April 2017

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In this Newsletter

  • President's Corner
  • Take a Walk on the Wild(flower) Side
  • Northern Virginia Bird Survey Workshop
  • Bring on the Birdathon!
  • Take Action
  • ASNV Birders in Belize and Guatemala
  • Bird Walks
  • Recurring Bird Walks

  • 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 for more details or to reserve your space.


    General Surveys

    Meadowood on Mason Neck (7:30AM - 12 PM) 

    • April 12
    • May 17

    Occoquan Bay NWR  (7:30AM - 12 PM)

    • April 26
    • May 13
    • May 31

    Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys   (8:30 am-12:30 pm)

    Butterfly & Dragonfly surveys will be starting up in April on Fridays, 8:30am-12:00pm.
    • Metz - April 7
    • Occoquan Regional Park - April 14
    • Occoquan Bay NWR - April 21
    • Meadowood Recreation Area - April 28
    • Metz - May 5
    • Occoquan Regional Park - May 12
    • Occoquan Bay NWR - May 19
    • Meadwood - May 26

    Any survey may be changed or canceled for weather, etc. up to an hour before the scheduled start.

    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 elected officials to support actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 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 the ASNV office.

    President's Corner

    How about some good news for a change?  2016 data for the Northern Virginia Bird Survey (NVBS) is now available here, and our sturdy little friend the Downy  Woodpecker is up 42% since 1996.  There are other species showing an upward trend as well, including American Robins and Tree Swallows, this despite the overall (all species) downward trend during that same time period.  So the composition/mix of our breeding bird population is changing, but in some interesting ways.  This is one reason we think our long-running surveys like the NVBS are important – they enable us to see trends like these, and give a focus to our conservation efforts.  If you have birding skills, or if you would just like to help out with the Northern Virginia Bird Survey, we are holding workshop on Sunday, April 23, at 2:00.  Register here

    Our annual Birdathon starts April 21, and we’d really like to get more teams involved and out there enjoying a day of birding and raising funds for ASNV.  Get together with some friends and register.  More information here

    Volunteer to be a Workshop Proctor!  We’re looking for people interested in helping us host some of our workshops.  Proctors help direct students to classroom and field trip locations, take attendance, distribute class evaluations, help with equipment, etc.  Best of all, you can take the workshops you host for free.  Interested?  Contact us at info@audubonva.org.
    • Spring Warblers Workshop is on May 11.  Register here.
    • Migrants have started showing up in our area, and a good way to see some of them is by joining a local bird walk. See the Bird Walk Listings.
    And kudos to Glenda Booth, ASNV Advocacy Chair, who has a nice feature article in Virginia Wildlife about the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas project.  Check it out!

    Have a good month.
    Carl Kikuchi

    Take a Walk on the Wild(flower) Side

    Spring is a fantastic time to view wildflower ephemerals—those blooms that come briefly and then disappear for the rest of the year.  Maybe you have seen the gorgeous bluebells at Riverside or the Dutchman’s breeches at Scotts Run?  Why not join a park walk to enjoy these beautiful displays as well as other demure wildflowers of our local woodlands. There are four Fairfax County park walks at Scotts Run and three at Riverbend this Spring from March 29 through April 18.  And there’s a Lake Accotink walk on April 22.  There are small charges for each of these.  You can find them and register by searching “wildflowers” on Parktakes .

    Northern Virginia Bird Survey Workshop

    We are planning a Northern Virginia Bird Survey Workshop on Sunday, April 23, 2017, and hope you will be able to attend.  The Workshop will be from 2:00 – 4:00 at the National Wildlife Federation Building, 11100 Wildlife Center Dr., Reston, VA 20190. 

    This will be partly a chance for our current surveyors (like you!) to get together.  We’ll also go over some of the results and trends from the 20+ years of the survey, and we would like to do a refresher on protocol and data collection.  And we are hoping to recruit some new surveyors, and to get them matched up with experienced Master Birders. 

    So it would be really helpful if we can plan on your being there!  Please register here.  And if you have any questions, let us know at info@audubonva.org.  

    Bring on the Birdathon!

