March 2018

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In This Newsletter

  • President's Corner
  • ASNV Launches Grant Programs
  • Audubon At Home Awarded $7500 Burke Grant
  • National Audubon Society Grant Helps Dyke Marsh
  • Delaware Bay Weekend Fieldtrip
  • Save the Date: Great Dismal Swamp and Piney Grove Field Trip, May 4- 6, 2018
  • AAH Ambassador Brunch
  • Upcoming Classes
  • Take Action
  • Bird Walks
  • Recurring Bird Walks
  • Other News


Conservation Counts

Join Jim Waggener in his ongoing natural resource 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. From April through October, surveys are conducted primarily for butterflies and dragonflies at those two locations and two others—Occoquan Regional Park and Julie J. Metz Memorial Wetlands Preserve.

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.

Meadowood on Mason Neck 

(7:30 AM - 12:00 PM)
  • March 14
  • April 11

Occoquan Bay NWR 

(7:30 AM - 12:00 PM)
  • March 28
  • April 25

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys 

(8:30 AM - 12:30 PM)
  • April 6 - Occoquan Regional Park
  • April 13 - Occoquan Bay
  • April 20 - Meadowood
  • April 27 - Metz Wetlands

Make a Difference!  
Speak up!


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

Song Sparrows are singing; the buds on the sweetgum outside my window are getting fat.  No wonder our spirits rise in the spring (along with, of course, the flicker at sunrise banging on the chimney cap.) 
ASNV has been getting some upbeat news recently too.  Through the hard work of Dixie Sommers and Glenda Booth, we were awarded a collaborative grant from National Audubon for purchase of native plants for restoration of a demonstration acre in Dyke Marsh; we are collaborating with the Friends of Dyke Marsh on this project.  Read more...

And Robin Duska and Barbara Tuset have been successful in obtaining a National Audubon Plants for Birds Burke Grant to boost outreach to faith communities in Northern Virginia.  This will be an Audubon at Home project in collaboration with the Plant NOVA Natives campaign led by Margaret Fisher.  The key word in both of these is “collaboration” – the best way to accomplish our goals is by working with other like-minded organizations in our region, and these are good examples. 

We are very pleased that we will be awarding two scholarships to the Hog Island Educators Week program this year.  We had a very successful Annual Appeal campaign this year, and your Board decided that offering a second scholarship this year would be an excellent use of funds. 

Along those lines, this is a reminder that the deadline for Conservation and Youth Education mini-grant applications is fast approaching – March 15.  These are new programs, but they are already sparking a lot of interest. 

Don’t forget our upcoming Audubon Afternoon, on Sunday, March 11 with Sergio Harding speaking about current research on Golden-winged Warblers and Loggerhead Shrikes.

And take a look at our workshops for the spring, including Beginning Birding by Ear, on March 31, and Bird Behavior.  These are likely to fill up quickly.

Have a good month.
Carl Kikuchi      

ASNV Launches Grant Programs

Application deadline March 15, 2018

ASNV is pleased to announce two new grant programs designed to address habitat concerns and youth education.

Conservation Grants:  Up to $4,000 is available to fund selected project proposals (Click here for specifics.) that aim to protect or improve habitat for birds, butterflies, other wildlife and/or native plants in the chapter’s territory. Individuals, non-profit organizations and public schools are eligible to apply.

Youth Education Grants:  $1,500 total is available for projects that  help schools and non-profit organizations connect youth to birds. For this inaugural year, all types of requests will be considered: field trips, speaker and admission fees, equipment, transportation, plants, etc. Up to 25% of the grant may be used to cover administrative costs. Further information will be coming shortly. Click here for more information.

