January 2018

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In This Newsletter

  • President's Corner
  • 2017 Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count Update
  • ASNV Accepting Applications Now For Educator Scholarship
  • Beginning Birding: Winter Birds
  • Audubon Afternoons
  • Friends of Dyke Marsh Program
  • Living in the Anthropocene: Earth in the Age of Humans
  • Take Action
  • Bird Walks
  • Recurring Bird Walks
  • Other News


Conservation Counts

Join Jim Waggener in his ongoing natural resource 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. From April through October, surveys are conducted primarily for butterflies and dragonflies at those two locations and two others—Occoquan Regional Park and Julie J. Metz Memorial Wetlands Preserve.

Each survey is limited to four participants, and reservations are required. More information is available on the ASNV website.

Contact Jim for more details or to reserve your space.

Meadowood on Mason Neck 

(7:30 AM - 12:00 PM)
  • January 17
  • February 14

Occoquan Bay NWR 

(7:30 AM - 12:00 PM)
  • January 31
  • February 28

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys 

To resume in April 2018.

Make a Difference!  
Speak up!


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 elected officials to support actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 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 the ASNV office.

President's Corner

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thanks to all who helped out on our Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count.  Watch the website for results. 

And thanks to all who have made contributions to support ASNV during our Annual Appeal campaign.  We have made our Annual Report for 2016 – 2017 available online here.

Lots of reminders this month, and lots to put on the calendar: And a couple of upcoming programs ASNV is co-sponsoring:
  • “Living in the Anthropocene,” - 1/18/2018 - with John Kress, sponsored by Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment. Click here for more info.
  • “Evolution’s Subtle Signs in Marsh Wrens,” – 2/25/2018 – with Dr. Sarah Lutrell, sponsored by the Friends of Dyke Marsh. See article below.

Have a good month.
Carl Kikuchi      

2017 Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count Update

We are still accumulating the figures for our 36th Annual Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count on December 17, 2017.   The day turned progressively better as more than 100 people scoured woods, lakes, fields and ponds counting approximately 80 species and 20,000 birds.  We were seeking to repeat spotting a Northern Shrike, which was the bird of the Count last year – result not in yet.  With more than half the sectors reporting, we have seen American Kestrel, American Woodcock, Mute and Tundra Swans, Rusty Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Field, Fox, Swamp, Savannah, and White-Crowned Sparrows, Merlin, Red-headed Woodpecker, Wood Duck, Killdeer, Palm Warbler and Northern Harrier. 
Check next month’s Potomac Flier for complete results and expanded detail.  Can’t wait until February?  Check the ASNV website around January 15th when we expect to post the full results.

ASNV Accepting Applications Now For Educator Scholarship

Application Deadline: Feb 1, 2018

The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia is still taking applications from public school educators for an all-expenses paid week of professional development plus transportation to National Audubon Society’s Hog Island Camp in Maine. More info can be found here.

Application: MS-Word, PDF
Questions? Contact ASNV Youth Education Chair Stacey Evers.

Beginning Birding: Winter Birds 

January 18
Winter is a great time to improve your birding skills. Birds are easier to find since there are no leaves on the trees. In addition, winter brings a wide variety of  ducks and geese. Several species of hawks and sparrows also call our region home during our coldest months.   
Limit: 25
Cost: $30.00 for members, $40 for non-members. Register here Classroom: Thursday, January 18, 2018, 7:00-9:00PM
Location: Fairfax High School, 3501 Rebel Run, Fairfax, VA 22030
Field Trip: Saturday, January 20, 2018, 8:00 am to 12:00 noon. 
Location: Huntley Meadows Park, 3701 Lockheed Blvd, Alexandria, VA 22306
Instructor: Larry Meade is President of the Northern Virginia Bird Club, and a former Board member of the Virginia Society of Ornithology. He has served as a Sector Leader for a number of years for several of our local Christmas Bird Counts and is an avid nature photographer (http://uberlarry.smugmug.com/).

Audubon Afternoons

Beautiful Bhutan

Sunday, January 7, 2018 - 2:30 PM  5:00 PM

Bob Mumford will present Beautiful Bhutan with some of his excellent photos (mostly birds, but a few others as well) from his recent trip to this small Himalayan country with a “National Happiness Index.”  It sounds like quite a trip!  Birds included the Crimson Sunbird, Scarlet Minivet, Ward’s Trogon, Beautiful Nuthatch, and Black-necked Crane, and many others. (Bob's photo of a Crimson Sunbird is shown at above.)  

Bob Mumford became a fanatic birder after leaving the Navy and for about a dozen years chased rare birds all over North America.  His North American list exceeds 765.  He still travels widely and often, but is now content to capture the magic of wildlife and grandeur of landscapes in his photographic work. 

The event begins at 3 PM, but come at 2:30 for socializing and refreshments. It will be held at the National Wildlife Federation. Click here for a map and directions.

VDGIF Conservation Programs - Golden-winged Warbler and Loggerhead Shrike

Save the Date  - March 11, 2018

Want to know more about Golden-winged Warblers and Loggerhead Shrikes?  So does the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  Among their other responsibilities, DGIF  has an active and vibrant nongame bird conservation program.  Sergio Harding will be speaking to us about these programs, with a particular focus on research and conservation of Golden-winged Warbler and Loggerhead Shrike, two declining species of open, shrubby habitats. (Golden-winged Warbler photo by Robert Royce via Flickr.)

