November 2014

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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

Meadowood on Mason Neck

  • November 12
  • December 3

Occoquan Bay NWR

  • November 26
  • December 17 (last survey for 2014)

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys

Join Jim Waggener each Friday starting again in April in his ongoing survey of the butterflies and dragonflies at four locations in Fairfax and Prince William County.

Eakin Park Bird Walk

The Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) sponsors weekly bird walks at Eakin Park Mondays,
7:00 AM March-Nov.;
7:30 AM Dec - Feb. Meet at Prosperity Ave. parking lot. Walk canceled if rain or severe weather. FREE

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

President's Corner

We’re very pleased to be able to offer an Introduction to Ornithology class this coming spring. Don Messersmith will be the instructor, and we are lucky indeed to have him. Classes start in early February; more info below.

The current issue of Audubon magazine contains an article about the heroic efforts of Jessica Zelt to digitize the North American Bird Phenology data, and I couldn’t help thinking that we have a similar need right here in ASNV. Jim Waggener has amassed 25 years of Occoquan Bay area survey data, including observations of birds, butterflies, and dragonflies, but to really make best use of it – for example to identify population trends and flight dates - we need to convert it to digital form. Interested in helping? Contact the office at

Our Laura McDonald is featured in a publication from her program at George Mason University – click here to see it. And congratulations to Laura on finishing her degree!

And please join me in welcoming Charlie Devine, who has volunteered to help us out with some GIS/mapping projects. See his description below, and keep an eye out for his GIS products on our website.
Have a good month.

Have a good month!
Carl Kikuchi

Geographic Information Systems Mapping Project

New volunteer, Charlie Devine, recently began working with the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia to create maps for a number the chapter's local projects and initiatives. During a chance meeting with Terry Liercke, coordinator for the ASNV Audubon at Home project, Charles learned about ASNV's mission and projects. He spoke with Terry and Carl Kikuchi about ways to take data already collected by ASNV and present it in the form of interactive web maps.


Manassas-Bull Run Christmas
Bird Count Scheduled

Join us for the 115th annual Christmas Bird Count. We are looking for people to count in the Manassas Battlefield area, Bull Run, and Manassas City areas as well as around Centerville, south of Dulles Airport, and Chantilly on Sunday, December 14th. This year, we will again be offering an opportunity for feeder watchers. If you or someone you know lives in the count circle and cannot go 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. If you helped us last year, your sector leader will be contacting you in November. If you are new to our CBC and want to volunteer or would like to be in a different sector, sign up by clicking here.

Save The Date

January 24-25, 2015
Waterfowl Count

The dates for the Winter Waterfowl Count are January 24-25, 2015. More information will follow in coming months. Read about past waterfowl counts here.

Watch EPA's Video on Climate Change: The Cost of Inaction

The Earth's climate is changing at an unprecedented rate. Climate change is already having impacts on people's lives across the country. It's affecting many things that people care about including health, drinking water, food supplies, energy and a safe place to live.

Actions that every individual can take will make a difference. Watch a video on the cost of inaction here.

Find more information about the actions you can take to fight climate change here.

Winter and Spring 2015 –Introduction to Ornithology

ASNV is pleased to offer Don Messersmith’s Introduction to Ornithology, a course for anyone who wants to deepen their understanding and appreciation of birds. No prior knowledge of birding is necessary. From beginning to experienced birders, all are welcome. Topics will include field identification, evolution, anatomy, behavior, migration, song, courtship, nesting, raising young, habitat, and conservation. Classroom lectures, demonstrations, and discussions will be supplemented with readings and three field trips.

Read more


Advocacy Update

Slow Climate Change and Speak Up

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has extended the comment period for the Clean Power Plan until December 1, a proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Audubon’s landmark September report on birds and climate change found that 314 species of birds are at risk. “Shrinking and shifting ranges could imperil nearly half of U.S. birds within this century,” the report concluded. Click here for the report . To learn about EPA’s plan and to comment, click here.

Visit Audubon’s website for info and tips.

What Kind of Parks Do You Want?

The Fairfax County Park Authority has started their decennial needs assessment, a process of considering park and recreation needs, trends and preferences. This is an excellent opportunity for Auduboners to advocate for more parks and more natural resource parks. In addition, FCPA Board member Mary Cortina is urging Auduboners and others to get involved and to express views early.



Virginia General Assembly Preview and Annual Lobby Day

Join the Annual General Assembly Preview on Saturday, December 6th AND Annual Lobby Day on Monday, January 26th.

Virginia Conservation Network will:

  • Unveil the 2015 Environmental Briefing Book, highlighting the multiple perspectives of experts in the field
  • Explore Virginia's important environmental topics, such as stormwater, EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan, and the transportation reform
  • Lobby for sustainable environmental decisions throughout the Commonwealth
Register here.

Old Colchester Park and Preserve Master Plan

Auduboners and others have the rare opportunity to weigh in on a plan that emphasizes resource conservation and passive park uses by commenting on the Fairfax County Park Authority's (FCPA) proposed master plan for Old Colchester Park on Mason Neck. You can read the plan here. FCPA is also accepting comments on a plan for Mason Neck West Park which largely emphasizes active recreational uses.

The Old Colchester land under consideration has woods, wetlands, vernal pools and other natural features. Fortunately, FCPA and volunteers have conducted surveys to determine what is actually there, a practice that FCPA does not always undertake when planning a park. It is important to know what you are destroying or altering before taking action, it seems to us.

You can preview the plans at FPCA invites comments until November 30 or by e-mail at For more information, contact Project Manager Gayle Hooper at 703-324-8725.

Fairfax County Parks Budget Out of Kilter – Weigh In

For the last decade or so, ASNV has argued that the budget and staffing of the Fairfax County Park Authority is out of balance, that natural resource conservation and restoration get very short shrift compared to active, recreational uses.

FCPA has provided us these numbers. (Note that these include cultural resources which generally means historic preservation and interpretation, so that the natural resource numbers are actually lower.)


Talk to Legislators, Arlington Meeting

Virginia's state legislators are getting ready for the 2015 General Assembly session. Arlington County Board members will have a work session with members of Arlington's state legislative delegation, November 17 at 3 p.m. in the County Board room of the Arlington government headquarters. The public is invited to observe. You may learn what county officials want the state legislature to do and not do next year and/or what state legislators plan to do or not do.

Now, as they prepare for the session to begin in January, is a good time to meet with state legislators to urge them to support conservation in the Virginia General Assembly. See the Virginia Conservation Network item below.


Field Trips - Bird Walks

Algonkian Regional Park, Sterling, VA

Bill Brown will lead this walk where we start to look for wintering waterfowl and arriving winter woodland birds.

Getting there: Take Route 7 west 11 miles to Cascades Parkway north and drive 3 miles to the park entrance. In the park, bear right and meet at the boat ramp.

November 12
7:30 AM

Bright Pond, Reston, VA

Jenny Vick leads this walk through one of Reston’s hotspots, looking for winter arrivals. Cosponsored with the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder of Reston.

Getting there. Take the Reston Parkway north from the Dulles Toll Road or from Baron Cameron Ave. Turn right on Bright Pond Lane and park around the cul-de-sac and along the street.

November 16 7:30-10:30 AM

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...