Award announcement: By May 1, 2018

Audubon At Home Awarded $7500 Burke Grant

Faith communities take note!  ASNV is pleased to announce that our Audubon at Home (AAH) Program has been awarded a $7500 grant from the Plants for Birds Burke Grant program, which has been established with generous support from the Coleman and Susan Burke Center for Native Plants.  The goal of the Burke Grant program is to support network Plants for Birds activities that will increase the visibility, reach, and impact of Audubon’s Plants for Birds programming across the country.
The Burke Grant funds will be used to bolster ongoing efforts.  AAH is one of the founding partners of Plant NOVA Natives (PNN) campaign, whose volunteers are now working to make a clear change in landscaping culture away from the use of invasive, introduced ornamentals and an excess of lawn toward more native plantings and landscaping designs that retain stormwater.  In partnership with AAH and the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Districts, PNN’s efforts have included work with faith communities, as of now with 34 congregations from 11 denominations. Read More...

National Audubon Society Grant Helps Dyke Marsh

ASNV worked with the Friends of Dyke Marsh to obtain a National Audubon Society grant of $1,903 for native plant restoration at Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve.  The funds have been transferred from ASNV to the Friends of Dyke Marsh to purchase native plants. Volunteers will install the plants this spring with the guidance of National Park Service scientists in a cleared area along the Haul Road. Let us know if you want to help!

Delaware Bay Weekend Fieldtrip

May 25-27, 2018

We will be running our Delaware Bay, shorebird, horseshoe crab weekend trip again this year, May 25-27.  We will meet in Lewes, Delaware at the Beacon Motel parking lot at 3 PM on Friday the 25th and bird from then until dark at Cape Henlopen State Park.  We will bird all day Saturday at several great places on the Delaware Bay that are famous for the Horseshoe Crab eggs that feed the migrating shorebirds including the threatened Red Knots.   On Saturday we go to Broad Kill Beach Rd., Prime Hook NWR, Satellite Beach, Mispillion Lighthouse, Foster Beach etc.  Then back to Lewes at dark with dinner on your own.

Sunday morning we will check out and drive to Port Mahon and Bombay Hook NWR, further up the Delaware Bay.  After those two places, we will have bag lunches, and do the check list at the picnic area at Bombay Hook, then head home probably around 2-3 PM.
Arrangements have been made for a discounted group rate on 14 rooms at the Beacon Motel for the nights of May 25th and 26th.   Trip reservations are needed and the limit is 20.  Call or email Ray to sign up.  Once you sign up then Audubon will contact you with instructions on how to pay the fee: $45 for members/$55 for non-members.   Ray’s cell number is 571-286-7856.  His email address is bluebird58@verizon.net.

Ray will hold a shorebird identification class, and discuss the natural history of the Horseshoe Crabs on Friday night in the motel lobby for those who are interested after dinner, probably around 8 PM.   Bring your Shorebirds 101, and The Horseshoe Crab handouts to the class.  Ray will email them to you once you sign up so you can study in advance.

Also remember to bring water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent and, of course, binoculars. Scopes will be very useful if you have them.  This is also a great trip for photographers.

Save the Date:   Great Dismal Swamp and Piney Grove Field Trip, May 4- 6, 2018

ASNV is hosting a trip to southern Virginia in search of the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker and the Swainson’s Warbler.  We will visit Piney Grove Preserve, where the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker is at the northern-most part of its range.  Our other stop will be Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, the best spot to find the Swainson’s Warbler in Virginia.  Both locations offer good birding for migratory and nesting warblers, vireos and other wonderful birds. (Swainson's Warbler Photo by Dixie Sommers)
The group will meet Friday evening, May 4th (hotel to be determined) with early starts on Saturday and Sunday mornings in search of our target birds. Once logistics are finalized, we will open up registration on the website.  Trip will be limited to 15 participants. Put this on your calendar! 

AAH Ambassador Brunch

Over a third of the 99 Audubon at Home Ambassadors gathered on February 17 for the third annual Ambassador Brunch at National Wildlife Federation headquarters, where ASNV also has its office.  Sporting color-coded tags identifying their county, AAH Ambassadors from Arlington/City of Alexandria, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties mingled to share experiences and a delicious potluck meal.  ASNV President Carl Kikuchi thanked Ambassadors for their work and told them how they are contributing to our observance of the “Year of the Bird.”  New ASNV Program Administrator Louise Edsall introduced herself; we are thankful to have her support.  Co-Directors Barbara Tuset and Robin Duska outlined revamped program planning for AAH, including goals for habitat growth, volunteers, outreach, and administration. 

