July 2013
In This Issue
Message from the President
Wolf Trap Bird Inventory
Field Trips - Bird Walks
Wolf Trap Bird Inventory
Advocacy Update
Other News

Upcoming Event

July 12-16: National Audubon Society National Convention 

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
  • July 31
  • August 28         
Meadowood on Mason Neck 
  • July 17
  • August 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.)
  • July 12 - Occoquan Bay NWR
  • July 19 - Meadowood
  • July 26 - Metz Wetlands
  • August 2 - Occoquan Regional Park

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.
Message from the President
Dear Members, Partners, Friends


Here's hoping you are enjoying the summer season and all its prospects for getting outdoors!  The summer months find people scattering near and far for vacations and other activities.  As a result, the ASNV board of directors will not be gathering again until September.  In that month, we also expect to have a quarterly general meeting with a professor from George Mason University who has done some interesting research on birds.  In the interim, field trips will continue, along with our on-going counts and surveys, including the new bird survey ASNV has taken on at Wolf Trap park, with Carol Hadlock's leadership, at the request of the National Park Service.


In mid-June we enjoyed a fascinating workshop and field trip with Alonso Abugattas, chief natural resources manager for Arlington County, on the subject of the wildlife habitat value of native plants.  Alonso's presentation is reminiscent of Douglas Tallamy in explaining the vital connections in our natural ecosystems between native plants and the birds and other wildlife that co-evolved together.  Alonso is willing to present this workshop again in the future, and we intend to take him up on that.


These ecological links continue to drive our Audubon at Home program and its dedicated volunteers.  Kudos to Leslie Paulsen, our program coordinator in Prince William County.  She has been a Virginia Master Gardener and Land Steward since 2004 and has volunteered literally thousands of hours since then with the Master Gardeners of Prince William.  In spite of (or because of) that, she took on the principal leadership role for our wildlife sanctuary certification program in PW and has committed several hundred volunteer hours this year and last recruiting volunteers, setting up a training program, and giving talks to organizations inquiring about the program.  Again, we couldn't do it without her!  Thanks to Leslie, and to all our supporters, ASNV is clearly making a difference in Northern Virginia.


Terrence Liercke, President
Save the Date
Audubon Afternoon:  Bird Song
and Background Noise Levels
Sunday, September 29, 2013

Join us for a fascinating glimpse into some current bird song research.  


Birds sing to communicate with potential mates and territorial rivals. Background noise, from natural and human caused sources, is ubiquitous in all environments and can present challenges for effective acoustic communication. Dr. David Luther, an ornithologist at George Mason University, will talk to us about his research examining how bird songs have evolved to stand out in the presence of loud background noise, such as the cacophony of birds singing in the dawn chorus in the Amazon rainforest, or the "noise pollution" of urban rush hour traffic.   He will discuss current studies at field sites from here inside the Beltway, to San Francisco, to the Amazon basin.  


Dr. Luther coordinates and teaches introductory biology for non-majors at GMU. He also maintains an active research program in the fields of animal behavior, ecology, and conservation biology. His current research focuses on the ecology and evolution of acoustic communication in birds as well as the ecology, evolution, and conservation of terrestrial vertebrates that are endemic to mangrove forests.

Field Trips - Bird Walks

Upper Snakeden Stream Valley, Reston

Sunday, July 14, 7:30-10:30 AM

Explore a different section of this stream valley with Jenny Vick, who calls this her backyard. The path is asphalt; there are lots of trees for shade on a hot summer morning. This will be a good opportunity to practice birding by ear. Meet in front of the Reston Community Center in Hunter's Woods. There is plenty of parking in the Hunters Woods Shopping Center lot.

Getting there: The shopping center is along Colt's Neck Road, between South Lakes Drive and Glade Drive in Reston. The Community Center is near the back of the center.


Family Birdwalk at Lake Fairfax

Saturday, July 20, 8:00-10:00 AM

This month's family birdwalk will take place at Lake Fairfax. We look for Swallows, Kingfishers, and Herons feeding at the lake. If we're really lucky, we might even see an Osprey fishing. We will hike through the woods a bit to see what other summer birds we can find. The walk is geared to families with children aged 10 and older. Bring binoculars and curiosity.

Getting there: Meet in the parking lot near the Lake Fairfax visitor center. From Baron Cameron Ave. (Rt. 606) in Reston, turn on Lake Fairfax Drive and proceed to the park.  


