December 2012
In This Issue
Audubon Afternoon
Field Trips
LEAPP Classes
Advocacy Update
Other Workshops
Other News

Upcoming Event

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

Occoquan Bay NWR

  • Dec 19  
  • Jan 30   
Meadowood on Mason Neck
  • Dec 12 
  • Jan 16    

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys
Join Jim Waggener each Friday (April-October) in his ongoing survey of the butterflies and dragonflies at four locations in Fairfax and Prince William County.

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. (Note: Surveys may be cancelled for inclement weather.)

Eakin Park Bird Walk
Hidden Oaks Nature Center (FCPA) sponsors weekly bird walks along the Accotink Stream Valley. Read more.

Help 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.

Research Plant Value to Wildlife. ASNV is looking 
for a Virgina master naturalist, or other interested volunteer, willing to research the wildlife value of specific native plants. 

More information about these and other opportunities can be found here.

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
Message from the ASNV President

Dear Members, Partners and Friends:  


Among the blessings of the holiday season is the tradition of decorating homes and living spaces with the gifts of nature. We are cheered by the natural beauty of evergreen boughs, pine cones, and berries. Since colonial times, Americans have had a rich selection of native plants and trees to use for tables, wreaths and sprigs. Among the most colorful are the hollies with the prickly sculpted leaves and bright red berries. That is, if you can still find some berries!


An iconic native of the Potomac watershed is the American holly.   The 30-foot beauty in our yard does not have a berry left on it. That's because it is also such amazing bird food. One year a flock of cedar waxwings stuck around for a day or two dining en masse and leaving almost nothing for other feathered foragers. This year a similar cloud of robins descended on the tree. All the familiar backyard birds are regular visitors - and in the spring, it is buzzing with pollinators.


We're happy to forego the berries for Christmas in favor of attracting so many backyard birds, and one happy result is that in every garden or flower bed, or unmowed section of the yard there are dozens of new holly sprouts every year. So some ecosystem services provided by the birds are working overtime in our space! Be in touch if you want to plant a holly in your backyard habitat. If you have anything extra, I'll trade you for another native plant.


In the meantime, the Christmas Bird Count is just around the corner. Thanks to Bob Shipman for leading our effort for the Bull Run - Manassas circle. Check our website for this and other counts in the region. Also, ASNV is delighted to have a long list of enrollees for the upcoming ornithology class being provided by Ray Smith. Finally, we have mailed our annual appeal to raise funds for the different programs we offer to the Northern Virginia community. The appeal letter recounts some of ASNV's significant accomplishments during the year in the service of conservation, education, and citizen science.


May your holidays give you an opportunity to slow down and snip some holly and enjoy the natural beauty around us. Here's wishing you peace, goodwill, and a renewed commitment to stewardship! Thanks for your support.

Terry F. Liercke, President


Hummingbirds of the Mid-Atlantic Region
Audubon Afternoon
Sunday, January 13, 2013
National Wildlife Federation (NWF)

Members and friends-please join us for our quarterly ASNV meeting and this fascinating presentation by Bruce Peterjohn, Chief of the Bird Banding Laboratory for the US Geological Survey, a position he has held since 2008. According to Bruce, "The autumn of 2012 is proving to be a record year for western hummingbirds across the eastern US." He should know; he has been banding hummingbirds in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006, and prior to that, assisting the previous hummingbird bander starting in 2000.


Bruce will share with us his vast knowledge of western hummingbirds, the intricacies of capturing and banding these miniature creatures, migration trends as he has observed them through his years of banding and some thoughts for the future of winter hummingbirds in the mid-Atlantic. This promises to be an interesting and educational afternoon.


Coffee and goodies will be served before the meeting.   There might even be some surprise door prizes! Bring your friends and neighbors!

Christmas Bird Counts
Manassas-Bull Run Bird Count!
Still Needs A Few Volunteers!
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Our annual Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count
will be on Sunday, December 16th. Our count circle is around Centreville and takes in Manassas Battlefield, parts of Bull Run Regional Park, undeveloped areas south of Dulles Airport, and many stream valley parks and undeveloped locations from Clifton to west Fairfax City. more

Ft. Belvoir Christmas Bird Count
Sunday, December 30, 2012
The Ft. Belvoir CBC will be the last Sunday of the count period, 30 Dec, which is good for us as most people will have Monday as a holiday. Pass the word. So, bring a friend and join us!

Field Trips and Birdwalks  


Riverbend Park

Saturday, Dec. 8, 8:00 AM

Take a walk along the Potomac with Glen Gerada and Kathy Berger to look for arriving winter waterfowl.

Getting there: From Rt. 193 east of the village of Great Falls, take Riverbend Rd. to Jeffery Rd. and turn into the main entrance to the park. Meet at the boat ramp.


Potomac Overlook Regional Park

Saturday, Dec. 8, 8:00 AM

Naturalist Casey Pittrizzi will lead this walk in the park. He will emphasize beginning bird identification and beginning birders are welcome. Extra pairs of binoculars will be available for use, and Casey promises to have the coffee ready when you arrive!

Getting there: The address of the park is below; check GoogleMaps for best directions from your location. Meet at the Nature Center.


Potomac Overlook Regional Park

2845 N. Marcey Road

Arlington, VA 22207 


Riverbend Park

Saturday, January 12, 2013, 9:00 AM

Join Jay and Carol Hadlock for a walk along the Potomac, looking for winter waterfowl. This will be a good warmup for the annual ASNV Waterfowl Survey. All levels of birders are welcome. Meet at the boat ramp.

