January 2016

View this email in your browser

Quick Links

In this Newsletter


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 13
  • February 10

Occoquan Bay NWR

  • January 27
  • February 24

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys

Regularly scheduled butterfly/ dragonfly surveys will resume in April 2016.

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

I was lucky enough to spot a Ruby-crowned Kinglet diving into a bush beside the driveway a few days ago.  You have to be lucky - and quick, too - they are such tiny birds, and so unceasingly in motion.  They’re hard to keep a bead on.  The wonder is that they manage to find enough food in the cold weather to keep themselves fueled.

Not that we’ve had a lot of cold weather so far.  Selfishly, I’m hoping for some soon, to bring in the waterfowl for our Winter Waterfowl Count (February 6 & 7).  If you haven’t been following Alonso Abugattas’s Capital Naturalist blog (http://capitalnaturalist.blogspot.com), he’s been doing a series on waterfowl; a good way to start getting in the mood for the count! 

Meantime, the shortest day of the year is behind us.  Come help us celebrate at our Post-Holiday Audubon Afternoon, on Sunday, January 10, 2016.  Paul Napier, President of the Cape May Raptor Banding Project, will be speaking to us about the history of the Project, and about some of the results it has generated.  More information on our website, at http://audubonva.org/index.php/nature-afternoons.

We are still accepting applications for our scholarship to Educator’s Week at Hog Island in Maine in July, 2016, so if you know a teacher who might be interested, please spread the word.  More info at http://audubonva.org/index.php.  

A very special thank you to the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia/Stockwell-Frase Fund for their award of a generous grant to ASNV.  This unexpected but very welcome funding will enable us to pursue our goals in education, conservation, and advocacy in the coming year, including some new initiatives which you’ll be hearing more about in the weeks to come.   

Have a good month. 
Carl Kikuchi

2015 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 20, 2015.  We got some relief from our unusually hot December weather as the Count Day temps topped out in the 40s with bright sun.  We had a more than 100 people scouring woods, lakes, fields, ponds and skies counting what appears to be a high number species and more than 20,000 birds.  Red-Headed Woodpeckers were everywhere as we counted more than three times our all-time high.  Bald Eagles were also abundant (relatively speaking).  One Sector recorded a falcon trifecta: Kestrel, Merlin, and Peregrine (something only done once before in 2003 and then by the whole count circle.)  Another Sector had an owl trifecta (Barred, Great Horned and Screech), which was last done in 2006.  Check next month’s Potomac Flier for complete results and expanded detail.  If anyone has any pix of people counting during our CBC and you are willing to share, please send to Robert Shipman, the compiler, at ships333@yahoo.com.

ASNV Winter Waterfowl Count

The ASNV Winter Waterfowl Count will be conducted Saturday and Sunday, February 6 & 7, 2016.  We have decided to push the count back one week to avoid overlap with waterfowl hunting season.  Volunteer teams survey the Potomac River from Algonkian Regional Park in Loudoun County south to Quantico Marine Base in Prince William County. Several important inland ponds, lakes, and marshes are also surveyed.  ASNV will have a sign-up sheet for volunteers.  Call 703-438-6008 or email info@audubonva.org to  register.   Compiler Larry Cartwright will also contact veteran volunteers beginning in early January.

Northern Neck Final Trip Report


December 11-13, 2015

Trip Leader: Ray Smith

Our trip started Friday afternoon at the Quality Inn in Warsaw, VA at 3 PM. We drove to the Hutchinson Unit of the Rappahannock Valley National Wildlife Ref-uge arriving there around 3:45. Time was short because it got dark around 5. The property had three sections: The center was a field full of native grasses and shrubs. To the West were woods that went down to a tributary to the Rappahannock. The entrance was to the North/East fronting Rt. 17. We first went down to the water and looked over a beautiful marsh where Blackbirds by the thousands were reported to spend the night. We then parked closer to the main grasslands and took a short walk into the woods to view a beautiful ravine with a bridge. Then we walked the large grass lands with a plan to end up at dusk with the sun setting behind us to see the Blackbirds come in. Not many did, but we saw several Harrier Hawks flying over the grass including one Male and lots of Savannah Sparrows. Read more.


Winter Waterfowl Identification

Join us for an introduction to winter waterfowl identification, in preparation for our annual ASNV Waterfowl Count.  (The Waterfowl Count itself will be held on the weekend of February 6 and 7, 2016.)  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.    
Date: Saturday, January 30, 2016
Time: 9:00 am – noon
Location: Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge and State Park
Leader:  Larry Cartwright
Cost:  Free; advance registration required. Click here to register.


