August 2016

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In this Newsletter

  • President's Corner
  • Audubon Afternoon Making the Connection – Connecting Important Bird Areas Across the Hemisphere Through Birds
  • Butterfly Workshop and NABA Count
  • Audubon Society of Northern Virginia New Board of Directors Members
  • Pollinators: Their Importance and Their Status
  • Take Action
  • Birdwalks and Field Trips
  • R
  • ecurring Bird Walks
  • 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 for more details or to reserve your space.

General Surveys

Meadowood on Mason Neck

  • August 17
  • September 14

Occoquan Bay NWR

  • August 31
  • September 28

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys

  • Metz Wetlands - August 5 (note: out-of-normal sequence)
  • Occoquan Reg.Park - August 12
  • Occoquan Bay NWR - August 19
  • Meadowood - August 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

Save the date:  our next Audubon Afternoon will be on Sunday, September 11, from 3 to 5, at Mason Neck State Park.  That’s an appropriate location for a program that will focus on our Lower Potomac River Important Bird Area (LPR IBA).  The IBA stretches from Alexandria down through Stafford County along the Potomac, and provides important habitat for Bald Eagles, neotropical migrants, and wintering waterfowl, among others.  We are pleased to be starting up conservation and outreach projects in partnership with several parks in the IBA area (and we can use your help!)  Matt Jeffrey, who works with IBAs and neotropical migrants for the National Audubon Society, will be our speaker. 

Speaking of programs, ASNV is co-sponsoring a Friends of Dyke Marsh program on Wednesday, September 14 – 7:00 at the Sherwood Regional Library.  Sam Droege will be speaking about the importance and status of pollinators, especially bees, a subject that has been getting a lot of attention. 

A big Thank You to MOMs Organic Market in Arlington, for their June 5% day donation to ASNV and the Audubon at Home Program!  It is gratifying to be able to work with a local business that shares so many of our aims. 
Join me in welcoming the four new members of our Board of Directors, Tom Blackburn, Bill Burton, Stacey Evers, and Barbara Tuset, who were elected at our Annual Membership Meeting in June.  Brief bios are included elsewhere in this newsletter.
And many, many thanks to two of our Board members who are stepping down – Terry Liercke and Carol Sottili.  Terry served as President for two years, and has provided the essential core leadership and energy for the Audubon at Home Program for many years.  Carol has served on the Board for six years, and has been Secretary for most of that time.  We owe both of them immeasurably, and trust they will not be strangers.

Have a good month.

Carl Kikuchi

Audubon Afternoon
Making the Connection – Connecting Important Bird Areas Across the Hemisphere Through Birds

Sunday, September 11, 2016
3:00 - 5:00 pm
Mason Neck State Park
Free.  (Nominal Park admission fees may apply)

Join us for an introduction to the Lower Potomac Important Bird Area (IBA), and the key habitat and resources it provides to migrating bird populations.  ASNV has “adopted” this IBA, which stretches south along the Virginia side of the Potomac River from Alexandria to Stafford County, and has been identified as an important bird area because of the habitat it provides for a number of species at risk, including Bald Eagles, a number of Neotropical migrants, and wintering waterfowl.  We are delighted to be able to kick off our conservation efforts with a talk by Matt Jeffrey from the National Audubon Society.  Matt is Deputy Director of the International Alliances Program, and has been with Audubon since 2006.  He has more than 16 years of experience in the environmental conservation field. He has worked closely with and managed projects in several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Mexico, Panama, Belize, Bahamas, Argentina, and Paraguay. His focus has been the protection of Important Bird Areas in Latin America and the Caribbean, specifically those concerning Neotropical migrant bird populations.

Butterfly Workshop and NABA Count

Just in case you missed our NABA July 4 Butterfly Count, here are two upcoming opportunities to contribute to a great citizen science fueled project:

August 6, 9am 20th Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy NABA Count

August 6, 2-5pm Airlie Butterfly Bootcamp
August 7, 8am 21st Airlie NABA Count

Audubon Society of Northern Virginia
New Board of Directors Members


Welcome to our new Board Members, elected at our annual membership meeting in June.
For many years Tom Blackburn kept a diary of his vacation trips and jotted down the interesting birds he had seen.  He became a more serious birder a few years ago when he read Life List, a biography of Phoebe Snetsinger, and realized he knew more about birds in Madagascar than the ones in his back yard.  He and his wife have participated in the Seneca Christmas Bird count for 4 years, and took over a sector two years ago.  Tom is a Fairfax Master Naturalist and a member of the Board of the Friends of Mason Neck State Park.  He volunteers at Mason Neck State Park, Riverbend Park and Huntley Meadows Park.  He guides kayak trips at Mason Neck and Riverbend and helps teach kayaking classes at Riverbend.  His yard is an Audubon Society-certified Wildlife Sanctuary.  He is in the process of winding down a long career as an energy lawyer.
Bill Burton is a geologist with the U.S. Geologic Survey who has long been involved with teaching and outreach.  He has served repeatedly as Guest Scientist with the USGS/Reston Association summer science camp, and assists yearly with the Langston Hughes MS field day at Lake Audubon in Reston.  Bill has been a longtime assistant scout master with a local Boy Scout troop, and is currently advising an Eagle Scout on the design of the new roof garden at the renovated Terraset ES in Reston.  He is a yearly participant in Reston and Audubon bird counts.  Bill has written science articles for the Washington Post, and has an article in the current Reston Magazine on the ecological value of Reston National Golf Course.

