December 2017

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In This Newsletter

  • President's Corner
  • ASNV Accepting Applications Now For Educator Scholarship
  • Friends of Dyke Marsh Program
  • Another Milestone for Citizen Science!
  • Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count
  • Audubon Afternoon
  • Take Action
  • Bird Walks
  • Recurring Bird Walks
  • Other News

Conservation Counts

Join Jim Waggener in his ongoing natural resource 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. From April through October, surveys are conducted primarily for butterflies and dragonflies at those two locations and two others—Occoquan Regional Park and Julie J. Metz Memorial Wetlands Preserve.

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.

Meadowood on Mason Neck

(7:30 AM - 12:00 PM)
  • December 6
  • January 17

Occoquan Bay NWR

(7:30 AM - 12:00 PM)
  • December 20 (Last survey of 2017)
  • January 31

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys

To resume in April 2018.

Make a Difference!
Speak up!

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

It is always good to have the little flocks of White-throated Sparrows back with us again, tzeeting away to one another as they forage. They are a good reminder of how lucky we are here in Virginia, to be wintering ground for some birds, as well as breeding ground for others (not to mention the ones that pass through in migration), and a reminder that birds need habitat in the winter too – all year round, in fact. Of course we hope our breeding neotropical migrants are able to find good winter habitat in South America and in the Caribbean – and we have that responsibility for the birds that winter with us. And besides, there is that sweet “Sam Peabody” song, that little dab of yellow on the face.

Join me in welcoming Louise Edsall as a part time Administrator. In addition to just plain helping us “keep it together,” Louise will be assisting with some of our programs, especially Audubon at Home.

Many thanks to Town of Clifton for their donation of $872 – parking proceeds from the Clifton Haunted Trail event at Halloween. And thanks especially to Laura and Regan McDonald for arranging with the town, and to Tom Blackburn and Brenda Frank for volunteering to help direct traffic!

Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird is Sunday, December 17! If you haven’t signed up yet, it is not too late. Click here.

Reminder that our next Audubon Afternoon will be on January 7 – “Post Holiday.” Bob Mumford will be speaking on “Beautiful Bhutan,” with some beautiful photographs. Click here for more information.

And a reminder this holiday season that you can designate the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia to receive a portion of the proceeds of purchases you make through Amazon Smile. More information about the program can be found here.

Have a good month.
Carl Kikuchi

ASNV Accepting Applications Now For Educator Scholarship

The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia is taking applications from public school educators for an all-expenses paid week of professional development plus transportation to National Audubon Society’s Hog Island Camp in Maine. This year’s “Sharing Nature: An Educator’s Week” occurs July 15-20, 2018. Highlights include ospreys, bioluminescent sea creatures, and boat trips to nearby islands, including to a puffin colony. Applicants must be public classroom teachers, specialists, or school administrators working in the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, Leesburg or the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William or Stafford.

Application: MS-Word, PDF
Application Deadline: February 1, 2017
Questions? Contact ASNV Youth Education Chair Stacey Evers.

Friends of Dyke Marsh Program

Evolution’s Subtle Signs in Marsh Wrens

The basic processes of evolution are happening in every generation in every species, but they are almost impossible to observe. They are typically slow and subtle.

On February 25, 2018, Dr. Sarah Luttrell will talk about her work on evolution and speciation in the marsh wren (Cistothorus palustris). Dr. Luttrell studies how evolution works by studying subspecies of birds. She will examine how comparing multiple traits like plumage color, size and shape, vocal behavior and genetics in marsh wrens has revealed an exciting pattern of evolution in this bird. Read More...

Another Milestone for Citizen Science!

Congratulations to Jim Waggener and his group of citizen scientists for another important milestone to preserve and share the tens of thousands of data that has been collected in the Occoquan region count circle.

In November, Jim and ASNV, entered into a formal data exchange agreement with Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON), an online mapping project managed by the United States Geological Survey. This project seeks to provide open access to primary biodiversity and species occurrence information in the United States.

Since 1989, Waggener and a group of dedicated citizen scientists have documented birds, butterflies, dragonflies and first bloom dates of plants in year round surveys. To volunteer or learn more about the natural resource surveys or butterfly and dragonfly surveys visit our web site.

Photo of Comma and Question mark butterflies by Gary Myers.

Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count

Calling All Birders!

Sunday, December 17, 2017, 7:00AM

It’s time to sign up for the 36th Annual Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count! Birders of all skill levels are needed in the field and as feeder watchers.

The count circle comprises Centreville and includes Manassas Battlefield, parts of Bull Run Regional Park, undeveloped areas south of Dulles Airport, as well as many stream valley parks and locations from Clifton to west of Fairfax City.

A FREE hot lunch will be served to participants. If you haven’t heard from your sector leader or have any questions, contact Bob Shipman. Signing up is easy. Just click here. See you on the 17th!

Audubon Afternoon

Beautiful Bhutan

Sunday, January 7, 2018 - 2:30 PM 5:00 PM

Bob Mumford will present Beautiful Bhutan with some of his excellent photos (mostly birds, but a few others as well) from his recent trip to this small Himalayan country with a “National Happiness Index.” It sounds like quite a trip! Birds included the Crimson Sunbird, Scarlet Minivet, Ward’s Trogon, Beautiful Nuthatch, and Black-necked Crane, and many others. (Bob's photo of a Crimson Sunbird is shown at above.)

