January 2015

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In this Newsletter

  • President's Corner
  • Audubon Afternoon - We're in for a Sweet Treat!
  • Winter Waterfowl Identification
  • Winter Waterfowl Count
  • 2014 Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count Update
  • Birdathon 2015
  • ASNV Partners with Birducation
  • New ASNV Web Site
  • Winter and Spring 2015 –Introduction to Ornithology
  • Advocacy Update
  • 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

  • January 14
  • February 11

Occoquan Bay NWR

  • January 28
  • February 25

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys

Join Jim Waggener each Friday starting again in April in his ongoing survey of the butterflies and dragonflies at four locations in Fairfax and Prince William County.

Eakin Park Bird Walk

The Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) sponsors weekly bird walks at Eakin Park Mondays,
7:00 AM March-Nov.;
7:30 AM Dec - Feb. Meet at Prosperity Ave. parking lot. Walk canceled if rain or severe weather. FREE

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 info@audubonva.org.

President's Corner

Happy New Year, everybody! Now the days grow longer (although it may be a little hard to tell just yet). Owls are pairing off; ducks are on the open water. I am struck, as always, by the way the cardinals almost seem to shine against the dark of the evergreens, and at how the chickadees sail buoyantly through the weather, undaunted.

Meantime: while we wait to see if we will have a real winter again this year, do please plan to join us for our “Post-Holiday” Audubon Afternoon on Sunday, January 11, at 3:00.

And a couple more quick reminders: Winter Waterfowl Survey is the weekend of January 24/25, with Larry Cartwright’s Waterfowl ID workshop January 17; Don Messersmith’s Introduction to Ornithology class begins February 5 – a few seats are still available. Register here.

And by all means, come join us for one of our upcoming field trips. Getting outdoors is a tonic any time of the year, but is especially welcome now.

Many thanks, and a tip of the hat for a job well done, to Laura McDonald and her husband Regan, Alison Wolfe and her daughter Alex, and Quitta Williams for orchestrating lunch at the Walney Center for our Manassas/Bull Run Christmas Bird Count. A good time was had by all. Keep an eye out here in the newsletter and on the website for Bob Shipman’s rolled up results for our Circle.

Have a good month!
Carl Kikuchi

Audubon Afternoon - We're in for a Sweet Treat!

SUNDAY, JANUARY 11, 3:00-5:00PM

National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive
Reston, VA 20190

Join us for our post holiday get together on Sunday, January 11. Our presenters are German Perilla, Director of the Honey Bee Initiative at George Mason University and Louise Edsall, Director of Education and Programs for Sweet Virginia Foundation. We'll learn about the state of honeybees and current conservation efforts followed by a honey tasting.

German researches and promotes sustainable beekeeping in Northern Virginia and also provides outreach to rural communities in El Salvador, Peru and Colombia. In these communities, Perilla assists community members in establishing their own hives which then provide environmentally sustainable sources of nutrition and income for their families.

Louise is the Director of Education and Programs for Sweet Virginia Foundation and support liaison for the GMU Honeybee Initiative. She is a beekeeper and brings her passion for the honeybee into classrooms engaging the children in a fun and interactive program. Louise offers children, teens and adults a ‘be a beekeeper’ experience in her Hive Alive program at the Sweet Virginia honeybee sanctuary in Gainesville, Virginia.

Winter Waterfowl Identification

Join us for an introduction to winter waterfowl identification, in preparation for our annual ASNV Waterfowl Count. 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 the Woodmarsh Trail parking lot on High Point Road. Directions: from Route 1 in Lorton, take Gunston Rd east. Turn right on High Point Road (toward Mason Neck State Park) to parking lot for the Woodmarsh Trail on the left. A map of Mason Neck can be found here.

Saturday, January 17, 2015
9:00 am – noon
Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge and State Park
Leader: Larry Cartwright
Cost: Free; advance registration required. Click here to register.

Winter Waterfowl Count

January 24 and 25 will be the Winter Waterfowl Count. Teams survey areas along the Potomac River from Algonkian Regional Park in Loudoun County down to Quantico in Prince William Count and some select inland ponds and lakes. Those interested can register online here. Larry Cartwright, the compiler, will begin general recruitment and contacting those who signed up for the identification workshop and the count after the conclusion of the Christmas Bird Count season that ends on January 5. Read about past waterfowl counts here.

