Welcome from the ASNV President

Hello Everyone! First of all, I’d like to thank all those who came out to Meadowood on Saturday to celebrate the Lower Potomac Important Bird Area dedication. We enjoyed some great bird walks led by Jim Waggener and other volunteers, welcomed the opportunity to be outside in a beautiful setting on a great day, and heard a range of interesting speakers representing all of the Lower Potomac IBA’s environmental and conservation partners organized by Mary Elfner, National Audubon’s Virginia IBA Coordinator.

Please be sure to mark your calendars for Nature Night on December 10, and note the new time of 6-8 PM and the location at the Merrifield Garden Nursery in Fair Oaks. It will be upstairs just as we did last year and we have two wonderful speakers from the Virginia Society of Ornithology and from the Ornithology Department of the College of William and Mary. We will also introduce two new members of your Board of Directors. If you can, please bring some finger-food that we can share with each other before and after the regular program.

Finally, our Fall appeal letter has probably reached you by now. I hope you will take the time to read it, and will consider supporting ASNV as a part of your year-end giving. Your support makes every we do possible -- we couldn't do this without you.

Happy Thanksgiving and please stay in touch - Bruce

Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count

Time to sign up! Our annual Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count will be on Sunday, December 20. Our count circle is around Centreville and includes Manassas Battlefield, parts of Bull Run Regional Park, undeveloped areas south of Dulles Airport and many stream valley parks and undeveloped locations from Clifton to near Fairfax City. As in the past, we’ll be offering a hot lunch to participants.

First time counter?

We have good turnouts every year, but we always welcome new volunteers. Our annnual Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count is part of the National Audubon Society's country-wide Christmas Bird Count, and helps support bird conservation activites by tracking long-term population trends. Please contact the ASNV office at info@audubonva.org or 703-256-6895 for more information or to sign up for the event.

If you've counted before

Those of you who participated last year will be contacted by your sector leader in the near future to ask about this year. If you don’t hear from your sector leader, or if you would like to be in a different sector, please contact the ASNV office at info@audubonva.org or 703-256-6895.

Count without leaving your house

For the very first time, we will be offering an opportunity for feeder watchers this year. If you or someone you know lives within the count circle and cannot go out on the count, he or she can sit inside and count the birds that come to a feeder on count day as another way to participate. Please contact the ASNV office at info@audubonva.org or 703-256-6895 for more information or to sign up for the event.

Count more than once

We hope you'll join us for a day of counting birds in the Manassas-Bull Run area, but we aren't the only group in the area who will be contributing to the national Christmas Bird Count. If you want to count more than once, please consider joining forces with one or more of these great groups:

Washington, D.C., Saturday, December 19
Includes areas of Virginia inside the Beltway along with Dyke Marsh. Contact Larry Cartwright at prowarbler@verizon.net.

Manassas-Bull Run, Sunday, December 20
This is our group! We'll be counting around the Manassas, Bull Run and Dulles area. Contact Audubon Society of Northern Virginia at info@audubonva.org or 703-256-6895.

Seneca, Sunday, December 20
Includes locations in Virginia close to the Potomac in northeastern Loudoun and northwestern Fairfax counties. Contact Mark England at markengland@canamcontractors.com or 240-375-4500.

The Plains, Sunday, December 20
Contact Todd Day at blkvulture@aol.com.

Central Loudoun, Sunday, December 27
Contact Joe Coleman at joecoleman@rcn.com or 540-554-2542.

Nokesville, Sunday, December 27
Contact Prince William Conservation Alliance at alliance@pwconserve.org or 703-499-4954.

Calmes Neck, Sunday, January 3
Includes areas in Clarke and western Loudoun counties. Contact Margaret Wester at margaretwester@hotmail.com.

Fort Belvoir, Sunday, January 3
Contact Kurt Gaskill at kurtcapt87@verizon.net or 703-768-2172.

Upcoming Field Trips

Registration is not required unless noted. Contact the ASNV office at 703-256-6895 or info@audubonva.org for more information. Participants should dress for the weather and bring binoculars. Visit our website for more information about these and other upcoming field trips.

