May 2016

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In this Newsletter

  • President's Corner
  • Audubon Afternoon and Annual Meeting
  • The National Parks BioBlitz and Biodiversity Festival
  • Birdathon 2016
  • Classes
  • Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas Survey Techniques Workshop
  • Take Action
  • Birdwalks and Field Trips
  • Recurring Bird Walks
  • Birding by Ear Boot Camp Report
  • 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

  • May 11
  • June 15

Occoquan Bay NWR

  • May 25
  • June 29

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys

  • Occoquan Bay NWR - May 13
  • Meadowood - May 20
  • Metz Wetlands - May 27
  • Occoquan Regional Park - June 3
Jim is requesting volunteers for two special counts covering the Occoquan Bay NWR and nearby areas:
  • Annual Migratory Bird Count, Saturday, May 14, 7:00 am - noon
  • Annual Butterfly Count, Saturday, June 25, 8:00 am - 1:00 pm.

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

Our Gray Catbirds are back.  My wife noticed them first.  We know they are “our” catbirds, because they made a beeline for the suet feeder.  I like the way they look, the smooth gray with the black cap and button eyes, and they seem so comfortable being here.  I’ve been seeing courtship behavior – begging and bill-touching - but not much singing yet (if you can call it singing - melody is not their forte.)  That is in contrast to the House Wrens, whose exuberant songs seem to be all around. 

Alonso Abugattas has some encouraging news about amphibian populations in Arlington County which can be seen here.  Another example showing that our native wildlife populations need not all be in a depressing decline – our conservation efforts can make a difference, and we can find ways to live alongside our wild neighbors, if we put our minds to it.
Our Audubon at Home program is all about that, about making wildlife habitat in the places we live.  Interested in learning more about it?  Sign up for our Carol and Jay Hadlocks’ workshop “What is Audubon at Home, Anyway?”  More information can be found here.

Plan to join us for our next Audubon Afternoon. It will be on Sunday, June 12; it will feature a talk by Mike Lott on the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas project.  We’re also planning a follow up, hands-on “Survey Techniques” workshop on June 18.  Space is limited for the workshop.

And Birdathon is underway!  If you haven’t organized your team yet, time’s a-wasting!  Register a team here. Or – you can pledge your dollar support for your favorite team on our website here

Have a good month.
Carl Kikuchi

Audubon Afternoon and Annual Meeting

Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas 2


Sunday, June 12, 2016
3:00 – 5:00 pm
National Wildlife Federation Building
11100 Wildlife Center Dr., Reston, VA

The Second Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA2) is starting up this spring.  This will be a multi-year, state-wide survey.  Mike Lott is our Regional Coordinator for the BBA2 in Northern Virginia, and he will speak to us about the history and purpose of the Atlas.   He will also be available to answer any questions you might have about how you can participate in this project.  Click here for more information about BBA2.

This meeting will also be our annual meeting for our Chapter membership.  And we will also be announcing Birdathon winners!

The National Parks BioBlitz and Biodiversity Festival


The National Parks BioBlitz and Biodiversity Festival. The 2016 BioBlitz is an amazing opportunity to explore, document, and help protect our wonderful national parks for the next 100 years. You can be part of this centennial celebration of the National Park Service and biodiversity in our parks.
Teams of scientists, students, teachers, and the general public will join in a two-day race to discover and document the flora and fauna in the region’s national parks. Join the adventure! Signing up for a free inventory is a unique chance to explore parks with experts and learn about biodiversity in and around the National Capital Region. Read more→

Birdathon 2016

April 22 - May 15

Spring is here, and Birdathon is on its way! 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. 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. Click here for more information.

ASNV Goes Birding in Costa Rica

Double-striped Thick-knee, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Sooty-capped Chlorospingus, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Montezuma Oropendola, and Scrub Euphonia! These strange sounding names from far away became living birds on an ASNV-sponsored tour of Costa Rica in March. From sea level on the Pacific Ocean Gulf of Nicoyo (Turquoise Motmot, Pacific Screech-Owl, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron) to an elevation of 11,300 feet in the Talamanca Mountains (Volcano Junco, Fiery-throated Hummingbird), our group of 12 sharp-eyed ASNV birders enjoyed a week exploring a small part of this Central American country, tallying over 200 species.
Headlining the target species list in Costa Rica for many is the iconic Resplendent Quetzal, with an iridescent sheen and covert feathers longer than its own body! We were not disappointed, seeing seven of these magnificent           Resplendent Quetzal
birds. One Quetzal even granted us a private audience, as it perched and                 Dixie Sommers
posed in a tree just feet above us as we hiked down a mountain road. 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→

What is Audubon at Home, Anyway?

