March 2017

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In this Newsletter

  • President's Corner
  • Audubon Afternoon Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer
  • Take a Walk on the Wild(flower) Side
  • Bring on the Birdathon!
  • Report from our 2016 Hog Island Teacher, Morgan Ochuizzo Take Action
  • Birdwalks and Field Trips
  • 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) 

  • March 15
  • April 12

Occoquan Bay NWR  (7:30AM - 12 PM)

  • March 29
  • April 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 - April 7
  • Occoquan Regional Park - April 14
  • Occoquan Bay NWR - April 21
  • Meadowood Recreation Area - April 28

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

Many of us – most of us, I like to think - are nature lovers.   From the birds we watch at our backyard feeders, to the wildflowers of our parks (Virginia bluebells already up!) and the trees of our woods, to our streams and rivers and vernal pools, the natural world nourishes and renews us.  It’s a wonderful time of year to be outside. 

And as we make that connection again, it’s a good time to remind ourselves that this blue world is the only one we have, and that we are utterly dependent on it for the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat.  It’s easy to lose sight of that, with the veneer of human technology and development wrapped around us, but we cannot forget it.  It isn’t optional.  It is the very basis of our well-being. 

We need to do everything we can to protect it, and that means that we need to act.  We can act in our own yards and neighborhoods by protecting and restoring habitat.  And there are critical issues on a larger scale already coming into focus, including threats to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the destruction of environmental protections, as well as a wholesale disregard for the fact of climate change. 

We need to pay attention, and we need to make our voices heard.  You can learn more about current issues at our website including a tool to obtain contact information for your own representatives at the federal and state levels.  I urge you to contact them as these issues arise; I urge you to be engaged. 

Some quick reminders – Birdathon begins April 21!  We’d like to get more teams out there this year.  More information can be found here.

Have a good month.
Carl Kikuchi

Audubon Afternoon
Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer

Sunday, March 12, 2017
3:00 - 5:00 pm
National Wildlife Federation Blg.
11100 Wildlife Center Drive
Reston, VA 20190


Pete Marra has written more than 175 scientific publications, is the coeditor of Birds of Two Worlds and directs the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. His Audubon Afternoon talk is based on extensive research into the consequences of free-roaming domestic cats on bird populations as documented in his most recent book, “Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer” co-authored by Chris Santella.  Read more...


Take a Walk on the Wild(flower) Side

Spring is a fantastic time to view wildflower ephemerals—those blooms that come briefly and then disappear for the rest of the year.  Maybe you have seen the gorgeous bluebells at Riverside or the Dutchman’s breeches at Scotts Run?  Why not join a park walk to enjoy these beautiful displays as well as other demure wildflowers of our local woodlands. There are four Fairfax County park walks at Scotts Run and three at Riverbend this Spring from March 29 through April 18.  And there’s a Lake Accotink walk on April 22.  There are small charges for each of these.  You can find them and register by searching “wildflowers” on Parktakes .

Bring on the Birdathon!

Spring is for the birds!  Are you looking for a fun way to jazz up your spring birding?  Look no further than the ASNV Birdathon.  Get together two to five of your best birding buddies and set off into northern Virginia to identify as many species as possible in 24 hours!  This event gives you the unique opportunity to have fun birding, compete with other teams, and to raise money for the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia.  Sponsors can pledge per bird, or a set amount of money.  All pledges help support programs such as the Northern Virginia Bird Survey, Audubon at Home, Educational workshops, and much more.
This year we will have prizes available for the team that raises the most money, and the team that identifies the most species of birds.  We have also expanded our date range to allow teams to select the best 24 hour timeframe that works for them between Friday April 21st and Sunday May 21st.  That opens up a full month of time to get out and bird!  To find out how to register your team, or make a pledge to support a team, visit the birdathon page on our website at www.audubonva.org/birdathon .

Report from our 2016 Hog Island Teacher, Morgan Ochuizzo

Below are some things that will help you understand what we are doing at CES.
I have taken my knowledge gained on Hog Island and applied this in a leadership capacity at Centreville this year. I work directly with a group of students as part of our Green Team. The students have worked to find funding for three more bluebird boxes to add to our current bluebird trail.

We have also hooked up a video link so that we now have a live streaming camera in one of our current boxes. The students worked together to write a grant for a bird sound board that would be placed along the bluebird trail. We are in the process of creating kid "TED talks" on the types of birds in our area.
Hog Island has helped me appreciate the power of nature and it's inner connectedness to all subject areas. The trip has taught me to stop, look up and listen. I express this to the students I reach on a weekly basis and the teachers I support in my building.
(The first grade team who hoped to have birding lessons had two(!) teachers hurt at school and now out on disability.- Mary McLean

Take Action

Virginia General Assembly Meets on April 5

On April 5, the Virginia General Assembly will reconvene to consider Governor Terry McAuliffe’s vetoes and amendments to bills that the legislature passed.  Auduboners can weigh in to the Governor now and with state legislators before April 5.  To find your state legislators, click on “Who’s my legislator?”at  http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/.  To learn more, contact the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, www.valcv.org.  One bill the governor is considering addresses coal ash storage and disposal; another gives the city of Alexandria a deadline to stop sending raw sewage into the Potomac River.

