May 2013
In This Issue
Message from the President
LEAPP Classes
Advocacy Update
Field Trips - Bird Walks
Love Hummingbirds?
Other News

Upcoming Event

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

Occoquan Bay NWR
  
  • May 29
  • June 26       
Meadowood on Mason Neck
  • May 15
  • June 12      

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys
Join Jim Waggener each Friday (April-October) in his ongoing survey of the butterflies and dragonflies at four locations in Fairfax and Prince William County.

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. (Note: Surveys may be cancelled for inclement weather.)
  • May 10 - Occoquan Regional Park
  • May 17 - Occoquan Bay NWR
  • May 24 - Meadowood
  • May 31 - Metz Wetlands 

Eakin Park Bird Walk
Hidden Oaks Nature Center (FCPA) sponsors weekly bird walks along the Accotink Stream Valley. Mondays,
7:00 AM March-Nov.;
7:30 AM Dec - Feb.


Help 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 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.

Research Plant Value to Wildlife. ASNV is looking 
for a Virgina master naturalist, or other interested volunteer, willing to research the wildlife value of specific native plants. 

More information about these and other opportunities can be found here.

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 info@audubonva.org.
 
Message from the President
This has turned into a marvelous spring!  With the persistence of cooler weather, flowers and critters seem to have emerged all at once and flowering has lasted longer, from spring bulbs to Spring Beauties.  Of course a new spring sets in motion field trips, walks, classes, and our Wildlife Sanctuary certification program.  ASNV cannot participate in all the Earth Day and other events to which we are invited.  There are just not enough volunteers.  Anyone who would like to join us at a display table is most welcome.  For Virginia Master Naturalists and Master Gardeners, this time generally qualifies for service hours, and it is a fun way to reach out to the community to talk about our mission and programs.

 

Our small office at the National Wildlife Federation really picks up pace this time of year.  Our office Administrator, Perry Macdonald, deserves maximum credit for meeting the multiple demands of the season.  Perry shares our members' love of the natural world, and we're lucky to have her enthusiasm and professionalism.  Just so you know who you are talking to if you phone or stop by, here's a little background.  Perry's interest in nature and the environment began in the early 1970's in Nashville, Tennessee where she took up hiking and backpacking in the Smokies and environmental action through the Tennessee Sierra Club, serving several terms on its statewide Board of Directors. Over the ensuing years she has continued to enjoy hiking and since 2007 has splurged on a hiking trip outside the United States, most recently along the Pembrokeshire coast of Wales. A Reston resident since 1992, she starts most days with a three-mile walk through her south Reston neighborhood. Her professional career includes 16 years as an in-house corporate counsel and a number of stints as an organizational administrator.  A hearty thanks to Perry for helping ASNV accomplish its mission!

 
LEAPP Classes

The LEAPP® (Learn, Enjoy, Appreciate, Preserve, and Protect) program offers Northern Virginians the opportunity to learn more about the natural world and be informed, active stewards for its care and protection.  Since its inception in 1999, students have found that LEAPP classes are fun and personally rewarding.  Don't miss out - register early!  Please note that registration is not complete until payment is received. (For Master Naturalists:  All workshops have been approved for Advanced Training hours.) To register, contact ASNV at 703-438-6008 or at info@audubonva.org


Audubon At Home and Beyond  
Saturday, June 1, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
 
Carol and Jay Hadlock's backyard will be your classroom for this workshop, where you will learn to put the principles of Audubon at Home to work in your yard, creating a healthier environment for you, your family, and pets, while at the same time giving birds and pollinators a helping hand.  Things should be popping in the garden, the birds will be singing, and outdoor activities will make this a fun, informative day. 
Location:  515 Alabama Drive, Herndon, VA
Cost:  $30 for members and $35 for non-members.  Covers class materials. Bring a bag lunch and drinks will be provided.
Reservations required. Call the ASNV office at 703-438-6008 or e-mail info@audubonva.org. Maximum number of participants: 10
Instructor:  Carol Hadlock is an ASNV Master Naturalist and National Wildlife Federation Habitat Steward.