    Spring is for the birds!  Are you looking for a fun way to jazz up your spring birding?  Look no further than the ASNV Birdathon.  Get together two to five of your best birding buddies and set off into northern Virginia to identify as many species as possible in 24 hours!  This event gives you the unique opportunity to have fun birding, compete with other teams, and to raise money for the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia.
    Sponsors can pledge per bird, or a set amount of money.  All pledges help support programs such as the Northern Virginia Bird Survey, Audubon at Home, Educational workshops, and much more.
    This year we will have prizes available for the team that raises the most money, and the team that identifies the most species of birds.  We have also expanded our date range to allow teams to select the best 24 hour timeframe that works for them between Friday April 21st and Sunday May 21st.  That opens up a full month of time to get out and bird!  To find out how to register your team, or make a pledge to support a team, visit the birdathon page on our website at www.audubonva.org/birdathon .

    Take Action

    Help with Audubon’s Advocacy

    Following up on our March 18 conservation advocacy workshop, the ASNV Advocacy Committee will meet on April 24, 7 p.m., at the Mason District Government Center, 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22203 (small conference room). Directions here.  
    Gerry Connolly Speaking at March 18 Advocacy Workshop - Photo by Nick Bauer

    Anyone is welcome to attend.  It would be helpful if you would RSVP to Glenda Booth
    At the advocacy workshop, around 90 people heard speakers who explored advocacy tools and tactics to influence government decision-making.  Among other speakers were Congressman Gerry Connolly and Virginia Delegates Kaye Kory and Mark Levine.
    The event was sponsored by ASNV, the Sierra Club/Mount Vernon Group, Sierra Club/Great Falls Group, the Prince William Conservation Alliance, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment, the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, the Audubon Naturalist Society, the Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society and the      Northern Virginia Conservation Trust.  Many thanks to all of our sponsors, volunteers and attendees.


    Virginia General Assembly Meets on April 5

    On April 5, the Virginia General Assembly will reconvene to consider Governor Terry McAuliffe’s 39 vetoes and 67 amendments to bills that the legislature passed.  Auduboners can weigh in with state legislators before April 5.  To find your state legislators, click on “Who’s my legislator?” here.  To learn more, contact the Virginia League of Conservation Voters,  and the Virginia Conservation Network, .  One bill the governor is considering addresses coal ash storage and disposal; another gives the city of Alexandria a deadline to stop sending raw sewage into the Potomac River.

    Federal Budget Cuts Could Hurt Our Natural Resources

    National Audubon urges members to contact Members of Congress and encourage them “to uphold and support America’s conservation programs.”  Visit the Action Audubon site.  National Audubon is also fighting efforts to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Info here.

    Fairfax’s Environmental Vision

    Fairfax County is updating its Environmental Vision that guides the County's sustainability initiatives and programs.  Information is available here.  Auduboners may wish to weigh in with their member of the Board of Supervisors.

    March for the Environment

    Advocates can send a message to policy makers by participating in marches and other public events.
    On April 22, supporters of science will gather in Washington, D.C., for the March for Science and a teach-in on the National Mall.  Visit www.marchforscience.com.  “The relationship between science and democracy must not continue to erode,” organizers say on their website.

    The People’s Climate March will take place in Washington, D. C., on April 29, 9 a.m.  Organizations and people from all over the U.S. will unite to demand meaningful climate action. Read More...


    Local Governments’ FY 2018 Budgets

    Local governments are now preparing budgets and holding public hearings on their proposed 2018 budgets.  Conservation measures are in tough competition with many other needs.  Auduboners can speak up for parks, natural resources and more environmentally-sensitive policies and practices.  Check out your local government’s website for details.

    Fairfax County, for example, is having public hearings on these dates at the Fairfax County Government Center:  April 4, 4 p.m.; April 5, 1 p.m.; and April 6, 1 p.m


    ASNV Birders in Belize and Guatemala

    Belize and Guatemala yielded many beautiful birds and interesting Maya archeological sites for the birders who joined ASNV’s tour with Holbrook Travel in late March. 

    Peter Herrera, our Belizian guide, led us first to Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, where we had a long morning boat ride to find the huge Jabiru stork, the rare Agami Heron, a Sungrebe, and hundreds of other waders, shorebirds, kingfishers, Snail Kites, and other species.  We also birded the nearby dry pine savannah, found a Pinnated Bittern, and visited the Belize Audubon Society nature center.  We then headed west to the Belize highlands, where we observed King Vultures, Great Black Hawks, White Hawks, and other raptors riding the thermals, and found a distant Lovely Cotinga perched across the valley. Along the way we stopped at the famous Belize Zoo and had lunch at the Tropical Education Center and a talk on Belize habitat issues and a project on tracking movements of the Tapir.

    Most exciting was watching a Flammulated Pygmy Owl take a Yellow-winged Tanager at the hotel balcony in San Ignacio!  It guarded its prey closely against nearby Brown Jays, and managed to fly off with it although the tanager seemed as heavy as the owl.  

