February 2013
In This Issue
LEAPP Classes
Great Backyard Bird Count
Field Trips - Bird Walks
Advocacy Update
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
 
  • Feb 27 
  • Mar 27     
Meadowood on Mason Neck
  • Feb 13
  • Mar 13      

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. Mondays,
7:00 AM March-Nov.;
7:30 AM Dec - Feb.


Help 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 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 info@audubonva.org.
 
Message from the ASNV President

Dear Members, Partners and Friends: 

 

Who knew there were 10 hummingbird species visiting the mid-Atlantic region this year? Our January Audubon Afternoon featured Bruce Peterjohn, head of the Bird Banding Lab at USGS. He reports that more hummingbird species have been seen in our region than ever before, including one each of the Magnificent, the Violet Crowned, and the Broadtail! He is interested in banding these visitors, as he did for Carol and Jay Hadlock, who hosted a Rufous last month. If you have a winter hummer hanging around, be sure to give Bruce a call. Does this high count signal an evolutionary change in migratory patterns? Only time will tell.

 

To support the food web for these and other critters, ASNV is gearing up to expand our Audubon at Home Wildlife Sanctuary program this year. To do this, we are creating operating partnerships in all the counties of Northern Virginia. Our plans call for the program in Loudoun to be managed by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, in Prince William by Prince William Master Gardeners, in Fairfax by the Fairfax Master Naturalist chapter, and in Arlington and Alexandria by the Arlington Regional Master Naturalist chapter.

 

The program principles and objectives will not change. We "let the animals decide" what makes a suitable habitat, and we'll collaborate with our partners to train qualified volunteer ambassadors to consult with property owners. Applications and property certifications will be managed by the partner organizations. All program resources will remain available on the ASNV website, and as now, volunteers will receive Master Naturalist and Master Gardener service hours for their help. We believe this arrangement will provide value-added for all partners. Clearly, it will facilitate expansion that has outgrown centralized management from our ASNV cubicle. We welcome volunteers who are interested in helping us with this community outreach program. No experience needed. We'll bring you up to speed!

 

We are still looking for sponsors to keep this and our important citizen science counts and surveys going strong. Any readers who know of corporations or institutions that might like to be associated with an increasingly visible community-based environmental service organization, should definitely share information with us. Our brochures and program resources are gaining wider distribution in Northern Virginia. In addition, we invite anyone who shares our passion for doing something tangible about the environment to consider joining our board of directors to keep our programs alive and well in the Northern Virginia community.

 

In the meantime, we are extremely grateful for the generous support from our loyal members. We were pleased with the outcome of our recent 2012 fundraising campaign. Have fun outdoors this month!


Terry F. Liercke, President

 

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 info@audubonva.org.

How to Lead a Bird (or Nature) Walk  
Saturday, March 23, 8:00 AM-Noon
Do you have a favorite nature spot that you return to time and again? Have you ever thought you'd like to share that spot with others but feel you lack the skills to lead a walk? If so, you are invited to attend a session with Carol Hadlock, ASNV's Coordinator of Bird Walks and Field Trips. Carol will share tips that she uses every time she leads a bird walk, from planning the where, when, what and how, to taking care of your group. This information can be applied to any walk, whether birds, wildflowers, butterflies, etc. The morning will consist of a class session of 1 to1 ½ hours, followed by a walk in the park.
Location: Riverbend Park Visitor Center (by the river; not the Nature Center), 8700 Potomac Hills St., Great Falls, VA.
Cost: $10 for members and $15 for non-members 
Reservations required. Call the ASNV office at 703-438-6008 or e-mail info@audubonva.org.
 
Audubon At Home and Beyond  
Saturday, June 1, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
 
Carol and Jay Hadlock's backyard will be your classroom for this workshop, where you will learn to put the principles of Audubon at Home to work in your yard, creating a healthier environment for you, your family, and pets, while at the same time giving birds and pollinators a helping hand.  Things should be popping in the garden, the birds will be singing, and outdoor activities will make this a fun, informative day. 
Location:  515 Alabama Drive, Herndon, VA
Cost:  $30 for members and $35 for non-members.  Covers class materials. Bring a bag lunch and drinks will be provided.
Reservations required. Call the ASNV office at 703-438-6008 or e-mail info@audubonva.org. Maximum number of participants: 10
Instructor:  Carol Hadlock is an ASNV Master Naturalist and National Wildlife Federation Habitat Steward.

