May 2014
In This Issue
Bird Banding
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Transitioning Cats
Audubon At Home
Nature Journaling
Field Trips - Bird Walks
Advocacy Update
Other News
Happenings in Loudoun County
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 28
  • June 25     
Meadowood on Mason Neck  
  • May 14
  • June 11          
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 2 - Metz Wetlands 
  • May 9 - Occoquan Regional Park 
  • May 16 - Occoquan Bay NWR 
  • May 23  - Meadowood  
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!
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
Birdathon is Here!

Birdathon 2014 is here! Teams must choose a date between now and May 18. It's not too late to put a team together or, if you're solo, just get in touch with ASNV, and we will connect you with a team. There will be two divisions - the traditional 24-hour time frame or a four-hour "mini-Birdathon." The fundraising component is simple: Donors can pledge a set amount per bird species or contribute a flat sum.


And don't forget, there will be fun prizes for those who raise the most money & for those who see the most species. Prizes include a winter weekend in a condo on Ocean City, Maryland's Assawoman Bay with views of buffleheads & mergansers.


This is an important fundraiser for ASNV, and we really appreciate your help. If you can't participate, consider supporting a team or donating prizes.


Click here, call 703-438-6008, or send an email to for details.


 What Does Bird Banding Tell Us?

Since the 1950s, more than 65 million birds have been banded in the United States, by around 7,000 banders. Why? Because banding helps scientists and others answer questions about bird migration, bird behavior, and bird ecology. Dr. Bruce Peterjohn, Chief of the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory-Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, will present some of the key scientific information that has been learned from banding birds. Dr. Peterjohn is a wildlife biologist and ornithologist who has published numerous papers and books on the subject.  He coordinates the management of all data for birds banded in the U.S. and its territories.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 14, 7:30 PM
WHERE: Norma Hoffman Visitor Center, Huntley Meadows Park, 3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria, Virginia 22306

The program is co-sponsored by the Friends of Dyke March, the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, the Audubon Society of the District of Columbia, and the Northern Virginia Bird Club, and is free and open to the public.  


Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Swainson's Warbler, and More!

 Openings remain for our trip to the Great Dismal Swamp and the Nature Conservancy's Piney Grove Preserve. In addition to the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker and Swainson's Warbler, we'll likely encounter Northern Bobwhite; Red-headed Woodpeckers; Prothonotary, Kentucky, and Hooded Warblers, and more. See the "Field Trip" section for details on this opportunity.    


Learn How to Transition Cats to the Indoors

ASNV and the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) have been working with Fairfax County Animal Shelter staff in recent months to expand the county's education and outreach program that encourages people to keep their cats indoors, as we have reported in previous issues. 

The three organizations will sponsor a Cats Indoors Workshop on June 7 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Fairfax County Animal Services building, 4500 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA 22030. 


The program will explore how to transition an outdoor cat to an indoor cat.  ABC's Grant Sizemore, Cats Indoors Program Officer, will explain why it is better for cats to keep them indoors, as well as provide tips to transition them from outdoors to indoors.

Several studies have documented that roaming cats are a major cause for the decline in birds.  Recent studies estimate that between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds are killed annually in the U.S. by domestic and feral cats roaming outside.  A compilation of studies by the Smithsonian Institution estimates that one pet cat kills between one and 34 birds each year and one feral cat kills between 23 and 46 birds annually

The event is free and open to the public.  Help us spread the word.




Spring Warblers - FULL

This 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.   

Signup: The class is now full. Check with the ASNV office for a wait list. 

Cost: $30.00 for members, $40 for non-members.
Classroom: Thursday, May 1, 2014, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Fairfax High School, 3501 Rebel Run, Fairfax, VA 22030. Room TBA.

Field Trip: Saturday, May 3, 2014, 8:00 am to 11:00 am. Site TBA.