Bob Mumford became a fanatic birder after leaving the Navy and for about a dozen years chased rare birds all over North America. His North American list exceeds 765. He still travels widely and often, but is now content to capture the magic of wildlife and grandeur of landscapes in his photographic work.

The event begins at 3 PM, but come at 2:30 for socializing and refreshments. It will be held at the National Wildlife Federation. Click here for a map and directions.

Take Action

Speak Up on the State of Fairfax County’s Environment

On January 10, 2018, the Fairfax County Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC) will hold its annual public hearing at the Fairfax County Government Center, conference rooms 9 and 10, 7:30 p.m. You can find EQAC’s annual report here: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/eqac/report2017/. EQAC presented it to the Board of Supervisors on November 21. The report covers these topics: land use, transportation; water; waste management; parks and ecological resources; climate and energy; air quality; wildlife management; technology. Read more...

Prepare for the 2018 General Assembly

The new General Assembly will convene on January 11 and adjourn by the end of February. VCN will have a lobby day on January 22. Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam will be inaugurated governor on January 13. You can find key dates for the state legislature here. Read more...

Flying Drones in Our Parks

Fairfax County Park Authority staffers have prepared a proposal to allow the flying of recreational drones in two more county parks, Lake Fairfax and Popes Head. Currently, this activity is allowed only in Poplar Ford Park.

ASNV has raised many questions about expanding recreational drones in county parks and met with park officials who have informed us that they are no longer considering the Laurel Hill site "due to the potential for natural resource conflicts." Auduboners have observed meadowlarks and bobolinks on this property. Read more...

Virginia Is Addressing Climate Change

The Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board recently unanimously approved a draft regulation to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and connect Virginia to a carbon-trading network of nine other states. The draft rule was the product of an advisory group of industry, environmental and government representatives established in 2016 by Governor Terry McAuliffe

Audubon member Freya DeCola wrote an article with suggestions for advocacy actions, which you can read here.

Bulova Reception

Fairfax County Chair Sharon Bulova invites everyone to her annual New Year Reception, January 10, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Fairfax County Government Center.

Local Budgets Set Priorities

Local governments manage local parks, waste, land use, schools, construction and development and more. Local government managers (for counties, they are called county executives) are now preparing the FY 2019 budgets that they will propose to the elected officials to whom they report. Arlington County invites residents to submit ideas and comments here. Check your local government for the schedule and ways to make suggestions.

Help Arlington Plan Parks and Recreation Places

Meetings on December 1, 6, 14

Arlington County is updating the 2005 Public Spaces Master Plan, which provides strategies for the future for our public spaces, including parks, natural resources and recreational needs. The county is seeking community input for certain areas of focus. (The final draft will be available in 2018.) Come to any or all of these meetings. (Note that the subject of the meeting is also a link to more info.)

Alexandria's Energy Future

Join fellow conservationists on December 7, 7 to 9 p.m. and learn about renewable energy opportunities in Alexandria. Congressman Don Beyer will be the opening speaker. Perhaps some of what we learn can be used in other jurisdictions.
Place: Alexandria Renew Enterprises, Semonian Board Room (Rm. 600), 1800 Limerick St, Alexandria

Panelists include:
  • Nicole Steele, Executive Director, GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic
  • Ivy Main, Renewable Energy Chair, Sierra Club Virginia Chapter
  • Praveen Kathpal, Vice Chair, Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission
  • Wyck Knox, Principal Architect, VMDO Architects

RSVP here.

Bird Walks

Manassas—Bull Run Christmas Bird Count

Dec 17, 2017 - 7:30am – 11:30am

Join us for the 118th annual Christmas Bird Count (36th for ASNV). We are looking for people to count in the Manassas Battlefield area, Bull Run, and Manassas City areas as well as around Centerville, south of Dulles Airport, and Chantilly.

Read More→


Burke Lake, Fairfax, VA

Wednesday, January 10 - 8:30 to 11:00 AM

Surely the waterfowl have arrived in numbers and we can view them on the Lake and the woodland path that follows its shoreline. Marc Ribaudo 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.

Silver Lake Regional Park, Haymarket, VA

Sunday, January 21 - 8:00 to 11:00 AM

The quarry is a great place to find waterfowl in winter. The woods and lake shore offer good habitat for other winter species, including resident red-headed woodpeckers. Toby Hardwick leads with Rick Purvis co-lead. Sponsored by ASNV.

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.

Royal Lake – Lakeside Park, Fairfax, VA

Wednesday, January 31 - 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM

One of our newer additions of places to bird. Join Lead Phil Silas and co-lead Jean Tatalias as we scout the lake and surrounding park trail. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From I-495 take exit to VA-620, Braddock Road going west and continue 2.36 miles. Turn left onto Rt 651 Guinea Road and continue 0.64 miles. Stay straight at intersection with Commonwealth Blvd (do not turn left to follow Guinea Rd.) Go 0.4 mile and turn left on Pommeroy Dr and then turn right at the intersection with Bronte Dr. to the entrance leading to the parking lot. 5216 Pommeroy Dr, Fairfax 22032.

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

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.
1675 Reston Pkwy, Ste J, Reston, VA 20194. (703) 437-3335