The Habitat Value of Native Plants Tuesday, June 11, 2013. 6:30-9:00 

What plants make for the best habitat? Which plants are preferred or are necessary to the greatest number of animal species? Are there other factors to maximize the habitat we can provide for wildlife? Take advantage of this opportunity to hear some recommendations for specific plantings and discuss why these should be considered. Several handouts will be made available for participants. The instructor, Alonso Abugattus, is a long-time Arlington County Naturalist with specialties in plants, herps, and insects. He is co-chair for the Beltway Chapter of the National Association for Interpretation, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener Trainer. He was a former officer, including President, of the Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society and was co-founder of the Washington Area Butterfly Club.

Location: Room A139 at Fairfax High on June 11 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.   Fairfax High:  3501 Rebel Run, Fairfax, VA  22030.

Cost: $40 for members and $50 for non-members

Class Size: Maximum of 25

Instructor: Alonso Abugattus, Arlington County Natural Resource Manager.

Field Trip: Huntley Meadows: Saturday, June 15, 2013. 9:00-1:00

 
Advocacy Update
Conservation Depends On You

Elevate Natural Resources in Parks

 ASNV wrote the Fairfax County Park Authority urging that the agency give a higher priority to funding for natural resource management and restoration. FCPA Board Chairman William G. Bouie responded that FCPA will be revising the natural resource management plan over the next year "to help better organize when and how we conduct resource management activities." ASNV participated in the last round of developing the current plan and hopes to participate again. ASNV has also urged that in hiring the next director, to fill the current vacancy, that the agency hire someone committed to making natural resources a higher priority than they have historically been within the county parks system.

 

Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline

The National Audubon Society urges all Auduboners to help halt construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline through the Midwest. "
From the boreal forests of British Columbia to the Gulf of Mexico, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline spells trouble for birds, habitat and people. Recent spills in Arkansas and Minnesota foreshadow even greater dangers ahead," says NAS. The U.S. State Department is considering the permit application. You could let the State Department and our Congressional delegation know your views. To share your views with Secretary of State John Kerry, visit contact-us.state.gov/app/answers/list. To contact your congressman and our two U. S. senators, visit  www.senate.gov and www.house.gov. To read Audubon President David Yarnold's letter to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, visit  www.audubon.org/newsroom/press-releases/2011/open-letter-secretary-clinton-ko-keystone-xl
 
ASNV Opposes Spraying for Fall Cankerworm  
ASNV sent a letter to Fairfax County, drafted by several concerned Auduboners, objecting to the county's plan to spray a pesticide from helicopters in certain county communities. Noting that the pesticide the county uses Bacillus thuriengiensis (Bt) kills all caterpillars of all moths and butterflies, ASNV wrote: "Cankerworms are native insects and hatch just at the time that many species of songbirds are migrating through Northern Virginia. . . this spraying will kill off a major food source for thousands of migrating songbirds that will be arriving in the area at exactly the same time as the county plans to spray. Birds are natural predators of these insects. It is their 'job' to keep the caterpillars at sustainable levels."

 

In the county's response, Michael Knapp, Director of Urban Forest Management, wrote: "There is no definitive research that explains why fall cankerworm populations can reach outbreak levels in suburban and urban areas. . . Fall Cankerworm poses two problems. The first is a nuisance issue . . . The second threat is the defoliation that results from outbreak populations." He went on to say that trees in "older neighborhoods" are at particular risk of defoliation and dying from this insect. In discussing the pesticide Bacillus thuriengiensis (Bt), he wrote, "It is important to note that the Bt will not harm birds, mammals or reptiles but it may temporarily disrupt the food supply of these organisms." ASNV hopes to work with the county to develop an approach that does not kill all caterpillars.

Info: Joan Allen,  Joan.Allen@fairfaxcounty.gov or 703-324-5541. More info at  www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/environmental/canker4.htm.

 

Learn How to Influence Public Policy

It's never too early to gear up for the 2014 session of the Virginia General Assembly. The Virginia Conservation Network (www.vcnva.org) will hold an advocacy training workshop on July 11, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Conference Center, 4301 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22203 near the Ballston Metro Stop.

 

Virginia Will Elect Leaders

Virginians this year will elect a governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general and all members of the House of Delegates.   Campaigns are opportunities for advocates to educate candidates on conservation issues and influence their positions and future actions, if elected.    