Ethnobotany of Flowers

Join us for an introduction to Ethnobotany, the intersection of the study of people and plants. Find out the legends and the uses of the famous and infamous plants: Night Shade to Common Chokecherry, Arrow to Arrowood. Each one has a story, history and use. Alonso will lead a field trip to see plants in our area that Native and Non-native Americans used. You'll also learn how to collect and use them yourself.  The field trip will be at Riverbend Park where you'll enjoy the beauty of spring along the Potomac.
Alonso Abugattas currently serves as the regions' only Natural Resource Manager for Arlington. He served as Chief Naturalist for Long Branch Nature Center and Head Naturalist for Arlington County. His background includes hunting with his dad while growing up in Arlington. Alonso worked at Riverbend as a Naturalist before he came to Arlington. His many specialities include herpetology, butterflies,  pollination and plants of all kinds.
Class: location TBA, Thurs., April 7th, 6:30-9:30
Field Trip, Riverbend Park, Saturday, April 9th, 10:00-2:00pm.

Birding by Ear Boot Camp

April 30, 2016

Join Joette Borzik, West Virginia Master Naturalist and Master Birder for a one-day Birding by Ear Boot Camp. Are you ready to take your birding skills to a higher level? Joette, being a bird song enthusiast, uses repetition, active listening, quizzing and other techniques to help you learn bird song in a fun and non-intimidating environment.

We will spend a full day learning as much bird song as you can possibly absorb in the field on the trails of the Blue Ridge Center and surrounding area. Some basic birding knowledge is a prerequisite, i.e. being able to identify some of the common birds by sight. You should be in good health, be comfortable using your binoculars and being able to walk on uneven rolling trails for 3+ miles, in possibly not so ideal weather conditions. Read more.


Coming to ASNV: Children’s and Family Education Programs
Teachers will be expert children’s Naturalists. Field Trips will be at local nature gems. 
Special price for members and family groups.
We plan to do birding/birds along with other fun topics. Please put in your topic request to: marydmclean@verizon.net while we are planning.

Audubon’s Hog Island Educator’s Week Scholarship 


Sharing Nature:  An Educator's Week, July 17-22

Do you know an exemplary science teacher? Please encourage them to apply.
ASNV is providing a full scholarship and transportation costs to a week long educators camp in Hog Island Maine, July 17-22, 2016.
Application available Nov. 5 Deadline Feb. 15
Last year’s scholarship recipient, Kate Sydney of Arlington’s Glebe School, said about Hog Island, 
"It has been a busy summer for me.  Of course, the highlight of summer was my time on Hog Island!  It was an amazing professional development experience and I would recommend it to any science teacher.  
There are definitely some pieces that I learned and hope to build in to my work with students this year.  ...
Thank you all for providing this great experience!! »
For details about Hog Island and this year’s camps for teachers and other programs see their website.

Post Holiday Audubon Afternoon

Sunday, January 10, 2016, 2:30 – 5:00 pm
National  Wildlife Federation Building

11100 Wildlife Center Dr.
Reston, VA 20190

Bird BandingJoin us for Paul Napier’s presentation on “The Cape May Raptor Banding Project” that will cover a brief history, some impressive Project statistics, the Project’s contributions to science projects, and portraits and facts about the raptors banded. There will be lots of great close-up photographs.

Paul Napier has been banding raptors since 1988. He started out as a bird watcher, then discovered raptors and never recovered. He has traveled extensively in the U.S. and abroad in order to learn more about the many exciting birds of prey that share our environment. Paul has been President of the Cape May Raptor Banding Project since the early 2000s when Project founder and noted raptor expert William S. Clark retired.

Click here for directions and a map.

Birding in Costa Rica


Collared Red Start - Matt MacgilllivrayMarch 19-26, 2016

With nearly 900 recorded bird species, this little country gives you the best bang for your birding buck.  Support sustainable, bird-based tourism while exploring the Central Pacific's Palo Verde National Park and the Tempisque River where we may see aquatic bird species such as Roseate Spoonbills, Boat-billed Heron, Little Blue Heron, and Bare-throated Tiger Heron.   Read More


General Assembly to Begin Soon

The Virginia General Assembly will convene on January 13, 2016, and be in session for 60 days.  Legislators are already pre-filing bills (see www.vpap.org) and we expect some "unfriendly" environmental measures, such as bills to thwart President Obama's Clean Power Plan, designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions and slow climate change. Read more.

Who's My Legislator?

To find your state legislators, visit http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/ .  You may call the Virginia General Assembly's constituent viewpoint comment line toll-free at 1-800-889-0229 or 804- 698-1990.  For more information, visit http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/.

