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In This Newsletter

  • President’s Corner
  • World Migratory Bird Day Workshop
  • Audubon at Home Ambassadors Spread the Word
  • Youth Education Mini-grants
  • Fall Shorebirds Workshop
  • Audubon Afternoons
  • 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)
  • May 16
  • June 13

Occoquan Bay NWR 

(7:30 AM - 12:00 PM)
  • May 30
  • June 27

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys 

(8:30 AM - 12:30 PM)
  • May 4 - Occoquan Regional Park
  • May 11 - Occoquan Bay
  • May 18 - Meadowood
  • May 25 - Metz Wetlands
  • June 1 - Occoquan Regional Park
  • June 8 - Occoquan Bay
  • June 15 - Meadowood
  • June 22 - Metz Wetlands
  • June 29 - Occoquan Regional Park

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

My backyard is practically humming.  Birds are chasing each other; birds are cozying up to each other; birds are feeding each other.  The cardinals have built a nest in the trumpet vine under the deck, and burst out whenever I walk by to turn on the hose.  Migrants are back – orioles and catbirds, and the early flush of warblers.  Get out there and enjoy the spring!  

It’s not too late to form or join a Birdathon team, and get out there to tally up species and help the Chapter, for example.  More information here.

Congratulations to the recipients of ASNV’s first annual Conservation grants (see website) and Youth Education mini-grants (see below), and many thanks to the Conservation and Youth Education Committees for pulling these together.  We’re looking forward to seeing some photos of these projects. 

A reminder about our two upcoming Audubon Afternoons, on May 20, with Tim Low, Australian biologist and author of Where Song Began, and on June 10, with John Shafer talking to us about raptors and raptor identification.  See the articles in this newsletter for more information.

Larry Meade will be teaching our workshop in preparation for the World Migratory Bird Count (see below).  Workshop is on May 10, and the count, at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, is on May 12.  Marc Ribaudo will be teaching a Fall Shorebirds workshop (see below) in August; more information will be available soon on our website.

And there are any number of bird walks listed this month on our website – time to get outside. 

Have a good month.
Carl Kikuchi      

World Migratory Bird Day Workshop

Thursday, May 10, 7:00-9:00PM
National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive
Reston, VA 20190

Join us for this FREE workshop. This is the longest running annual spring bird count in this area. Held at the height of spring migration, these counts have averaged over 100 species. Teams of volunteers conduct an area search, counting species and individuals. Data is submitted for inclusion in a hemispheric database used by Partners in Flight to chart the status and population trends of resident and neotropical migratory species.

This field trip for this workshop will be on Saturday, May 12 -  instruction will be given in class.

Larry Meade will instruct. Register here.

Audubon at Home Ambassadors Spread the Word

Audubon at Home Ambassadors who are also certified as Virginia Master Naturalists helped spread the word about positive environmental practices at three regional Earth Day events on April 22. 
Lake Barcroft was staffed by Lisa Hylton and Cindy Davis.   At the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, Ann DiFiore & Tami Scheiffer staffed a table and Audubon at Home Co-Director Robin Duska spoke to attendees celebrating the day’s theme of the "Sacred Interconnectedness of Flora and Fauna From Ground to Canopy." Certified Interpretative Guide and Virginia Master Naturalist Linda Fuller also assisted by staffing a table at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park.

Earth Day Table at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax - Photo by Robin Duska

Youth Education Mini-grants

ASNV has awarded three $500 Youth Education mini-grants to help applicants connect youth to birds. Blue Ridge Middle School in western Loudoun County will use the funds to expand the native plant garden in its outdoor classroom and to conduct citizen science to determine whether more native birds are attracted as a result. The Friends of Reston will purchase materials to assemble Bird Backpacks that will be used by Walker Nature Center visitors to learn about birds and their habitats in an outdoor setting. NoVA Outside will create simple, bilingual bird identification flipbooks and supporting teaching materials to be piloted next year at three elementary schools.

Fall Shorebirds Workshop

Save the Date!

Marc Ribaudo will be teaching a workshop on fall shorebirds – classroom session on Thursday, August 16, field trip on Saturday, August 18.  Keep an eye on our website for more details! 

Audubon Afternoons

Where Song Began – Birds of Australia

Sunday, May 20, 2018
3:00 – 5:00 pm
National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Dr.
Reston, VA 20190
Join us for a special Audubon Afternoon!

Australia is known for its unique wildlife, and its birds are no exception.  We are lucky enough to have Tim Low speaking to us about the birds of Australia and the origin of the world’s songbirds (fresh from his talk at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology!) 