Instructor: Larry Meade is President of the Northern Virginia Bird Club, and a former Board member of the Virginia Society of Ornithology. He has served as a Sector Leader for a number of years for several of our local Christmas Bird Counts and is an avid nature photographer (



Audubon At Home and Beyond 

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. 
Class dates:  Note: May 31 Class is full! A second class will be held on June 1 if there is sufficient interest. Contact the ASNV office by phone (703) 438-6008 or e-mail if you are interested. 
Location:  515 Alabama Drive, Herndon, VA
Cost: $30, 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. Maximum number of participants: 10 
Instructor:  Carol Hadlock is an ASNV Master Naturalist and one of the original organizers of the Audubon at Home program in Northern Virginia.
What Weed Is It?

Co-Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Regional Parks Authority

Join David Yost learning all about the weeds of northern Virginia. You are welcome to bring weeds from your own yard to be identified or come empty handed and see what we find in the field. After a brief orientation inside you'll go out and find examples of those dreaded, delightful, poison and tasty weeds. This class is a must for avid gardeners, gardeners for wildlife, and anyone interested in ASNV's Audubon at Home program.

Cost: $25 for ASNV members/ $35 for non-members. Signup online here
Classroom and Field Trip:  Wednesday, June 4, 4:00-7:00pm. (Meadowlark Gardens closes at 8:00 pm.)
Instructor:David Yost has been a Horticulturist at Merrifield Garden Center for over 16 years. He spends most of his time diagnosing plant problems including weeds and how to control them.  He is a Virginia Tech alumni, former Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent and currently serves as the training coordinator for the Fairfax County Master Gardeners program and on the education committee of the Northern Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association. David has offered this topic for industry professionals and Master Gardeners. David is also known to many in the gardening community as the gardening expert on Merrifield's Gardening Advisor, a weekly, live TV show every Saturday morning on NewsChannel 8.
Getting There:  9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court, Vienna, VA 
The gardens are located off of Beulah Road, between Route 7 and Route 123, south of the Dulles Access Road. To reach Meadowlark Botanical Gardens 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. 


Field Trips - Bird Walks

Wolf Trap Park, Vienna

Saturday, May 10, 7:30-10:30 AM

Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day with a walk through the wetland and ridges of this beautiful park. Jean Tatalias and Margaret Grieshaber will co-lead.

Getting there: The park is located at 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. Meet the leaders in the north end of the park, in the parking lot on the east side of Trap Road.


Bright Pond, Reston

Sunday, May 11, 7:30-10:30 AM

Treat Mom and yourself to an early morning visit to one of Reston's birding hotspots. Spring migrants will be singing especially for all the moms in the group.

Getting there: From Baron Cameron Ave. in Reston, take Reston Parkway north. Turn right on Bright Pond Lane and go the cul de sac to park and meet the leader.

Red-cockaded Woodpeckers at Piney Grove

May 15-17 (Thursday-Saturday)

Cost: $20 to ASNV, plus lodging and meals. Signup online here

Once again this year, 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 will spend two nights at the Airfield Conference Center, where comfortable Executive Suites run $65/single, $78/double per night. On Thursday, after arriving at the Conference Center and checking into our rooms, we will bird the wetlands at the mouth of the James River, at either Chippokes Plantation State Park or Hog Island WMA. On Friday, we plan to visit the Great Dismal Swamp NWR, where Swainson's Warblers nest, and other neo-tropic migrants abound. On Saturday we will rise early for our visit to Piney Grove, where we hope to spot the Red-cockaded Woodpeckers feeding their nestlings. Our Nature Conservancy guides will provide a highly informative introduction to both the woodpecker's life history and The Nature Conservancy's program to restore a healthy breeding population to the area.

The Nature Conservancy limits group size, so sign up soon with the ASNV office. Additional information will be provided.  


Thompson Wildlife Management Area, Linden, VA

Wednesday, May 21, 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. The trilliums may have faded, but the birds will make up for them.

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 Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (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.


Lower Glade Stream Valley, Reston

Sunday, May 25, 7:30-10:30 AM

Joanne and David Bauer will lead this walk through their "backyard." Always something good here.

Getting there: From Reston Parkway, take Glade Drive east to Twin Branches. Park along Glade Dr. and meet the leaders at the corner of Glade and Twin Branches. 


Clark's Crossing, Vienna

Wednesday, May 28, 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 is off Beulah Rd. about halfway between the Toll Rd. and Maple Ave.