Getting there: From Rt. 193 east of the village of Great Falls, take Riverbend Rd. to Jeffery Rd. and turn into the main park entrance.


Coming in February

Ocean City and Coastal Delaware

Saturday, February 2, 2013. All Day

Cost $20, Registration required

Sean Duffy will lead this search for sea ducks, raptors, shorebirds and other wintering specialties. We will depart a carpool location off I-495 in Alexandria no later than 7 AM and return after dinner (8-9 PM) with a possible search for short-eared owls at dusk.

Limit 10-12 people in 4-5 cars.

Register with the ASNV office; send check for $20 to the office; contact Sean Duffy  for additional information.

LEAPP Classes

The LEAPP® (Learn, Enjoy, Appreciate, Preserve, and Protect) program offers Northern Virginians the opportunity to learn more about the natural world and be informed, active stewards for its care and protection.  Since its inception in 1999, students have found that LEAPP classes are fun and personally rewarding.  Don't miss out - register early!  Please note that registration is not complete until payment is received. (For Master Naturalists:  All workshops have been approved for Advanced Training hours.) To register, contact ASNV at 703-438-6008 or at

Ornithology 101

12 Tuesday evenings from February to mid May

This course is an introductory, college-level course in Ornithology and will provide students with the tools and skills of being a birder. The course will be held 12 evenings from February to mid May and will cover: field guides and optics, the origins and evolution of birds; feathers, flight and the physiology of birds; behavior and communications;migration, navigation, and social behavior;avian life histories;population dynamics and conservation. Read more. 


Advocacy Update
Conservation Depends On You
Virginia General Assembly

The Virginia Conservation Network will have a conservation lobby day in Richmond on January 28, starting at 8 a.m. at CenterStage Richmond. VCN expects the following to be some of the major environmental issues in the 2013 session. Visit for more information. This is VCN's description of some major issues: read more

Meadowood Plans

Meadowood, a property of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, is developing an interpretive strategy to, for example, communicate the environmental history of Meadowood, enhance the natural resources, broaden visitation and enhance experiencing the Potomac Heritage Trail and Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route. Officials there have held two public meetings. For more information, contact Dr. Douglas Comer or 410 244-6320.

An Opportunity to Share Views

The Fairfax County Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC) will hold its annual public meeting on the environment on January 7, 7:30 p.m. and invites people to share views on the state of the environment and to identify environmental issues in the county. The hearing will be in the Board Auditorium, Fairfax County Government Cetner with a remote location at the South County Center, 8350 Richmond Highway, Alexandria.  read more

Planning Riverbend Park

The Fairfax County Park Authority has updated the Riverbend Park Master Plan Revision project web page and now includes the draft master plan revision. FCPA will hold a a public comment meeting on January 24, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the Great Falls Grange,9818 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls. In case of inclement weather, an alternate date of February 7, 2013 has been scheduled as a backup. read more

A More Conservation-minded Congress?

President Barack Obama will be inaugurated and a new Congress will convene in January 2013. Virginia will have a new U.S. Senator, Senator Timothy Kaine (D). Northern Virginia's House of Representatives' members will be the same as in the current Congress. What the new Congress can accomplish and whether conservation issues will get priority attention remain to be seen, but all of our elected officials need to hear from people who care about conservation and natural resources.
Other Workshops
Hog Island Audubon Camp
Registration Opens October 15, 20
More information can be found  here.

National Audubon Society National Convention
July 12-16, 2013
Skamania Lodge
Plan ahead for the convention.


Other News
Virginia's Watery Wonderlands

Our own Glenda Booth has an article in the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries October 2012 web magazine, Virginia Wildlife. The article, Virginia's Watery Wonderlands, discusses wetlands and current threats to their health. The article can be found here.


Winter Waterfowl Survey

Audubon Society of Northern Virginia


On Saturday, January 26 and Sunday, January 27, birders of all skill levels will join up to count waterfowl in Fairfax, Arlington, and Prince William counties, including the Potomac and Occoquan watersheds. Novice birders will be paired with expert bird enthusiasts. Larry Cartwright continues as our volunteer compiler for this year's waterfowl count. For more information and to join the team, please e-mail or call (703) 438-6008.


Studies have revealed that some waterfowl species are facing population decline and habitat loss. Join us in counting for conservation and collect important scientific data about trends in our local waterfowl population. Your tracking and trekking across Northern Virginia today will help protect the threatened species of tomorrow!

Animal Control Effort Saves Elderly Owl



Dozens of concerned motorists and pedestrians watched as an owl flew wildly into cars, signs and buildings.  For four days, Animal Control Officers received calls and responded to the Richmond Highway intersection near Sacramento Drive last week to investigate the reports. Finally, on Friday, November 16 officers were able to rescue the owl at around 11 a.m. Officers worked for over an hour trying to capture the owl after he had perched on a wire about 20 feet high. With assistance from citizens, patrol officers and the fire department, officers threw towels up at him, he landed on a parking lot and they netted him.


Animal Control Officers observed his condition; he was clearly very ill and malnourished. With one eye missing and the other covered in cataracts, he would not have been able to hunt. The "senior" owl was delivered to a raptor rehabilitation center in Falls Church where he is in stable condition.


It is expected that he will survive; however, he may have to live in captivity since his ability to hunt has diminished.