A highlight was a spirited presentation on native bees by Atziri Ibanez, the National Education Coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Estuarine Research Reserve Program. As a “science translator,” Ms. Ibanez focused brunch attendees on identifying bees in Virginia and understanding their complex, vital functions.  We are happy Ms. Ibanez is also an AAH Ambassador in Loudoun County. (Photo at right of Atziri Ibanez by Robin Duska.)

Updates from County Coordinators indicated continued AAH progress:  For example, Arlington has expanded Ambassador ranks from their original Arlington Master Naturalist base to include several Master Gardeners to serve the many clients in this mostly urban county.  To date, AAH has certified nearly 500 properties and 5,000 acres, with more than 250 visits in process.
AAH is planning for a very busy 2018!

Upcoming Classes


Beginning Birding by Ear: The Language of Birds and Nature Awareness

Join Dr. Tom Wood, Associate Professor of Integrative and Interdisciplinary Studies in the School of Integrative Studies (SIS) at George Mason University, to start learning birds through understanding their lives, communication and role in the world outside our windows and in the wilderness.  Developing observation skills, patience and understanding at a comfortable pace is foundational to this learning approach used by cultures close to the land that necessarily respect and understand where they live.  This approach is self-paced, personally rewarding and mutually supportive. (Photo courtesy of George Mason University School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution.)

Cost: Member: $80, Non-member: $90
Location: Point of View International Retreat and Conference Center, Lorton VA
Date & Time: Saturday, March 31, 2018 - 8:00AM - 3:00PM
Click here for more information.

Birding by Ear Boot Camp

Join Joette Borzik for a one-day Birding by Ear Boot Camp! We will spend a full day learning bird song in the field on the trails of the Blue Ridge Environmental Center and surrounding area.  Some basic birding knowledge is a prerequisite i.e. being able to identify some of the local common birds by sight. 

Cost:  $40 ASNV members, $50 non-members
Location:  Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, Purcellville, VA
Date:  Saturday, April 28, 2018
Time:  8:00 am – 3:30 pm

Click here for more information.

Bird Behavior

Bill Young will lead us in four two-hour sessions examining a variety of bird behaviors, including avian feeding, reproduction, migration, visual and auditory displays, and more.  Each session will feature video, audio, and photographs to help people to learn about the many aspects of bird behavior.  Classes will draw on the knowledge Bill has gained from birding locally and on all seven continents.  The class includes one field trip.  
Classroom:  Tuesdays, May 1, May 8, May 15, and May 22, 2018.  7 – 9 pm.  Location TBD.
Field Trip:  Saturday, May 5, 2018.  8 – 12 noon.  Location TBD.
Cost:  ASNV members - $80, non-members - $90.
Class Limit:  25. 

Click here for more information.

Take Action

State Legislature Winding Up

The General Assembly’s target adjournment date is March 10.  From coal ash to climate change, the legislature will have considered around 3,000 bills by adjournment day.

The Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters are working hard to advance sound conservation policies and block the problematic ones.  To view VCN’s positions, visit vcnva.org/bill-tracker.

At virginiageneralassembly.gov, you can find your legislators, track bills and watch the House and Senate live when they are in session. At the Virginia Public Access Project, you can search bills by issue, e.g., natural resources.  If you put in the word “trees,” for example, six bills are listed.

How to Protect and Preserve Trees

Here’s an opportunity to learn more about trees, an event cosponsored by ASNV – the Braddock District Tree Forum, March 7, 2018, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Kings Park Library conference room, 9000 Burke Lake Road, Burke, VA 22015-1683; braddock@fairfaxcounty.gov
ASNVers may get some tips on how to advocate for stronger tree policies.
The agenda:
  • Introduction: Patrick Gooley, Legislative Assistant for Braddock Supervisor John C. Cook; and Jeanne Kadet, Braddock District Tree Commissioner
  • The Benefits of Trees - Jim McGlone, Urban Forest Conservationist, Virginia Department of Forestry
  • Braddock’s Trees and Urban Forest: Current Issues - Keith Cline, Director, Fairfax County Urban Forest Management Division
  • What's Bugging Our Urban Forest? Pests and Diseases Affecting Our Trees - Joan Allen and Rachel Griesmer-Zakhar, Fairfax County Urban Forest Management Division
  • Great Native Trees for Homeowners - Alan Ford, President, Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society
You can learn more about the Fairfax County Tree Commission and county resources here.
Supporters: Fairfax County Tree Commission, Braddock District Supervisor John Cook, Fairfax County Urban Forest Management Division, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Native Plant Society, Plant Nova Natives, Earth Sangha, Audubon Society of Northern Virginia