Advocacy Update
Conservation Depends On You

County to Spray for Fall Cankerworms

We reported earlier that in response to ASNV's comments last year, staff from the Fairfax County Urban Forest Management Division requested a meeting and met with the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and others to discuss the county's plans to address fall cankerworms this spring.

Read more... 


Parks Budgets May Be at Risk    

As we reported earlier, Northern Virginia local governments have been developing budgets for the coming fiscal year and parks and natural resources are among many programs that are under scrutiny for possible cuts.


In Fairfax County, the county executive identified for possible cuts park positions at four parks: Riverbend Nature Center, Lake Accotink, Lake Fairfax and Burke Lake.   


The Board of Supervisors has "marked up" the budget and still must take final action. Judy Pedersen with the Fairfax County Park Authority sent us this email on April 24: "The proposed staff reductions at our lakefront parks and Riverbend Park have been taken off the table. That is very good news. We can also add that we are very pleased by the number of park advocates who have come forward and spoken on behalf of our park system. Beyond that, while we remain very optimistic about this year's budget we feel it is prudent to reserve comment on potential impacts until the budget is finalized next week by the Board of Supervisors. You can see the mark-up document online.


Tysons Park Concept Plan; Comment by June 16


The Fairfax County Park Authority has published the draft Tysons Park System Concept Plan to guide future park development.   You can read it here and send comments until June 16, 2014.


Here's the Fairfax County Park Authority's description:


"Creating an urban park system as Tysons transforms to the county's downtown will require vision, collaboration and a plan. A connected network of urban parks will help to distinguish Tysons from other urban areas and bring benefits to the local economy as well as improving the quality of life. To help ensure that happens, the Park Authority embarked upon an effort to develop a comprehensive park system concept plan that will complement and refine the existing Tysons Urban Center Plan.

 Read more...   


Brookfield Park Plan, Send Comments by June 7


The Fairfax County Park Authority will hold a community meeting on May 7, 2014 at 7 p.m. at Crestwood Elementary School located at 6010 Hanover Avenue in Springfield to begin the process of drafting a master plan amendment for Brookfield Park. The public is invited to share their thoughts with Fairfax County Park Authority staff members at the meeting. A 30-day public comment period will start following the meeting and end on June 7, 2014.

 Read more...   


Bone Up on Park Planning  


Local parks planning and management represent opportunities to influence the nature of parks.  Auduboners can influence what kind of parks we have and how they are managed by at the following web sites.

Reduce Carbon Emissions

National Audubon has identified climate change as the most serious environmental threat we face.  Washington watchers expect the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to issue new measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the primary greenhouse gas that is warming the planet.  Here, on the NAS website, you can read about how climate change is harming birds here.



Elect Members of Congress this Year

Congressmen Jim Moran (D-8) and Frank Wolf (R-10) have announced their retirement from the U.S. House of Representatives.  Virginians will vote on all House of Representatives' positions in November, as well as one U.S. Senate position, now held by Sen. Mark Warner (D).  Campaigns offer many opportunities for people to learn candidates' views and stress the importance of conservation.  Check the parties' websites for details on their nomination processes, how to get involved and deadlines. 

Other News
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...

Happenings in Loudoun County
Celebrate Birds, Go Birding! International Migratory Bird Day
Saturday, May 3 - Sunday, May 11.
During the spring, thousands of migratory birds move through North America to their nesting territories. Some will stay and nest in our area, while others will spend only a few days here replenishing their energy before continuing a journey that may be thousands of miles long. To celebrate and highlight this natural phenomenon and the importance of natural habitats, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy has scheduled several IMBD walks between May 3 and 11.Visit our website to see a listing of all the walks and to participate. Registration required: Sign up here.  Questions: Contact Jill Miller.



Earthday at Loudoun

Sunday, May 4, 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at Willow Creek Farm

42920 Broadlands Blvd., Broadlands.  

This free festival will offer virtually everything for the eco-conscious: a marketplace offering earth-friendly products and services, hands-on educational activities for all ages, and many other entertainment options. The festival is designed to be a family-oriented event to inform Loudouners on the environmental changes happening in the local area. Every year new performances bring diversity and fun to the event. For more information visit Stop by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy tent for free materials and information. We'll have Monarch campaign t-shirts, stickers, tip sheets and more!