 

Potomac Overlook Park Plans Draw Opposition

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority proposed several projects in Arlington's Potomac Overlook Regional Park that conservation advocates have said will significantly affect the largest remaining wooded area in Arlington.   NVRPA has dropped the plans for now, will likely consider some changes in the park at some point in the future and will involve the public in their decision-making.You can read the revised plan at www.nvrpa.org/uploads/Files/Version2.pdf. 

 

The entire Park is designated a Resource Protection Area according to Arlington County's Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance (see Potomac Overlook Regional Park. General Management Plan.  www.nvrpa.org/uploads/Files/content/PotomacPlan.pdf ). According to the current management plan, "The mission of Potomac Overlook Regional Park is to provide a protected woodland sanctuary, in order to preserve environmental quality and species diversity; to provide environmental and cultural education, stressing the relationship between all living organisms and to provide a natural setting in which to enjoy low impact recreational activities and physical exercise."

 
Field Trips - Bird Walks
 

Wildflowers & Pollinators at Riverbend Park

Thursday, May 9, 8:00-11:00 AM

No charge, reservation required. The focus today will be on Zebra Swallowtails and Bees. Contact Sheryl Pollack at sopol@yahoo.com or call (c) 703-400-8225 or (h)703-860-8273. Meet at the Visitor Center patio.

 

Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, Ft. Belvoir, VA

Saturday, May 11, 8:00-11:00 AM

Ken Rosenthal is a Naturalist at Walker Nature Center in Reston. He will lead the exploration of this 1,200 acre refuge which includes wetland and deciduous forest, offering opportunities for migrant and resident songbirds, shore birds and waterfowl.

We will meet in the Refuge parking lot on the right just before Tulley Gate on Pohick Road. You shouldn't need ID since we will not actually enter the installation, but bring a photo ID with you just to be safe.

Getting there: From points north and east, take I-95 S to exit 166A and follow VA-286 S/Fairfax County Pkwy to U.S. 1 N. Go left on U.S. 1 N, and turn right onto Pohick Road.

From points south, take I-95 N to exit 161, and merge onto U.S. 1 N. After 5.5 miles, turn left onto Pohick Road.

 

NEW!! Red-cockaded Woodpeckers at Piney Grove Nature Preserve,

Sussex Co, VA

Saturday, May 11-Sunday, May 12

Cost: $20, plus lodging and voluntary donation to Nature Conservancy.

Registration required, $20 fee must accompany registration.

We will visit the Nature Conservancy's Piney Grove Preserve in Sussex County for a guided walk to Virginia's only breeding area for the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker. We plan to travel Saturday morning and do some afternoon birding at the Great Dismal Swamp, where Swainson's Warblers nest. We will spend the night at the Airfield Conference Center, where comfortable Executive Suites run $63/single, $76/double. We'll meet our guide at Piney Grove early Sunday morning to be at the nesting site when the birds begin to leave their nests to feed their young.   At this time of day and this time of year, woodpecker sightings are very likely. Depending on the length of the walk we may visit another local site before heading home. The Nature Conservancy limits group size to 10 participants.

Note: A second guide has been secured, and there are still a few spaces available in the second group.

Register and pay online or send check to ASNV office, 11100 Wildlife Drive, Reston, VA, 20190. Additional information will be provided when registrations are received.

 

Thompson Wildlife Management Area

Wednesday, May 15, 8:00 AM- early afternoon

Registration required

Does your heart beat faster at the prospect of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Scarlet Tanagers, Cerulean, Hooded and Kentucky Warblers? If so, join Carol & Jay Hadlock and we'll throw in trilliums and other spring wildflowers for good measure.

Getting there: We will carpool. Meet at the Newgate Shopping Center, at the intersection of Rt. 29 and Rt. 28 in Centreville. The shopping center is in the northwest quadrant of the intersection and can only be accessed from Rt. 29, just west of the intersection.

Limit 10. Call Carol & Jay at 703-437-7451. Lunch at the Apple House, Dutch treat, optional.

Important notice: Virginia DGIF requires a permit to enter all state wildlife management areas. This can be a daily use permit, an annual permit, a valid freshwater fishing license or a hunting license. A daily permit can be purchased for $4 and you must have the permit with you while on the property. Go to the DGIF website to find where the permits are for sale near you, or purchase online, and make sure you have one and have it with you if you plan to go on this trip.

