March 2015

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In this Newsletter

  • President's Corner  
  • Audubon Afternoons
  • Birdathon 2015
  • Advocacy Update
  • Field Trips - Bird Walks
  • Classes Being Offered
  • 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

  • March 11
  • April 15

Occoquan Bay NWR

  • March 25
  • April 29

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys

The butterfly/dragonfly surveys will be starting up in April. The time is 8:30am - 12:00pm. The location and dates for April are:
  • Meadowood SRMA - April 3
  • Metz Wetlands - April 10
  • Occoquan Regional Park - April 17
  • Occoquan Bay NWR - April 24 

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

President's Corner

Cold weather or no, the Song Sparrows have started singing (have you noticed?), and that’s good enough for me – spring is underway!

And in the spring, as they say, a nature lover’s fancy turns to thoughts of–Birdathon!  Join us for this annual birding blitz–you and your team will try to identify as many bird species as possible, and raise some money for ASNV at the same time.  This year, we are looking for more participants in the 4 hour competition–beginners welcome–as well as the more traditional 24 hour category.  If you already have a team, terrific; if not, but you’d still like to participate, sign up here and we’ll find one for you.   Think of it as a great way to get in some birding.

Upcoming workshops include:  Magnificent Monarchs, Beginning Birding, Ethnobotany, Spring Warblers, Herps and Herping, and Ecological Landscaping.  More info here. Class sizes are limited, so sign up early.

Kudos, congratulations, and thanks to Bob Blakney, a stalwart in the Occoquan Bay Region wildlife surveys led by Jim Waggener.  Bob has put together a field guide to Northern Virginia Butterflies and Skippers based on these surveys; the book is available through Amazon, and proceeds go to ASNV in support of the surveys.

Have a good month!
Carl Kikuchi

Audubon Afternoons

Birding New Zealand


With Ray Smith


Sunday, March 22, 2015, 3-5 PM


National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive
Reston VA 20190

Join us for an afternoon Birding New Zealand! Ray and Anne Smith recently returned from a VENT birding trip to New Zealand that covered both of the main islands and many of the surrounding smaller islands. They found it so interesting and enjoyable that Ray has agreed to give us a talk about the experience.


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. Some Important Links

Advocacy Update


Update on the 2015 Virginia Legislature’s Actions

During the Virginia General Assembly’s 2015 session, several controversial bills addressing pet cats were considered. We sent our members two action alerts about bills that would legalize the practice of “trap, neuter and release” (TNR) and encourage feral cat colonies. These bills were bad for birds and cats because they essentially legitimized outdoor cat "colonies" and allowed people in so-called “community cats” programs to introduce free-roaming, non-native predators to the environment and release people of ownership. Under current law, this is considered to be abandonment of an animal and is a misdemeanor.

We are pleased to report that all the bills failed. Three bills failed in committee, but one Senate bill passed the full Senate. It then failed in a House of Delegates' subcommittee. Thanks to everyone who contacted their legislators about this important conservation issue. Your action helped!   Read more...

Speak Up for Conservation

Budgets reflect priorities. Where does conservation stand?  Local governments make decisions on many policies, for example, parks and the types of parks, land use, tree conservation, "pest" control, animal shelters, stormwater management, pollution and more. Read more...

How Did They Vote?

The League of Conservation Voters has issued a scorecard for federal elected officials, posted here. Read more...

Virginians will elect every member of the Virginia General Assembly on November 3 and many local governing boards as well.  To find out which offices will be on the ballot where you live, visit the Virginia Department of Elections website.  

Candidates will have to file to run for office by deadlines.  These campaigns offer Auduboners opportunities to advocate for conservation and to learn candidates' views.

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 and field birds along easy walking terrain. Leaders are Catherine Kubo and Ruth Schrott.  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.

Thursday, March 12

8:30 AM

Walker Nature Center/Snakeden Stream Valley, Reston, VA

Leader: 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


Lake Fairfax Park, Reston, VA

Bill Brown will lead this walk through the varied habitat of this expansive park.  Perhaps we’ll encounter signs of early spring.

Getting there: Take Route 7 west (or the Toll Road to Hunter Mill Rd north) and then take a left on Baron Cameron Ave.  Left on Lake Fairfax Drive to 1400.  Go past the water park and the visitor center, to the parking lot on the right.

Sunday, March 29

8:00 AM

Bles Park, Sterling, VA

We’ll take an easy, level walk through this park with wetlands and sections of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail and hope to find some early migrants. Jean Tatalias will lead. Co-sponsored by Northern Virginia Bird Club.
Getting there: From the intersection of VA Route 28 and VA Route 7, travel west on Rt. 7 for 1.3 miles and turn right onto Loudoun County Parkway. Turn right on George Washington Blvd., then left on Riverside Pkwy. Bles Park will be on your right at the end of Riverside Pkwy.

Wednesday, April 8

8:30 AM

Bright Pond, Reston, VA

This natural area in the midst of residential development is always a magnet for arriving songbirds.  Bill Brown leads. Walk sponsored by the Reston Association.

Getting there:  Take the Reston Parkway north from the Dulles Toll Road or from Baron Cameron Ave. Turn right on Bright Pond Lane and park around the cul-de-sac and along the street.

