April 2018

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In This Newsletter

  • President's Corner
  • Hog Island Scholarship Winners
  • Audubon Afternoons
  • Spring Songbirds
  • Take Action
  • Bird Walks
  • Recurring Bird Walks
  • Other News


Conservation Counts

Join Jim Waggener in his ongoing natural resource 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. From April through October, surveys are conducted primarily for butterflies and dragonflies at those two locations and two others—Occoquan Regional Park and Julie J. Metz Memorial Wetlands Preserve.

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.

Meadowood on Mason Neck 

(7:30 AM - 12:00 PM)
  • April 11
  • May 16

Occoquan Bay NWR 

(7:30 AM - 12:00 PM)
  • April 25
  • May 30

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys 

(8:30 AM - 12:30 PM)
  • April 6 - Occoquan Regional Park
  • April 13 - Occoquan Bay
  • April 20 - Meadowood
  • April 27 - Metz Wetlands
  • May 4 - Occoquan Regional Park
  • May 11 - Occoquan Bay
  • May 18 - Meadowood
  • May 25 - Metz Wetlands

Make a Difference!  
Speak up!


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

Save the dates!  We have two Audubon Afternoons coming up.  On May 20, Tim Low, an Australian biologist and author of Where Song Began , will be talking to us about birds of Australia, and about their connection to the songbirds of the world.  See below. He will be coming here fresh off a talk at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology; copies of his book will be available for purchase.

And on June 10, John Shafer will be giving a talk on Raptors! – identification and appreciation.  John is on the Board at the Cape May Raptor Banding project, and brings that wealth of experience to the subject. See below.  This will also be our annual Membership meeting.

The Audubon at Home Program has grant money available to provide native plants to Faith Communities interested in making their grounds more valuable as habitat.  Grant application deadline is May 1. See the website for more information.

There are several upcoming classes and workshops you might be interested in:  Greg Butcher will be teaching a workshop on “Spring Songbirds” in Prince William County on April 19 (field trip April 21). See below. Greg will also be teaching a workshop on Thursday, May 10 in preparation for the World Migratory Bird Count on Saturday May 12. Further information will be forthcoming on our website.  And spaces are also still available in Bill Young’s Bird Behavior class which starts on May 1. Check our website for more information.

Have a good month.
Carl Kikuchi      

Hog Island Scholarship Winners

Thanks to a very successful Annual Appeal Fundraising campaign this year, ASNV was able to award two scholarships to Audubon's "Educators Week" at Hog Island in Maine this summer. Arlington Public Schools autism specialist Deborah Hammer and Prince William County Public Schools science teacher Amanda Hoeschler will deepen their knowledge of environmental education and citizen science during the week of workshops, field trips, hiking, intertidal explorations and a visit to the restored Atlantic puffin and tern colony on Eastern Egg Rock.

Hammer works with students and staff across Arlington County schools, adapting lessons for students so they can access and benefit from them and coaching and mentoring the teaching staff. In the coming year, she intends to focus on science and nature education. Hammer is also a Virginia Master Naturalist, volunteer for the Friends of Dyke Marsh, and a seasoned bat educator, researcher and rehabilitator, having volunteered with the Save Lucy Campaign for nine years. According to Leslie Sturges, founder of Save Lucy, "It seems she is always teaching someone about something, especially where the natural worlds is concerned. I can say without hesitation that people with Deborah’s interest in the natural world, who can also teach, are much needed in today’s plugged-in, yet disconnected, world.”

Hoeschler is a first-year life science teacher working at Reagan Middle School in Haymarket. She’s passionate about the environment and believes that one reason environmental education doesn’t get more attention is because many teachers aren’t trained in how to best teach these topics. She’s a former summer residential outdoor educator with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, where education programs specialist Kristin Black described her as “innovative,” “a lifelong learner,” and “one of the best people I have ever hired.”

The scholarship recipients will develop a new or enhance an existing conservation-themed project for their students. ASNV will offer resources, professional advice and program support as needed. Last year’s recipient, Michele Sullivan of Mantua Elementary in Fairfax County, is creating a bird-focused meaningful watershed educational experience (MWEE) for fifth-graders this spring. Other projects by scholarship recipients have included developing wildlife-friendly habitat on school grounds, maintaining a bluebird trail, and conducting professional development programs for teachers.

