March 2016

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In this Newsletter

  • President's Corner
  • New Website
  • Birdathon 2016
  • Audubon Afternoon
  • Classes
  • Take Action
  • Birdwalks and Field Trips
  • 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

  • March 16
  • April 13

Occoquan Bay NWR

  • March 30
  • April 27

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys

  • Metz Wetlands - April 1
  • Occoquan Regional Park - April 8
  • Occoquan Bay NWR - April 15
  • Meadowood SRMA - April 22
  • Metz Wetlands - April 29

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 the ASNV office.

President's Corner

Take a look at our brand new website!  (You can use the same url, but you might have to hit refresh.)  Really an eye-popping difference!  And huge thank yous to Sam Schaen, Joanne Bauer, Barbara Tuset, and Laura McDonald, who have put in a tremendous amount of work on this over many months. (See the article below for more details on the website.)

MOM’s Organic Markets has agreed to sponsor/partner with our Audubon at Home program over the coming year.  We’re looking forward to working with them, and on some of their programs, such as the Save the Dandelions campaign coming up in March.  For more details, contact Barbara Tuset, Audubon at Home coordinator here.

Remember our upcoming Audubon Afternoon, this coming Sunday, March 6.  Amy Johnson will be speaking to us about the Virginia Working Landscapes project (VWL), a conservation initiative convened by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal.  We should all be interested in how birds and people can best live together, and the VWL project addresses an important part of that problem, particularly for grassland birds like meadowlarks and bobolinks.  Should be a very informative talk.

Spaces still available in Alonso Abugattas’s upcoming Ethnobotany of Flowers workshop, on April 7.  More information available on our (new!) website here.

And don’t miss upcoming opportunities to see The Messenger, a critically acclaimed documentary film about the decline of songbirds, and about people who are helping to turn the tide.  More info on our (new!) website here.

Have a good month. 

Carl Kikuchi

New Website

At the beginning of this month, ASNV launched its new website! The new website is filled with many new photographs and has a sleek, modern appearance. It is also designed to be mobile-device friendly. We decided to use this new format after attending a presentation on websites at the 2015 National Audubon Convention.

The main menu is at the top of every page. On phones and tablets a menu icon appears in the upper right corner. You will note that we've changed "Advocacy" to "Take Action" to include the broader scope implied by the new title.

Most pages also have a sub-menu on the left side that provides access to additional pages within the main topic. On the home page you will find highlights of news items, classes, current conservation issues, and upcoming bird walks and field trips. Note the arrows for flipping through the highlights in each topic and the links to more information.

We hope you enjoy the new website and find it easier to use. Please visit often. As always, we encourage you to send any comments and suggestions you may have through our contact form.

Birdathon 2016

April 22 - May 15

Spring is on its way, and so is Birdathon! It’s time to organize your teams and sign up for our annual spring migration birding competition. The concept is simple: Participants can bird in teams of two to five. Team members then make their own donations or secure pledges from friends, family members, colleagues, neighborhood merchants, etc. Then, during any 24-hour period between April 22 and May 15, teams search Northern Virginia to see how many bird species they can identify. We’re also working on putting together a “Big Sit” Birdathon, which everyone will be invited to attend; more to come! As in the past, we will be awarding prizes to members of the team that raises the most money and to the team that identifies the most species.

Audubon Afternoon

Virginia Working Landscapes:
Connecting Communities for Grassland Bird Conservation and Research


Sunday, March 6, 2016, 3:00 – 5:00 pm


National  Wildlife Federation Building
11100 Wildlife Center Dr.
Reston, VA 20190

Amy JohnsonJoin us for Amy Johnson’s presentation, “Virginia Working Landscapes: Connecting communities for grassland bird conservation and research” that will focus on her research and the excellent work being done by VWL.
North America’s grassland birds have declined more so than any other guild of bird species.  With more than 80% of remaining grassland habitat on private lands, it is essential that conservation research address how private land management influences grassland-dependent species.  Read more→



Ethnobotany of Flowers
Class: April 7; Field Trip: April 9

Join us for an introduction to Ethnobotany, the intersection of the study of people and plants, with instructor Alonso Abugattas. 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→

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. Read more→


Spring Warblers

Class: May 12,Field Trip: May 14

Just in time for 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.  Instructor is President of the Northern Virginia Bird Club, and a former Board member of the Virginia Society of Ornithology. Read more→

Take Action


Redirect Cankerworm Funds to Forest Health

ASNV is urging the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to redirect funds the county has been using to spray and kill the native fall cankerworm in the spring to improving the county’s forest health and expanding the tree canopy. Read More→

Get Conservation into Local Budgets

Most area local governments are now considering their budgets for the coming fiscal year.  Budget time offers opportunities for ASNVers to advocate for more parks and conservation. Read More→

General Assembly to Finish Soon

The Virginia General Assembly is expected to complete the current session on March 12.  Almost 3,000 bills were introduced.  Many bills will be considered before they finish and sent to Governor McAuliffe for his signature or veto.  The legislature will have a veto session in April, usually only one day. Read More→

Arlington Parks

Arlington is updating its Public Spaces Master Plan, which includes parks.  ASNVer Katherine Wychulis spoke at a public meeting on February 6 and urged Arlington take stronger steps to preserve and restore natural resources.  To get involved, click here . Read More→


Fairfax County Parks

You can learn all about Fairfax County’s parks by reading the 2015 annual report. The Park Authority’s press release says that “Highlights include the expanded Water Mine water park at Lake Fairfax, the opening of Sully Highlands Park, improvements at Clemyjontri Park in McLean, and award-winning expansions at the Spring Hill and Oak Marr RECenters. Read More→


Virginia Will Move Ahead on the Clean Power Plan

The U.S. Supreme Court on February 9, on a five to four vote, has “thrown a wrinkle” into the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, designed to address climate change.  Media reports describe the court’s action as “putting it on hold.”  Twenty-seven states and others asked the court to block the president’s plan. Virginia was not one of the 27 states.  The legal challenge continues. Read More→


Talk to Electeds and Candidates

Keep your eye out for town meetings that state legislators may hold as follow-up to the 2016 General Assembly session. Read More→


Who's My Legislator?

