October 2016

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In this Newsletter

  • President's Corner
  • Courses Coordinator
  • Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count
  • Take Action
  • Important Bird Area Presentation
  • Hog Island, Maine
  • My Week at Hog Island
  • Birdwalks and Field Trips
  • Recurring Bird Walks
  • Bird Belize and Guatemala with ASNV!
  • Other News

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 for more details or to reserve your space.

General Surveys

Meadowood on Mason Neck (7:30AM - 12 PM)

  • October 12
  • November 16

Occoquan Bay NWR (7:30AM - 12 PM)

  • October 26
  • November 30

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys  (8:30 am-12:30 pm)

  • Occoquan Reg.Park - October 7
  • Occoquan Bay NWR -October 14
  • Meadowood - October 21
  • Metz Wetlands - October 28
(Note:  The survey at Metz is the last scheduled butterfly/dragonfly survey of the season.  Surveys will resume in April 2017.)
Any survey may be changed or canceled for weather, etc. up to an hour before the scheduled start.

Make a Difference!  Volunteer


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 elected officials to support actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 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 the ASNV office.

President's Corner

We may not have much bird song this time of year, but at least we can count on the Carolina Wren to brighten the day.  Teakettle, teakettle, teakettle!  Maybe because they are resident birds they are too easy to take for granted – what bird walk would be complete without one? -  but it is always worth the time to take a fresh look and listen.  I know that rich cinnamon is a welcome flash of color on our deck, or slipping in and out of the asters and goldenrods.  And of course there is the scolding they give me when I step out into the yard - well deserved, I’m sure.  Appreciation begins at home. 

Just a quick plug for our Calendar of Events; we are now listing bird walks sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club and the Reston Association, as well as the ASNV walks, and we hope soon to be adding events sponsored by some of our other partner organizations.  So, for example, our upcoming “Magnificent Monarchs” on October 8 is shown there (spaces still available), as well as bird walks in October, including October 30 at Mason Neck State Park.

 And a little further out, we will be conducting a Christmas Bird Count workshop on Sunday, November 6, for new CBC participants or those wanting to brush up a little.  Our Manassas-Bull Run CBC this year will be on Sunday, December 18; if you haven’t already registered, you can do so here.

Have a good month.

Carl Kikuchi

Courses Coordinator     

Interested in the natural world?  Education?  The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia is seeking a volunteer to coordinate course offerings on a variety of topics in natural history.  Past courses have included Ornithology, Botany, Eastern Forest Ecology, and Wetlands, with one to two courses offered in the fall and in the spring, on a rotating basis.    Courses are typically 6 to 12 weeks long, taught by credentialed professionals; each course includes at least 2 field trips.  Volunteer will coordinate with instructors and coordinate arrangements for offering the courses, including publicity, facilities, and communications.  Volunteer may choose to attend any or all classes free.  For more information, contact us at info@audubonva.org.

Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count

Sunday, December 18th

Join us for the 117th annual Christmas Bird Count (35th for ASNV).  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 18th.  This year, we will again be offering an opportunity for feeder watchers. Read More...
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, November 6th (Redskins bye week).  Time is 2 PM; place is the NWF building, 11100 Wildlife Center Dr, Reston.  Please sign up at EventBee for the CBC Workshop here.

Take Action


Urge the Candidates to Support Conservation

Now is the time to urge your candidates to support conservation.  In addition to electing a U.S. president and vice president this year, Virginians will elect 11 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.  You can question the candidates, ask for their conservation priorities, get involved in the campaign of your choice and make the case for conservation.  Read More.. 

Learn How to Save and Plant Trees

You can speak up for tree preservation and restoration at the Mount Vernon-Lee District Tree Forum titled, “Keeping Trees Healthy and Canopy Strong,” October 17, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Walt Whitman Middle School Auditorium, 2500 Parkers Lane, Alexandria, VA 22306 (Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County).  The event is free; no RSVP required.   Read More..

Important Bird Area Presentation

by Janice Lloyd

Wood Thrush Migration“It takes a village” is a well-known phrase about forming partnerships to protect someone or something dear to us. For people who love birds and their habitat, it takes a mighty strong village and a lot of partnerships.
That was the message of Matthew Jeffery to members of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and Friends of Mason Neck State Park on September 11 about the Lower Potomac River Important Bird Area. Jeffery is the deputy director of the International Alliance Program for the National Audubon Society and has led conservation efforts in Belize and other countries. He shared stories about his experience working in various IBAs and ways to help combat threats imperiling them. “IBAs are a great way to help prioritize conservation investments and efforts,’’ he said. 

                                                                                                                            Matthew Jeffery Showing Wood Thrush Migration

Hog Island, Maine

Teaching Natural Resource Conservation

Once again, ASNV will offer a scholarship for $1000.00 to cover tuition, meals and housing for "Sharing Nature: An Educator's Week", Hog Island, Maine.  If you are a teacher or know a teacher who may be interested, please pass this information on. An application for the scholarship can be obtained by contacting info@audubonva.org. The application will be due in late February.

My Week at Hog Island

Text and Photos by Morgan Occhuizzo

Morgan in Cranberry BogThe week I spent at the National Audubon center on Hog Island Maine is an experience that will forever impact my instruction. The trip reaffirmed my belief in the power of outdoor education for children and adults of all ages.

Reaching Hog Island isn’t easy. It is an isolated and special place where cell phones don’t work and there is no need for the Internet. Teachers spend their week immersed in the natural world. You reach Hog Island by traveling down a short gravel road where a weather beaten Puffin sign greets you and reaffirms that you are indeed in the right place.

