September 2017

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In This Newsletter

  • President's Corner
  • Confusing Fall Warblers
  • Meadowood Bird and Butterfly Big Sit
  • Northwest Federal Credit Union Donation to ASNV
  • Mason Neck Bird Walk Report
  • Two Audubon Afternoons
  • Sharing Nature: An Educator’s Week
  • Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count Scheduled
  • Take Action
  • Bird Walks
  • Old Cars and Beautiful Birds – Cuba!
  • Recurring Bird Walks
  • Other News


Conservation Counts

Join Jim Waggener in his ongoing natural resource 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.


Meadowood on Mason Neck 

(7:30 AM - 12:00 PM)
  • September 13
  • October 11

Occoquan Bay NWR 

(7:30 AM - 12:00 PM)
  • September 27
  • October 25

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys 

(8:30 AM - 12:30 PM)
  • Occoquan Bay NWR-Sep 8
  • Meadowood - Sep 15
  • Metz - Sep 22
  • Occoquan Regional Park - Sep 29
  • Occoquan Bay NWR - Oct 6
  • Meadwood - Oct 13
  • Metz - Oct 20
  • Occoquan Regional Park - Oct 27
Any survey may be changed or canceled for weather, etc. up to an hour before the scheduled start.

Make a Difference!  
Speak up!


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 something about this newsletter looks a little different to you, maybe it is our new, refreshed logo!   You can expect to see it soon in our printed materials, too, as we roll it out this fall.  Heartfelt thanks to Joanne Bauer, Laura McDonald, Mina Habibi, Sam Schaen, and Marilyn Gaizband for all their hard work getting us there. 

Thanks twice over to Northwest Federal Credit Union, for their generous donation of $2,324 to ASNV, and (in advance) for supplying nature walk books to participants in our September 2 “How to Lead a Successful Nature Walk” workshop.  Both of these were part of Northwest Federal’s celebration of their 70th anniversary.  For more information about Northwest Federal’s “Acts of We” in commemoration of their anniversary, visit www.nwfcu.org/70.  Note too that as part of ASNV’s partnership with NWFCU, ASNV members are entitled to join NWFCU as a member. 

And thanks to Margaret Grieshaber, Membership Committee, stepping in where others feared to tread, who has spent many hours over the past few years welcoming our new members.  We could not have done it without you, Margaret. 

  • September 10 Audubon Afternoon – The Challenges of Bird Illustration, With Artist and Field Guide Illustrator John Anderton. (See below.)
  • September 14 – Confusing Fall Warblers workshop with Marc Ribaudo. (See below.)
  • September 24 – Birdwalk at Potomac Overlook Regional Park. (See below.)
  • October 8 – Birdwalk at Wolf Trap Park. (See below.)
  • October 22 Audubon Afternoon – Katie Fallon, author of Vulture:  The Private Life of an Unloved Bird. (See below.)
  • Slots still open for our trip to Cuba with Holbrook Travel, December 6 – 15.  (See below.)

Have a good month.
Carl Kikuchi      

Confusing Fall Warblers

Class: Sept 14 - Field Trip: Sept. 16
Don’t be afraid of the little green jobs!  The workshop will focus on the field marks of fall warblers that typically pass through our region, with an emphasis on species that look very much different in the spring than fall, and species that are most often confused. 

Marc Ribaudo is an avid birder with over 40 years of field experience.  He regularly leads trips for the Northern Virginia Bird Club and Friends of Dyke Marsh. Read More...

Meadowood Bird and Butterfly Big Sit

October 7, 2017 - 8 AM - 4 PM

Join us for our first Big Sit at Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area, Saturday, October 7, from 8AM-4PM. This event is family friendly, with activities for kids of all ages! Keep your eye on the website and Facebook page for more information.

Northwest Federal Credit Union Donation to ASNV

Many thanks to Northwest Federal Credit Union for their donation of $2,324 to ASNV!  ASNV is a Community Partner of NWFCU, and this donation distributed over $11,000 to five of NWFCU’s Community Partners as part of NWFCU’s 70th Anniversary celebration.  The donation was based on new home loans between March and June.  Other recipients included amongst the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Arts Herndon, Cornerstones, and the NWFCU Foundation.  As part of ASNV’s partnership with NWFCU, ASNV members are entitled to join NWFCU as a member.  For more information about Northwest Federal’s “Acts of We” in commemoration of their anniversary, visit www.nwfcu.org/70.  