Great Backyard Bird Count - a Family Event

ASNV and Reston's Walker Nature Center will sponsor an event to demonstrate just how much fun and how easy it is for anyone, including youngsters, to join in this international citizen-science program to gather information about birds. Come to the Walker Nature Center (11450 Glade Drive, Reston) anytime between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM on February 16. Help count birds flocking around the feeders. Join naturalist-led bird walks to identify birds along the Snakeden Branch stream. After the walk, warm up with hot chocolate in the nature center as you enter your counts into the Great Backyard Bird Count's online data base.   When you're done at the center, you'll be able to collect and enter results from your own backyard or neighborhood park.  

 

 
Field Trips - Bird Walks

Reston Lakes

Sunday, Feb. 10, 2012, 7:30-10:30 AM

Surprising waterfowl often turn up on these lakes in winter. Bill Brown will lead this tour of all 4 lakes.

Directions: Meet Bill at the boat ramp at Lake Audubon, on Twin Branches between Glade Dr. and South Lakes Dr.    

 

Sky Meadows State Park, Woodpecker Lane Trail

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, 9:00 AM

Sheryl Pollack will lead this walk through Red-headed Woodpecker territory. Apparently, the birds had a good nesting season. We should see many of them.

Directions: The park is located in Fauquier Co., VA. Follow Route 50 west to Rt. 17. Turn left and follow the signs to the park. Alternately, go west on Rt. 66 and then north on Rt. 17, to the park. There is an entrance fee. Meet at the Visitor Center

Preparations: gravelly, rutted short trail, warm clothes, sturdy shoes, binoculars, no pets.  Questions: Email Sheryl Pollock - call in case of inclement weather 703-400-8225 cell.

Those interested in a short excursion after the walk may visit the VA State Arboretum (15 min. further on Rt. 50). There is a consistent population of Pine Siskins and Red-breasted Nuthatches visiting the feeders there.

 

Choptank River& Blackwater NWR, Cambridge, MD

Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. All Day

Cost $20. Registration required.

The Choptank River in Cambridge can be very good for winter ducks and there are a number of good viewing areas in the town. This will be our first stop to check for Common Goldeneye, Long-tailed Ducks, Scaup, Canvasbacks and Redheads. Then, on to Blackwater NWR for whatever interesting winter waterfowl might be there. We will meet at Pimmit Regional Library in Tysons Corner at 7:00 AM to carpool. Bring lunch. We will head for home mid-afternoon.  Register with the leaders, Jay and Carol Hadlock, at 703-437-7451 or email them.   Send check for $20 to the ASNV office.

 

Algonkian Regional Park

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 7:30 AM

River, woods and meadows-we'll check them all with leader, Bill Brown.

Getting there: The park address is 47001 Fairway Drive, Sterling. From Rt. 7, heading west, turn on Cascades Parkway, north and continue into the park. Follow the sign to the boat ramp and meet Bill there.

 

Mason Neck NWR, Lorton, VA

Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, 1:00 PM

Tundra Swans are the special birds for this hike, which will be led by Sheryl Pollack, from the Woodmarsh Trail to the Great Marsh. The afternoon start time will allow the marsh to thaw for feeding.

Meeting Place: Woodmarsh Trail parking lot (before the State Park Kiosk). This is a 3- mile walk up and down on a dirt path with some wet areas to a viewing platform; so wear hiking boots and warm clothes, binoculars (and scope if you have one). No pets.

Directions: Take Route 1 South past Lorton Rd.  Turn left on Gunston Rd. Route 242 (there will be a brown sign for Pohick Bay, Gunston Hall, etc. on the right side of the road). Pass Old Colchester Rd., Belmont Rd., the golf course, Meadowood, Pohick Bay. Turn right at High Point Road (main entrance road to Mason Neck State Park). Turn left into a gravel lot with a sign for Woodmarsh Trail.

