October 2012
In This Issue
Audubon Afternoon
Field Trips
Christmas Bird Count
Advocacy Update
ASNV Education Committee
LEAPP Classes
Other Workshops
Article Headline

Upcoming Events

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

Occoquan Bay NWR

  • Oct 31  
  • Nov 28 
Meadowood on Mason Neck
  • Oct 17  
  • Nov 14  

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys
Join Jim Waggener each Friday (April-October) in his ongoing survey of the butterflies and dragonflies at four locations in Fairfax and Prince William County.

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. (Note: Surveys may be cancelled for inclement weather.)

Upcoming Surveys:
  • Oct 5: Occoquan Bay NWR
  • Oct 12: Meadowood Recreational Area
  • Oct 19: Metz Wetlands
  • Oct 26: Occoquan Regional Park  

Eakin Park Bird Walk
Hidden Oaks Nature Center (FCPA) sponsors weekly bird walks along the Accotink Stream Valley. Read more.

Help 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.

Research Plant Value to Wildlife. ASNV is looking 
for a Virgina master naturalist, or other interested volunteer, willing to research the wildlife value of specific native plants. 

More information about these and other opportunities can be found here.

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 info@audubonva.org.
Message from the ASNV President

Dear Members, Partners and Friends:


In this election season there are more Bidens to attract our attention than just our illustrious  U.S Vice President and his family! The prolific golden yellow wildflowers that decorate our roadside ditches, as well as old fields and edges in September, belong to the plant genus, Bidens. This member of the Aster family is usually referred to in our area as the Tickseed Sunflower, but is also commonly known as Beggar-tick and Bur-marigold. Pollinators love this late season bloomer that helps to bridge summer and fall.


We have 16 species of Bidens native to North America, and the problem some folks have with them is that the little barbed seed packages (achenes) are the much maligned "hitchhikers" that cling to pant legs - or not. The generic name, meaning "two teeth" (Latin bis and dens) refers to the prongs on the achenes. Their value in wildlife gardening is not only to maintain appearances where earlier plants have faded, but to sustain the food web for birds and insects. The seeds are good bird food, and a number of moth caterpillars feed on Bidens foliage and stems, and butterflies visit the flowers for nectar. John Eastman tells us that the adaptation of barbs and hooks on seeds as a way of dispersal represents a complex level of evolution, so I'm in awe of my rowdy colony of Tickseed Sunflowers. BTW, hitchhikers have been very casual about using me for dispersal (I think they prefer the deer-- who don't eat them).


Fall is the best time to plant, whether you are casting seeds or dividing roots. We are happy to have sold about 30 native plant starter kits (150 plants) to folks participating in the Audubon at Home Wildlife Sanctuary program. We hope even more people will put a native plant in the ground in the future.


If you have any time to volunteer, or you want to know more about habitat gardening, please visit Kasha Helget's beautiful Alexandria garden on October 6 and join us for an orientation to the Wildlife Sanctuary certification program on October 25.


For those interested in learning more about birds, please check out the winter ornithology class being taught by Ray Smith. If you can spare a few hours in December, we can also use some volunteer help with the Christmas Bird Count, both in the field and for the lunch following at Eleanor C. Lawrence park visitor center.   There's plenty going on, so come join the fun and help ASNV serve our community by learning, educating, appreciating, protecting and preserving. Thanks especially to our dedicated volunteers and inveterate supporters!


Terry F. Liercke, President


Audubon Afternoon
The State of the Birds in Northern Virginia
October 21, 2012 - 3-5 PM
National Wildlife Federation (NWF)

Members and friends - please join us for ASNV's quarterly meeting on October 21 where we plan an educational and entertaining briefing on our local citizen science projects.  ASNV's signature project, the annual Northern Virginia Bird Survey will be discussed and interpreted by those in charge of the survey.  This remarkable effort has been going on every year since 1995, and continues to document the steady decline in the abundance of birds in our region.  We also plan to brief the audience on wildlife counts and surveys being done by dedicated volunteers working at Mason Neck and at the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  ASNV's citizen science projects offer insights that are not commonly known about the state of birds and wildlife and the changing environment here in our own backyard.  We'll also talk about how we can all help stem the decline in numbers of birds and beneficial wildlife in our region.



Directions to National Wildlife Federation's headquarters can be found here.



Field Trips and Birdwalks  


New! Lyndora Park and Broadlands Wetland, Ashburn

Saturday, October 6, 7:30 AM

Come along with Bill Brown to explore some new territory. Lyndora Park has a long, wide, mowed path with tall trees and shrubbery on either side. It can be wet in places, so wear waterproof footwear. Round trip, we'll walk about a mile to a mile and a half, at birdwatching speed, of course. The wetland has a boardwalk all the way around, easy walking.