Mason Neck Bird Walk Report

Five birders enjoyed an ASNV bird walk at Mason Neck State Park on a beautiful August 27 morning, with views of Belmont Bay and the Bayview Trail. Highlights were several very busy and viewable Red-eyed Vireos, a good number of Eastern Wood-Pewees, and an otherwise lovely Prothonotary Warbler missing its tail feathers during molt. Five Wood Ducks flew across the wetland and four Bald Eagles put in appearances. We also enjoyed several juvenile Eastern Bluebirds in the picnic area, some of which were rather scruffy. The teen-age look, perhaps. We also saw a number of butterflies and enjoyed the late-summer wildflowers.
Mason Neck Bird Walk - Photo by Tom Blackburn

Two Audubon Afternoons


The Challenges of Bird Illustration with Artist John Anderton

Sunday, September 10, 2017, 3:00 – 5:00 pm
Local artist John Anderton shares original artwork and discusses the diverse challenges of bird illustration, both within a historical perspective and with reference to his current project with the Smithsonian Institution’s Migratory Bird Center. Anderton has depicted birds since childhood and studied evolutionary biology in addition to studio arts. He is chief illustrator of Birds of South Asia (2005) and Birds of New Guinea (2014) among many other smaller publications, has extensive field and museum experience, and has also taught both introductory ornithology and foundation drawing and painting at various institutions.

The meeting will be held at the National Wildlife Center:

National Wildlife Federation Building
11100 Wildlife Center Dr.
Reston, VA 20190

Drawing is of Spectacled Owl. More of John's illustrations can be seen on our website.


Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird

Sunday, October 22 2017, 3:00 - 5:00 PM
Just in time for Halloween!  Vultures are often overlooked, underappreciated, and unloved, despite the vital role they play healthy ecosystems. Worldwide, vultures are more likely to be threatened or endangered than any other group of raptor, but in the United States turkey and black vultures may be increasing in number. Based on Katie Fallon’s new book, this presentation will discuss the life and times of the noble turkey vulture, including its feeding, nesting, and roosting habits, migratory behaviors, and common misconceptions.
Katie Fallon is the author of Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird (2017) and, previously, Cerulean Blues:  A Personal Search for a Vanishing Songbird (2011), which
was a finalist for the Reed Award for Outstanding Writing on the Southern Environment. She is also the author of two books for children, Look, See the Bird! (June 2017) and Look, See the Farm! (forthcoming 2018). She is co-founder of the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia, a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving the region’s wild birds through research, education, and rehabilitation. Her first word was “bird.”

The meeting will be held at the National Wildlife Center:

National Wildlife Federation Building
11100 Wildlife Center Dr.
Reston, VA 20190

Photo: Black Vulture by Dennis Church (Flickr)                     

Sharing Nature: An Educator’s Week

by ASNV Scholorship Winner, Michele Sullivan


Camp is Magical

Imagine a beautiful and near-deserted island, offering stunning views, invigorating hikes, abundant birds and wildlife, puffin sightings, and scrumptious meals all week long. (Yes, ample desserts too.) This island was my home during a magical week of camp!

Camp is Fun!

It doesn’t matter how old you are, camp is fun! We played in the water, from streams, bogs, and ponds, to the deep brown oozing mud of the intertidal zone. Many sea creatures were netted in our seine, enabling us to examine them closely before setting them free. Boat trips to nearby islands afforded new adventures, including a jaunt to Eastern Egg Rock Island, home of the reestablished puffin colony. We explored the spruce-fir forest on needle-laden paths (so soft, so bouncy) that wove through and around the island. During the day, the ongoings of the osprey family on the nearby nesting platform were easily visible. At night, there were bioluminescent critters to attract and glimpse in the ocean. Naturally there were all the essential elements of a classic camp week such as songs and skits along with a photo scavenger hunt and daily ecological contests. Read More...

Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count Scheduled

Join us for the 36th Annual Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count. This year the count will be on Sunday, December 17th.   Check the ASNV web site and Potomac Fliers for updates.  For more information contact the ASNV office at: info@audubonva.org

New to the count or just want to brush up on your survey skills?  Join us for our FREE CBC Workshop.  You will learn about what we do during CBCs, where the data goes, how we count birds and how to hone your counting skills.  

Register for Christmas Bird Count

Leader:  Bob Shipman

Date and time:  Sunday, 17 Dec 17    Start by 7:00, end around 11:30 AM; hot lunch provided; afternoon birding for interested people.