Tim Low is an Australian biologist and best-selling author of seven books. His bird book, Where Song Began, won leading prizes and made best-seller lists in Australia, and has been strongly praised in the US and UK, with a recommendation from Scientific American. Among other topics, it tells the globally important story of how Australia gave the world its songbirds. In the NY Review of Books, Tim Flannery wrote that "I found myself astonished again and again.”

America's Bird Watcher’s Digest said that “Books about ecology and evolutionary biology are rarely so entertaining and engrossing, but Low is a story-teller, and nearly every page offers a compelling, often shocking, story.” Scot Edwards of Harvard wrote that Tim Low "provides an elegant synthesis of the scientific literature and a panoramic view of how Australia's songbirds originated; the ecological and behavioral forces leading to their uniqueness; and ultimately their far-reaching impacts across the globe." The book won the Australian Book Industry Award for Best General Non Fiction.

Rose-crowned Fruit Dove photo by Alwyn Simple

Copies of Where Song Began will be available for purchase. Additional photos can be seen on our website.


June 10, 2018, 2:30 – 5:00
National Wildlife Federation Building
11100 Wildlife Center Dr.
Reston, VA 20190

Here’s your opportunity to learn more about raptors!  John Shafer will share some of his photos of raptors, including photos in different stages of development, the better to help you identify, age, and sex these fascinating, uniquely adapted birds.  He’ll also share personal stories, research, and current theories on habitat and behavior to enhance your appreciation for these birds in the wild.

John Shafer is a Board Member with the Cape May Raptor Banding Project, and has been volunteering with the Project for 25 years.  He brings that wealth of experience to his talks as a natural history interpreter and field trip leader.

This will also be our Annual Membership meeting, and we will be conducting elections for Officers and Board of Directors.  We will also be announcing Birdathon prize winners!

Take Action


Speak Up about Loudoun’s Future

Here’s a chance to advocate for Loudoun County’s natural assets, current and potential.  The county is holding meetings on Envision Loudoun to receive input on county policies affecting land use and conservation.  These sessions are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Monday, May 14, Harmony Middle School, 38174 W. Colonial Highway, Hamilton
  • Wednesday, May 16, Harper Park Middle School, 701 Potomac Station Drive, Leesburg
  • Monday, May 21, Eagle Ridge Middle School, 42901 Waxpool Road, Ashburn
  • Tuesday, May 22, Cascades Senior Center, 21060 Whitfield Place, Sterling
  • Thursday, May 24, John Champe High School, 41535 Sacred Mountain Street, Aldie
The following meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Monday, May 21, Loudoun County Government Center, Dulles Room, 1 Harrison Street, SE, Leesburg
Learn more about the meetings at Envision Loudoun.

How Did They Vote? 

You can learn how Virginia’s Members of Congress scored on the League of Conservation Voters’ 2017 scorecard here. LCV scored votes in the first session of the 115th Congress.   Four members of the House of Representatives scored 80 percent or greater and seven scored 10 percent or less.

  • Senator Tim Kaine, 95
  • Senator Mark Warner, 79
  • Cong. Don Beyer, 100
  • Cong. Gerry Connolly, 100
  • Cong. Barbara Comstock, 9
  • Cong. Rob Wittman, 0

Unowned Cats and Wildlife

Four ASNVers met with representatives of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter and Gina Lynch, Chair of the County’s Animal Services Advisory Committee, to urge changes in the county’s policies and practices.  ASNV’s position is posted on this website.  If you are aware of cat colonies or problems for wildlife caused by unowned or free-roaming cats, contact Glenda Booth.

Fund Land Conservation

The Virginia Senate will reconvene on May 14 to try to complete action on the state budget.  Conservation advocates are working to increase funding for land conservation.  For the Land Conservation Fund, the Governor’s budget proposed $4.5 million. The Senate cut it to $1.5 million and the House eliminated all funding for the first year and provided $4.5 million in the second year.  Auduboners may want to urge their state senators to increase VLCF funding.

VLCF awards grants to localities to help fund the purchase of permanent conservation easements, open spaces, parklands, lands of historic or cultural significance, farmlands and forests and natural areas.
Since 2000, during 12 grant rounds, VLCF received 337 applications requesting almost $123 million in state funding, which was almost two-and-a-half times the available amount.
From 1999 to 2017, VLCF has awarded funding to 203 of the 337 grant applications, awarded more than $50.9 million to land conservation projects and helped protect more than 63,800 acres.

