September 2016

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In this Newsletter

  • President's Corner
  • Audubon Afternoon Making the Connection – Connecting Important Bird Areas Across the Hemisphere Through Birds
  • Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count Scheduled
  • Volunteers Needed for Two Burrowing Owl Survey Projects
  • Take Action
  • Birdwalks and Field Trips
  • Recurring Bird Walks
  • 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)

  • September 14
  • October 12

Occoquan Bay NWR (7:30AM - 12 PM)

  • September 28
  • October 26

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

  • Metz Wetlands - September 2
  • Occoquan Reg.Park - September 9
  • Occoquan Bay NWR -September 16
  • Meadowood - September 23
  • Metz Wetlands - September 30
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

If you have ever doubted the impact humankind has on the environment, try going out of town and leaving your garden to its own devices for a few weeks.  Porcelain berry?  Check.  Horseweed?  Check.  Nutsedge?  Check.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m interested in these plants, but right now I want them gone from where they have erupted, natives or not.  Maybe I should learn to be more accepting, you say?  (“A weed is but an unloved flower” - Ella Wheeler Willcox.)  Well maybe next year.  For now, it’s combat gardening.

Meantime, it is meteorological fall, so maybe we can look forward to some cooler weather.  Come out and join us on one of our bird walks, as fall migration picks up, and our bird populations start to shift.  

A reminder that our next Audubon Afternoon will be on Sunday, September 11, from 3 to 5, at Mason Neck State Park.  Friends of Mason Neck State Park will be co-sponsoring this program focusing on the Lower Potomac River Important Bird Area (LPR IBA).  The IBA stretches from Alexandria down through Stafford County along the Potomac.  Matt Jeffrey, who works with IBAs and neotropical migrants for the National Audubon Society, will be our speaker.  Come learn what you can do to help our conservation projects in the IBA.  Mason Neck State Park has generously agreed to waive the Park entry fee for attendees; and we will be unveiling our new Northern Virginia Bird Checklist!

And just a few days after that, note the Friends of Dyke Marsh program on Wednesday, September 14 – 7:00 at the Sherwood Regional Library.  Sam Droege will be speaking about the importance and status of pollinators, especially bees, a subject that has been getting a lot of attention.  ASNV is co-sponsoring this program.

Have a good month.

Carl Kikuchi

Audubon Afternoon
Making the Connection – Connecting Important Bird Areas Across the Hemisphere Through Birds

Sunday, September 11, 2016
3:00 - 5:00 pm
Mason Neck State Park
Free.  (Park Fee Waived)

Join us for an introduction to the Lower Potomac Important Bird Area (IBA), and the key habitat and resources it provides to migrating bird populations.  ASNV has “adopted” this IBA, which stretches south along the Virginia side of the Potomac River from Alexandria to Stafford County, and has been identified as an important bird area because of the habitat it provides for a number of species at risk, including Bald Eagles, a number of Neotropical migrants, and wintering waterfowl.  We are delighted to be able to kick off our conservation efforts with a talk by Matt Jeffrey from the National Audubon Society.  Matt is Deputy Director of the International Alliances Program, and has been with Audubon since 2006.  He has more than 16 years of experience in the environmental conservation field. He has worked closely with and managed projects in several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Mexico, Panama, Belize, Bahamas, Argentina, and Paraguay. His focus has been the protection of Important Bird Areas in Latin America and the Caribbean, specifically those concerning Neotropical migrant bird populations.  This program is being co-sponsored by the Friends of Mason Neck State Park.

Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count Scheduled

Join us for the 35th Annual Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, December 18th.  
New to the count or just want to brush up on your survey skills? You will learn about what we do during CBCs, where the data goes, how we count birds and how to hone your counting skills. 
The workshop will be on Sunday, November 6th  at 2 PM (note: this is the ‘Skins bye week) and will be at the NWF building, 11100 Wildlife Center Dr, Reston.  To register click here For more information contact the ASNV office at: info@audubonva.org. Read More..   

Volunteers Needed for Two Burrowing Owl Survey Projects

Need assistance in reviewing trail cam images and counting owls in the images (not difficult, just takes some time.)  Also need assistance in assessing results of a “decoration project” – to examine male owls’ use of decoration materials based on age, territoriality, and reproductive success.  This latter work involves data in an Excel file and digital photographs.  Work for both projects can be performed at home or in Alexandria office.  Neither of these projects require birding skills.  If interested, contact: David H. Johnson, Director - Global Owl Project 

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.