Getting there:  From Rt. 28 in Sterling, exit onto Waxpool Road toward Ashburn.  Continue on Waxpool for approximately 1.5 miles and then turn left onto Loudoun County Parkway.  Continue on the Parkway for about 2.5 miles and then turn left on Hillsboro Hunt Drive into a residential area.  Turn left on Lucketts Bridge Circle and continue to Lyndora Park.  We will meet in the parking lot near the ball fields.

When we leave Lyndora, we will caravan or carpool to the wetlands.


Sunrise Valley Wetland & Polo Fields, Reston

Sunday, October 7, 7:30-10:30 AM

Lingering Green Herons, late migrants, maybe some butterflies still in the meadows, who knows what awaits in this mix of habitats.

Getting there: From Fairfax Co. Parkway, take Sunrise Valley west. Just beyond the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride, turn right into ASG Software Solutions. Park on the west side of the building.


Sky Meadows State Park

Saturday, October 13, 8:00 AM

Registration required

Red-headed Woodpeckers will be the target species here, but sparrows, raptors, late migrants all are possible. Moderate terrain; no strenuous hiking. Beginning birders welcome. Jay and Carol Hadlock will lead.  

Getting there: Go west on Rt. 50 to Rt. 17. Turn left and follow the signs to Sky Meadows State Park. There is an entrance fee. Meet at the Visitor Center.

Alternately, go west on Rt. 66 and then north on Rt. 17, to the park.

To register, call the Hadlocks at 703-437-7451. We can try to arrange carpools for those who wish.

Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count Scheduled

Our annual Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count will be on Sunday, December 16th.  Read more...

Also, come to our free CBC Workshop where you can learn about what we do during CBCs, where the data goes, how we count birds and how to brush up on your counting skills.  It's on Sunday, November 11th at 2 PM at the NWF building, 11100 Wildlife Center Dr, Reston.  Please sign up  by e-mail to info@audubonva.org, or by calling the ASNV office at 703-438-6008.  


Advocacy Update
Conservation Depends On You


Elect Conservation Candidates. On November 6, Virginians will vote for a U.S. President, a new U.S. Senator and members of the U.S. House of Representatives.  

To learn who is running in your area, visit the Virginia Board of Elections here. The last day to register to vote in Virginia is October 15. Check your local jurisdiction for dates and places to vote in-person "absentee" (ahead of time). Voters in some jurisdictions may also vote on parks or other conservation-related bonds.   



Environmental Assembly. The Virginia Conservation Network will hold an Environmental Assembly, October 19 and October 20 in Arlington. You can learn about energy initiatives in our community, take a clean water walking tour and meet candidates. Register at vcnva.org or call 804-644-0283. Friday night's reception will be at the Virginia Tech Researcher Center, 900 North Glebe Road, Arlington) and Saturday's meeting will be at Washington and Lee High School, 1301 North Stafford Street, Arlington. The U.S. Senate candidates are invited.


Conservation Has No Party. NAS is trying to raise the public policy debate above partisanship, create a dialogue and show that the environment not a partisan issue. To get involved, Contact Connie Mahan, cmahan@audubon.org.



Opportunities to Influence Use of Public Lands

Here are five opportunities for Auduboners to express their views and influence how area public lands are developed and used:

  1. Bren Mar Park Master Plan 
  2. Occoquan Regional Park 
  3. Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area 
  4. Nottoway Park 
  5. Lee District Listening Forum 

Auduboners may wish to promote more natural landscaping, more natural areas, restoration of disturbed and degraded habitats and more low-impact development, for example.  If anyone would like to help ASNV on any of these, contact me, Glenda Booth, gbooth123@aol.com. Read more...  



ASNV Education Committee
November 4, 3:30 PM
If you have a strong interest in Natural History Education, consider joining the ASNV Education Committee Meeting. Contact Mary McLean for more information.


LEAPP Classes

The LEAPP® (Learn, Enjoy, Appreciate, Preserve, and Protect) program offers Northern Virginians the opportunity to learn more about the natural world and be informed, active stewards for its care and protection.  Since its inception in 1999, students have found that LEAPP classes are fun and personally rewarding.  Don't miss out - register early!  Please note that registration is not complete until payment is received. (For Master Naturalists:  All workshops have been approved for Advanced Training hours.) To register, contact ASNV at 703-438-6008 or at info@audubonva.org.

Native Plants in the Managed Landscape

An Interactive Tour

October 6, 2012, 10:30-noon


Audubon at Home is sponsoring a visit and discussion at the Alexandria home of AAH ambassador, Kasha Helget, to see an excellent example of the Audubon healthy yard pledge at work.  A large selection of local native plants is used in an appealing garden design that is both beautiful and functional as wildlife habitat.  Successful efforts at removing invasives and conserving water have also been made.  Kasha will share her plant list and other resources.  The event is free to Audubon at Home ambassadors, and Master Naturalists, $5 for all others (checks only, please). The workshop has been approved as Advanced Training for Master Naturalists. For the address and to sign up please contact Perry at ASNV (703-438-6008 or info@audubonva.org).