Stacey Evers teaches environmental education at Belvedere Elementary School in Fairfax County, where students grow food, plant natives for pollinators, raise brook trout and monitor bluebird boxes. She was a founding member of the Fairfax Master Naturalists and served on its board, was an appointee to the Fairfax County Tree Commission, and has been a Girl Scout leader since 2007. She’s also certified as an interpretive guide (CIG) by the National Association of Interpretation. She loves everything about being outside except ticks and can often be found with her family on the W&OD trail, the C&O canal, or the Potomac.

Barbara Tuset is our Audubon at Home Program Coordinator.  Barbara taught high school Biology in upstate New York and spent summers backpacking through the Adirondacks before choosing a technology career in application software. Always interested in conservation it was Douglas Tallamy’s book, “Bringing Nature Home,” that suggested how she might focus her time upon retiring from Oracle. She graduated from the Fairfax Master Naturalist in spring 2015 and is now thrilled to be working through our Audubon at Home program with area residents, businesses and institutions to reclaim habitat for wildlife in Northern Virginia.

 Pollinators: Their Importance
and Their Status


September 14, 2016, 7:00 P.M.
Sherwood Regional Library

The Friends of Dyke Marsh invite you to a presentation on the importance and status of pollinators
The world’s 40,000 bee pollinators perform critical services by transporting pollen from stamens to stigma, fertilizing both wild and cultivated plants. Over 85 percent of the world’s flowering plants depend on pollinators.

Sam Droege, a biologist at the U.S. Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, will speak about his work on native bee populations and briefly explore the role of other less obvious pollinators such as butterflies, moths, beetles and hummingbirds. He will examine the importance of pollinators, the threats they face, and how we can protect them. Sam manages the U.S. Geological Survey’s Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory and is one of the country’s leading experts on pollinators.

This program is cosponsored by the Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society, the Fairfax County Master Naturalists, the Virginia Cooperative Extension, and the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia. It is free and open to the public
The Sherwood Regional Library is at 2501 Sherwood Hall Lane, Alexandria, Virginia 22306.

Hog Island, Maine
Teaching Natural Resource Conservation

Once again, ASNV will offer a scholarship for $1000.00 to cover tuition, meals and housing for "Sharing Nature: An Educator's Week", Hog Island, Maine.  If you are a teacher or know a teacher who may be interested, please pass this information on. An application for the scholarship can be obtained by contacting info@audubonva.org. The application will be due in late February.

Take Action


Educate the Candidates about Conservation

In addition to electing a U.S. president and vice president this year, Virginians will elect 11 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Now is the time to question the candidates, ask for their conservation platform, get involved in the campaign of your choice and make the case for conservation.  Congress is in recess until after Labor Day so many incumbents and their challengers are out and about campaigning.

The currently-listed dates of the debates for U.S. president candidates are September 26, October 9 and October 19.  The candidates for vice president will debate on October 4 in Farmville, Virginia

State Elected Environmental Champions

You can find out which state legislators supported conservation in the 2016 General Assembly session at the Virginia League of Conservation Voters’ scorecard.

Virginia Environmental Assembly

Advocates will start preparing for the 2017 session of the Virginia General Assembly in Charlottesville on September 9-10.  The program features educational workshops and field trips, including a pipeline hike led by Wild Virginia, a kayaking trip down the Rivanna River led by Rivanna Conservation Alliance and a sustainable winery tour at Barboursville Vineyards. Tickets: $30. Registration is open here:  Register Today .  VCN will have another meeting in early December to prepare advocates for the 2017 session. Virginia Conservation Network, (804) 644-0283; www.vcnva.org

Virginia Outdoors Plan 

Virginia’s Outdoors Plan (http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/recreational-planning/vopmapper) will be the subject of a public meeting on September 7, 10 a.m., at Northern Virginia Regional Commission, 3060 Williams Drive, Suite 510, Fairfax 22031.  This is the state’s plan for “land conservation, outdoor recreation and open-space planning.”  The state’s website says that the “plan’s foundation is the Virginia Outdoors Demand Survey,” which appears to be focused on recreation.  DCR and Northern Virginia planning staff will review projects of the past year and forthcoming projects.  These will help inform next year’s update of the plan.  In 2017, DCR will have three public meetings on a draft plan.  For information, contact  Janit Llewellyn Allen, Programs Planner, Department of Conservation and Recreation, janit.llewellyn@dcr.virginia.gov, 804-786-0887.  

