce them to a fun family outdoor activity. The first session of the class will introduce participants to the tools of birding -- including binoculars and field guides -- and the basics of bird identification. A field trip through the woods and meadows of Wolf Trap Park will allow everyone to practice their skills and observe a variety of birds. Read more.

 

Ethnobotany

April 16

Ethnobotany is the study of how people use locally occurring plants, whether for food, medicine, tools, or other uses. Virginia’s flora has a rich history of both real and imagined uses. In this program we'll spend some time learning about the many uses and folklore surrounding our flora as well as their natural history. The focus will be on native plants, but exotic species (and how some were used by people) will also be covered where appropriate. Plant identification, natural history, and animal associations and interactions will also be touched upon, as will the ethics/legality of collecting and the promise/danger of potential medicinal uses. Read more.
 

Spring Warblers

April 30

Brush up on these little beauties at the height of spring migration. Workshop will focus on both field marks and songs, with an emphasis on the species we are most likely to see, including both migrants passing through and birds that breed in our region. Jointly sponsored by ASNV and the Northern Virginia Bird Club. Read more.
 

Herps and Herping!

Class: May 5; Field Trip May 9

Northern Virginia has a rich and diverse population of reptiles and amphibians. Learn more about them in a workshop led by Mark Khosravi, high school science teacher and part time Instructor and Naturalist for Fairfax County Park Authority. The two part class will feature an evening lecture and hands on presentation on field herping and techniques. Students will be given the opportunity to see and handle live specimens. The Tuesday classroom session will be followed by a two hour Saturday field trip to Huntley Meadows Park. Read more.

 

Ecological Landscaping: Using Nature as Your Guide

Class Date: Tuesday May 12, 7:00 - 9:00 PM; Field Trip Date: Saturday May 16, 9:00 AM - Noon


Classroom: Participants will learn to apply ecological principles to creating backyard habitats and restoring ecosystems. Focus will be on looking not only at the needs of animals, but working with nature and using local ecosystems as examples for selecting species, building soils and providing natural structure.

This workshop is open to all. It is especially relevant for volunteer Audubon at Home Ambassadors, and will augment basic training for Virginia Master Naturalists and Master Gardeners and qualifies for advanced training hours. Read more.
 

Audubon At Home and Beyond

Date: Saturday, May 30, 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 happening in the garden, the birds will be singing, and outdoor activities will make this a fun, informative day. Open to all, but strongly recommended for potential Audubon at Home Ambassadors. Read more.

Other News

 

Native Seedling Sale Announced for 2015

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/nvswcd/seedlingsale.htm

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.
 

Bird Feeder in Reston


The Bird Feeder in Reston This store 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.  Read more...
 

Eakin Park Bird Walk

The Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) sponsors weekly bird walks at Eakin Park  Mondays,
7:00 AM March-Nov.;
7:30 AM Dec - Feb.  Meet at Prosperity Ave. parking lot. Walk canceled if rain or severe weather. FREE

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