 

Wildflowers & Pollinators at Fraser Preserve, Gt. Falls, VA

Thursday, May 16, 8:00-11:00 AM

No charge, reservation required. We will look for the State Champion American Elm tree and learn what makes it so special. Contact Sheryl Pollock at sopol@yahoo.com or call (c)703-400-8225 or (h)703-860-8273.

 

RESCHEDULED! Elizabeth Mills Riverfront Park, Loudoun County

Wednesday, May 22, 7:30-10:30 AM

Snow stopped us once, but this park is worth trying again. Jenny Vick and Bill Brown have been scouting this new park for some time and are ready to introduce birders to the interesting things that can be found here. The habitat is mostly riparian woods along the Potomac Heritage Trail. Meet in the parking lot.

Getting there: Traveling on Rt. 7 towards Leesburg, turn right (north) on Landsdowne Blvd. After about a quarter mile, turn right onto Riverpoint Dr. and right again on Squirrel Ridge Place. As you approach the end of the cul de sac, turn right and then left again to reach the parking lot.

 

Wildflowers & Pollinators at Bles Park, Loudoun Co. VA

Thursday, May 23, 8:00-11:00 AM

No charge, reservation required.  Butterflies and dragonflies and the plants they favor will be the theme for this walk. Contact Sheryl Pollock-see May 16 above.

 

Delaware Bay Weekend FULL

Friday, May 24-Sunday, May 26

 

Family Bird Walk in Herndon

Saturday, May 25, 8:00-10:00 AM

The second in our series of family bird walks will take place at Runnymede Park in Herndon, where we'll look for birds in the woods, along the streamside, and in a meadow. The walk is geared toward families with children aged 10 and older, and will help new birders identify and learn about resident birds and those that come in the summer to breed. Bring binoculars and curiosity.

Runnymede Park is located at 195 Herndon Pkwy, Herndon VA.

 

Lower Glade Stream Valley, Reston, VA

Sunday, May 26, 7:30-10:30 AM

This is one of Reston's birding hotspots, and for leaders, Joanne & David Bauer, it's their backyard. Join them for a morning of fine birding.

Getting there: From Reston Parkway, take Glade Dr. to the intersection with Twin Branches. Park along Glade Dr. Meet at the corner.

 

Clark's Crossing, Vienna, VA

Wednesday, May 29, 7:30-10:30 AM

Join Carol & Jay Hadlock to walk a stretch of the W&OD Trail looking for Indigo Buntings, Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, Yellow-Breasted Chats and spring warblers.

Getting there: Clark's Crossing Rd. is off Beulah Rd. about halfway between the Toll Rd. and Maple Ave.

 

Wildflowers at Meadowlark Gardens, Vienna, VA

Thursday, May 30, 10:00 AM-12:00 Noon

Entrance fee, reservations required. Contact Sheryl Pollock-see May 16 above.

Meet at the pit inside the gardens.

 

Buttermilk Creek, Reston, VA

Sunday, June 9, 7:30-10:30 AM

With meadow, forest and the backside of Lake Fairfax, this walk in spring always produces lots of birds.

Getting there: From Baron Cameron Ave. (Rt. 606) in Reston, go south on Wiehle Ave., turn left on North Shore Dr. and at the intersection with Ring Rd., turn into the parking lot for the pool and tennis courts.

 

Family Bird Walk in Reston

Saturday, June 15, 8:00-10:00 AM

In our third family bird walk we will explore the woods and stream valley around Reston's Nature House. The walk is geared toward families with children aged 10 and older, and will help budding naturalists identify and learn more about our beautiful local birds. Bring binoculars and curiosity.

Meet at the Walker Nature House at 11450 Glade Dr., Reston

 

Wolf Trap Park, Vienna, VA

Saturday, June 22, 7:30 AM

The grounds crew and many volunteers have completed a loop trail around this 135-acre park, which includes wetland, dry upland forest, rocky stream valley, open meadows and beautiful native plant gardens. If you have only ever been to Wolf Trap for the performances, it's time to explore the amazing natural area that surrounds the Filene Center.   Bill Brown will lead this walk. Meet in front of the Maintenance compound.