Sergio Harding has worked as a Nongame Bird Conservation Biologist with the Virginia DGIF since 2005.  In this capacity he is responsible for coordinating with other agencies on bird conservation issues, including coordination of the Virginia Bird Conservation Initiative (www.vabci.org).  Sergio is also the Virginia coordinator of the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), and regularly participates in avian surveys.  These have included breeding landbird surveys of Wildlife Management Areas as well as surveys of bald eagles, peregrine falcons, golden-winged warblers, loggerhead shrikes and breeding marsh birds. (Loggerhead-shrike photo by John Sutton via Flickr.)

Friends of Dyke Marsh Program

Evolution’s Subtle Signs in Marsh Wrens

The basic processes of evolution are happening in every generation in every species, but they are almost impossible to observe. They are typically slow and subtle.

On February 25, 2018, Dr. Sarah Luttrell will talk about her work on evolution and speciation in the marsh wren (Cistothorus palustris).  Dr. Luttrell studies how evolution works by studying subspecies of birds. She will examine how comparing multiple traits like plumage color, size and shape, vocal behavior and genetics in marsh wrens has revealed an exciting pattern of evolution in this bird.  Read More...


Living in the Anthropocene: Earth in the Age of Humans

Thursday, January 18, 2018, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford Street, Arlington, VA 22206
Interested in the unprecedented impacts humans are having on the natural world?  Please join Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE) for a free talk with the co-editor of “Living in the Anthropocene: Earth in the Age of Humans,” John Kress, curator of botany at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.  “We live in a world dominated by humans,” Elizabeth Kolbert states in the foreword.  Citing rapidly changing climate, reduced freshwater aquifers, disappearing forests, and record creature extinction rates, Kolbert asks what we should do with this knowledge.  “Living in the Anthropocene” presents 32 original essays, across many disciplines, to help answer this challenge.  John Kress co-edited this book with an Afterword by E.O. Wilson. ASNV is co-sponsoring this program.  More information can be found here.

Take Action

Speak Up on the State of Fairfax County’s Environment

On January 10, 2018, the Fairfax County Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC) will hold its annual public hearing at the Fairfax County Government Center, conference rooms 9 and 10, 7:30 p.m.    You can find EQAC’s annual report here: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/eqac/report2017/.  EQAC presented it to the Board of Supervisors on November 21.  The report covers these topics: land use, transportation; water; waste management; parks and ecological resources; climate and energy; air quality; wildlife management; technology.  Read more...

Speak Out before They Go to Richmond

Advocates can share their views and suggestions with state legislators before the legislators head to Richmond for the 2018 session of the General Assembly.  On January 6, 9 a.m., the Fairfax County delegation will hold a hearing at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax 22035.  The legislature will address, for example, climate change, land preservation, water quality, fisheries and more.  They need to know what issues their constituents care about. To sign up, click here.  

Speak Out in Richmond

The 2018 General Assembly will convene on January 11 and adjourn by the end of February. VCN will have a lobby day on January 22.  Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam will be inaugurated governor on January 13.  You can find key dates for the state legislature hereRead more...


Bulova Reception 

Fairfax County Chair Sharon Bulova invites everyone to her annual New Year Reception, January 10, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Fairfax County Government Center.

Bird Walks


Burke Lake, Fairfax, VA

Wednesday, January 10 - 8:30 to 11:00 AM

Surely the waterfowl have arrived in numbers and we can view them on the Lake and the woodland path that follows its shoreline.  Marc Ribaudo 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.

Silver Lake Regional Park, Haymarket, VA

Sunday, January 21 - 8:00 to 11:00 AM 

The quarry is a great place to find waterfowl in winter.  The woods and lake shore offer good habitat for other winter species, including resident red-headed woodpeckers. Toby Hardwick leads with Rick Purvis co-lead. Sponsored by ASNV.

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.

Royal Lake – Lakeside Park, Fairfax, VA

Wednesday, January 31 - 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM

One of our newer additions of places to bird. Join Lead Phil Silas and co-lead Jean Tatalias as we scout the lake and surrounding park trail. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From I-495 take exit to VA-620, Braddock Road going west and continue 2.36 miles. Turn left onto Rt 651 Guinea Road and continue 0.64 miles.  Stay straight at intersection with Commonwealth Blvd (do not turn left to follow Guinea Rd.)  Go 0.4 mile and turn left on Pommeroy Dr and then turn right at the intersection with Bronte Dr. to the entrance leading to the parking lot. 5216 Pommeroy Dr, Fairfax 22032.

Burke Lake, Fairfax, VA

Wednesday February 14 - 8:30 to 11:00 AM

Tom Nardone leads the walk at this popular winter birding trail through woods along the lake and past open territory as well to get a broad habitat range. Sponsored by 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.

Reston Lakes, Reston VA

Sunday, February 25 - 8:00 to 11:00 AM

Meet at Lake Newport and carpool or caravan to the other Reston lakes, looking for winter waterfowl.  Waterfowl are often the highlight of winter birding, when their variety is far greater than for our summer residents. Sponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.

Getting there:  From Route 7, go west on Baron Cameron Ave, and turn north on Village Rd. (opposite Lake Anne Village Center). Make an immediate right onto Brown’s Chapel Rd. and park by the ball field.  1575 Brown’s Chapel Road.

Huntley Meadows, Alexandria VA

Wednesday, February 28 - 8:30 to 11:00 AM

Huntley’s marshes and woodlands are great for birding any time of year.  Join leaders Tom Nardone and Dixie Sommers on this walk sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From I-195, take Route 1 south for 3 miles. Turn right on Lockheed Blvd. and in 0.5 miles turn left into park entrance.  3701 Lockheed Blvd. Meet in parking lot.

Recurring Bird Walks

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

Other News


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. 
1675 Reston Pkwy, Ste J, Reston, VA 20194. (703) 437-3335