Teen Birding

Sunday, November 22, 1-6 PM
Open to interested birders in grades 7-12. Destination to be decided based on reports of bird activity. Fred Atwood and Nolan Britt lead the group. For information, email Fred at fredatwood@yahoo.com(type Teen Birding in the subject line) or call 703-242-1675 and leave a message.

Thanksgiving Weekend

Are you looking for an alternative to shopping malls? Or a break from football? Or a way to get your house guests out of the house for awhile? A birdwalk could be just the answer. Venture out on your own, or join other birding enthusiasts at Riverbend Park or Huntley Meadows.

Riverbend Park

Saturday, November 28, 9:00 AM
Meet Kathy Burger and Glen Gerada at the Visitor Center for a walk along the river.

Getting there: From Route 193 east of Great Falls on the Virginia side; take Riverbend Road to a right turn on Jeffery Road. Turn right into the main entrance of the park. If you have questions, call Kathy at 703-725-9892.

Huntley Meadows

Sunday, November 29, 8:00 AM
Meet Larry Meade in the parking lot at 3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria.

Western Fairfax County

Sunday, December 13, 8-11:00 AM
Explore the diverse avian habitats of Bull Run Post Office Rd. and the Fairfax County Park Authority’s Sully Woodlands for wintering and resident birds with Carolyn Williams. Meet at Centreville's Newgate Shopping Center parking lot adjacent to Jo-Ann’s Fabrics where we will carpool. Call Carolyn at 703-273-1961 if you have any questions.

Getting there: Take either Rt. 28 (Sully/Centreville Rd.) or 29 (Lee Hwy.) to the interchange at Centreville. The shopping center is located in the northwest quadrant (2009 ADC map 5642, A6). The only way to access the parking lot is from Rt. 29 just west of the interchange.

A Weekend of Birding in the Northern Neck of Virginia

December 11-13
There are a few spaces left for this great weekend of birding. We will meet in the parking lot of the Best Western in Warsaw, Virginia, at 3:00 PM. (4544 Richmond Rd., Rt. 360) Friday. Highlights will include Washington’s Birthplace, spots along the Coastal VA Birding Trail to the Chesapeake Bay and back along the Rappahannock River. Head for home Sunday afternoon. Expect to find ducks, including sea ducks, swans, snow geese, wintering grassland birds, raptors and more.

Ray Smith will lead. Limit is 20. Reservations required. To reserve a spot, email Ray at smiths@dogwooddg.com or call 703-620-2540.

Take the LEAPP®!

The LEAPP® (Learn, Enjoy, Appreciate, Preserve, and Protect) program offers the opportunity to learn more about the natural world and be informed, active stewards for its care and protection. To register or for more information, please visit our website, email us or call the ASNV office at 703-256-6895. Don’t miss out – register early! Please note that registration is not complete until payment is received. Visit our website for more information about these and other upcoming LEAPP programs.

Winter Waterfowl Identification

Saturday, January 9, 2010 9:00 AM – noon
Join us for an introduction to winter waterfowl identification, in preparation for our annual ASNV Waterfowl Count, scheduled for January 23. Get to know some of the many waterfowl species that winter in the open waters of our region, from lesser scaup, to green-winged teal, hooded mergansers and buffleheads, to tundra swans and more. This will be an outdoor field trip/bird walk, so dress for the weather. We will visit the Great Marsh and Belmont Bay on the Mason Neck peninsula. Bring binoculars and a scope if you have one. The leader will have a scope and waterfowl identification guides.

Where: Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge & Mason Neck State Park

Getting there: Gunston Rd east from Richmond Highway. Continue past turnoff to Mason Neck State Park, to parking lot for the Great Marsh Trail on the right.

Leader: Larry Cartwright

Cost: Free

Please contact the ASNV office at info@audubonva.org or 703-256-6895 for more information or to sign up for the event.