Lake Accotink Park Master Plan Project Update

The Fairfax County Park Authority is extending the public comment period for the Lake Accotink Park master plan revision through May 28, 2018. 

FCPA presented lake management options to the community in May 2016 and held a January 22, 2018 community meeting, attended by more than 100 citizens.  FCPA says that they have received more than 400 responses to an online survey and nearly 50 individual emails from citizens sharing their preferences and perspective. 

To share your views on lake management options, visit the Lake Accotink Park Master Plan Revision project webpage.  You can also share additional comments through the survey page or send your comments separately to  Parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov. 

Selling the Parkway?

In the Trump administration’s infrastructure proposal, they propose selling the George Washington Memorial Parkway to the private sector, according to their February 12, 2018, Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America.
It is not clear if their proposal includes the entire GW Memorial Parkway park, places like the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, Theodore Roosevelt Island, Great Falls, Turkey Run, Arlington Cemetery, U.S. Marine Corps Memorial, the Women in Military Service for American Memorial, Jones Point Lighthouse and all the other lands and memorials of the parkway.  Congress authorized the construction of the parkway as a memorial to the nation's first president.

This “ribbon of green” in Northern Virginia is habitat for many wildlife species, helps stem storm water runoff and provides many environmental services, in addition to being a significant local road.

Here is 8th District Congressman Don Beyer's comment: “It is particularly outrageous that Trump suggested selling off key local infrastructure, including both of Northern Virginia’s airports, the GW Parkway, and the DC Aqueduct. The President didn’t consult any state or local leaders about any of this, but if he had we would have told him that our community ardently opposes anything of the kind. Trump isn’t trying to fix our infrastructure, he’s trying to sell it off.”

Trump Budget Cuts Conservation

Let our Virginia U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, Representatives Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, Barbara Comstock and Robert Wittman know that the proposed fiscal year 2019 Trump administration budget does not advance conservation.
National Audubon has prepared an analysis of how the proposed Trump budget will affect birds, other wildlife and habitat here.
Audubon’s Senior Vice President of Conservation Policy Sarah Greenberger said, “Millions of birders, hunters and outdoor lovers—from all political backgrounds—rely on bedrock environmental protections and strong federal investment to protect the cherished natural resources that the White House’s budget and infrastructure proposals put at risk. It’s time to align the budget with our values and find real solutions to the challenges facing birds and the American people. The good news is that Congress can still deliver a federal budget and infrastructure plan that’s a win-win for people and birds.”

More Natural Areas? Local Budgets Set Priorities

Local governments manage local parks, waste, land use, schools, development, stormwater control and more.  Local governments are now considering their FY 2019 budgets and seeking input.  Check your local government for the schedule on hearings, votes and opportunities to influence the budgets.  Arlington, for example, will have a public hearing on April 3 and adopt the budget on April 21.  Loudoun County’s Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing on March 3.

Act to Save Birds

National Audubon urges members to help defend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), one of our nation’s oldest and most important wildlife conservation laws, especially to oppose any effort that undermines the ability to address what’s called “incidental take” of birds under the MBTA.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, enacted in 1918, is credited with saving many species from extinction, such as the Wood Duck, Sandhill Crane, Snowy Egret and more. This law protects more than 1,000 species, most of which are not covered by other laws, while also allowing for the regulation of hunting.

You can learn more here


Bird Walks


Mason Neck State Park, Lorton, VA
Sunday, March 11 - 8:30 to 11:30 AM

NOTE:  First day of Daylight Savings Time!

