October 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

Occoquan Bay NWR  

  • September 24
  • October 29 

Meadowood on Mason Neck 

  • September 10
  • October 15

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.)

September 5 - Occoquan Bay NWR 
September 12 - Meadowood
September 19 - Metz Wetlands
September 26 - Occoquan Regional Park  

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 info@audubonva.org.

President's Corner

Not to be overlooked in Birds and Climate Change report released by Audubon in September is the fact that many of the projections in the report are based on information from the Christmas Bird Count and the North American Breeding Bird Survey.  Our ASNV Manassas/Bull Run Christmas Bird Count, led by compiler Bob Shipman, is one of over 2,300 Christmas Bird Count circles in our hemisphere.  It is always gratifying to know that our data is being put to good use!  If you haven’t already made note of it, our count this year will be on Sunday, December 14; and if you haven’t participated in past years, but would like to learn more about it, Bob is conducting an informational workshop on October 26.  Wiser heads may correct me, but I think this will be the 35th year we have conducted the count.  Audubon has also now made available an interactive map showing Christmas Bird Count circle locations – you can zoom in on our circle, or other nearby circles, or anywhere else in the country.  Check it out here

Many thanks to Bill Brown, who is stepping down as Treasurer after keeping us afloat for several terms.  Dixie Sommers is our new Treasurer; she recently retired from the Department of Labor, and has been leading field trips for us, as well as participating in bird surveys.  She is an avid wildlife photographer, too.  Please join me in welcoming her!  Bill continues as Board member, and will continue to coordinate the on-going Wolf Trap survey, along with leading field trips, and maybe even teaching the occasional workshop. 

Have a good month!
Carl Kikuchi

ASNV Audubon Afternoon
Dragonflies of Northern Virginia


Sunday, October 5, 1:30-5:00 PM
Lake Fairfax and National Wildlife Federation Building

Join Kevin Munroe (former ASNV staffer and board member, and currently Park Manager at Huntley Meadows Park) for a Dragonfly Safari, followed by an indoor presentation. We’ll search Lake Fairfax for dragonflies (catch, ID and photograph a few if we’re lucky), then settle in for a slideshow tour of the area’s dragonflies and their fascinating ecology. Included will be  a close-up examination of their hunting adaptations and habitat preferences, tips on the area’s best dragonfly hotspots and parks, how to create your own backyard dragonfly pool, and a behind-the-scenes look at Kevin’s new website, www.dragonfliesnva.com

We’ll start at 1:30 pm with the Lake Fairfax safari (click here for directions), and finish up with a presentation at the National Wildlife Federation building, ending around 5pm.
National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive
Reston VA 20190


Directions to the National Wildlife Federation, where the event will be held, can be found here.

Audubon at Home


Wildlife Sanctuary Certification

Status as of September 30, 2014

The Audubon at Home wildlife sanctuary certification program has continued to make a difference in habitat conservation and ecosystem restoration in Northern Virginia.   In the first three years of the program through 2013, 168 properties were certified, amounting to approximately 1,729 acres.  While most of the certifications were for private residences, the acreage also includes some schools, churches, and public spaces.

For the year 2014, through the end of September, the total number of new property certifications amounts to  61, covering some 1,072 acres.   Therefore in under four years, ASNV has been able to reach out personally to recognize 229 property owners and managers, representing 2,800 total acres.   Many more consultation visits are made than are reflected in the certification numbers, so the program represents hundreds of community service hours by our dedicated partners and volunteers.

Our four principal local partners, each covering a county, have been the "boots on the ground" for this program.  They are Arlington Regional Master Naturalists, Fairfax Master Naturalists, Prince William Master Gardeners, and Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.  An important partner has also been the Potowmack chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society.  Some 50 volunteers act as Audubon at Home Ambassadors who remain willing on request to consult with homeowners on habitat gardening and healthy yard practices.  This conservation outreach is hands-on and the results observable, reflecting our motto, "Let the animals decide."

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.
Also, come to our free CBC Workshop where you can learn about CBCs generally, our own CBC in particular, where the data goes and how it is used, and tips for learning or brushing up on your counting skills.  It’s on Sunday afternoon, October 26th (Redskins play on Monday night).  Time is 2 PM; place is the NWF building, 11100 Wildlife Center Dr, Reston.  Please sign up here for the workshop.