Advocacy Update: Conservation Depends on You

Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner Need to Hear from You Now

The next few months are critical in the U.S. Senate. The ball is now in the Senate’s court for addressing global warming and climate change, a top Audubon priority and one of the most serious threats ever to face the planet. Several committees are now writing a bill. Our Virginia senators have told us that the opponents of action are very active and that they are hearing more from “the other side” than from “our side.”

Please contact your Senators today. The easiest thing to do is to email them through the U.S. Senate website.

For more information about the issues and talking points, please visit http://www.audubon.org/globalWarming/ or contact Glenda Booth.

Give ‘em an Earful

The Fairfax County Environmental Quality Advisory Council will hold a public hearing on the environment on November 30 at 7:30 PM. The meeting will be at the Fairfax County Government Center, with a remote testimony opportunity at the South County Government Center. This is a great opportunity to tell county officials what you think about our environment and make recommendations. If you would like to speak, please call 703-324-1380 or email EQAC@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Virginia Politics, Demystified

As a result of the November 3 election, state government and the General Assembly will see big changes. You can learn what to expect and how to influence policymakers at a Richmond meeting on December 5, from 9 AM - 1 PM. Experts will give briefings on issues expected in the 2010 session of the General Assembly and offer tips for achieving our goals. For a tutorial on the state legislature, check out General Assembly 101 at www.vcnva.org. If you would like to carpool, contact Glenda Booth at gbooth123@aol.com. There are also regular Amtrak trains to Richmond.

You can find incumbent state legislators’ conservation ratings for the last session at http://www.valcv.org/.

2009 ASNV Northern Virginia Bird Survey (NVBS) – Preliminary Report

Last June over forty dedicated volunteers participated in the 16th annual Northern Virginia Bird Survey (NVBS), ASNV’s comprehensive grid-based breeding bird count at over twenty-five sites including our latest addition, Cub Run Stream Valley Park. Counts at 642 survey points yielded 99 species, more than 10,000 individual birds (156,351 for the sixteen year run), and generated nearly 6,000 database records each containing information about a single species at a single survey point. (The cumulative database now contains 85,188 records.) With the addition of two common ravens at Manassas National Battlefield Park (thanks to Deborah Chapman), the NVBS has logged 146 species. This year's top three species were northern cardinal, Carolina wren, and tufted titmouse. Crow numbers remained low and were essentially unchanged from last year.

Additional 2009 NVBS results will be appearing soon on the ASNV website.

Important Bird Areas of Virgina 2009 Annual Report is Available Online

The Virginia Important Bird Areas Program was initiated in 2002 to ensure that the most essential places for birds in our state are conserved. The IBA program is a citizen partnership program, and whenever possible, we involve people like you in identifying, monitoring and conserving these essential sites. Conservation of IBAs is dependent on the passion and hard work of local volunteers and committed partners, and together we can ensure that these special places will remain protected for generations to come.

At the start of this fiscal year, the Virginia IBAs Program outlined eight major goals:
1. To restore and conserve private lands, particularly in the Culpeper Basin IBA
2. To engage local communities
3. To incorporate IBAs into local government planning decisions
4. To raise funds, budget and conduct ongoing outreach
5. To complete IBA identification
6. To develop workshops
7. To coordinate an IBA recognition ceremony
8. To develop conservation plans on priority IBAs

It was an ambitious list, but the Virginia IBA met many of their goals, and continue to work on others. Visit their website for more information, or download the report (pdf) to read about their many successes in 2009.

ASNV is on Flickr!

Have you seen a brown creeper lately? What about a cedar waxwing? If not, you can today, just by joining ASNV on Flickr.

We hope you will share your pictures, take a look at ours and let us know what you think. Our photo gallery will highlight all the nature around us -- not just birds, but also insects, plants and Virginia's magnificent trees.

If you already have a Yahoo or Flickr account, joining is easy -- just click on join from our group page and select the pictures you'd like to share. If you are new to Flickr, then you will have to create an account before you can join our group. Just follow the easy steps on the Flickr website, and you will be set up in no time. Once your account is active, just go back to our group page and click join. (Please note, you do need to have at least five photos in your own gallery before Flickr will let you share with our group).

