December 2014

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Happy Holidays

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In this Newsletter

  • President's Corner
  • Audubon Afternoon - We're in for a Sweet Treat!
  • Winter Waterfowl Count
  • Winter and Spring 2015 –Introduction to Ornithology
  • Thank You
  • Sharing the Gift of Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Advocacy Update
  • Field Trips - 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 via email or phone (703-567-3555) for more details or to reserve your space.

General Surveys

Meadowood on Mason Neck

  • January 14

Occoquan Bay NWR

  • December 17 (last survey for 2014)
  • January 28

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys

Join Jim Waggener each Friday starting again in April in his ongoing survey of the butterflies and dragonflies at four locations in Fairfax and Prince William County.

Eakin Park Bird Walk

The Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) sponsors weekly bird walks at Eakin Park Mondays,
7:00 AM March-Nov.;
7:30 AM Dec - Feb. Meet at Prosperity Ave. parking lot. Walk canceled if rain or severe weather. FREE

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

President's Corner

I have to admit, I’m not really sorry to see the tree leaves go this time of year, because it makes the birds so much easier to see. And our winter birds, particularly our residents, are such good company - constant, durable, not just here for the fair weather. Unburdened of the breeding frenzy.

What’s not to like about winter birding? Join us for the Manassas/Bull Run Christmas Bird Count on December14, and mark your calendars for the Winter Waterfowl Survey the weekend of January 24 & 25, 2015. Need to brush up on all those ducks? Larry Cartwright will also be offering his Winter Waterfowl Identification Workshop on January 17, 2015. More info here.

Our next Audubon Afternoon will be on January 11, 2015 (“post-holiday”), and it promises to be a lot of fun – see the notice below for more information.

And just a reminder – February may seem like a long way off, but it’s not, and early February is when our Ornithology class starts, taught by Don Messersmith. You can read more below and sign up while you are thinking of it.

Have a good month!
Carl Kikuchi

Audubon Afternoon - We're in for a Sweet Treat!

SUNDAY, JANUARY 11, 3:00-5:00PM

National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive
Reston, VA 20190

Join us for our post holiday get together on Sunday, January 11. Our presenters are German Perilla, Director of the Honey Bee Initiative at George Mason University and Louise Edsall, Director of Education and Programs for Sweet Virginia Foundation. We'll learn about the state of honeybees and current conservation efforts followed by a honey tasting.

German researches and promotes sustainable beekeeping in Northern Virginia and also provides outreach to rural communities in El Salvador, Peru and Colombia. In these communities, Perilla assists community members in establishing their own hives which then provide environmentally sustainable sources of nutrition and income for their families.

Louise is the Director of Education and Programs for Sweet Virginia Foundation and support liaison for the GMU Honeybee Initiative. She is a beekeeper and brings her passion for the honeybee into classrooms engaging the children in a fun and interactive program. Louise offers children, teens and adults a ‘be a beekeeper’ experience in her Hive Alive program at the Sweet Virginia honeybee sanctuary in Gainesville, Virginia.

Winter Waterfowl Count

The dates for the Winter Waterfowl Count are January 24-25, 2015. More information will follow next month. Read about past waterfowl counts here.

Winter Waterfowl Identification

Join us for an introduction to winter waterfowl identification, in preparation for our annual ASNV Waterfowl Count. Get to know some of the many waterfowl species that winter in the open waters of our region, from lesser scaup, to green-winged teal, hooded mergansers, and buffleheads, to tundra swans, and more. This will be an outdoor field trip/bird walk, so dress for the weather. We will visit the Great Marsh and Belmont Bay on the Mason Neck peninsula. Bring binoculars and a scope if you have one; the leader will have a scope and waterfowl identification guides. Meet at the Woodmarsh Trail parking lot on High Point Road. Directions: from Route 1 in Lorton, take Gunston Rd east. Turn right on High Point Road (toward Mason Neck State Park) to parking lot for the Woodmarsh Trail on the left.

Saturday, January 17, 2015
9:00 am – noon
Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge and State Park
Leader: Larry Cartwright
Cost: Free; advance registration required. Click here to register.

Winter and Spring 2015 –Introduction to Ornithology

ASNV is pleased to offer Don Messersmith’s Introduction to Ornithology, a course for anyone who wants to deepen their understanding and appreciation of birds. No prior knowledge of birding is necessary. From beginning to experienced birders, all are welcome. Topics will include field identification, evolution, anatomy, behavior, migration, song, courtship, nesting, raising young, habitat, and conservation. Classroom lectures, demonstrations, and discussions will be supplemented with readings and three field trips.