Saturday, June 11, 9:00 am -3:00 pm

ToadAre you curious about the program, not sure if you want to try it on your own but not quite ready to call for an Ambassador?  This workshop explores the principles of Audubon at Home in a backyard, real-life setting.  You will spend the day learning about gardening with native plants, composting, rain barrels, creating habitat for birds and pollinators.  You will also receive lots of helpful reference materials to take home with you. Come spend some time outside, enjoy the beauty of this amazing backyard habitat and observe its many wildlife visitors—it will be a fun and informative day.

Instructors:  Carol & Jay Hadlock
Location:  515 Alabama Drive, Herndon                            American Toad in Back Yard Pool - Jay Hadlock
Limit: 10                                                
Cost:  $25 for ASNV members, $35 for non-members

Note: Participants must bring their own lunches. Drinks and brownies will be provided

Register Here.  Additional photos of Carol's and Jay's back yard here.

Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas
Survey Techniques Workshop

A five-year project to document the breeding birds of Virginia is being launched this spring: the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas.

Join us at Riverbend Park visitor center at 8 am Saturday June 18. We will be looking for breeding birds while you learn how to find and document evidence of breeding. You can take what you learn and put to work anywhere in Virginia over the next five years.  It's a lot more fun than regular birding and much more valuable for conservation. Leaders: Ashley Peele, Coordinator of the VABBA project, and Greg Butcher, ASNV Board Member.  
Free.  Limit 20.
Sign up here.

Take Action

Dominion Power Line Could Harm Birds

The Friends of Huntley Meadows Park (FOHMP) are seeking support for their request that Dominion Virginia Power redesign a power line project (Dominion Rebuild Project Case No. PUE-2015-00133).  This project would replace an existing 230-kilovolt transmission line along a 2.6 mile stretch of existing right of way with 20- to 40-foot poles and transmission lines above the tree line near the park’s southern boundary.  Read More→

Alexandria Should Stop Discharging Sewage

According to city statistics, Alexandria dumps 11.3 million gallons of raw sewage through four outfalls into the Potomac River every year through what is called a “combined sewer overflow” system.   The city is preparing a long-range control plan and is accepting comments on the draft plan.
Auduboners  may want to urge the city to develop a strong plan. Points you could make:
It is simply unacceptable to allow any amount of untreated sewage to enter the waterways from the city of Alexandria or any source. Read More→

Safe Buildings

Millions of bird die every year after colliding with buildings, especially windows.  National Audubon urges all Auduboners to encourage their members of Congress to support H.R. 2280, the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act.  Click here to learn the details.

Albatross and Petrel Conservation

National Audubon asks that Auduboners urge their members of Congress to support H.R. 4480, a bill to enable the U.S. to join a treaty to protect these birds. You can learn more here.

Educate the Candidates about Conservation

In addition to electing a U.S. president this year, Virginians will elect 11 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Question the candidates, ask for their conservation platform, get involved in the campaign of your choice and make the case for conservation.


Birdwalks and Field Trips


Loudoun County

Once again the Loudoun County Wildlife Conservancy is hosting a number of bird walks at different locations, including Bles Park, Algonkian Park, Banshee Reeks, and the Blue Ridge Center.  No fee, but registration is required. Click here for more information.

May 6 through May 14
Registration required

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 to Noon

Stratton Woods, Reston, VA

Stratton Woods has a mix of woods and meadow habitats, and we’ll be looking for spring migrants and evidence of nesting. Sponsored by the Bird Feeder of Reston and the Reston Association.

Getting there From westbound Dulles Access Road, go south on the Fairfax County Parkway.  From the Parkway, go west on Fox Mill Rd and take the first right turn into the parking lot and park by the ball fields.  2431 Fox Mill Road.

Sunday May 15
7:30 AM to 10:30 AM

Eakin Park, Fairfax, VA

This neighborhood park offers woods and stream habitat, with field edges that make good viewing opportunities. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club. Leader is Elizabeth Fenton.

Getting there:  From Route 50 outside the beltway, take Prosperity Avenue South to the entrance to the parking lot on the left (east) side.

Wednesday, May 18
8:30 to 11:00 AM

Dyke Marsh, Alexandria, VA

As part of the National Park BioBlitz, Ed Eder and Larry Cartwright will lead walks in this waterside and woodland habitat for the Friends of Dyke Marsh. 

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.

Friday May 20 and Saturday May 21
7:00 to 8:30 AM and
8:30 to 10 AM each day

Birding and Wines

Join fellow birders at Thompson Wildlife Management Area at 7:30 AM on Sunday, May 22 to look for long-awaited spring woodland species including Cerulean Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Veery and Rose-breasted Grosbeak and enjoy the wildflowers along the trillium trail.  eBirders have recorded 100 species (including 24 warblers) along the Trillium Trail in May Trillium Trail May. After birding the Trillium Trail, enjoy great Virginia wines and your bag lunch at Fox Meadow Winery, conveniently located adjacent to Thompson.