National Parks Turn 100

One way to support our national parks is to attend an event to celebrate our national parks’ centennial.  On August 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., NPS will have a centennial event at Glen Echo Park, including an antique car show, historical presentations and a fashion show highlighting historic NPS uniforms, talented youth bands, including YAP! and Twenty20, a photobooth with on-site free printing, free carousel rides and many children’s activities.  Parking is in the lot at Glen Echo. The event is open to the public and not accessible via public transportation.  Info: rachel_lequire@nps.gov 


The Future of Ellanor C. Lawrence Park

The Fairfax County Park Authority is conducting a master planning process for the Ellanor C. Lawrence Park.  Visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/plandev/eclawrence.htm.  Master planning offers Auduboners and others the opportunity to argue for conservation and restoration, to shape the future of a park.


Learn How to Save and Plant Trees

You can speak up for tree preservation and restoration at the Mount Vernon-Lee District Tree Forum titled, “Keeping Trees Healthy and Canopy Strong,” October 17, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Walt Whitman Middle School Auditorium, 2500 Parkers Lane, Alexandria, VA 22306 (Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County).


Audubon in Action -- Belvoir, U.S. 1 and Fairfax’s Environmental Vision

Auduboners have weighed in on saving and restoring habitat in the southeastern part of Fairfax County. 
Fort Belvoir is proposing to clearcut 30 acres of forest and destroy 5,000 trees for a housing project.  We have argued that they should redo the sprawl design, put the housing on already disturbed land on the post and save the forest in a county where very little is left.  This project could impact the southeastern part of Huntley Meadows Park, a rare coastal depression swamp and numerous other natural resources.

Read More

Goodbye Plastic Bottles

Our streets, waterways and other areas are too often littered with trash and plastic bottles are a major component.  Two dozen national parks, including the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park, no longer sell water in plastic bottles.  Instead, they sell reusable bottles and have installed water refill stations.  The U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure to prohibit the NPS Director from approving “a request by a park superintendent to eliminate the sale in national parks of water in disposable, recyclable plastic bottles.”  You can sign a petition at Food and Water Watch to support NPS’s efforts to move away from plastic bottle use and reduce trash in our parks here and urge Virginia’s U.S. Senators to oppose this bill.

Birdwalks and Field Trips

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA

We’ll enjoy the gardens as we look for our resident summer birds and maybe a few early returning migrants. Jean Tatalias leads. Entrance fees apply: $5.00 general and $2.50 senior. Sponsored by ASNV and Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

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.

Saturday, August 13

7:30 to 10:30

Entrance fees apply

Twin Branches Trail, Reston, VA

A shady trail in the heat of August is just the thing for a late summer birdwalk.  We might even find some early southbound migrants.  Linda Fuller leads. Sponsored by The Bird Feeder of Reston and The Reston Association.

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. The trail begins at Twin Branches Rd. at Glade Drive.  Please park along Glade and meet at the corner of Glade and Twin Branches.

Sunday, August 21

7:30 to 10:30 AM

Lake Accotink, Springfield, VA

We’ll follow the easy lake-side path through the woods, but we’ll check for wading birds along the shore as well.  Ray Smith and Jean Tatalias lead. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From I66 take I 495 South toward Richmond. Take Braddock Rd Rte 620 exit and turn left to go East. Turn right onto Backlick Rd to go South. Turn right onto Highland St. and follow signs to Lake Accotink. Take Accotink Park Rd past visitor center. If small parking lot near carousel is filled, park at the lot near the railroad trestle. Walk starts at the carousel. 6599 Accotink Park Road, 22150.

Wednesday, August 31

8:30 to 11:00 AM

Chimney Swift/Nighthawk Watch, Arlington, VA

Meet to watch swifts come en masse back to their roosting chimney as they prepare for their fall departure.  Then we’ll check a location where night lighting attracts the hunting nighthawks. Sponsored by Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: Call leader, Joanna Taylor, for location and directions. 703-243-5989.

Sunday, September 4

7PM  Call leader for location and directions

Eakin Park, Fairfax, VA

Join the leaders in the parking lot off Prosperity Ave. for a casual walk along stream bed, garden plots, and pond.  Elizabeth Fenton and Catherine Kubo lead.  Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From Route 50 outside the beltway, take Prosperity south one mile to the entrance to the parking lot on left (east) side. 3401 Prosperity Ave, 22031.

Wednesday, September 14

8:30 to 11:00 AM

Walker Nature Center and Snakeden Stream Valley, Reston, VA

The Nature Center trails offer woods and stream beds.  Hawks, woodpeckers, and flycatchers will be among the species we hope to spot. Sponsored by The Bird Feeder of Reston and The Reston Association.

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, September 18
7:30 to 10:30 AM

Manassas National Battlefield Park,  Manassas VA

Larry Meade leads this walk along wood edge and meadow.  We’ll look for the sparrows and many other species that use this habitat. We’ll meet at the Visitor Center where parking without a pass is permitted.  Then we’ll carpool to birding sites, to maximize the use of park passes—bring your pass if you have one!! Sponsored by ASNV.

Getting there:  Travel west on I-66 to Exit 47B, Route 234 North (Sudley Road). Proceed through the first traffic light. The entrance to the Henry Hill Visitors Center is on the right, just past the Northern Virginia Community College. 6511 Sudley Road, Manassas, VA 20109

Sunday, October 2
8:00 AM to noon

Bring your national park pass if you have one.  Day passes may be required if we don’t have enough to share.


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→