January 2013
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
  • Jan 30
  • Feb 27    
Meadowood on Mason Neck
  • Jan 16
  • Feb 14     

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 info@audubonva.org.
Message from the ASNV President

Dear Members, Partners and Friends: 


The Chesapeake Bay Foundation recently released its 2012 State of the Bay report with the news that the bay's health indicators show slight improvement over the past few years. While there is still a long way to go, it reminds me that those of us living in the bay's watershed and embracing the Audubon Society's "Healthy Yard Pledge" are part of the solution and not part of the problem. The Healthy Yard Pledge is a simple ethic. It asks us to reduce pesticide and fertilizer use, conserve and protect water quality, remove invasive exotic plants, plant natives, and support birds and other wildlife on our properties. This is the foundation of our successful Audubon at Home Wildlife Sanctuary program.


Each of us with a suburban yard or landscaped patch can help protect the Chesapeake Bay by being our own park manager, helping to restore and conserve a degree of natural balance. With a rain barrel or rain garden, we can reduce run-off during storms. We can also eliminate some turf grass. The American love of lawns helps explain the considerable damage to the watershed from use of pesticides and fertilizers. Douglas Tallamy tells us that as much as four times more pesticide by weight is applied to suburban landscapes than to the agricultural landscape in the U.S.! In addition, we spray pesticides when we see insect damage which is generally a sign that the pests do not have enough natural enemies to control them. For that, we can add some native plants that provide food and shelter for birds and other beneficial wildlife. After all, songbirds rear their young on insects. I'm enough of an optimist to believe that if growing numbers of us help to conserve and restore natural ecosystem functions on our own properties, gradual improvement in the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed will happen. Think of what that means for the resurgence of the Atlantic flyway!


January brings other opportunities to learn and to volunteer (see website). On January 13 please join us at the National Wildlife Federation for our Audubon Afternoon presentation by Bruce Peterjohn, Chief of the Bird Banding Lab for the US Geological Survey, who will talk about hummingbird banding and an upsurge of western hummingbirds appearing in the eastern U.S. Then January 26 and 27 are the dates for the winter waterfowl count lead by Larry Cartwright. Join the fun and volunteer to help collect important scientific data about trends in our local waterfowl populations. Beginning birders are invited and will be paired with experienced birders.   Don't let the cold weather keep you indoors this winter! 


Terry F. Liercke, President


Hummingbirds of the Mid-Atlantic Region
Audubon Afternoon
Sunday, January 13, 2013, 3:00-5:00 PM
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!

Field Trips and Birdwalks  

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.


Meadowlark Gardens Regional Park, Vienna

Saturday, January 26, 2013, 10:00 AM

Reservations required. Call 703-255-3631.

Meadowlark may be called a garden park, but it's also a great place to go birding.   Casey Pittrizzi will help the group identify birds by sight, sound, and behavior.  All experience levels are welcome.  Some binoculars and field guides available, but feel free to bring your own!  Meet in the Meadowlark Visitor Center.    

Getting there: The park address is 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court, Vienna, VA, 22182, located along Beulah Rd. between the Toll Rd. and the town of Vienna.   Meet Casey in the Visitor Center.


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.


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.

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


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 carol_inawren@verizon.net. 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.


Woodcocks at Huntley Meadows

Saturday, Feb. 23, 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.


Bles Park, Loudoun County

Saturday, March 2, 2012, 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.


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.



Winter Waterfowl Survey - 2013 Count

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 info@audubonva.org or call (703) 438-6008.  Read more...



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.



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.

Ornithology 101 - Wait Listed

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
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... 


The Federal Government, What's Ahead?


Many conservationists who follow developments in Washington are encouraged that President Barack Obama, re-elected in November, has said that addressing climate change will get serious attention in his second term.  The National Audubon Society has identified combating climate change as a major national priority.  (See http://policy.audubon.org/impacts-birds-wildlife-0).  NAS's 2009 report found that many species of birds are shifting northward, probably because of a changing climate.  The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, has announced she will be leaving her position.  There is media speculation that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will resign as well.   Read more... 



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


Other News

The Running Birder -
ASNV member, Carol Sottili, has an article, "The Running Birder", in the January/February issue of Bird Watcher's Digest.


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 info@audubonva.org 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!

Helping Monarch Butterflies


 On January 29, 10 a.m., at the Hollin Hall Senior Center, 1500 Shenandoah Road in the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County, you can learn about the miraculous monarch butterfly and its migration when three speakers who participate in the Monarch Teacher Network will present a video and explain how to create a garden that will attract monarch butterflies.  The speakers are Dana Shaw, Cindy Wackerbarth, Marty Summerour. Read more...  

DC Environmental Film Festival


Each March the Festival presents a diverse selection of high quality environmental films, including many Washington, D.C., U.S. and World premieres. Most Festival films are accompanied by discussions with filmmakers, environmental experts and special guests, including national decision makers and thought leaders, and are free to the public.  Read more ...   


Fairfax and Arlington Master Naturalist Basic Training


Training courses are being offered starting in February and running through May.    For more information  read here...  


NoVA Outside Networking


An Alliance of Environmental Educators who connect and teach people of all ages about their natural environment is hosting an inaugural quarterly event for outdoor and environmental educators on Friday, January 25 from 11am - 2pm. More info here.