Audubon at Home Ambassadors' Orientation 
Thursday, October 25, 7-8:30 PM 
ASNV office in Reston 

Certifying properties as "Wildlife Sanctuaries" is a volunteer-driven project of Audubon Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV) which promotes citizen participation in conserving and restoring local natural habitat and biodiversity. It is motivated by the reality that natural areas providing habitat for our native flora and fauna are steadily being diminished by sprawling development. As a result, the largest volume of acreage available for conservation and restoration of healthy green space in Northern Virginia is "at home" in our own backyards.


Trained volunteers, "ASNV Ambassadors", visit and consult with participants regarding healthy environmental management practices and other certification criteria. Depending on property owners' needs, recommendations are made concerning native plants, landscaping, water retention, or other features.


If you are interested in becoming an "Ambassador" for the Audubon at Home program mark your calendars. ASNV will conduct a workshop: Audubon at Home Ambassadors' Orientation on Thursday, October 25, 7-8:30 PM at the ASNV office in Reston. The workshop will cover the basics of the Audubon At Home program and will teach participants how to conduct a Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary consultation. The workshop will be conducted by Terry Liercke, ASNV President and Nippy Page, Audubon at Home Project Coordinator and is free. Resource materials will be provided. The workshop has been approved as advanced training for Master Naturalists.


Please contact ASNV at info@audubonva.org to register.

Ornithology 101

12 evenings from February to mid May

This course is an introductory, college-level course in Ornithology and will provide students with the tools and skills of being a birder. The course will be held 12 evenings from February to mid May and will cover: field guides and optics, the origins and evolution of birds; feathers, flight and the physiology of birds; behavior and communications;migration, navigation, and social behavior;avian life histories;population dynamics and conservation. Read more. 


Other Workshops
Conservation Practices for All Landscapes
Thursday, October 18, 6:30 p.m.

Learn how to create a healthy landscape for people and nature. Whether your landscape is large or small, there are actions you can take to "green up" your own backyard. Learn about backyard wildlife habitat with Audubon at Home, protecting land with Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, and helping local streams starting at your own downspout with NVSWCD.

Whether you've just begun to explore these ideas or you have been trying them out for years, there is something new for you at this seminar. What does it take for a property (or a portion thereof) to become protected through a conservation easement for future generations? What is the best way to attract birds, butterflies and pollinators to your property? How can we all help protect local streams and the Chesapeake Bay in new and innovative ways? You may be surprised by some of the answers.

 Join Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia to learn about these topics and the programs and resources available to protect and enhance natural resources on your land. From urban lots to rural expanses, there is something for everyone. This free workshop will be held in Conference Rooms 9 and 10 at the Fairfax County Government Center at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035. Refreshments will be provided. For more information or to register, email workshop@nvct.org or visit workshop.nvct.org.

National Audubon Society National Convention
July 12-16, 2013
Skamania Lodge

Plan ahead for the convention. More information can be found here.


Other News
Birds Sound the Alarm on West Nile Virus 
Texas is bearing the brunt of an outbreak of West Nile virus that is on track to be the worst the US has ever experienced. For some officials, dead crows and blue jays provided an early warning of the outbreak - and could help in understanding the virulence of the virus. More information here

Grow More Trees
Birds need trees. ASNVers may want to collect acorns for the Potomac Conservancy's Growing Native until October 31.The project engages thousands of volunteers each year in native seed collection events in the Potomac River region. The seeds are donated to state nurseries where they are planted and used in subsequent years to restore streamside forests throughout the region. Once you register your event, Potomac Conservancy will supply all the necessary materials for a successful seed collection.

Virginia Loves Trees Specialty License Plate 

A consortium is attempting to get a Virginia Loves Trees license plate. Read more...

Antique Bird Illustrations   Kohl Exhibit
October 9, reception  5 to 7 p.m 
Exhibit open through November 30  

The Kohl Gallery at Washington College invites all birding enthusiasts and naturalists to come and enjoy a very special exhibit of antique bird illustrations in an atmosphere filled with bird song and imagery.  I hope you will want to share some version of this news release with your membership and other interested parties.  More information here.

Northern Virginia Teen Bird Club 

The Northern Virginia Teen Bird Club sponsored by Flint Hill School and The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia had a field trip to ABA's MidAtlantic Young Birder Conference last weekend in Hockessin Delaware.

Here is a link to a brief summary and slide show of that day followed by a link to a photo of our group which had students from 6 different schools and included 2 middle schoolers and 5 high schoolers.

Teens interested in birding can contact Fred Attwood (fredatwood@yahoo.com).

Winter Waterfowl Survey

Audubon Society of Northern Virginia


On Saturday, January 26 and Sunday, January 27, 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. Larry Cartwright continues as our volunteer compiler for this year's waterfowl count. For more information and to join the team, please e-mail info@audubonva.org or call (703) 438-6008.


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. Your tracking and trekking across Northern Virginia today will help protect the threatened species of tomorrow!