Local Governments’ FY 2018 Budgets

Local governments are now preparing budgets and holding public hearings on their proposed 2018 budgets.  Conservation measures are in tough competition with many other needs.  Auduboners can speak up for parks, natural resources and more environmentally-sensitive policies and practices.  Check out your local government’s website for details.

Fairfax County, for example, is having public hearings on these dates at the Fairfax County Government Center:  April 4, 4 p.m.; April 5, 1 p.m.; and April 6, 1 p.m.

National Park Service Tree Cutting

Contractors for the George Washington Memorial Parkway of the National Park Service have been cutting trees along the parkway in the past few months, which has aroused concerns among many people.  GWMP officials say that they are removing trees that present a public hazard.  Read More...

Fairfax County’s Environmental Vision

Fairfax County is updating its “environmental vision” and seeks public input until March 6.  The following is from Kambiz Agazi, Environmental Coordinator:  Read More...

What Kind of Parks Do You Want?

The Fairfax County Park Authority is developing a master plan for the entire park system.  For information and to sign up for updates, visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/plandev/fcpa-mp.htm. This is a good opportunity to make the case for more conservation, more native habitat, more nature centers and more natural resource parks.

March for Science

March for Science, safeguard apolitical, unbiased science, the underpinning of sound policy.  Read More  

Birdwalks and Field Trips  

Silver Lake Regional Park, Haymarket, VA
Join us to check out the quarry for ducks and grebes and walk the meadows and woods’ edge checking for flocks of our smaller winter residents. Led by Toby Hardwick and Jean Tatalias.  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.
Saturday, March 4
8:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Dyke Marsh, Alexandria, VA
Dixie Sommers leads this walk to scope the waterfowl on the river and check out Haul Road for sparrows, kinglets, woodpeckers, and eagles. Sponsored by 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, March 15
8:30 to 11:30 am
Sunrise Valley Wetlands and Polo Field, Reston, VA
Come check the pond in the wetlands and the polo field thickets for a variety of species. Sponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.

Getting there: From the Dulles Toll Road, go south on Fairfax County Parkway.  Turn right (west) on Sunrise Valley Drive.  Just beyond the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride, turn into 12700 Sunrise Valley.  Park on the west (left) side of the building.
Sunday, March 19
7:30 to 10:30 am
Mason Neck State Park, Lorton, VA
Larry Cartwright leads this walk to check out lingering waterfowl and early spring migrants. Ospreys and eagles should be nesting by then, bluebirds investigating nest boxes, and Eastern Phoebes just arriving. Sponsored by ASNV.

Getting there: From I-495, take I-95 South 7 miles to Lorton exit. Go left (east) on Route 642 to Route 1. Go right (south) on Rte. 1 and then left (east) on Gunston Rd, Rte. 242. In 4 miles, turn right into Mason Neck Management Area. We’ll meet at 8:00 at the Woodmarsh Trail Parking Lot, on the left side of the road, and then carpool into the state park. 
Sunday, March 26
8:00 to 11:30 am
State Park fee area;
$5 per car
Bring state park pass if you have one.
Eakin Park, Fairfax, VA
Elizabeth Fenton and Tom Nardone lead the walk through this park along the Accotink Creek and woods. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there:  From Route 50 outside the beltway, take Prosperity Avenue South one mile to the entrance to the parking lot on the left (east) side. 3401 Prosperity Ave, 22031.
Wednesday, March 29
8:30 to 11:00 am
Lower Glade Stream Valley, Reston, VA
This walk follows one of the great paved paths through Reston woodland along the creek where bird activity in Spring can be lively and varied. Sponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.

Getting there:  From I-66 west, take exit 60 to go north on Rte 123.  Turn left on Hunters Mill Road/ Route 674.  Turn left on Lawyers Road, Route 673.  Turn right on Twin Branches Road.  Park near intersection with Glade Drive and meet leader at the corner.
Sunday, April 9
7:30 to 10:30
Twin Branches Trail, Reston, VA
Don’t miss spring migration!  Join the walk and watch for the birds making their way back to Spring breeding grounds. Sponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.

Getting there:  From I-66 west, to exit 60 to go north on Rte 123.  Turn left on Hunters Mill Road/ Route 674.  Turn left on Lawyers Road, Route 673.  Turn right on Twin Branches Road.  Park along Glade Drive near the intersection with Twin Branches.  Meet at the corner.
Sunday, April 23
7:30 to 10:30 am
Bles Park, Sterling, VA
Mid-week walks can be great fun.  Bles is good for both migrants and residents. 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, April 26
8:30 to 11:30 am
Meadowood Recreation Area, Lorton, VA
Virginia’s Mason Neck peninsula incorporates a number of great birding sites as part of the Important Bird Area supported by Audubon. Dixie Sommers leads this walk that offers great field edges and a range of habitats. Sponsored by ASNV.

Getting there: Go South on I 95 to exit 163 to Lorton. Turn left onto Lorton Rd at the end of exit ramp. Go under second overpass and turn right onto Lorton Market St. (You will soon pass Shoppers Food Warehouse). Go about 1.5 miles to traffic light at Rte. 1. Go straight through light (road name changes to Gunston Rd) and go about 1 mile to entrance on the right.
Sunday, April 30
8:00  to 11:30 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→