Audubon Afternoons

Where Song Began – Birds of Australia

Sunday, May 20, 2018
3:00 – 5:00 pm
National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Dr.
Reston, VA 20190
Join us for a special Audubon Afternoon!

Australia is known for its unique wildlife, and its birds are no exception.  We are lucky enough to have Tim Low speaking to us about the birds of Australia and the origin of the world’s songbirds (fresh from his talk at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology!) 

Tim Low is an Australian biologist and best-selling author of seven books. His bird book, Where Song Began, won leading prizes and made best-seller lists in Australia, and has been strongly praised in the US and UK, with a recommendation from Scientific American. Among other topics, it tells the globally important story of how Australia gave the world its songbirds. In the NY Review of Books, Tim Flannery wrote that "I found myself astonished again and again.”

America's Bird Watcher’s Digest said that “Books about ecology and evolutionary biology are rarely so entertaining and engrossing, but Low is a story-teller, and nearly every page offers a compelling, often shocking, story.” Scot Edwards of Harvard wrote that Tim Low "provides an elegant synthesis of the scientific literature and a panoramic view of how Australia's songbirds originated; the ecological and behavioral forces leading to their uniqueness; and ultimately their far-reaching impacts across the globe." The book won the Australian Book Industry Award for Best General Non Fiction.

Rose-crowned Fruit Dove photo by Alwyn Simple

Copies of Where Song Began will be available for purchase. Additional photos can be seen on our website.


June 10, 2018, 2:30 – 5:00
National Wildlife Federation Building
11100 Wildlife Center Dr.
Reston, VA 20190

Here’s your opportunity to learn more about raptors!  John Shafer will share some of his photos of raptors, including photos in different stages of development, the better to help you identify, age, and sex these fascinating, uniquely adapted birds.  He’ll also share personal stories, research, and current theories on habitat and behavior to enhance your appreciation for these birds in the wild.

John Shafer is a Board Member with the Cape May Raptor Banding Project, and has been volunteering with the Project for 25 years.  He brings that wealth of experience to his talks as a natural history interpreter and field trip leader.

This will also be our Annual Membership meeting, and we will be conducting elections for Officers and Board of Directors.  We will also be announcing Birdathon prize winners!

Spring Songbirds

Baltimore OrioleWorkshop: Thursday, April 19, 7-9PM
Field Trip: Saturday, April, 21, Time TBD

Veteran's Memorial Park 
14300 Veterans Drive
Woodbridge, VA, 22191

Spring is in the air! The Potomac River is an incredible thruway for migrating spring songbirds. Join Greg Butcher to learn about the common spring migrants in our neighborhood with a fun evening class Thursday night, April 19, and a Saturday morning field trip in Veterans Memorial Park in Woodbridge on April 21. No experience necessary! 

Photo: Baltimore Oriole - Larry Meade

Please call Prince William Parks to make reservation:  703-491-2183 

Limit: 20
Cost: $20

Take Action


General Assembly to Reconvene

The Virginia General Assembly will meet twice in April:  April 11, to finalize the biennial budget, and April 18, to vote on Governor Ralph Northam’s vetoes. Auduboners should weigh in with state legislators soon.

Continue Land Conservation

On the budget, conservation advocates are working to increase funding for land conservation.  For the Land Conservation Fund, the Governor’s budget proposed $4.5 million. The Senate cut it to $1.5 million and the House eliminated all funding for the first year and provided $4.5 million in the second year. Read More...

Lake Accotink Park Master Plan Project Update

The Fairfax County Park Authority is extending the public comment period for the Lake Accotink Park master plan revision through May 28, 2018. 

FCPA presented lake management options to the community in May 2016 and held a January 22, 2018 community meeting, attended by more than 100 citizens.  FCPA says that they have received more than 400 responses to an online survey and nearly 50 individual emails from citizens sharing their preferences and perspective.  ASNV is evaluating the options and seeking natural resources data on the park.

To share your views on lake management options, visit the Lake Accotink Park Master Plan Revision project webpage.  You can also share additional comments through the survey page or send your comments separately to Parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Bird Walks


Lower Glade Stream Valley, Reston, VA

Sunday, April 15 - 7:30 to 10:30 AM

Celebrate finishing your taxes (or delay til Tuesday when they’re due) and join the Bauers on a bird walk to celebrate Spring.  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 leaders at the corner.