The Lost Art of Birding by Ear

We often hear many more birds than we see.  Hidden in dense foliage or brush, their songs tease us.  If only we could identify their songs!  But, for most of us, learning bird songs is difficult.  Until now.
This workshop will concentrate on teaching you to identify some of our winter resident birds by their vocalizations. Dr. Larry Underwood, author of the iKnow Bird Songs app, will help you learn to tell the Northern Flicker from the Pileated Woodpecker, the House Finch from the Purple Finch, just by listening. We'll also explore specific techniques that make learning bird songs possible, easy, and downright fun.  Limit 25.

Members: $25.00   Non-Members: $35.00

Location: Fairfax High School, Room A139, 3501 Rebel Run, Fairfax, VA 22030     

Classroom: Thursday, November 7, 2013, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Field Trip: Saturday, November 9, 2013, 8:00 am to 11:00 am

Instructor:  Dr. Larry Underwood, is a PhD biologist

with experience as a professor, field biologist, author, and birder. His credentials include 30+ years as a professor of biology at the University of Alaska, George Mason University, and Northern Virginia Community College.  His research interests focused on arctic ecology and cold adaptation.  He is a life-long birder who has been trying to learn bird songs for more years than he cares to count.

Sign up: Information about signing up for this class can be found on the ASNV Website

Advocacy Update
Conservation Depends On You

Become an Advocate


The Virginia Conservation Network will hold an advocacy training workshop on July 11, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Conference Center, 4301 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22203 near the Ballston Metro Stop. You can learn all about how to influence public policy. Among other topics, speakers will discuss energy efficiency. More information about the workshop and registration information can be found here


Fairfax County Parks, Natural Resources Plan


ASNV submitted comments to the Fairfax County Park Authority urging that FCPA strengthen the parks natural resources plan, and especially to create more natural resource parks, plant more native plants and put more emphasis on restoration of degraded areas. ASNV also advocated for more connectivity, more conservation corridors in the county.


Weigh in on Parks All Around


The Fairfax County Park Authority has begun the master planning revision process for Franconia Park and will hold a public meeting on July 16, 2013, 7 p.m., Key Middle School, 6402 Franconia Road in Springfield, VA. Franconia Park is located at 6432 Bowie Drive and was last master planned in 1974. The park has 62 acres featuring a wide array of activities including ball fields, garden plots, parking, trails and forested areas. Materials can be located at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/plandev/franconia.htm . You can send comments to parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov. For more information, contact the Public Information Office at 703-324-8662. Read more...


Obama Announces Climate Change Plan


President Barack Obama has announced a major initiative to address climate change by curtailing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet at unsustainable rates.  Read more...


Virginia Will Elect Leaders  

Virginians this year will elect a governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general and all members of the House of Delegates.   Campaigns are opportunities for advocates to educate candidates on conservation issues and influence their positions and future actions, if elected.  Visit the Virginia Board of Elections to find out who is running in your area.

Other News
Climate Change Is Harming Migratory Birds

A June study from the National Wildlife Federation reported that climate change is the most serious threat to America's migratory birds this century and urgent action is needed at all levels to preserve them and their habitats. The report, titled Shifting Skies: Confronting the Climate Crisis, presents evidence that climate change is altering and destroying habitats that could lead to a decline in some bird populations and even some extinctions if action is not taken to curb greenhouse gas pollution. Read more... 


Vote for Mason Neck State Park


Mason Neck State Park is gaining national attention and more bald eagles every year. This year, they are neck and neck in the Coca Cola contest of favorite state parks in the U.S. for first place, with first prize being a $100,000 grant. The park has five bald eagle nests this year. This is the only state park in northern Virginia in contention.   Vote here.



Help Save Dyke Marsh

The Friends of Dyke Marsh are trying to get 1,000 signers on an online petition to save Dyke Marsh, which is disappearing at the rate of 1.5 to 2 acres per year because it was fundamentally undermined by dredging.


Please take a minute to sign it here.

CSI: Plants 
November 13, 7:30 p.m. 
Huntley Meadows Park Visitor Center

Plants have been used in criminal investigations for hundreds of years. Plants help solve crimes through seeds, pollen or other plant material found at crime scenes or on suspects' clothing, plant toxin analysis, DNA sequencing and more. Presented by Steven B. Carroll, Director of Public Programs, Arboretum of Virginia and Blandy Experimental Farm, University of Virginia. 7:30 PM, Huntley Meadows Park Visitor Center. Visit www.fodm.org for more information