Getting there: From Rt. 7, take Towlston Rd. to the park. Turn right at the first entrance to the lower parking lot and go all the way to the end. From Vienna, cross the Toll Rd., go past the main entrance to the Filene Center, and turn left into the lower parking lot.

Love Hummingbirds?
Hummingbirds at Home--Audubon's New Citizen Science Project
Hummingbirds visit our yards each spring to breed, looking for nectar from our gardens and feeders. Fascinating to watch, hummingbirds captivate us with their magical feats of flight and their showy colors.   The Continental US is breeding home to 14 species of hummingbirds, with a few other species making rare appearances.

 

Recent science reports that flowers are blooming earlier and earlier due to climate change. Some flowers are blooming as many as 17 days before the migrating hummingbirds arrive.   The impact for migrating and breeding hummingbirds is unknown.

 

Building on our Christmas Bird Count (CBC) legacy and the more recent success of the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), Audubon is launching a new program called Hummingbirds at Home. Read more... 

 
Other News

Annual Migratory Bird Count 
Saturday May 11 
Annual Migratory Bird Count of the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge area, Saturday, May 11, at the refuge and adjacent areas (e.g., Veterans Memorial Park).  This will be the 22nd consecutive year of this count in which volunteers carry out intensive examination of target area throughout the morning.  Past counts have averaged well over 100 species.  Those interested should contact Jim Waggener for details:  (703) 567-3555 or jwagge3093@aol.com. More information can be found here.

Drive for Charity 
Thursday, May 16, All day! 
On Thursday, May 16, paying the toll on the Dulles Greenway has a special meaning for local charities. This, the 8th annual Drive For Charity, is a one-day event that raises thousands of dollars that go directly into the local community. Each year, the money raised has increased, and last year's event raised $261,000, divided among five local charities: The March of Dimes, Loudoun Abused Women's Shelter, Every Citizen Has Opportunity (ECHO), Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and the Fresh Air/Full Care. This one day event makes a huge difference for Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.


Northern Virginia Bird Survey 
Throughout June
The 20th year of the ASNV Northern Virginia Bird Survey will take place in June. This breeding bird survey involves a one time, five-minute count between dawn and about 9:30 a.m. at mostly 250-meter grid points located at over twenty-five areas (mostly parkland). Included is Manassas National Battlefield Park, George Washington Memorial Parkway's Great Falls Park and Dyke Marsh, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, the BLM's Meadowood, and Lorton/Laurel, Riverbend Park, and Huntley Meadows Park (and a number of other Fairfax County Park Authority areas). If you have an interest in participating contact the NVBS Director Carolyn Williams at cwilliae@gmu.edu or 703-273-1961. All types of birders are welcome - experts, intermediates, and novices. Information about past surveys can be found here.

Monarch Teacher Network  
June 11 and 12 in Leesburg 
This 2 day Virginia workshop  gives you experience and knowledge so you will be able to save these marvelous insects, find eggs, raise your own "cats" caterpillars, and send them off.  You will be given rearing and holding cages and other useful materials, maybe more important you will have confidence to handle butterflies.   It is not only for teachers.  There are 10 slots at the Loudoun County Public Schools workshop for people outside the system. It costs $99. See MonarchTeacherNetwork.org to get the particulars.
 
Butterfly Count 
Saturday, June 29 
The Annual Occoquan Bay-area Butterfly Count scheduled for Saturday, June 29, is part of the international count organized around the 4th of July by the North American Butterfly Association.  This year will be the 13th running of an event that covers the Occoquan Bay NWR and other butterfly sites of interest within the count circle.  Essentially a morning count, in the past volunteers have have documented, on average, over 30 species.  Anyone interested in participating should contact Jim Waggener for details:  (703) 567-3555 or email at jwagge3093@aol.com. More information can be found here.

Whooping Cranes 
September 11, 7:30 p.m. 
Huntley Meadows Park Visitor Center 
Ken Lavish from Patuxent Wildlife Research Center will discuss the Patuxent Refuge's whooping crane project to re-establish migrating flocks of whooping cranes, North America's tallest bird and a species that was nearly wiped out when, in 1941, there were only around 22. Ken helps raise chicks at Patuxent. The cranes are bred and hatched at Patuxent and then transferred to Wisconsin.
Cosponsored by the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

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