2014 Manassas-Bull Run
Christmas Bird Count Update

We are still gathering and reviewing the figures for our Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count on December 14, 2014. The rain held off and we had a record number of people scouring woods, lakes, fields, ponds and skies counting what appears to be an all time high number species and more than 20,000 birds. Among the interesting finds this year were Redheads, Common Yellowthroat, a first ever American Wigeon, Merlin, Great Horned Owl, Horned Lark and Pine Siskins. Each Sector found at least one species that no other Sector did. Check next month’s Potomac Flier for complete results and expanded detail.

Birdathon 2015

The days are getting longer, which means Birdathon 2015 can't be far behind. It's not too early to start organizing your teams for our annual spring migration birding competition. It's a fun outing with an array of great prizes. And it raises much-needed contributions to support ASNV's conservation and education programs. The concept is simple: Participants can bird in teams of two to five. Team members then make their own donations or secure pledges from sponsors – friends, family members, colleagues, neighborhood merchants, etc. Pledges can be a flat sum for your participation or an amount for each species seen. Then, during any 24-hour period between April 24 and May 17, teams search Northern Virginia to see how many bird species they can identify. Don’t have time for the 24-hour event? Consider signing up for the four-hour competition. Details are still being planned, so stay tuned for updates, which will be posted on our Web site and in next month's Potomac Flier.

ASNV Partners with Birducation

ASNV is pleased to be a partner in Birducation, an organization founded by Lucila Fernandez who is a local bird enthusiast with experience in developing bird-themed curriculum and conducting fieldwork on birds. Lucila grew up in our region, was a Smithsonian Migratory Bird Intern, and recently completed a US Forest Service Internship in Oregon where she created public events connecting new audiences with birds, science, and local parks. She’s returned to our area with a passion for sharing her love of nature by offering bird-themed programs to underserved communities.


New ASNV Web Site

A new version of the ASNV website will replace the current version later this month. The version of the software used to provide the current website is no longer supported by the developer. Although the look of the website will change, it will function the same as the current site. In addition to continued support (including security updates) from the developer, the new version will work better with mobile devices. You can preview the new site at: http://v3.audubonva.org. If you have any comments, please send them to: webmaster@audubonva.org.

Winter and Spring 2015 –Introduction to Ornithology

ASNV is pleased to offer Don Messersmith’s Introduction to Ornithology, a course for anyone who wants to deepen their understanding and appreciation of birds. No prior knowledge of birding is necessary. From beginning to experienced birders, all are welcome. Topics will include field identification, evolution, anatomy, behavior, migration, song, courtship, nesting, raising young, habitat, and conservation. Classroom lectures, demonstrations, and discussions will be supplemented with readings and three field trips.

Read more

Advocacy Update

State Legislature Underway Soon

January 10

The Virginia General Assembly will meet for 45 days starting January 14. On January 10, you can share your views and suggestions with state elected officials directly before they go to Richmond. This hearing will start at 9 a.m. in the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035) Board Auditorium.


Farifax State Senators and Delegates to Hold Hearing

Saturday January 10

Fairfax County's state senators and delegates will hold a public hearing is on Saturday, January 10, 9 a.m., at the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035) in the Board auditorium.

Individuals who want to sign up in advance to speak at the hearing should contact the Office of the Clerk to the Board of Supervisors at 703-324-3151, TTY 711, by noon on Friday, January 9.

This is an opportunity to advocate for conservation before they go to Richmond for the 2015 session, set to begin on January 14.

Fairfax County’s Environment – Opportunity to Discuss Conservation

January 21, 2015

Fairfax County’s Environmental Quality Advisory Council’s (EQAC) annual public hearing on the environment will be held on January 21, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. in conference rooms 2 and 3 of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia. EQAC invites written and/or verbal testimony on any environmental issue “applicable to the county.”


Tell Officials What Kind of Parks You Want

Softball advocates are vocal, says Mary Cortina, Fairfax County Park Authority Board member, as they were in 2004. After that, the last needs assessment process, the Park Authority Board agreed to build nine baseball fields, even though that sport ranked 26 out of 26 on a list of unmet needs for recreational facilities.


Fairfax Park Authority Adds Acreage

The Fairfax County Park Authority recently made this announcement. ASNVers can weigh in on master plans, if they are developed for these parks.

“The Fairfax County Park Authority has acquired three new parcels of land, all of which will add to the Park Authority’s parkland holdings and ultimately provide new recreational opportunities and natural resource areas.


