Rain fell the day of the Big Sit, but that didn't keep more than 30 people from showing up for the event at Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area near Lorton. This year’s Big Sit was helped with a turnout of topnotch birders, including ASNV board president Tom Blackburn and board members Andrea Auerbach and Greg Butcher. ASNV members Ray Smith, Larry Cartwright, Larry Mead, Gary Myers, Ana Argüelles, and Jeff Wneck were joined by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and ASNV staff.
Throughout the day, which ran from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., participants counted 476 birds of 46 species, up from 36 species last year, as well as five species of butterfly, including 15 individual Monarchs.
The Big Sit, begun by the New Haven, Connecticut, Bird Club, is an annual birding competition sponsored by Swarovski Optics and Bird Watcher’s Digest across the nation. The Meadowood event was the second birder tailgate party hosted by ASNV with BLM. Meadowood offers 13.4 miles of hiking trails, 7 miles of horseback riding trails, two fishing ponds, and 800 acres of forest and meadows.
According to the count compiler, Greg Butcher, “We have a lot of fun counting birds, but the biggest pleasure is seeing families with small children enjoying nature and all that it offers. Activities like the Big Sit engage youngsters, helping to ensure that we will have conservationists in future who will work on behalf of wildlife.”
We hope you will join the fun next year. Watch for information in the ASNV newsletter and on the website.
(All photos in this article were taken by Dale Ward during the Big Sit.]