August 2015

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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

  • August 12
  • September 16

Occoquan Bay NWR

  • August 26
  • September 30

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys

The butterfly/dragonfly surveys started up in April. The time is 8:30am - 12:00pm. The location and dates for July are:
  • Occoquan Regional Park - August 7
  • Occoquan Bay NWR - August 14
  • Meadowood - August 21
  • Metz Wetlands - August 28

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.

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

My backyard is full of young birds these days learning to fend for themselves before heading off.  Where will they all go?  My neighborhood can only support so many downy woodpeckers, for example, so many of this year’s birds will have to find somewhere else to call home.  The migrants, like the gray catbirds, will head south, as some species have already started to do; but what about next year, will the young ones try to come back to this very place, or to a breeding territory nearby?  If I were better at recognizing individual birds, maybe I would know some of this.  In the meantime, there is a kind of reassurance just in seeing the generations replenish themselves. 

Our GIS volunteer Charlie Devine has developed a GIS application for the Audubon at Home Wildlife Sanctuaries program and you can now take a look at it via our website, at http://audubonva.org/index.php/audubon-at-home-v15-121/wildlife-sanctuary-program.   Among other things, the application maps the certified Wildlife Sanctuaries and enables you to see the growth of the program over time.   Pretty cool stuff. 

Thanks to the members who volunteered at the National Audubon Convention at Lansdowne in July -   Lynn Bloomingdale, Jessica Bowser, Beth Burns, Sarah Gustafson, Susan Kosda, Jeanne Leckert, Dorothy McGowan, and Mary Schnebelen -  and to those who worked so hard planning and leading field trips or who participated as  speakers – Greg Butcher, Ellen and Jake Jacobson, Terry Liercke, Barbara Tuset, Charlie Devine, Larry Cartwright, Larry Meade, Bill Brown, Dixie Sommers, and Jay Hadlock.  It was a good weekend, and I think all of us who participated came away energized and with some new ideas for our chapter. 

And many thanks to Carol Sottili for her efforts in getting us into a very successful Community Giving Day at the Reston Whole Foods.  We have thought for some time that a partnership with Whole Foods would be a natural for us (so to speak), and we are hoping that this will be a first step in that direction. 

Have a good month. 
Carl Kikuchi

Save the Date

Birding in Cuba
Sunday, September 20, 2015

Birding in Cuba!  Our next Audubon Afternoon will be on Sunday, September 20, from 3 to 5, at the National Wildlife Federation Building.  Dixie Sommers will be speaking to us about her recent birding trip to Cuba.  A lot of us have an awakened interest in that country these days – it should be a terrific program. 


A Reprieve for Birds, Maybe


There's some good news from the Congress.

Last month, we reported that the  House of Representatives approved an amendment by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) to prohibit the Department of Justice from enforcing the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. 

National Audubon reports that Congressman Duncan "appears to have backed off . . . ."  Read more...

Virginia General Assembly to Meet


Governor Terry McAuliffe plans to call a special session of the state legislature on August 17 to redraw the state's congressional districts. For background, you can read a July 18 Richmond Times-Dispatch article here.



Auduboners Can Elect Conservation-minded Officials


Over the next four months, many candidates for local and state offices will be meeting constituents, participating in candidate forums and seeking votes.  Elections offer many opportunities for Auduboners to educate candidates about key conservation issues.  Local government officials in Virginia make many land use decisions that impact the environment. Read more...

March for Climate Change

Many environmental and faith groups plan to march on Washington on September 20 when the Pope visits.  The National Audubon Society views climate change as the most serious threat to the planet, to all of our natural resources.

For more information, visit http://www.theclimatemobilization.org/moral_march.

National Audubon Society Convention Summary

From July 9th through 13th Northern Virginia welcomed the 2015 National Audubon Society Convention to the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg.  The conference offered more than 100 separate sessions, workshops, discussions, field trips and program briefings and the truly valuable opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with fellow volunteers, staff and board members from all over the country. 

David Yarnold, now in his 5th year as NAS CEO, addressed the 378 attendees on Saturday morning with a compelling update on the state of the organization and the strategic plan.

A highlight of the proceedings on Sunday was an address by Dr. Katherine Hayhoe, a self-described climate scientist, Christian, communicator and educator.  She brought us a compelling message for connecting with people across political and cultural divides to inspire effective conservation action.  You can watch her very engaging and informative plenary address on the NAS website and view more interviews and speeches on her YouTube channel.

Our ASNV Chapter hosted multiple birding walks and field trips to introduce convention attendees to Northern Virginia birding sites including Great Falls Park, Riverbend Park, Wolf Trap, and Thomson Wildlife Management Area.  Our Audubon-At-Home program also guided 20 attendees through 6 certified backyard wildlife sanctuaries in Loudoun County that served as the in-field component of a day’s workshop focused on Bird-Friendly Communities.

ASNV attendees singled out sessions on Important Bird Areas, Beginning Birding, Fundraising, website development, and flyway conservation efforts as especially valuable. 