Each participant must have an access permit or a valid state hunting or freshwater fishing license issued by Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. You must obtain this in advance. Daily permits are $4.00. The yearly licenses are $23.00. For more information visit DGIF.

You cannot get a permit at Thompson WMA.

Fox Meadow Winery is located in Linden Virginia and they have been crafting great wines for a decade. They have wines for all tastes from their marvelously dry Cabernet Franc to their fun Blue Mountain Mist. Tastings (with some food pairings) are $12.00/person. You must be 21 or older to participate in this part of the outing. After the wine tasting, enjoy your picnic lunch and the view from the deck overlooking Fox Meadow’s vineyard.

Bird Walk /Wine Tasting is limited to 15 participants. To register, contact Ellen Jacobson. Bring your permit, your lunch and $12 for the wine tasting.  Sponsored by ASNV; Ellen Jacobson leads.

Sunday, May 22
7:30 AM to approximately 1:00 PM
Registration required.
VA WMA permit required.
Bring $12 to participate in wine tasting and bring your own picnic lunch.


Limited to 15 participants

Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA

The wetlands boardwalk and the wooded paths provide a great place for birding.  Come find migrants and year round residents.  Sponsored by Northern Virginia Bird Club.  Dixie Sommers leads.

Getting there: From I-195, take Route 1 south  for 3 miles.  Turn right on Lockheed Blvd. and in 0.5 miles turn left into park entrance.  3701 Lockheed Blvd. Meet in parking lot.

Wednesday May 25
8:30 AM to Noon

Sapsucker Woods, Reston, VA

This is a section of the Glade Stream Valley that is rich in songbirds and often has a surprise or two.  Carol and Jay Hadlock lead. Sponsored by the Bird Feeder of Reston and the Reston Association.

Getting there:  Take the Dulles Toll Road West, to Exit 13, Wiehle Ave.  Turn left onto Wiehle, Right onto Sunrise Valley Drive, Left onto Soapstone Drive, and then Right onto Glade Drive. Meet in the parking lot of the Glade Swimming Pool and Tennis Courts. 11550 Glade Drive.

Sunday, May 29
7:30 AM to 10:30 AM

Clarks Crossing, W&OD trail, Vienna, VA

Bluebirds, tanagers, and orioles, oh, my!  Those are just a few of the species we often find on this early summer walk along woods edges and stream crossings. Sponsored by Audubon Society of Northern Virginia.  Dixie Sommers leads.

Getting there:  From I-66, exit to Nutley Street, North (Rte 243).  Go about 1 mile and turn right to go north/east on Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) toward Vienna.  In 1.3 miles turn left onto Beulah Road.  In 1.6 miles turn left onto Clarks Crossing Road and meet in the parking lot at the end of the road.

Sunday June 5
7:30 to 11:30 AM

Join Larry Cartwright on his “home turf” of Dyke Marsh to look for summer breeding birds along the river and the woodland path. 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

Wednesday, June 15
8:30  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.

Birding by Ear Boot Camp Report

The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia sponsored a Birding by Ear Boot Camp on April 30, 2016.  Twelve birders joined leader Joette Borzik, and got a good taste of what the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship has to offer for birds and wildlife.  The weather prior to the event had been stormy and rainy.  Although light drizzle occurred in the early morning hours, it didn't seem to hinder the birds or birders.  54 different species were found, including 8 warbler species.  Interestingly, some very common species were not seen or heard, such as House Sparrow, Northern Mockingbird, Northern Flicker, Red-winged Blackbird and Common Grackle.  The group did not find an American Robin until mid-afternoon. Read More→ 
                                                                                         Birding by Ear Boot Camp - Laura McDonald

Other News


Connecting to Children through Hummingbirds

ASNV’s new Youth Education Committee has begun an effort to engage with clubs and groups that introduce children to nature through outdoor education.  4-H Clubs, which are grounded in the ideal that strong minds have strong values, work with children in the areas of agriculture and conservation.

Audubon member and Master Naturalist, Melanie La Force, was approached by a local 4-H Club that wanted a program on birds. Melanie developed an interactive presentation founded on National Audubon Society’s “Hummingbirds at Home” project but specifically geared for children. When asked, “Why hummingbirds?” She replied, “They are tiny but mighty.” Read More→ 
                                                                                         Child Sipping Nectar - Mary McLean

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

May 20

We have alocal opportunity 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→