June 2017

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In this Newsletter

  • President's Corner
  • ASNV Administrative Support
  • Attracting Birds With Water June Audubon Afternoon and Annual Membership Meeting
  • Deer and Native Plants
  • Annual Butterfly Count
  • About Cuba’s Birds --- did you know…
  • Take Action
  • Bird Walks
  • Recurring 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 for more details or to reserve your space.


General Surveys

Meadowood on Mason Neck (7:30AM - 12 PM) 

  • June 14
  • July 12

Occoquan Bay NWR  (7:30AM - 12 PM)

  • June 28
  • July 26

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys   (8:30 am-12:30 pm)

Butterfly & Dragonfly surveys will be starting up in April on Fridays, 8:30am-12:00pm.
  • Metz - June 2
  • Occoquan Regional Park - June 9
     (6:30am start for NVBS*)
  • Occoquan Bay NWR - June 16
    (6:00am start for NVBS*)
  • Meadowood Recreation Area -June 23
    (6:30am start for NVBS*)
  • Metz - June 30
*Earlier than usual start for the Northern Virginia Bird Survey; regular B&D survey will follow earlier NVBS. 
Any survey may be changed or canceled for weather, etc. up to an hour before the scheduled start.

Make a Difference!  Volunteer


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

So the Blackpoll Warblers have migrated through, and the mulberries have ripened and fallen; there has been a small flock of Cedar Waxwings around the neighborhood taking advantage of the bounty.  We have even had a little preview - a pre-echo, so to speak - of our Brood X 17-year cicadas this year, whirring and chirring, for our breeding birds to feast on.  Summertime, the birds must be thinking, and the living is easy!
Please join us on June 11 for our Audubon Afternoon, featuring Bob Schamerhorn, who will talk about “Attracting Birds with Water,” and about photographing them. 

We are partnering with Holbrook Travel again, this year for a trip to Cuba!  The trip will be in December, and is a great opportunity to travel and bird there.  Space is limited.

And a reminder that Bill Stott’s Ornithology Course starts in September.  If you have been wanting to learn more about birds and the natural world, this is your chance.  Two field trips to the Eastern Shore are included!

Have a good month.
Carl Kikuchi

ASNV Administrative Support

The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia is looking for someone to provide paid office and administrative support for about 8 hours per week.  In addition to QuickBooks support, will include support for the Audubon at Home program, as well as for workshops and other citizen science and conservation programs. 

Experience/familiarity with QuickBooks would be a real plus.   Experience with the usual office IT applications also very helpful.  Schedule is flexible.  Please contact us at info@audubonva.org.  

Attracting Birds With Water
June Audubon Afternoon and
Annual Membership Meeting

Sunday, June 11, 2017
2:30 pm – social time and silent auction
3:00  - 5:00 pm  - meeting and program

National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Dr.
Reston, VA 20190

Acclaimed nature photographer, Bob Schamerhorn, presents “Attracting Birds with Water" Please join us for this special program at our Annual Membership Meeting. We’ll also have a silent auction, refreshments and Birdathon awards. Read More..

Deer and Native Plants

Copied with Permission from Plant NOVA Natives campaign (http://www.plantnovanatives.org)

Although human use accounts for the greatest loss of our natural landscape in Northern Virginia, deer run a close second in the disappearance of vegetation, not only in natural areas, but in home landscapes as well. As deer populations continue to expand, woods are being stripped of the vegetation that other wildlife depend on. 

The most our local landscape can support is 15-20 deer per square mile, but much of Northern Virginia is suffering under the burden of 60-100 deer per square mile, a human-induced phenomenon. We need to help the rest of the living world to fight back!

Plant native plants! There are many NOVA natives that are relatively unpalatable to deer and that make a good choice in deer-ridden environments. The ones that are vulnerable to deer need our protection. Give them a place to grow! Read More...

Annual Butterfly Count

This year, the annual butterfly count will be held on Saturday, June 24. There will be a free workshop taught by Dr. Ries on Thursday, June 22 to help prepare for the count. Further details will be provided on the ASNV website in the near future.

About Cuba’s Birds --- did you know…

...that Cuba has 25 endemic bird species?  They range in size from the tiny Bee Hummingbird – the world’s smallest bird – to the Cuban Black Hawk. In between are colorful species such as the Cuban Tody and the Cuban Green Woodpecker.

You can see these special birds on ASNV’s trip to Cuba, December 6-15, 2017. We will visit Havana, Che’s Cave near San Diego de Los Banos, the Zapata Peninsula on the south coast where the Zapata Sparrow and Zapata Wren sing, as well as the north coast at Caya Coco where endemic Oriente Warbler and Cuban Vireo can be found.

Our trip is through Holbrook Travel, with details here

Photo: Cuban Green Woodpecker by Dixie Sommers

Take Action

Join Our Advocacy Team

If you would like to participate in the advocacy efforts of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, you may wish to attend the next ASNV advocacy meeting on June 28, 2017, 7 p.m., Mason District Government Center, 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22003.  Please contact Glenda Booth if you plan to attend.

To learn more about National Audubon’s advocacy work, visit www.audubon.org and sign into https://works.audubon.org.

June 13 Primaries

Elections are opportunities to elect conservation-minded officials. 

Both parties will hold a primary on June 13, 2017.  Voters will choose nominees for Governor, Lt. Governor and many members of the House of Delegates.  To learn more, including candidates who have filed, click here. Some localities have in-person, “absentee” voting before June 13.