Don't miss out winter waterfowl!  Join Dixie Sommers at Mason Neck to scope the water and walk the beach and woods.  State fee area.  Sponsored by ASNV.

Getting there.  From I-495, take I-95 South 7 mites to Lorton exit.  Go left (east) on Gunston Rd, Rte 242.  In 4 miles, turn right into Mason Neck Management Area.  Meet at the visitor's center at end of the paved road.  7301 High Point Road, Lorton, VA 22079-4010.


Dyke Marsh, Alexandria, VA
Wednesday, March 14 - 8:30 to 11:30 AM

Join this walk at a great place for winter birding. We’ll scope the river and walk the woods trail.  Led by Dixie Sommers and Tom Nardone. 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


Brown's Chapel, Lake Newport, Reston, VA
Sunday, March 18 - 7:30 to 10:30 AM

Lake Newport may offer some wintering waterfowl and the woods here are good for woodpeckers and kinglets. Sponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.

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.


Burke Lake, Fairfax, VA
Wednesday, March 21 - 8:30 to 11:00 AM

Marc Ribaudo leads today along the lake, through woodland to find the variety of winter species that use this park.  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


Royal Lake, Lakeside Park, Fairfax, VA
Wednesday, March 28 - 8:30 to 11:00 AM
Corrected Dates!

The lake here is restored and the path around it is easy (a few steps in places) and well maintained. Join leader Jean Tatalias at this new location. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From I-495 take exit to VA-620, Braddock Road going west and continue 2.36 miles. Turn left onto Rt 651 Guinea Road and continue 0.64 miles.  Stay straight at intersection with Commonwealth Blvd (do not turn left to follow Guinea Rd.)  Go 0.4 mile and turn left on Pommeroy Dr and then turn right at the intersection with Bronte Dr. to the entrance leading to the parking lot. 5216 Pommeroy Dr, Fairfax 22032.


Lower Glade Stream Valley, Reston, VA

Sunday, April 15 - 7:30 to 10:30 AM

Celebrate finishing your taxes (or delay til Tuesday when they’re due) and join the Bauers on a bird walk to celebrate Spring.  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 leaders at the corner.


Cub Run Stream Valley Park

Wednesday, April 18 - 8:30 to 10:30 AM 

Explore this new area for walks with leader Phil Silas and check for arriving Spring birds in field and woodland habitat. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.
Getting there: Address is between 15075 and 15077 Stillfield Place, Centreville. Take I-66 West to exit 52 and go right on Rte. 29 for about 1.25 miles. Turn right on Pleasant Valley Road. Proceed north for about 0.75 miles and turn right on Stillfield Place.  Proceed about 0.7 miles to meeting place on the right.


Silver Lake Regional Park, Haymarket, VA
Sunday, April 22 - 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM

The lake and woods should be active with returning and nesting birds. Try this great location with the improved path and rebuilt dam. Toby Hardwick leads.  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.


Bles Park, Sterling, VA

Wednesday, April 25 - 8:30 to 10:30 AM

This park is a good place to look and listen for prairie and other warblers, as well as returning vireos. Jean Tatalias leads for 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.


Bright Pond, Reston, VA
Sunday, April 29 - 7:30 to 10:30 AM

This is a popular spring walk location in Reston along woods and streams. 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.


Delaware Bay areas from Cape Henlopen to Bombay Hook, Delaware

Friday, May 25 to Sunday May 27
Limited to 20
$45 for ASNV members
$55 for non-members

See newsletter article for more information

We will be running this shorebird and horseshoe crab weekend again this year. The trip begins in Lewes at 3 PM on Friday, May 25, and ends after Bombay Hook on Sunday about 3 PM.  Ray Smith leads this popular weekend of birding which is limited to 20 participants and requires advance registration. Call or email Ray to sign up at 571-286-7856 or bluebird58@verizon.net   Once you sign up with Ray, he will supply details on hotel rate, itinerary and schedule. And ASNV will contact you with instructions on fee payment. (See article above.)

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

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. 
1675 Reston Pkwy, Ste J, Reston, VA 20194. (703) 437-3335