To find your state legislators, click here.   You may also call the Virginia General Assembly's constituent viewpoint comment line toll-free at 1-800-889-0229 or 804- 698-1990.  For more information, click here.  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→

Birdwalks and Field Trips


Algonkian Regional Park, Sterling, VA

We can scope the river for waterfowl and walk the trails which border a rich habitat of fields and woods.  Bill Brown leads for ASNV.

Getting there:  Take Dulles Access Toll Road West, then exit to North on Fairfax County Parkway which then becomes Algonkian Parkway. Turn right on Cascades Parkway and follow straight on Fairway Drive into the park. After Volcano Island Drive and Park Chalet Place, turn left and meet at the Boat Ramp. Park address is 47001 Fairway Drive, Sterling, 20165.  

Sunday, March 6

8:00 AM

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

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 March 12 and Saturday March 26

Registration and fee required.

Walker Nature Center and Snakeden Stream Valley, Reston, VA

The Nature Center trails offer woods and stream beds for our resident hawks and passerines.  Jean Tatalias leads. Sponsored by the Bird Feeder of Reston and the Reston Association.

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, March 20

7:30 to 10:30

Bles Park, Sterling, VA

We’ll try to catch a variety of sparrows, woodpeckers, and the last of our wintering birds  (and maybe some spring arrivals!) before those pesky leaves get in our way!  Jean Tatalias leads.  Sponsored by the 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, March 30

8:30 AM

Lake Newport/ Brown’s Chapel, Reston, VA

Let’s see what the lake shore and woods of this lovely park area have to offer us for the spring.  Bill Brown leads.  Sponsored by the Bird Feeder of Reston and 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 3

7:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park, Bristow, VA

Fields and wood edge make this a park home to meadowlarks and sparrows, while the migrants stop by to rest and refuel.  Phil Silas leads.  Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From  I-66, take Rte 234 south (exit 44). Travel 4.5 miles and turn right onto Rte 28 (Nokesville Rd). Travel 1.5 and turn left onto Rte 619 (Bristow Rd). Travel 0.25 mile and turn right onto Iron Brigade Unit Ave.  The parking lot is located on the left at the traffic circle. 10708 Bristow Rd, Bristow VA 20136.

Wednesday, April 13
8:30 AM

Bright Pond, Reston, VA

Reston’s woods and ponds offer most enjoyable birding in the Spring and we look for this Sunday to be no exception.  Matt Bender leads. Sponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.

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 17
7:30 to 10:30

Wildflower Walk at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, VA

The ephemeral wildflowers of spring are the highlight of this walk. They can be great splashes of color or demure gems almost hidden on the forest floor. And they appear for such a short time, you don’t want to miss this opportunity.  Ruth Schrott leads for ASNV.

Getting there:  Take Georgetown Pike (Rte 193) to Riverbend Road (Rte 603).  In 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.  8700 Potomac Hills St, Great Falls, 22066. Meet at the visitor center. 

Wednesday April 20
1:30 PM

Daniels Run Park, Fairfax, VA

This woodland, creek-bed park provides a fun and easy walk, with promises of shrub and treetop birds.  Catherine Kubo leads.  Sponsored by the 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. 3622 Old Post Rd, Fairfax, VA 22030

Wednesday, April 27
8:30 AM

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens,  Vienna, VA

The wooded areas and field edges of the Gardens provide some great opportunities to catch spring migrants as well as local residents. Join leader Ray Smith for birding this beautiful location. Entrance fees apply: $5.00 general and $2.50 senior.

Getting there: The gardens are located off  Beulah Road, between Route 7 and Route 123, south of the Dulles Access Road. From the Beltway, take Route 7 toward Tysons Corner. Drive 4.5 miles west on Route 7, turn left onto Beulah Road and drive 2.5 miles to the gardens entrance on the right. Meet in the Visitors Center.

Sunday May 1
7:30 AM 

Entrance fees apply.

Riverbend Park (Nature Center), Fairfax County, VA

Riverbend is always a productive birding area. We’ll look for spring migrants in meadowland and wood edges.  Ray Smith leads for ASNV.

Getting there:  Take Georgetown Pike (Rte 193) to Riverbend Road (Rte 603). In 2 miles turn right on Jeffery Road and go 1.5 miles to Nature Center parking area (Don’t turn right at main park entrance sign). 8700 Potomac Hills St, Great Falls, 22066.  

Saturday May 7
7:30 AM

Great Dismal Swamp and Piney Grove Field Trip

Prothonotary WarblerOn this spring trip to southern Virginia, we will bird at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, great for spring warblers and one of the few locations in Virginia for Swainson’s Warbler. We will also visit Piney Grove Preserve, where the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker is at the northern-most part of its range.

Cost: $45 for ASNV Members; $55 for non-members

Sign up.     Read More→

Friday May 6 -
Sunday May 8

And many more to come in May!  Clean your binoculars and check back in April!


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. 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→

An Opportunity to See the Messenger

We have two local opportunities to see the critically acclaimed documentary, The Messenger, a film that artfully investigates why songbirds are suffering mass depletion and the compassionate people working to save them. The film takes viewers on a stunning, emotional journey, revealing how the issues facing birds also pose daunting implications for our planet and ourselves. Read More→