Alexandria Should Stop Polluting the Potomac River

Part of Alexandria is served by a combined sewer system which dumps untreated sewage into streams flowing to the Potomac River during many storm events. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has given the city many permits for this system and in the most recent one is requiring the city to develop a long-term control plan for Hunting Creek bacteria no later than December 31, 2035. Repeat: 2035, 21 years from now!


Alexandria Trees and Plants

On the good news front, Alexandria has created a Notable Tree Program. Visit http://alexandriava.gov/Trees#Notable_Trees. Also, city officials have conducted surveys on over 1,000 acres of parkland and natural areas every year. You can learn more about the city’s flora, geology and natural communities at http://alexandriava.gov/22560 and the natural resource management webpage at http://alexandriava.gov/48838

Help EPA Reduce Ozone

January 19, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed strengthening revisions to the national ground-level ozone standard. Also known as smog, ground-level ozone is a major pollutant in the Washington, D.C., area and northern Virginia has not attained the current standard for some time.

You can speak out on January 19 at an EPA hearing at the William Jefferson Clinton East building, Room 1153, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20460.


Stop Spraying Caterpillars

ASNV has launched an online petition to urge Fairfax and Prince William counties to stop spraying an insecticide targeting the native fall cankerworm, an insecticide that potentially kills all exposed caterpillars in the spring when birds are migrating through and/or raising their young. Be sure to sign it here. It's quick.

Field Trips - Bird Walks


Silver Lake Regional Park, Haymarket, VA

We’ll check the lake, quarry, fields, and woods for winter residents. Leaders: Jean Tatalias and Bill Brown.

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.

Monday, January 19

8:30 AM

2015 Waterfowl Survey

Check above for more info on joining the survey.


January 24-25

Riverbend Park (Visitor Center), Fairfax County, VA

Join Carol and Jay Hadlock to check out 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.

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.

Saturday January 31

9:00 AM to Noon

Reston Lakes Tour, Reston, VA

Meet the leaders, Carol and Jay Hadlock, at Lake Newport and from there we will caravan to Lake Anne, Lake Audubon, and Lake Thoreau, checking to see what interesting surprise waterfowl have turned up this year.

Getting there: Take Reston Parkway north from the Dulles Toll Road and turn right on Baron Cameron Ave. Meet in the parking lot for the tennis courts on Village Road, north of Baron Cameron Ave.

Sunday, February 8

7:30 – 10:30 AM

Ocean City, Maryland & Surroundings

Jay and Carol Hadlock will lead their annual trip to Ocean City with a stop in Cambridge MD to check for ducks on the Choptank River. Other stops will be west OC pond, the Inlet, and possibly Assateague State Park or Indian River Inlet and Silver Lake in Rohobeth. Make reservations with Carol at carol_inawren@verizon.net or call 703-437-7451. You can also register and pay online here. Those registered and wishing to bird on Sunday should make their own overnight arrangements.

Saturday, February 21
Sunday, 2/22 (optional)
Reservations Required
$20 Fee payable to ASNV for reservation to be final.

Wolftrap, Reston, VA

Walk a Wolftrap Park sector with brook and pond to look for winter woodland birds. Jean Tatalias and Elizabeth Fenton leaders.

Getting there: From Rt. 7, take Towlston Rd. to the park. Turn left at the first entrance to the parking lot and park near the road. From Vienna, cross the Toll

Thursday, February 26
8:00AM to 10:30 AM

Walker Nature Center/Snakeden Stream Valley, Reston, VA

Matt Bender will lead this walk through woods and stream valley.

Getting there: From VA-267 W/Dulles Toll Road take exit 14 (Hunter Mill Road/VA-674). Turn left onto Hunter Mill Rd (VA-674), right onto Sunrise Valley Drive, left onto S Lakes Drive, left onto Twin Branches Rd. Then take third right onto Glade Drive. Meet at the Nature House at 11450 Glade Drive in Reston.
Saturday March 15
7:30AM -10:30 AM
Delaware Bay Weekend Trip

Ray Smith will lead this trip meeting Friday at 3:00 PM in Lewes, Delaware at the Beacon Motel parking lot at 514 East Savannah Road, Lewes. The motel (1-302-645-4888) is on the main road in Lewes (Rte. 9) just over the bridge after the historic business district. Birding locations will include Cape Henlopen State Park, Broad Kill Beach, Prime Hook, and Bombay Hook. Detailed itinerary available upon registration with Ray at 571-286-7856 or bluebird58@verizon.net. You can register and pay the ASNV fee online here.
Friday May 29 through Sunday May 31
Reservations Required
$20 Fee payable to ASNV for reservation to be final

Other News

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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