Visit to the Hog Island Audubon Camp

Article and Photos by Sam Schaen and Marilyn Gaizband


Juanita Roushdy, President of FOHI    Eric Snyder, Facilities Manager

My husband, Sam Schaen, and I were fortunate to spend a few hours at the Hog Island Audubon Camp. According to the website “the sanctuary and Hog Island Audubon Camp continue to provide people from all parts of the country with opportunities to experience and learn about nature on the coast of Maine.” Hog Island is celebrating its 80th anniversary as the Audubon Camp.  Read More.. 

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.. 

National Parks Need Help

The 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) this year is an opportune time for advocates to urge elected officials and candidates to provide stronger support, especially more funding, for our 413 national park sites.  From Yosemite to Acadia, from the Everglades to Denali, our national parks represent our “most beautiful, treasured and historic places,” says NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis.  Virginians are blessed with parks like Shenandoah, the George Washington Memorial Parkway and its units, Prince William Forest Park, Manassas National Battlefield Park and more. 
Read More..

Influence the Future of Jones Point Park

The National Park Service (NPS) is preparing a plan, called a “recreation plan,” for Jones Point Park in Alexandria on the Potomac River.  At least 84 species of birds have been observed in the park.
NPS is seeking public input by September 9 and wants the plan to “reflect community needs.”  The current draft strongly emphasizes recreation.

Auduboners may wish to urge NPS to preserve and restore more natural areas, to plant more native plants and to restore more biodiversity.  More natural areas on Jones Point and along the river could provide experiences like outdoor “classrooms,” nature study, nature walks, nature photography and bird and wildlife watching, for example.

You can find the draft plan and submit comments at https://www.nps.gov/gwmp/getinvolved/planning.htm or here http://parkplanning.nps.gov/draftjpprecplan.  The NPS contact is Joshua Nadas, 703-419-6424.

Virginia Outdoors Plan

You can speak out for conservation at several meetings that will focus on the Virginia Outdoors Plan, now being revised by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).  State officials are gathering information about the need for conservation and recreation across Virginia to update the plan.  DCR describes the plan as follows:   “The Virginia Outdoors Plan is the state's comprehensive plan for land conservation, outdoor recreation and open-space planning.”  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..

Birdwalks and Field Trips

Chimney Swift/Nighthawk Watch, Arlington, VA
Meet to watch swifts come en masse back to their roosting chimney as they prepare for their fall departure.  Then we’ll check a location where night lighting attracts the hunting nighthawks. Sponsored by Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: Call leader, Joanna Taylor, for location and directions. 703-243-5989.

Sunday, September 4
7PM  Call leader for location and directions


Eakin Park, Fairfax, VA
Join the leaders in the parking lot off Prosperity Ave. for a casual walk along stream bed, garden plots, and wood edges.  Elizabeth Fenton and Catherine Kubo lead.  Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

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

Wednesday, September 14
8:30 to 11:00 AM


Walker Nature Center and Snakeden Stream Valley, Reston, VA
The Nature Center trails offer woods and stream beds.  Hawks, woodpeckers, and flycatchers will be among the species we hope to spot. Sponsored by The Bird Feeder of Reston and The Reston Association.

Getting there: From VA-267 W/Dulles Toll Road take exit 14 (Hunter Mill Road/VA-674). Turn left onto Hunter Mill Rd (VA-674), right onto Sunrise Valley Drive, left onto S Lakes Drive, left onto Twin Branches Rd. Then take third right onto Glade Drive.   Meet at the Nature House at 11450 Glade Drive in Reston.

Sunday, September 18
7:30 to 10:30 AM


Huntley Meadows Hike and Bike Trail, Alexandria, VA
Join leader Larry Cartwright on this “back side” of Huntley Meadows for an end of summer walk through woods to the pond edges where we hope to find some migrant shore birds.  Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there From I-495 eastbound, take the exit to go South on Van Dorn Street.  At the end of the road, turn left on Telegraph Road and then immediately right onto Kings Highway.  The Park parking is on the right.   Alternately, from Arlington, take Route 1 south 0.5 miles to South Kings Highway.  Turn right (west) and go 2.5 miles to park entrance and lot on the left, just before Telegraph Road.

Wednesday, September 21
8:30 AM to 11:30 AM


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.



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.

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→