    Photo: Dixie Sommers - Jabiru with Wood Stork, Crooked Tree lagoon, Belize

    Bird Walks

    Twin Branches Trail, Reston, VA

    Don’t miss spring migration! Join the walk and watch for the birds making their way back to Spring breeding grounds. Sponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.

    Getting there: From I-66 west, to exit 60 to go north on Rte 123. Turn left on Hunters Mill Road/ Route 674. Turn left on Lawyers Road, Route 673. Turn right on Twin Branches Road. Park along Glade Drive near the intersection with Twin Branches. Meet at the corner.

    Sunday, April 9

    7:30 to 10:30 am

    Lower Glade Stream Valley, Reston, VA

    This walk follows one of the great paved paths through Reston woodland along the creek where bird activity in Spring can be lively and varied. Sponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.

    Getting there: From I-66 west, take exit 60 to go north on Rte 123. Turn left on Hunters Mill Road/ Route 674. Turn left on Lawyers Road, Route 673. Turn right on Twin Branches Road. Park near intersection with Glade Drive and meet leader at the corner.

    Sunday, April 23

    7:30 to 10:30

    Bles Park, Sterling, VA

    Mid-week walks can be great fun. Bles is good for both migrants and residents. Jean Tatalias leads. Sponsored by 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 26

    8:30 to 11:30 am

    Meadowood Recreation Area, Lorton, VA

    Getting there: Go South on I 95 to exit 163 to Lorton. Turn left onto Lorton Rd at the end of exit ramp. Go under second overpass and turn right onto Lorton Market St. (You will soon pass Shoppers Food Warehouse). Go about 1.5 miles to traffic light at Rte. 1. Go straight through light (road name changes to Gunston Rd) and go about 1 mile to entrance on the right.

    Sunday, April 30

    8:00 to 11:30 am

    Sapsucker Woods, Reston, VA

    We’re probably too late for sapsuckers, but migrants and arriving summer residents will surely be abundant. Sponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.

    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 7

    7:30 to 10:30 am

    Wolftrap National Park, Reston, VA

    Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts and the Friends of Wolf Trap bring you a special guided hike for Mother’s Day, May 14, with birding leader Jean Tatalias of ASNV. Bring your mom to this special event to see the beautiful birds of Wolf Trap. The walk starts at 9 AM at the Filene Center Main Gate (Box Office) and lasts 1.5 to 2 hours. Please dress appropriately for a hike and the weather. Bring your binoculars if you have them. Map available at http://go.nps.gov/hikewt

    Getting there: From Rt. 7, take Towlston Rd. to the park and go to the main entrance to the Filene Center. Park around the circle or in the lower lot if the circle is full. Meet at the Filene Center Box Office.

    Sunday, May 14

    9:00 AM to 10:30 AM

    Bles Park, Sterling, VA

    Return to Bles to see if new summer residents have arrived. Last year in May we had prairie warblers, redstarts, yellow warblers, and indigo buntings. Jean Tatalias leads. Sponsored by 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.

    Wedenesday, May 17

    8:30 AM to 11:30 AM

    Stratton Woods Park, Reston, VA

    May is running out! It’s time to be birding and enjoying Spring as we explore the edge habitats of this community park. Sponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.

    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 and park by the ball fields. 2431 Fox Mill Road.

    Sunday, May 21

    7:30 to 10:30 am

    Clarks Crossing, W&OD Trail, Vienna, VA

    Join this fun walk for birding along the trial and seeing a bluebird box monitoring demonstration. Larry Meade leads. Sponsored by ASNV.

    Getting there: From I-66, exit to Nutley Street, North (Rte 243). Go about 1 mile and turn right to go north/east on Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) toward Vienna. In 1.3 miles turn left onto Beulah Road. In 1.6 miles turn left onto Clarks Crossing Road and meet in the parking lot at the end of the road.

    Sunday, May 28

    8:00 to 11:30 am

    Walker Nature Center/Snakeden Stream Valley, Reston, VA

    Try to spot our local hawks, pileated woodpeckers, and common yellowthroats that use this stream-side habitat. Sponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.

    Getting there: From VA-267 W/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.

    Sunday, June 11

    7:30 to 10:30 am

    Recurring Bird Walks

    Several parks in the area have established year-round weekly bird walks. These walks are not run by ASNV, but may be of interest to ASNV members. They can be found here.

    Other News

    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...