The sight of the island makes you stop, take a deep breath, and reflect on the beauty that surrounds you. As you board the small boat and are transported to the island you are greeted by the smell of the locally sourced food being made in the cafeteria as well as the sight of the Fish House,  a weather beaten gathering hall that has seen the likes of famous naturalists such as Rachel Carson and Roger Peterson..

My home for the week was a house called the Port Hole. The modest accommodations are all you need. Most of your time is spent soaking in the beauty that surrounds you. Read More...

                                                                                                                                        Morgan in Cranberry Bog

Birdwalks and Field Trips  

Manassas National Battlefield Park,  Manassas VA

Larry Meade leads this walk along wood edge and meadow.  We’ll look for the sparrows and many other species that use this habitat. We’ll meet at the Visitor Center where parking without a pass is permitted.  Then we’ll carpool to birding sites, to maximize the use of park passes—bring your pass if you have one!! Sponsored by ASNV.

Getting there:  Travel west on I-66 to Exit 47B, Route 234 North (Sudley Road). Proceed through the first traffic light. The entrance to the Henry Hill Visitors Center is on the right, just past the Northern Virginia Community College. 6511 Sudley Road, Manassas, VA 20109

Sunday, October 2 8:00 AM to noon Bring your national park pass if you have one.  Day passes may be required if we don’t have enough to share.

Bright Pond, Reston, VA

Join leader Jenny Vick to explore this natural area hidden among the residential streets of Reston to look for migrants and arriving winter residents. Sponsored by The Bird Feeder of Reston and The Reston Association.

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.

Sunday, October 16 7:30 AM to 10:30 AM

Bles Park, Sterling, VA

We’ll take an easy circuit along fields and woods which can produce a good variety of birds.  Jean Tatalias leads.  Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

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.

Wednesday, October 19 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM

Burke Lake Park, Fairfax, VA

We’ll check out the lake and the woodland paths around its shore, as well as the open fields off the park drives. Phil Silas and Catherine Kubo lead.  Sponsored by Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: Entrance is off Route 123, south of Burke Lake Road.  Follow signs to Park, turning left at second traffic light.  Take an immediate left in the park, then meet at the lot on the right (near the mini golf course). 7315 Ox Road, Fairfax Station, 22039.

Wednesday, October 26 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM

Mason Neck State Park, Lorton, VA

Join leaders Larry Cartwright and Dixie Sommers at this great park that offers wetlands, forest, and views over open water, providing a variety of birds, including arriving winter waterfowl.  Meet at the Mason Neck Visitor’s Center parking lot. The new Northern Virginia Bird Checklist prepared by ASNV will be available.

Getting there: From I-495, take I-95 south seven miles to the Lorton Exit.  Turn left on Route 642, Lorton Road, and then right on Route 1 heading south.  In about a mile, turn left on Rte 242, Gunston Road.  Go four miles to Mason Neck Management Area and turn right. 7301 High Point Road, Lorton, VA 22079-4010.

Sunday, October 30 8:15 to 11:00 AM Meet at Visitor Center parking lot. Note this change in meeting place. VA State Park fee area; bring your pass if you have one

Eakin Park, Fairfax, VA This woodland park with meadow edges promotes an easy amble while we look and listen for local birds.  Jean Tatalias and Elizabeth Fenton lead this walk sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there:  From Route 50 outside the beltway, take Prosperity Avenue South one mile to the entrance to the parking lot on the left (east) side. 3401 Prosperity Ave, 22031.

Wednesday, November 9 8:30 to 10:30 AM

Lower Glade Stream Valley, Reston, VA

Reston walks are always enjoyable as we explore the streams and woods through the community in search of fall and winter species.  Sponsored by the Reston Association and the Bird Feeder of Reston.

Getting there:  From I-66 west, take exit 60 to go north on Rte 123.  Turn left on Hunters Mill Road/ Route 674.  Turn left on Lawyers Road, Route 673.  Turn right on Twin Branches Road.  Park near intersection with Glade Drive and meet leaders at the corner

Sunday, November 13 7:30 to 10:30 AM

Dyke Marsh, Alexandria, VA

This walk starts with scoping the Potomac and then walks the Haul Road through the woods to the boardwalk.  Join leaders Larry Cartwright and Phil Silas in search of winter species. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From Alexandria, take GW Parkway south.  Cross I-495; continue 1.2 miles to Belle Haven Park entrance on the left.  Meet at the south parking lot. 6401 George Washington Memorial Parkway, Alexandria,  22307

Wednesday, November 30 8:30 to 11:30 AM


Recurring Bird Walks

Several parks in the area have established year-round weekly bird walks. These walks are not run by ASNV, but may be of interest to ASNV members. They can be found here.

Bird Belize and Guatemala with ASNV!

ToucanYou can support sustainable, bird-based tourism and hemispheric conservation on this birding expedition to Belize and Guatemala. ASNV is sponsoring this trip with Holbrook Travel, March 19-26, 2017.
In addition to its rich Maya history and Caribbean-influenced culture, Belize offers birders a huge diversity of migrant and resident species — including motmots, parrots, hummingbirds, and flycatchers —in lush and varied habitats.  The bird list for Belize includes 600 species!  The trip also includes time in Guatemala at the famous ruins at Tikal. 
Visit www.holbrooktravel.com/asnvbelize17 for more information. Details will be added to this web page as they become available. 

                                                                                                                            Courtesy of Holbrook Travel

Other News



Bird Feeder in Reston

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→