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.

Field Trips - Bird Walks


Brown's Chapel & Lake Newport, Reston, VA

Matt Bender leads this walk beginning with a check of Lake Newport, and continuing through woods and open field.  The walk is cosponsored by the Reston Association and The Bird Feeder in Reston.

Getting there:  From Route 7, go west on Baron Cameron Ave, and turn north on Village Rd. (opposite Lake Anne Village Center). Make an immediate right onto Brown’s Chapel Rd. and park by the ball field.  1575 Brown’s Chapel Road.

October 5,
7:30-10:30 a.m

Bles Park, Sterling, VA

We’ll return to this 94-acre passive park with wetlands and sections of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail to look for fall migrants and sparrows. . Bill Brown will lead.

Getting there: From the intersection of VA Route 28 and VA Route 7, travel west on Rt. 7 for 1.3 miles and turn right onto Loudoun County Parkway. Turn right on George Washington Blvd., then left on Riverside Pkwy. Bles Park will be on your right at the end of Riverside Pkwy.

October 15
7:30 AM

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

Advocacy Update


Elect Conservation-minded Officials

Campaigns will be in full throttle mode from now to the November 4 election, presenting Auduboners opportunities to "educate" candidates and elect conservation supporters. On November 4, Virginians will elect one U.S. Senator and all Virginia members of the U.S. House of Representatives. To learn who is running, visit the State Board of Elections here. Be sure to note deadlines for registering and voting absentee.

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 imperial 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.

Audubon Works

Audubon Works is a place to share information, discuss best practices, showcase your successes, and find resources and information to achieve Audubon's conservation goals.

Alexandria Stormwater Meeting

Alexandria’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, Stormwater and Sanitary Infrastructure Division will hold a public meeting on October 8 to provide information about a potential funding opportunity for the Ben Brenman Pond Stormwater Retrofit project, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Samuel Tucker Elementary School, 435 Ferdinand Day Drive, Alexandria.



Old Colchester and Mason Neck West Parks – Weigh In


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.


Arlington Trees

Arlington County's Parks and Natural Resources Division is providing native tree species two to four inches in height to Arlington residents on October 4. Call 703-228-6521. You can also nominate a notable tree for recognition. Click here for info.

Fairfax Sustainability

We received this email from Mark Thomas, Senior Staff Aide to Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova.

"I am writing on behalf of Chairman Bulova to share a link to new report which documents Fairfax County's efforts to promote sustainability and conserve our community's natural resources. The Fairfax County Sustainability Initiatives report is provides a comprehensive, approachable overview of the County's environmental programs, policies and goals.


Moving Northern Virginia Forward to Combat Climate Change: An Energy Efficiency Forum

CO2 emissions worldwide hit a record high in 2013 and emissions in the United States climbed 4.2% last year. President Obama's 2013 Climate Action Plan states: "Energy efficiency is one of the clearest and most cost-effective opportunities to save families money, make our businesses more competitive, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions." Yet in Virginia neither our State legislature nor major utilities have supported wholesale programs to move the initiative forward. Despite this inaction, local governments are working to increase local investments in energy efficiency.



Sully Woodlands Comments Sought until December 1

The Fairfax County Park Authority is seeking public comment on the final draft conceptual plans for five large parks in Sully Woodlands.




Other News


Plastic Paradise, a free film screening

October 17, 7:30 p.m.; Huntley Meadows Park Visitor Center, Fairfax County, www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/huntley-meadows-park/), a film about the ubiquitous presence and effects of plastic pollution in our environment.  In this independent documentary film, journalist/filmmaker Angela Sun goes on a journey of discovery and meets scientists, researchers and volunteers who shed light on the effects of our plastic consumption and learns that plastic is more pervasive -- and more harmful -- than most imagine.  Birds and other animals often mistake plastic debris for food and ingest pieces, which can be deadly. It can take hundreds of years for some plastics to biodegrade. Visit www.plasticparadisemovie.com to watch the trailer.  Sponsored by: Friends of Dyke Marsh; Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, Green Sanctuary Task Force; Alice Ferguson Foundation; Sierra Club/Mount Vernon Group; Friends of Little Hunting Creek; Friends of Fort Hunt Park

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...
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