Questions: Email Sheryl Pollock  - in case of inclement weather call 703-400-8225 cell.

 If you want to come earlier and go to Mason Neck State Park to see the eagles and ducks, continue on High Point Road to the Visitor's center parking. The Bay View Trail to a marsh is great. There is an entrance fee to the State Park.

 

Woodcocks at Huntley Meadows

Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, 5:15 PM

This is the time for male Woodcocks to be doing their courtship displays. Join Rich Rieger at Huntley Meadows to hopefully witness this wonderful display.

Getting there: Meet at the South King's Highway-Telegraph Rd. parking lot (the backside of Huntley Meadows.) Be prompt! The group will walk to a place where the birds are known to display. The display doesn't last long and if you're late, you miss it! Bring a flashlight.

 

Wood Frogs at Fraser Preserve, Great Falls. VA

Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, 1:00 PM

This is a Nature Conservancy property with some great vernal pools. Sheryl Pollack will lead this walk.

Meeting Place: at metal gate entrance to the gravel road serving Fraser and Calvary Baptist Church at the end of Springvale Rd.

Directions: Take Route 193 South, (Georgetown Pike). Turn Right on Springvale Road, Route 674. The road takes a Z: It's all called Springvale Rd. First turn left on Rt. 603 (when you see Chez Francais on the left side of the road). In 20 yards take a right on Rt. 755 and continue to the end of Springvale Rd.  Turn left on Allenwood Lane and park, being considerate of the residents' mailboxes and driveways.

Preparations: This is a long walk on gravel roads and forest paths to the Potomac River floodplain. Wear hiking boots, warm clothes and binoculars. No pets.

Questions: Email Sheryl Pollock  - in case of inclement weather call 703-400-8225 cell.

The Big Night is unpredictable. Last year's mating party was Feb. 28 at Fraser Preserve. In the event the weather stays cold, we may need to try again March 7 at 1 pm. There certainly will be Spring Peepers chorusing. We MUST stay on designated paths.

 

Bles Park, Loudoun County

Saturday, March 2, 2013, 7:30 AM

Adjacent to the Potomac River and Broad Run, this park can turn up some interesting things. Meet leader, Bill Brown, in the parking lot.

Getting there: From Sterling, travel west on Rt. 7 towards Leesburg. Approximately 0.7 miles west of the intersection of Rt. 7 and Rt. 28, exit right off of Rt. 7 onto Loudoun Co. Parkway. Turn right onto George Washington Blvd, and then left onto Riverside Pkwy. Continue for about 1 mile and look for Bles Park on your right.

 

New! Elizabeth Mills Riverfront Park,  

Loudoun County

Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 7:30-10:30 AM

Looking for a new place to explore? Jenny Vick and Bill Brown have been scouting this new park for some time and are ready to introduce birders to the interesting things that can be found here. The habitat is mostly riparian woods, along the Potomac Heritage Trail. Meet in the parking lot.

Getting there: Traveling on Rt. 7 towards Leesburg, turn right (north) on Landsdowne Blvd. After about a quarter mile, turn right onto Riverpoint Dr. and right again on Squirrel Ridge Place. As you approach the end of the cul de sac, turn right and then left to reach the parking lot.

 

Hidden Pond Nature Center, Springfield, VA

Saturday, March 9, 2013, 8:00 AM

This is Casey Pittrizzi's "old" park, before he moved to Potomac Overlook. He will know all the right places to look for birds.

Getting there: The address of the park is 8511 Greeley Blvd., Springfield, VA.

 

Snakeden Stream Valley Park, Reston

Sunday, March 17, 2013, 7:30-10:30 AM

Meet Carolyn Williams at the Nature House for a walk through the woods and the stream valley.

Getting there: The Nature House is located on Glade Drive, east of Reston Parkway.