Cub Run Stream Valley Park

Wednesday, April 18 - 8:30 to 10:30 AM 

Explore this new area for walks with leader Phil Silas and check for arriving Spring birds in field and woodland habitat. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.
Getting there: Address is between 15075 and 15077 Stillfield Place, Centreville. Take I-66 West to exit 52 and go right on Rte. 29 for about 1.25 miles. Turn right on Pleasant Valley Road. Proceed north for about 0.75 miles and turn right on Stillfield Place.  Proceed about 0.7 miles to meeting place on the right.

Silver Lake Regional Park, Haymarket, VA
Sunday, April 22 - 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM

The lake and woods should be active with returning and nesting birds. Try this great location with the improved path and rebuilt dam. Toby Hardwick leads.  Sponsored by ASNV.
Getting there:  Exit 40 (Route 15) from I-66 24 miles west of I-495.  Go south on Route 15 (toward Haymarket) for 0.3 miles to Route 55.  Turn right on Route 55 and then after 0.9 miles turn right onto Antioch Road.   At 1.3 miles turn right on Silver Lake Road to park entrance at 16198. Continue to end of park drive; meet at parking lot near the lake.

Bles Park, Sterling, VA
Wednesday, April 25 - 8:30 to 10:30 AM

This park is a good place to look and listen for prairie and other warblers, as well as returning vireos. Jean Tatalias leads for 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.

Bright Pond, Reston, VA
Sunday, April 29 - 7:30 to 10:30 AM

This is a popular spring walk location in Reston along woods and streams. Sponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.
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.

Great Dismal Swamp and Piney Grove Field Trip
Friday May 4 - Sunday May 6

In this spring trip to southern Virginia, we will bird at Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, a spring warbler destination and one of the few Virginia locations for Swainson’s Warbler.  The trip is full but you can click here to sign up for waiting list.

Stratton Woods, Reston, VA
Sunday May 6 - 7:30 to 10:30 AM

Join leader Matt Bender to look for spring migrants.  The first week of May should have a lot of birding activity. 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.

Wolf Trap National Park, Vienna, VA
Sunday, May 13 - 9:00 to 11:00 AM

Wolf Trap has trails, fields and streams to explore for birding on this Mother’s Day walk which welcomes families. Leaders are Robin Duska, Colt Gregory, and Jean Tatalias.  Sponsored by Wolf Trap and ASNV.

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.

Laurel Hill Equestrian Center, Lorton, VA
Wednesday, May 16 - 8:30 to 11:00 AM

There’s great habitat in the fields of this location.  Join leaders Marc Ribaudo and Phil Silas to explore this site. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From I-495, take I-95 south about 13 miles to exit 163 (Lorton Rd). Continue 1.4 west on Rte 642 (Lorton Rd). Turn left on Rte 611 (Furnace Rd) and then immediately right onto Dairy Rd. Proceed to the parking lot where we’ll meet.

Sapsucker Woods, Reston, VA
Sunday, May 20 - 7:30 to 10:30 AM

This popular site should net some great spring birds.  Join leaders Jay and Carol Hadlock to discover the species here. 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.

Delaware Bay areas from Cape Henlopen to Bombay Hook, Delaware
Friday, May 25 to Sunday May 27

This weekend shorebird trip is full. Call or email Ray Smith to check on wait list possibility.   571-286-7856 or bluebird58@verizon.net

Clarks Crossing, Vienna, VA
Sunday, May 27 - 8:00 to 11:00 AM

Check out areas surrounding the W&OD trail, where indigo buntings seem to abound at this season.  Robin Duska and Kris Lansing lead for 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.

Huntley Meadows, Alexandria, VA
Wednesday, May 30 - 8:30 to 11:00 AM

Don’t let spring end without a walk at Huntley.  Dixie Sommers leads. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From I-195, take Route 1 south  for 3 miles.  Turn right on Lockheed Blvd. and in 0.5 miles turn left into park entrance.  3701 Lockheed Blvd. Meet in parking lot.

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

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. 
1675 Reston Pkwy, Ste J, Reston, VA 20194. (703) 437-3335

Native Plant Sales

Plant Nova Natives has a list of native plant sales on their website.