Read more

Thank You

A heartfelt thank you to our ASNV members who took the time to participate in the needs assessment survey from the Fairfax County Park Authority. Results will be used to plot the future of Fairfax County's park system and input from conservation-minded residents is critical to ensuring that space is set aside for the natural world. We'll keep you updated as the process unfolds. And, again, thanks for your help and support!


Sharing the Gift of Wildlife Sanctuary

Harriet Carter, one of our Audubon at Home Ambassadors from Manassas, has a unique way of sharing her gardening expertise with friends while improving habitat in her community. As she says, “I have always been a garden, nature, and small creature lover, especially birds, squirrels (yes, even those), snakes, and many more. I felt that their environment is severely threatened by urbanization of their former habitat…One of my goals is to educate our neighborhood about native plants and habitats – one garden and backyard at a time. So I started with two friends of mine who are already very environmentally conscious and told them to enroll in the program with my help. Their habitat certification would be my Christmas gift to them albeit early. We accomplished this on June 6th of this year. I had to wait until now to order the “official” plaques and presented them each with one. They are very proud to be able to display them and thought they were really meaningful gifts.”

For more information on Audubon at Home’s wildlife sanctuary program check our website.

Advocacy Update

A New Congress

A new Congress will convene in January and many observers predict that many conservation measures will be at issue. Some elected officials are discussing bills to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) efforts to address climate change and to tighten mercury and ozone standards, for example.

The Virginia delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives will include newly-elected Congressman Don Beyer (D-8) of Alexandria who made combating climate change a central part of his campaign. He will replace Congressman Jim Moran who retired. All other Virginia incumbents were re-elected (except Cong. Eric Cantor who resigned in July). Visit or for information.

ASNV Weighs in on Colchester

ASNV submitted comments on November 30 to the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) on their master plan for Old Colchester Park and Preserve. The FCPA plan is one of the few park plans in the county that emphasizes natural resource conservation. It would establish several resource protection zones and allow passive (not active) recreation.

You can read ASNV’s comments here and the FCPA proposed plan here.

Attend a Regional Session of the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute

Expand Your Network and Sharpen Your Skills

You can join the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute at one of its three-day sessions in different locations around Virginia. We use a mix of mini-lectures, experiential exercises, stakeholder panel discussions and field trips to build your competencies in environmental issues, collaborative problem solving, and leadership.


Virginia General Assembly Preview and Annual Lobby Day

Join the Annual Lobby Day on Monday, January 26th. Register here.

The State of Fairfax County's Environment -- Speak Up
January 21, 2015

Concerned about the environment? Here's a chance to speak up.

Fairfax County's Environmental Quality Advisory Council's (EQAC) annual public hearing on the environment will be held on January 21, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. in conference rooms 2 and 3 of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia. EQAC welcomes written and/or verbal testimony on any environmental issue "applicable to the county."



Fairfax Parks 2014 Report

The Fairfax County Park Authority's 2014 annual report can be found here. It's a snapshot of agency initiatives and significant events.



Field Trips - Bird Walks


Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count

See information in the newsletter to register if you’re a new volunteer. Also see information and dates of other area bird counts for December and early January. This is a fun way to meet birders, learn new places to bird, and contribute to the national tallies that document bird population trends.

Sunday December 14

Silver Lake Regional Park, Haymarket, VA

We’ll check the lake, quarry, fields, and woods for winter residents. Leaders: Jean Tatalias and Bill Brown.

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.

Monday, January 19

8:30 AM

2015 Waterfowl Survey

Check above for more info on joining the survey.


January 24-25

Riverbend Park (Visitor Center), Fairfax County, VA

Join Carol and Jay Hadlock to check out the river for winter waterfowl, walking up and down river from the boat ramp. This is always a great area to enjoy the variety of ducks on the river in winter.

Getting there: Georgetown Pike (Rte 193) to Riverbend Road (Rte 603). In 0.2 miles turn right on Jeffery Road and go 0.8 miles to park entrance sign on right. Turn right and continue 0.5 miles to Visitor Center parking. Meet at the boat ramp.

Saturday January 31

9:00 AM to Noon

Reston Lakes Tour, Reston, VA

Meet the leaders, Carol and Jay Hadlock, at Lake Newport and from there we will caravan to Lake Anne, Lake Audubon, and Lake Thoreau, checking to see what interesting surprise waterfowl have turned up this year.

Getting there: Take Reston Parkway north from the Dulles Toll Road and turn right on Baron Cameron Ave. Meet in the parking lot for the tennis courts on Village Road, north of Baron Cameron Ave.

Sunday, February 8

7:30 – 10:30 AM

Day trip to Ocean City with Carol and Jay Hadlock.

Information on registration coming next month

Coming in February

Weekend trip to Delaware Bay with Ray Smith

Information on registration coming next month

Coming in May

Other News

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...