 

Bull Run Regional Park Swamp Stomp

Saturday, March 30, 2013, 7:00-9:00 PM

Join naturalist Casey Pittrizzi on a night hike and search for the fascinating amphibian life of Bull Run Regional Park. Find salamanders, spring peepers, woods frogs and more. Rubber boots and warm clothes recommended. Adults and children age 6 and older. Please call 703-528-5406 to make a reservation and get directions.

Getting there: The park is located at 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville, VA 20121.

 

Migration Mornings at Potomac Overlook Regional Park

Every Saturday in April, starting April 6, 8-10:00 AM

Join Naturalist Casey Pittrizzi every Saturday morning in April to explore the park and see what bird species are arriving and leaving during the migration season. Every week will bring us new surprises as we scope out our local birds. Casey will demonstrate basic bird identification techniques by using songs, call notes, and behavior. Call 703-528-5406 to make a reservation. Meet at the nature center. 

 

 

Advocacy Update
Conservation Depends On You
 
Local Advocacy EventsVirginia 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 www.vcnva.org for more information.  This is VCN's description of some major issues:  Read more... 

 

Do You Want More  Parks and Conservation?  Local governments are beginning work on their budgets, a prime opportunity for Auduboners to advocate for more funding for natural resource conservation and restoration.   If you can help in your jurisdiction, contact  Glenda Booth .   

 

Rally for Climate. Join thousands on February 17 at 12 noon on the National Mall to urge the Congress and the Obama administration to address climate change, a top National Audubon Society priority.  Visit  www.350.org for more information.

Speak Up for Preservation and Restoration of Natural Resources. Information about Fairfax and Arlington hearings can be found here.

Richmond Report.  The Virginia General Assembly is in its last weeks of work for 2013.  Several bills opposed by the conservation community have been killed or withdrawn.  Read more...

What Will Obama Do Now? You can read an Audubon interview with President Obama on his conservation agenda here.

Other News
The Uncommon Loon:  Volunteers and wildlife biologists work to conserve a remarkable bird.
Glenda Booth wrote this fascinating article for the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.  Read more ....  

Christmas Bird Count 2012

The 31st Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count was conducted on December 16, 2012.   The entire day was very heavily overcast and threatening; most participants were thankful to complete their counts without getting wet.  A total of 108 people participated, counting 86 species and 21,967 birds.   The overall results were very good, especially considering the poor lighting conditions.  Our total bird count number was in line with the experience of our previous two years and more than 15% higher than our past 15 year average.  Our species count was just one below our all time high and 10% higher than the average species count for the same past 15 year period.  The 108 birders are the most we have had since 2002.
Read more ....

 

Secret Pond: A Fairy Shrimp Documentary-   
Thursday, March 7, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

 

Naturalist and filmmaker Brian La Fountain has been fascinated with fairy shrimp - tiny crustaceans that live in seasonal ponds - since he was a boy. With Sweet Briar's naturalist-in-residence, Mike Hayslett, as his guide to the hidden places where they live, La Fountain finally discovered the elusive critters in the wild and captured them in incredible high-definition detail. Created in part to raise awareness for the protection of the fairy shrimp's vulnerable habitat, "Secret Pond" is a surprisingly poignant portrayal of the microcosmic world of these delicate creatures. Fairy Shrimp have been found in two locations in Loudoun so far - perhaps they live in a vernal pool near you! Join us for this free showing on the big screen! Location: Woodgrove High School Auditorium, 36811 Allder School Road, Purcellville. Questions: Contact Beth Arsenault at barsenault@loudounwildlife.org.

 

Why Natives, Why Now
Sunday, February 17, 2:00 pm
Come hear Janet Davis, owner and principal landscape designer of Hill House Farm and Nursery, as she explains the hows and whys of befriending butterflies, beckoning birds and pampering pollinators by using native plants in your garden. Janet's talk will give you an early start on making a list of plants to look for at the Spring Native Plant Sale on April 6.Registration Required: Sign up online: www.loudounwildlife.org/Calendar_February.htm For questions, contact Ann Garvey at agarvey@loudounwildlife.org.
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.   www.skamania.com

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