Climate Change Is Harming Virginia

Climate change is affecting seasonal patterns, making Virginia summers hotter, extending allergy seasons, increasing mosquito and tick-borne diseases and leading to more coastal flooding, among other problems, concludes a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council here.  One figure in the report shows that Northern Virginia had from six to 15 ozone exceedances days from 2011 to 2015, the highest in the state.  The report describes several steps Virginia has taken and recommends more.

What Kind of Parks Do You Want?

The Fairfax County Park Authority is embarking on development of the FY 2019-2023 Strategic Plan. You can read the draft plan here and submit comments until May 25, 2018 via Parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov or on the project website. For more information, contact Samantha Hudson at samantha.hudson@fairfaxcounty.gov or 703-324-8726.

Bird Walks


Great Dismal Swamp and Piney Grove Field Trip
Friday May 4 - Sunday May 6

In this spring trip to southern Virginia, we will bird at Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, a spring warbler destination and one of the few Virginia locations for Swainson’s Warbler.  The trip is full but you can click here to sign up for waiting list.

Stratton Woods, Reston, VA
Sunday May 6 - 7:30 to 10:30 AM

Join leader Matt Bender to look for spring migrants.  The first week of May should have a lot of birding activity. Sponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.

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.

Mason Neck State Park, Lorton, VA
Saturday, May 12 - 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM

Free admission to the park on this day only

Get a head start on the park’s Eagle Festival with a walk along the Bayview Trail. Dixie Sommers leads.  Sponsored by Mason Neck State Park and 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. Meet at the Picnic Area.  7301 High Point Road, Lorton, VA 22079-4010.


Wolf Trap National Park, Vienna, VA
Sunday, May 13 - 9:00 to 11:00 AM

Wolf Trap has trails, fields and streams to explore for birding on this Mother’s Day walk which welcomes families. Leaders are Robin Duska, Colt Gregory, and Jean Tatalias.  Sponsored by Wolf Trap and ASNV.

Getting there: From Rt. 7, take Towlston Rd. to the park and go to the main entrance to the Filene Center. Park around the circle or in the lower lot if the circle is full.  Meet at the Filene Center Box Office.

Laurel Hill Equestrian Center, Lorton, VA
Wednesday, May 16 - 8:30 to 11:00 AM

There’s great habitat in the fields of this location.  Join leaders Marc Ribaudo and Phil Silas to explore this site. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From I-495, take I-95 south about 13 miles to exit 163 (Lorton Rd). Continue 1.4 west on Rte 642 (Lorton Rd). Turn left on Rte 611 (Furnace Rd) and then immediately right onto Dairy Rd. Proceed to the parking lot where we’ll meet.

Sapsucker Woods, Reston, VA
Sunday, May 20 - 7:30 to 10:30 AM

This popular site should net some great spring birds.  Join leaders Jay and Carol Hadlock to discover the species here. Sponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.

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 Community Pool and Tennis Courts. 11550 Glade Drive.

Delaware Bay areas from Cape Henlopen to Bombay Hook, Delaware
Friday, May 25 to Sunday May 27

This weekend shorebird trip is full. Call or email Ray Smith to check on wait list possibility.   571-286-7856 or bluebird58@verizon.net

Clarks Crossing, Vienna, VA
Sunday, May 27 - 8:00 to 11:00 AM

Check out areas surrounding the W&OD trail, where indigo buntings seem to abound at this season.  Robin Duska and Kris Lansing lead for ASNV.

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.

Huntley Meadows, Alexandria, VA
Wednesday, May 30 - 8:30 to 11:00 AM

Don’t let spring end without a walk at Huntley.  Dixie Sommers leads. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

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.

Walker Nature Center/Snakeden Stream Valley, Reston, VA
Sunday, June 10 - 7:30 AM to 10:30 AM

Enjoy the woods and the stream bed areas which are rich in bird life.  Sponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.

Getting there: From VA-267 W/Dulles Toll Road take exit 14 (Hunter Mill Road/VA-674). Turn left onto Hunter Mill Rd (VA-674), right onto Sunrise Valley Drive, left onto S Lakes Drive, left onto Twin Branches Rd. Then take third right onto Glade Drive.   Meet at the Nature House at 11450 Glade Drive in Reston.

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, Alexandria, VA
Sunday, June 24 - 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Remember there’s a walk every Sunday at Dyke Marsh along the Potomac shore and through the woodlands.  Ospreys and eagles usually abound.  Sponsored by 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

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