December 2015

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In this Newsletter

  • President's Corner  
  • Sign Up for the 34th Annual Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count
  • How Does Noise Affect Birds' Communication?
  • Reston Association's Winter Bird Count
  • Audubon’s Hog Island Educator’s Week Scholarship 
  • Save the Date:  Post Holiday Audubon Afternoon
  • Birding in Costa Rica
  • Advocacy
  • 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

  • December 2
  • January 13

Occoquan Bay NWR

  • December 16
  • January 27

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys

Regularly scheduled butterfly/ dragonfly surveys will resume in April 2016.

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

A reminder that our Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count will be on Sunday, December 20.  Volunteers needed at all levels of birding experience and knowledge!  If you haven’t yet signed up, go to  We have also posted a listing of the other counts in our area on our web site  Our thanks to the Northern Virginia Bird Club for compiling the list. 

Our Post-Holiday Audubon Afternoon will be on Sunday, January 10, 2016.  Paul Napier, President of the Cape May Raptor Banding Project, will be speaking to us about the history of the Project, and about some of the results it has generated.  Should be a good one.  More information on our website, at

There are still some openings for you to join Ray Smith’s Northern Neck Field Trip, which takes place Friday December 11 through Sunday December 13 (so there is no conflict with the Christmas Bird Count!)  For more information, go to (near the top of the list.)  You will also find information there about the trip Ray is leading to Virginia Beach in January further down in the list.
And we are still accepting applications for our scholarship to Educator’s Week at Hog Island in Maine in July, 2016, so if you know a teacher who might be interested, please spread the word.  More info at   

Have a good month. 
Carl Kikuchi

Sign Up for the 34th Annual Manassas-Bull Run
Christmas Bird Count

The Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count will be on Sunday, December 20th.  The count circle is around Centreville and includes 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 of Fairfax City.    A hot lunch will be served to participants.  Birders of all skill levels are needed. 
If you participated last year your sector leader should have contacted you by now.  If you haven’t heard from your sector leader, or if you would like to be in a different sector, contact Bob Shipman at  This year, we will be offering an opportunity for feeder watchers.  If you or someone you know lives within the count circle and cannot go out on the count, he or she can sit inside and count the birds that come to a feeder or yard on count day as an alternate way to participate. 
Signing up is easy! Just click here.  We look forward to seeing you at our lunch.

How Does Noise Affect Birds' Communication?

Join us on Sunday, February 28, at 2 p.m., to hear a presentation by Dr. David Luther  on the effects of noise, both from animals and human causes, on birds' communication.  Dr. Luther, a biology professor at George Mason University, researches animal behavior with an emphasis on animal communication.  He has focused on, for example, on the influence of background noise on avian behavior and evolution.

This meeting will be held at the Sherwood Regional Library, 2501 Sherwood Hall Lane, Alexandria 22306 (
Dr. Luther has conducted studies in Washington, D.C., areas, including Rock Creek Park and Fairfax County.  His talk will cover some bird species commonly seen at Dyke Marsh.  He received his Ph. D. from the University of North Carolina and his B.S. from the University of Oregon.

Sponsors for this program are the Friends of Dyke Marsh, the Virginia Society of Ornithology, the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia and the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

In case of heavy snow, please check the Fairfax County libraries at, the Friends of Dyke Marsh website at and the Friends of Dyke Marsh Facebook page.      

Reston Association's Winter Bird Count


The Reston Association will be conducting their Winter Bird Count on Saturday, January 2, 2016.  This is not part of the national Christmas Bird Count, but Reston has been doing this for 25 years (and they always need more counters)!   Meet at the Reston Walker Nature Center, 11450 Glade Drive, at 7:00 am.  Contact Abby Stocking, or call 703-435-6509.

Audubon’s Hog Island Educator’s Week Scholarship 


Sharing Nature:  An Educator's Week, July 17-22

Do you know an exemplary science teacher? Please encourage them to apply.
ASNV is providing a full scholarship and transportation costs to a week long educators camp in Hog Island Maine, July 17-22, 2016.
Application available Nov. 5 Deadline Feb. 15
Last year’s scholarship recipient, Kate Sydney of Arlington’s Glebe School, said about Hog Island, 
"It has been a busy summer for me.  Of course, the highlight of summer was my time on Hog Island!  It was an amazing professional development experience and I would recommend it to any science teacher.  
There are definitely some pieces that I learned and hope to build in to my work with students this year.  ...
Thank you all for providing this great experience!! »
For details about Hog Island and this year’s camps for teachers and other programs see their website.

Save the Date:  Post Holiday Audubon Afternoon

Sunday, January 10, 2016, 2:30 – 5:00 pm
National  Wildlife Federation Building

11100 Wildlife Center Dr.
Reston, VA 20190

Bird BandingJoin us for Paul Napier’s presentation on “The Cape May Raptor Banding Project” that will cover a brief history, some impressive Project statistics, the Project’s contributions to science projects, and portraits and facts about the raptors banded. There will be lots of great close-up photographs.

Paul Napier has been banding raptors since 1988. He started out as a bird watcher, then discovered raptors and never recovered. He has traveled extensively in the U.S. and abroad in order to learn more about the many exciting birds of prey that share our environment. Paul has been President of the Cape May Raptor Banding Project since the early 2000s when Project founder and noted raptor expert William S. Clark retired.

