January 2014
In This Issue
President's Message
Successful Wintry Audubon Afternoon
Winter Waterfowl Survey
Field Trips - Bird Walks
Birdathon is Coming
Advocacy Update
Other News
Adult Education
Christmas Bird Count
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
  • January 29 
  • February 26 
Meadowood on Mason Neck 
  • January 15
  • February 12       
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!
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.
President's Message


ASNV is most grateful for the generous donations received over the past several weeks in response to our annual appeal for support.  A great many members and friends made contributions that will enable us to continue to serve Northern Virginia with conservation programs, education, and outreach.  We're on a roll!  We could not do what we do without our engaged membership, and 2014 promises to offer many options for learning, for service, and for fun.  We'll continue to announce these here in the newsletter and on our website, www.audubonva.org.


I hope that new volunteers will step up this year in any area they find most interesting and enjoyable, whether it be Audubon at Home, advocacy, field trips, counts and surveys, or classes and workshops.  Your interest in outdoor activities, your love of nature, your curiosity, and your sense of mission about our precious natural environment, is what we want to nurture at ASNV.  The more of us that become engaged, the stronger the fabric of our network of stewardship.  There really is an advantage in working together to achieve our goals to educate, conserve, and restore.  May your New Year be filled with a fresh sense of purpose and resolve, and enough time to embrace it all!  Many thanks, and please stay in touch.

Terry Liercke


A Successful Wintry Audubon Afternoon
Our thanks to all those who helped launch the 2014 program season on Sunday January, 5...those who braved the cold to attend, bringing delicious donations for the festive buffet and your thoughtful attention to and questions for our speaker, Claudia Thompson-Deahl, who inspired and challenged us to do what each of us can to protect Reston's natural habitat, bio-diversity and charter commitment to environmental stewardship.

Claudia had hoped to show a Youtube video of Wangari Maathai telling the parable of the forest fire and the hummingbird. Technical difficulties got in the way; but those interested can see it here.


Winter Waterfowl Survey

2014 Waterfowl Survey - January 25th and 26th    

Our Winter Waterfowl Survey will be January 25 and 26. Volunteers will go out on one of the days. The survey takes place at various points along the Potomac River and at inland lakes, ponds and other standing bodies of water that attract waterfowl. To sign up, send your name, address and contact information to info@audubonva.org or call 703-438-6008.


Winter Waterfowl ID Walk-January 12, 2014

Join us for an introduction to winter waterfowl identification, in preparation for our annual ASNV Waterfowl Count to prepare for the Waterfowl Count.  


Note: this is only for people committed to participating in the 2014 Waterfowl Survey. 


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 Great Marsh Trail parking lot on Gunston Rd.  Directions:  from Route 1 in Lorton, take Gunston   Rd east (toward Mason Neck State Park.)  Continue on Gunston Rd. past turnoff to Mason Neck State Park to parking lot for the Great Marsh Trail on the right.   


Date: Saturday, January 12, 2014

Time: 9:00 am - noon

Location: Mason Neck State Park

Leader:  Larry Cartwright

Cost:  Free; advance registration required. Must be committed to participation in the Winter Waterfowl Survey. 

Field Trips - Bird Walks
Winter Birds of the Northern Neck

Saturday, January 18, 2014, all day  

Reservations required   

Sean Duffy will lead this trip to various hotspots on the Rappahannock River and Northern Neck. Focus will be on eagles and other raptors, winter waterfowl, rusty blackbirds and red-headed woodpeckers, with perhaps an end-of-the-day search for short-eared owls. Trip will end about 4-5 PM.

Maximum of 12 people/4-5 cars. We will meet at 7:00 AM to carpool from a site off I-95 in southern Fairfax County. Further details will be provided to all who email Sean.


Reston Lakes

Sunday, February 9, 8-11:00 AM

We've been doing this excursion for 5+ years and every year something interesting turns up on one or more of the lakes. Join Jay & Carol Hadlock to see what it will be this year.

We will start at Lake Newport and caravan to L. Anne, L. Audubon and L. Thoreau.

Getting there: Meet in the parking lot for the tennis courts on Village Rd., north of Baron Cameron Ave.



Ocean City, MD

Saturday, February 15, All day

Reservations required

Our annual trip to search for wintering waterfowl will visit West Ocean City Pond, the OC Inlet, Indian River Inlet, Silver Lake and any other points where birds of interest are being reported. We'll take a lunch break at a condo on Assawoman Bay and check the grounds there. Trip will end around 4 PM. Limit 12. Make reservations with Carol & Jay Hadlock at carol_inawren@verizon.netor 703-437-7451. More detailed information and carpool options will be given at time of reservation.