Drones vs. Birds, Establishing Clear Policies

ASNV recently weighed in on Fairfax County’s work to establish criteria for flying recreational drones, model airplanes, quadcopters and other recreational flying devices in the county’s parks.  Park staffers are identifying potential sites in the county for these activities, at the direction of the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) Board.

Some people are concerned that the county will allow these activities in a grassy field known as the Laurel Hill/Barrett House site in the Lorton area.  Bobolinks and meadowlarks have been observed there this spring and both birds have suffered serious population declines in Northern Virginia.  In addition, there are few grasslands and meadows left in Northern Virginia, valuable habitat for these birds and their prey.


Speak Up on Parks

Turner Farm Park

The Fairfax County Park Authority will hold a meeting on June 27, 2017, on a master plan revision for Turner Farm Park in Great Falls, Virginia, 7 p.m., at the Great Falls Grange, 9818 Georgetown Pike, in Great Falls, Virginia.

FCPA’s press release says, “The Fairfax County Park Authority has started an update of the park’s master plan to help guide its future, and the agency would like to gather input on the plan from community residents. . .  Turner Farm Park offers a unique mix of educational and recreational facilities with horseback riding and jumping facilities, a celestial telescope and educational facilities, a playground for tots, trails and nature observation. There is also a reservable picnic pavilion/shelter. The peaceful and serene 52-acre park is located on the site of a former dairy farm at 925 Springvale Road.”

For more information, click here or contact the Public Information Office at 703-324-8662 or via Parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov. 

Franconia Park

FCPA will hold a meeting on June 29, 2017, on revising the master plan for Franconia District Park in Lee District.  Officials will present a concept plan based on community input at the Franconia Government Center Community Room at 7 p.m., 6121 Franconia Road, Alexandria (Fairfax County).

FCPA’s press release says, “Previous community meetings have addressed concerns about such planning issues as the number of athletic fields at the park, expanding parking, and the re-orienting of fields and other features. The park’s current master plan was approved in 1974 and has guided its uses and development for the last 40 years.

“Franconia District Park is located along the Capital Beltway, at 6432 Bowie Drive in Springfield, and has more than 62 acres of playing fields, garden plots, parking, trails, and forest.”
For more information, visit the project webpage or contact the Public Information Office at 703-324-8662 or via Parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov.” 

Governor McAuliffe Acts on Climate Change

On May 16, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced an initiative to cap greenhouse gas emissions in the state, directing the Department of Environmental Quality to develop regulations to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

He said, “Today, I am proud to take executive action to cut greenhouse gases and make Virginia a leader in the global clean energy economy.  The threat of climate change is real, and we have a shared responsibility to confront it. Once approved, this regulation will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the Commonwealth’s power plants and give rise to the next generation of energy jobs. As the federal government abdicates its role on this important issue, it is critical for states to fill the void. Beginning today, Virginia will lead the way to cut carbon and lean in on the clean energy future.”

He noted that half the state’s counties could face more risk of water shortages, that  Virginia’s coasts are experiencing sea level rise and that more storm surges and flooding could cost the state almost $100 billion for residential property alone.

Current House of Delegates Speaker William Howell (www.williamjhowell.org)  was quoted in the Washington Post saying that the governor’s order “is another deliberate attempt to circumvent the legislature and the will of Virginia voters.”

Auduboners may wish to raise this initiative with current members of and candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates and candidates for statewide offices.  See more.

Virginia Environmental Assembly

Save the date, September 22-23 for the Virginia Environmental Assembly, Jepson Alumni Executive Center, Fredericksburg.  Visit www.vcnva.org/assembly.

Bird Walks


Walker Nature Center/Snakeden Stream Valley, Reston, VA

Try to spot our local hawks, pileated woodpeckers, and common yellowthroats that use this stream-side habitat. Sponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.

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.

Sunday, June 11

7:30 to 10:30 am

Dyke Marsh, Alexandria, VA

Join Leader Larry Cartwright to check out breeding birds along the woodland trail and water’s edge at this terrific birding location. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From Alexandria, take GW Parkway south. Cross I-495; continue 1.2 miles to Belle Haven Park entrance on the left. Meet at the south parking lot. 6401 George Washington Memorial Parkway, Alexandria, 22307

Wednesday, June 14

8:30 to 11:00 AM

Manassas National Battlefield Park, Manassas VA

Meet leader Toby Hardwick to walk the Brawner Farm/Deep Cut area of the Battlefield. We’ll look for blue grosbeaks, indigo buntings, and yellow-breasted chats. Breeding bird behavior should be in full swing! Sponsored by ASNV.

Getting there: Travel west on I-66 to Exit 47B, Route 234 North (Sudley Road). Proceed past the turnoff to the visitor center and turn left on Route 29 (Lee Highway). At the west end of the park, turn right (north) on Pageland Lane. Look for the Brawner Farm Parking turnoff on the right.

Sunday, June 25

8:00 to 11:00 AM

Buttermilk Creek and Lake Fairfax, Reston, VA

We will be mostly in the woods, where it’s a bit cooler, but we’ll still have some meadow edges and a variety of bird habitats.

Getting there:  From the Dulles Toll Road West, exit north on Wiehle Avenue.  Go about 1.5 miles to the second entrance to N. Shore Drive on the right.  At the intersection of N Shore with Ring Road, turn into the parking lot for the swimming pool and tennis courts.  11032 Ring Road, Reston

Sunday July 9

7:30 to 10:30 AM

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

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...