Sunday, April 12

7:30-10:30 AM


Wildflower Walk, Riverbend Park, Fairfax County VA

Enjoy the spectacle of spring wildflowers before they fade. Join Ruth Schrott for a leisurely stroll along the river to admire the bluebells and learn about the many beauties of this park.  

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 Visitor Center


Thursday, April 16

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM

Lake Newport/ Brown’s Chapel, Reston, VA

Bryan Peters likes this area for arriving spring migrants.  Join him for a walk along the lake and through the woods.  Walk sponsored by the Reston Association

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.


Sunday, April 26

7:30-10:30 AM

Daniels Run Park, Fairfax, VA

Close out April with a spring weekday walk through this wooded park, checking for migrants and woodland residents.  Leaders: Catherine Kubo and Dixie Sommers.  Co-sponsored by Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From the Capital Beltway, take US 50 W 2.7 mi to Fairfax Circle. Exit the circle SW on Old Lee Highway. In 1.2 mi, turn left on Old Post Rd (just past Historic Blenheim on the right). Drive 1 ½ blocks to the end of the street. We have a walk-day permission to park in the Country Club Hills pool parking lot. 3721 Tedrich Blvd, Fairfax, VA 22031


Thursday, April 30

8:30 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

Limit: 20 Act quickly. Trip is almost full!

Reservations Required

Fee: $20 Fee payable to ASNV for reservation to be final.

Friday May 29 through Sunday May 31

Fascinating Birds

On May 13, William Young will give a presentation titled "99 Reasons to be Fascinated by Birds," based on his book, The Fascination of Birds: from the Albatross to the Yellowthroat (Dover Publications, 2014). He will explore the connections between birds and subjects such as biology, ecology, literature, music, history, politics, economics, religion, geography, physics, chemistry, linguistics, the visual arts, the performing arts, sports and comedy.

This FODM quarterly meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Huntley Meadows Park Visitor Center and is cosponsored by the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and the Northern Virginia Bird Club.  If you use a GPS device to find the park, enter the park’s address, 3701 Lockheed Boulevard, Alexandria, VA 22306, not the park’s name.

Classes Being Offered


Magnificent Monarchs
Wednesday, April 1

Monarchs and their amazing migration to Mexico are in peril for many reasons. Learn about the monarch life cycle, migration, cycle, how you can attract them to your home garden or favorite public space, and how to raise them to send them on their fall journey. Resources for milkweed and garden design also included. Read more.

Beginning Birding
Class: April 15; Field Trip April 18

As a variety of spring birds return to our area, ASNV and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts will offer a Beginning Birding class. The program is designed for novice birders who want to learn how to observe, identify, and enjoy the fascinating birds of Northern Virginia. Parents are encouraged to bring children over the age of 10 to introduce them to a fun family outdoor activity. The first session of the class will introduce participants to the tools of birding -- including binoculars and field guides -- and the basics of bird identification. A field trip through the woods and meadows of Wolf Trap Park will allow everyone to practice their skills and observe a variety of birds. Read more.


April 16

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. Read more.

Spring Warblers
April 30

Brush up on these little beauties at the height of spring migration. Workshop will focus on both field marks and songs, with an emphasis on the species we are most likely to see, including both migrants passing through and birds that breed in our region. Jointly sponsored by ASNV and the Northern Virginia Bird Club. Read more.

Herps and Herping!
Class: May 5; Field Trip May 9

Northern Virginia has a rich and diverse population of reptiles and amphibians. Learn more about them in a workshop led by Mark Khosravi, high school science teacher and part time Instructor and Naturalist for Fairfax County Park Authority. The two part class will feature an evening lecture and hands on presentation on field herping and techniques. Students will be given the opportunity to see and handle live specimens. The Tuesday classroom session will be followed by a two hour Saturday field trip to Huntley Meadows Park. Read more.


Ecological Landscaping: Using Nature as Your Guide
Class Date: Tuesday May 12, 7:00 - 9:00 PM; Field Trip Date: Saturday May 16, 9:00 AM - Noon

Classroom: Participants will learn to apply ecological principles to creating backyard habitats and restoring ecosystems. Focus will be on looking not only at the needs of animals, but working with nature and using local ecosystems as examples for selecting species, building soils and providing natural structure.

This workshop is open to all. It is especially relevant for volunteer Audubon at Home Ambassadors, and will augment basic training for Virginia Master Naturalists and Master Gardeners and qualifies for advanced training hours. Read more.

Other News

Huntley Meadows, Alexandria, VA

March 8, 15, 22

Ever heard American woodcocks calling at dusk and seen their amazing aerial displays?  Fairfax County offers a number of evening walks for adults and families to find these wonderful birds.  Registration and small fee required.

Registration here.

DC Environmental Film Festival

March 17 - 29

The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital, March 17-29, is the largest and longest-running environmental film festival in the country and the largest film festival in Washington, D.C. The 23rd annual Festival presents over 160 films selected to provide fresh perspectives on a wide variety of environmental issues facing our planet. More information here.

Native Seedling Sale Announced for 2015

Order by Monday, April 22, or until supplies run out. Orders may be picked up on Friday, May 1, 2015 from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., or Saturday, May 2, 2015 9:00 a.m.-noon.

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...

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