Getting there: Hadlocks will meet participants at the W. Ocean City Pond at 9:00 AM. Driving directions will be given with reservation.



Birdathon is Coming!!


Spring is only a few months away, which means it's time to start planning for Birdathon, a competition where teams take to the field to find as many birds as possible in a specific time period during late April/early May.


The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia wants to make the 2014 Birdathon the BIGGEST, BEST & MOST FUN competition ever.


Nature center vs. nature center, teen-only teams, a big-sit format & women vs. men are just a few of the team compositions we've brainstormed. We need more of your thoughts to make this a success! So drop us a line if you have a team idea or you want to donate a prize. Or just give us your name if you want to be assigned to a group: 703-438-6008 or info@audubonva.org .


And, yes, this is a fundraiser & we need pledges. But in exchange for a few dollars, we promise a great time & fun prizes. A winter weekend in a condo on Maryland's Assawoman Bay with views of buffleheads & mergansers is already on our prize list, and we're hoping for a bevy of others.


Thanks for your help and support. ASNV could not do it without you!


Advocacy Update
Conservation Depends On You

Cats Indoors, Efforts in Fairfax

ASNV wrote several Northern Virginia local governments and urged that they undertake a vigorous "Cats Safe at Home" public information campaign to encourage cat owners to keep their cats indoors.  President Terry Liercke wrote:  "Several studies have documented that roaming cats are a major cause for the decline in birds.  Recent studies estimate that between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds are killed annually in the U.S. by domestic and feral cats roaming outside.  A compilation of studies by the Smithsonian Institution estimates that one pet cat kills between one and 34 birds each year and one feral cat kills between 23 and 46 birds annually."

 Read more...  

Fairfax Environmental Quality Advisory Council Hearing

Each year, the Fairfax County Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC) holds a public hearing to obtain input on issues of environmental concern.  The next public hearing will be held on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 7:30 PM.  The public hearing will be held in the Board Auditorium in the Fairfax County Government Center, with a remote testimony location in room 221A (Woodlawn) at the South County Center

 Read more...  


New Team in Richmond

On January 11, a newly-elected team was sworn into office for three state positions:  Governor Terry McAuliffe, Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring.  Governor McAuliffe has named Molly Joseph Ward as the state's Secretary of Natural Resources.  She is a former mayor of Hampton and served as a special assistant to President Barack Obama.


Virginia General Assembly Session Is Underway

The Virginia General Assembly convened on January 8 and will meet for roughly two months.  Here's the main website:  http://virginiageneralassembly.gov.  To share your views, you can call the Virginia General Assembly's Constituent Viewpoint Comment line toll-free at 1-800-889-0229; 804-698-1990 in Richmond.

Read more... 


Wolf Trap Park Bird Inventory  

Since we began in mid-May, some 30 ASNV volunteers have participated in our Wolf Trap Bird Survey.  Working in four teams, they have filed 50 checklists and reported 76 total species throughout the park.

Read more... 



Other News
Take Back the Forest

Next spring there will be a HUGE push to control invasive species in Fairfax County parks & Take Back the Forest.  Over 500 volunteers will work to remove invasive plants, replant native plants, and restore local forests back to health.  All volunteers will get a free t-shirt. We invite young artists from Fairfax County (ages 12-18) to design artwork for a t-shirt that captures our theme of Take Back the Forest.
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...


Adult Education


Volunteers Wanted


Do you love learning more about birds, native plants, and important native species? The education committee is looking for volunteers to help with setting up classes for the LEAP program. Work with knowledgable birders, Master Naturalists to coordinate Educational classes for ASNV members and the general public. Get to know the teachers. Learn about the logistics of class scheduling and pricing policy. Contact: Mary McLean, ASNV Education Committee, or 703-966-2047.    

Christmas Bird Counts



We are still accumulating the figures for our Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count on December 15, 2013.   The day turned progressively better as about 100 people scoured woods, lakes, fields and ponds counting more than 80 species and 20,000 birds. Among the interesting finds this year Cackling Goose, two coveys of Bobwhites, Common Loon, Horned Grebe, Merlin, Great Horned Owl, American Pipit, and a big flock of Rusty Blackbirds. Check next month's Potomac Flier for complete results and expanded detail.