You do need to join to see all the photos but it's worth it! So keep your camera or cell phone handy. We'd love to see what you've seen.

Conservation Counts

Join Jim Waggener in his ongoing wildlife surveys at two of Northern Virginia's best birding spots. Surveys are held every Wednesday, alternating 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. Call Jim at 703-567-3555 for more details or to reserve your space.

Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Upcoming dates
November 25
December 2
December 16
December 30

Getting there
Take I-95 to Woodbridge exit 161. Go south on Rt. 1 to Dawson Beach Road, turn left, and go to the central parking area.

Meadowood on Mason Neck
Upcoming dates
November 18
December 9
December 23

Getting there
Take I-95 to Lorton exit 163. Turn left on Lorton Road, right on Rt. 1, and left on Gunston Road. About a mile past the elementary school you will see Meadowood’s horse pastures and signs on the right. Enter through the iron gateway, drive straight ahead and park by the stables.

Great Backyard Bird Count

Mark your calendars for February 12-15, 2010, the dates for the next GBBC. Details will be provided in upcoming newsletters. Meanwhile, you can visit www.birdcount.org for more information.

Winter Waterfowl Count

On Saturday, January 23, 2010, birders of all skill levels will join up to count waterfowl in Fairfax, Arlington, and Prince William Counties, including the Potomac and Occoquan watersheds. Novice birders will be paired with expert bird enthusiasts. Studies have revealed that some waterfowl species are facing population decline and habitat loss. Join us in counting for conservation and collect important scientific data about trends in our local waterfowl population. Larry Cartwright is our volunteer compiler for this year’s waterfowl count.

For more information, or to join the team, please contact the ASNV office at info@audubonva.org or 703-256-6895.

Leaders Needed

ASNV would like to add some new names to our roster of field trip leaders. You don’t have to be the world’s best birder—but if you have a favorite patch you know and love and would be willing to share your knowledge with others, we would like to hear from you. Likewise, if your passion is wildflowers, or insects, or herps, or any other aspect of the natural world, we would like to offer walks that will explore those areas as well. No need to worry that you don’t know how to lead a field trip; we can provide you with some training that will help build your confidence.

If you would like to help others connect with nature, please contact Carol Hadlock at carol_inawren@verizon.net or 703-437-7451. Let’s talk!

You Can Help Make a Difference

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. Visit www.audubonaction.org to learn more.

We 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.

Green Films

Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment is having a green film series, examining many environmental issues, from coal to corn.

Make Loudoun Green

Sustainable Loudoun has many events and efforts to green Loudoun County.

Alexandria Goes Green

The city of Alexandria has prepared an ambitious environmental action plan to, among other things, reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Visit their website to learn more or to get involved.

More Parks?

Fairfax County Auduboners have some forthcoming opportunities to advocate for more parks, more natural areas and more environmental education. The director of the Fairfax County Park Authority is having a series of “listening sessions” around the county to learn people’s concerns and ideas for improving our parks.

The forums are held on Thursday nights at 7 PM
November 19, Fairfax County Government Center
January 21, 2010, Cabell’s Mill
February 18, 2010, Frying Pan Park

For more information, call 703-324-8662 or visit Fairfax County's Parks and Recreation website.

Climate Change Impacts

Many marsh birds are threatened by sea-level rise, say experts at William and Mary College’s Center for Conservation Biology. You can read the story on the American Bird Conservancy website.

National Audubon Society scientists have also prepared a report on the impact of climate change on birds.

Audubon and Olympic Paint Create New Color Collection

Olympic Paint's new Audubon Collection is a collection of eight color palletes, all inspired by the art of John James Audubon. The Audubon Collection includes entirely zero VOC paints, and is available through all 2,000 Lowe's stores across the country.

This partnership will help raise awareness, and will generate revenue to support the National Audubon Society.

ASNV, 4022 Hummer Road, Annandale, VA 22003 • Phone: 703-256-6895 • Fax: 703-256-2060 • Email: info@audubonva.org
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