Birding in Costa Rica


Collared Red Start - Matt MacgilllivrayMarch 19-26, 2016

With nearly 900 recorded bird species, this little country gives you the best bang for your birding buck.  Support sustainable, bird-based tourism while exploring the Central Pacific's Palo Verde National Park and the Tempisque River where we may see aquatic bird species such as Roseate Spoonbills, Boat-billed Heron, Little Blue Heron, and Bare-throated Tiger Heron.   Read More


Get Ready for the State Legislature - December 5, 2015

You can learn all about environmental issues expected in the 2016 session of the Virginia General Assembly at the Virginia Conservation Network's  General Assembly Preview. Experts will address issues like the Clean Power Plan, the Clean Water Rule and the Virginia Coastal Protection Act.  Read more...

Fairfax County, State of the Environment - January 12, 2016

On January 12, you can express your views on the state of the environment in Fairfax County when the Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC) will hold its annual public hearing at 7:30 p.m. in conference rooms 2 and 3 of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia.  Read more...  

Stop Coal AshLeaks and Discharges - December 8, 2016

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold a public hearing on Dominion Power's Possum Point power station coal ash ponds on December 8, 7 p.m., at DEQ's offices, 13901 Crown Court, Woodbridge, VA 22193. Dominion has applied for a permit, according to DEQ, to "allow the release of treated industrial wastewater and stormwater into a water body."   Read more...  

Influence Local Policy


The city of Falls Church is seeking volunteers to serve on several boards and commissions. Visit, email or call 703-248-5014. The November election of new officeholders in most northern Virginia jurisdictions could open up appointment opportunities for Auduboners and other conservation-minded people.

New Electeds


Members of the Virginia General Assembly will be sworn in on January 13 in Richmond. As for local elected officials, such as city councils, mayors and boards of supervisors, check with your locality. They'll be sworn in soon too.

Belvoir and Birds


Fort Belvoir is proposing to demolish several existing structures, clear land and construct new housing on the lots immediately adjacent to Huntley Meadows Park and Dogue Creek. Belvoir documents indicate that these plans could have some impacts on bald eagles and other birds. You can read the supplemental EIS here. Auduboners should express their comments on the plans.

Fones Cliff to Be Developed


Last month, we reported that the Richmond County Board of Supervisors was considering a proposal to develop 1,000 acres as a luxury golf course resort known as Fones Cliffs, an important site for migrating birds and an especially important site for bald eagles and other birds on the shoreline of the Rappahannock River. Despite the concerns of conservationists around the state, the Board voted four to one to approve the rezoning. According to media reports the only dissenting vote was cast by the supervisor in whose district the resort will be built



Field Trips - Bird Walks

Northern Neck Weekend Field Trip, VA

Join Ray Smith on this popular field trip to the Northern Neck to see waterfowl and winter migrants including grassland birds.  Birding will begin at 3 PM on Friday, December 11 meeting at the Quality Inn (formerly a Best Western) in Warsaw, VA. Saturday birding will include stops at George Washington’s birthplace, the Chesapeake Bay, and then up the Rappahannock. Sunday morning birding will visit the Rappahannock Valley NWR and stops on the return to Fredericksburg, ending mid-afternoon on Sunday.  Rooms are reserved at the Quality Inn in Warsaw under group rates. To reserve a place on the trip, first contact Ray at 571-286-7856 or Then contact the Audubon office to pay the registration and confirm your place:  703-438-6008 or  You can book a room with the hotel at 804-333-1700.  The trip limit is 20.
3 PM Friday, December 11 to Sunday December 13.

Registration required.
Cost of $25.
Limit: 20 participants
See description for contact information.
Join a Christmas bird count!!

The Audubon-sponsored circle count
is in the Manassas-Bull Run area.  See the website to enroll.  The Reston winter bird count is January 2, 7 am to noon. Call 703-476-9689 and press "5" for reservations or e-mail by December 30.  For other Christmas counts see page 3 at 
Sunday, December 20
Et al.
Burke Lake Park, Fairfax Station, VA

The lake offers a variety of waterfowl in winter, as well as opportunity to find woodland birds along easy walking terrain. Catherine Kubo leads.  Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.
Getting there: Entrance is off Route 123, south of Burke Lake Road.  Follow signs to Park, turning left at second traffic light.  Take an immediate left in the park, then meet at the lot on the right (near the mini golf course). 7315 Ox Road, Fairfax Station, 22039.
Wednesday, January 13
8:30 AM
Virginia Beach and Surrounding Area Weekend Field Trip, VA

This trip will include all four Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Islands, Back Bay NWR, and a private talk from the Nature Conservancy about their work on barrier islands. We will also visit the Eastern Shore of Virginia NWR, Kiptopeke State Park, Willis Warf, and Cape Charles. Possible birds include Harlequin Ducks, Purple Sandpipers, Great Cormorants, Common Eiders, loons, gannets, and sea ducks. This trip is offered about every five years, so places will fill quickly!

We will stay at the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel and Conference Center at 2800 Shore Dr., Virginia Beach, VA 23451, telephone 800-468-2722. Rooms are a special ASNV rate. Trip leaders are Ray Smith and Larry Cartwright. To make reservations, email Ray at or call 571-286-7856.  Then contact ASNV at or 703-438-6008 for payment. The ASNV fee is $25; there will be some small additional costs for the police escort at the CBBT and a potential tram ride at Back Bay.
Friday afternoon, January 22 through Sunday afternoon January 24.

Registration required.
ASNV Fee $25.  See description for additional costs.
Limit: 20 participants
See description for contact information.
Riverbend Park (Visitor Center), Fairfax County, VA

Join us to survey 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. Bring your scope if you have one!  Jean Tatalias leads.
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. 
Sunday, February 7
9:00 AM to Noon

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


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,


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...


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