The awards dinner Saturday celebrated major contributions from volunteers and program leaders and culminated with an intimate performance by NAS board member, Tony-award winning actress, and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Jane Alexander.  She performed three short and stunning pieces including portraying Rachel Carson on the Sage Grouse from her book Silent Spring.

See highlights of the conference on the new NAS website at https://www.audubon.org/features/audubon-convention-2015
The next convention will be held in 2017 in Park City, Utah.

Field Trips - Bird Walks


Huntley Meadows Park,  Fairfax County, VA

Along the wetlands we’ll try to catch some fall migrating shore birds and enjoy this rich habitat of woods, wetland, and stream.   Harry Glasgow leads.

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.

Saturday, August 1

8:00  AM

Lower Glade Stream Valley, Reston, VA

Transition time in the Glade--the intensity of nesting is over; preparation for migration is still to come.  Join Joanne and David Bauer for a different view of the birds that inhabit the Glade. Sponsored by The Bird Feeder of Reston and the Reston Association.

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.


Sunday, August 9

7:30 AM to 10:30 AM

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA

We’ll take advantage of an early-opening day to stroll the gardens, looking for birds, but also appreciating the flora.  The gardens have a native tree section, some wetland, and some woods, as well as open terrain.  Entrance fees apply: $5.00 general and $2.50 senior.  Jean Tatalias and Catherine Kubo lead.

Getting there: The gardens are located off of Beulah Road, between Route 7 and Route 123, south of the Dulles Access Road. From the Beltway, take Route 7 toward Tysons Corner. Drive 4.5 miles west on Route 7, turn left onto Beulah Road and drive 2.5 miles to the gardens entrance on the right. Meet in the visitors center.

Sunday, August 23,

7:30 AM - 10:30 AM


Entrance fees apply.

Chimney Swift/Nighthawk Watch

As the skies dim, we’ll watch the swifts come home to roost in large numbers and look for nighthawks on the wing.  Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club. Call David Farner, the leader, for location and directions. 443-643-6141 


Sunday August 30,

7:00 PM 


Eakin Park, Fairfax County  VA

Enjoy a walk through this neighborhood park with stream bed, woods, and sunny edges. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.  Leaders are Allie Guidry and Jean Tatalias. 

Getting there:  From Route 50 outside the beltway, take Prosperity Avenue South to the entrance to the parking lot on the left (east) side.


September 9,

8:30 AM


Buttermilk Creek, Reston VA

This walk takes us through meadow, forest, and around the back side of Lake Fairfax. This area can yield a nice variety of species.  Matt Bender will lead.  Sponsored by The Bird Feeder of Reston and the Reston Association.

Getting there:  From the Dulles Toll Road West, exit north on Wiehle Avenue.  Go about 1.5 miles to the second entrance to N. Shore Drive on the right.  At the intersection of N Shore with Ring Road, turn into the parking lot for the swimming pool and tennis courts.  11032 Ring Road, Reston.


Sunday, September 13,

7:30 AM to 10:30 AM


Bles Park,  Sterling VA

The end of summer is a delightful time to bird this park, with woods and meadows along a level path.  Join our leader, Bill Brown, to enjoy the birds of the changing season.

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.


Sunday, September 20

7:30 AM


Huntley Meadows Hike and Bike Trail, Fairfax, VA

Come for a level walk on the “back side” of Huntley Meadows, passing woods and fields on the way to the marsh overlooks at the water retention area.  We should catch some fall migrants in this mixed habitat.  Led by Pete Peters and Jean Tatalias.  Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there:  From I-495 eastbound, take the exit to go South on Van Dorn Street.  At the end of the road, turn left on Telegraph Road and then immediately right onto Kings Highway.  The.park parking is on the right.   Alternately, from Arlington, take Route 1 south 0.5 miles to South Kings Highway.  Turn right (west) and go 2.5 miles to park entrance and lot on the left, just before Telegraph Road. 


September 23,

8:30 AM


Lake Fairfax Park, Reston, VA

Join us for a walk along the lake edge and through the surrounding woods, watching for the diverse birds this habitat can yield.  Bill Brown leads.

Getting there: Take Route 7 west (or the Toll Road to Hunter Mill Rd north) and then take a left on Baron Cameron Ave.  Left on Lake Fairfax Drive to 1400.  Go past the water park and the visitor center, to the parking lot on the right.

Sunday October 4

7:30 AM

Recurring Field Trips

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

Location Time Leader

Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve

2nd Saturday every month, 8:00 AM

Various www.bansheereeksnp.org

Dyke Marsh

Sundays, 8:00am


Eakin Park

Mondays, 7:00 AM March-Nov.,
7:30 AM Dec - Feb

Carolyn Williams

Great Falls, Virginia

Sundays, 8:00am


Huntley Meadows Park

Mondays, 7:00am (Mar-Oct)
8:00 am (Nov-Feb)

Harry Glasgow

Occoquan & Meadowood Wildlife Surveys

Monthly Scheduled Wednesday mornings.

Jim Waggener

Various Locations

Twice weekly walks, including most Saturdays

Northern Virginia Bird Club, http://www.nvabc.org/trips.htm


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...