EQAC Hearing, January 12

The Fairfax County Environmental Quality Advisory Council will hold a public hearing on January 12 at 7:30 p.m. in conference rooms 2 and 3 of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia. Read more.

ASNV Speaks Out

On December 13, ASNV commented on Dominion Power's plans to "dewater" and discharge over 100 gallons of contaminated water from its coal ash ponds at their Possum Point plant in Prince William County.

President Carl Kikuchi wrote, "Auduboners are particularly concerned about the impact of the contaminated water on the water quality of Quantico Creek and the Potomac River and on the bird, fish and other aquatic life of those bodies of water.  Read more.

Influence Local Policy 

The November election of new officeholders in most northern Virginia jurisdictions could open up appointment opportunities for Auduboners and other conservation-minded people. Read more.

Fairfax County, State of the Environment - January 12, 2016


On January 12, you can express your views on the state of the environment in Fairfax County when the Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC) will hold its annual public hearing at 7:30 p.m. in conference rooms 2 and 3 of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia.  Read more...  


Field Trips - Bird Walks

Burke Lake Park, Fairfax Station, VA
The lake offers a variety of waterfowl in winter, as well as opportunity to find woodland birds along easy walking terrain. Catherine Kubo 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.
Wednesday, January 13
8:30 AM
Virginia Beach and Surrounding Area Weekend Field Trip, VA
This trip will include all four Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Islands, Back Bay NWR, and a private talk from the Nature Conservancy about their work on barrier islands. We will also visit the Eastern Shore of Virginia NWR, Kiptopeke State Park, Willis Warf, and Cape Charles. Possible birds include Harlequin Ducks, Purple Sandpipers, Great Cormorants, Common Eiders, loons, gannets, and sea ducks. This trip is offered about every five years, so places will fill quickly!

We will stay at the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel and Conference Center at 2800 Shore Dr., Virginia Beach, VA 23451, telephone 800-468-2722. Rooms are a special ASNV rate. Trip leaders are Ray Smith and Larry Cartwright. To make reservations, email Ray at bluebird58@verizon.net or call 571-286-7856.  Then contact ASNV at info@audubonva.org or 703-438-6008 for payment. The ASNV fee is $25; there will be some small additional costs for the police escort at the CBBT and a potential tram ride at Back Bay.
Friday afternoon, January 22 through Sunday afternoon January 24.
Wait list only!!
Registration required.
ASNV Fee $25.  See description for additional costs.
Limit: 20 participants
See description for contact information.
Riverbend Park (Visitor Center), Fairfax County, VA
Join us to survey 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. Bring your scope if you have one!  Jean Tatalias leads.
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. 
Sunday, February 7
9:00 AM to Noon
Silver Lake Regional Park, Haymarket, VA
This park offers walking trails, a lake, and a deep quarry where winter waterfowl can often be viewed. Phil Silas and Jean Tatalias lead. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.
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.
Wednesday, February 17
8:30 AM
Reston Lakes Tour, Reston, VA
Meet the leaders, Carol and Jay Hadlock, at Lake Newport and from there caravan to Lake Anne, Lake Audubon, and Lake Thoreau, checking to see what interesting surprise waterfowl have turned up this year. Walk sponsored by the Bird Feeder of Reston and the Reston Association.
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 21
8:00 AM TO 11:00 AM
Woodcock Walks
Fairfax County offers six woodcock walks between February 27 and March 26. Some are aimed at families.  Most are at Huntley Meadows Park.  Go to http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/parktakes/  and search on the keyword “woodcock”   Registration and fee required.
Saturday Feb 27 to Saturday March 26
Registration and fee required.
Burke Lake, Fairfax, VA
We’ll take part of the trail around the lake shore, watching for both water fowl and forest birds as well as keeping an eye for eagles aloft. Phil Silas and Catherine Kubo lead. 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.
Wednesday, March 9
8:30 AM

Recurring Field Trips

Several parks in the area have established year-round weekly birdwalks. These walks are not run by ASNV, but may be of interest to ASNV members.

Location Time Leader

Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve

2nd Saturday every month, 8:00 AM

Various www.bansheereeksnp.org

Dyke Marsh

Sundays, 8:00am


Eakin Park

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

Carolyn Williams

Great Falls, Virginia

Sundays, 8:00am


Huntley Meadows Park

Mondays, 7:00am (Mar-Oct)
8:00 am (Nov-Feb)

Harry Glasgow

Occoquan & Meadowood Wildlife Surveys

Monthly Scheduled Wednesday mornings.

Jim Waggener

Various Locations

Twice weekly walks, including most Saturdays

Northern Virginia Bird Club, http://www.nvabc.org/trips.htm


Other News

Bird Feeder in Reston

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...


Copyright © 2016 Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, All rights reserved.