Location:  Various points in a 15-mile diameter circle around Centreville, VA.  Volunteers will be assigned to teams and assist in counting winter birds.   Questions:  If you have any questions or special concerns, contact Bob Shipman.

To register click here.

Register for Christmas Bird Count Workshop

Presenter:  Bob Shipman

Date and time:  Thursday, 2 Nov 17 at 7 PM

Location:  National Wildlife Federation Building, 11100 Wildlife Center Dr, Reston, VA 20190

Description:  ASNV’s FREE Christmas Bird Count Workshop relates the history, purpose, and scope of CBCs generally, explains how we organize our CBC, and shows where the data goes and how it is used.  The workshop offers tips on preparing for a winter bird count, explains how we count birds and suggests ways to prepare for counting the birds we have in winter. We will review how to recognize and differentiate many of the birds normally seen in our area in winter and suggest resources available to help improve birding skills.
To register click here.

Take Action


Flying Recreational Drones in Our Parks? 

Flying drones for sport is increasing and some recreational or hobbyist drone organizations are advocating that park officials allow recreational drone flying in our parks.

The Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) is considering a proposal to allow more recreational drone and other unmanned aircraft use in seven parks throughout the county. Currently drones are only permitted in Poplar Ford Park under certain conditions. Read More...

What Kind of Parks Do You Want?  Comments Sought

The Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) has published the draft Great Parks Great Communities Parks and Recreation System Master Plan, available at Great Parks Great Communities Park Authority Master Plan.  It is important for county officials to hear people’s views and recommendations.

FCPA officials will receive public comments on September 12, 2017 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road in the Annandale-Alexandria area.   The Park Authority will accept comments until September 22. Read More...

Greening Fairfax County?

To learn how Fairfax County views the environment and its sustainability challenges and to share your views, attend the 89th “Green Breakfast” on September 9 where Kambiz Agazi, Fairfax County Environmental Coordinator, will make a presentation.  Breakfast begins at 8:30 am, $10 at the door, cash preferred; Brion's Grille, 10621 Braddock Rd, Fairfax, VA 22032. No prior registration required.  Info can be found here.

Virginia Environmental Assembly

Join other conservationists, form alliances and learn the issues on September 22-23 for the Virginia Environmental Assembly, Jepson Alumni Executive Center, Fredericksburg.  Visit the Virginia Conservation Network.

Elect Conservation-minded People

It’s never too early to get involved and to educate candidates about conservation and the value of our natural resources.  On November 7, Virginians will elect a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and all 100 members of the Virginia House of Delegates.  To learn more, including candidates who have filed, visit Virginia Elections.  


Bird Walks


Royal Lake Lakeside Park, Fairfax, VA

Wednesday September 13 - 8:30 to 11:30 AM

This 38-acre lake has a two-mile, shaded loop passing woods, grassland, and shoreline, where we’ll hope to have mud flats and migrating shorebirds. Phil Silas and Ghazali Raheem lead. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From I-495 take exit to VA-620, Braddock Road going west and continue 2.36 miles. Turn left onto Rt 651 Guinea Road and continue 0.64 miles.  Stay straight at intersection with Commonwealth Blvd (do not turn left to follow Guinea Rd.)  Go 0.4 mile and turn left on Pommeroy Dr and then turn right at the intersection with Bronte Dr. to the entrance leading to the parking lot.
5216 Pommeroy Dr, Fairfax 22032. 

Bright Pond, Reston VA

Sunday, September 17 - 7:30 to 10:30 AM
This area always yields a variety of birds, with pond edge, field and woodland habitats. 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.

Potomac Overlook Regional Park, Arlington VA

Sunday September 24 - 8:00 to 11:00
Melanie LaForce leads this walk with streamside woodland trails.  Don’t miss the chance to get out and go birding as we start into Fall! Sponsored by ASNV.

Getting there: From the west, take I 66 east to Arlington exit to Lee Highway. Or from the south, take 95/395 North to the Glebe Road North exit. Follow Glebe Road for several miles to Lee Highway.  From Lee Highway or Lorcum Lane, head north on Military Road. Turn right on Marcey Road to 2845 Marcey Road, Arlington, VA 22207. Meet at the parking lot near the restrooms, just past the picnic area. 

Wolf Trap Park, Vienna, VA

Sunday, October 8 - 9:00 to 11:30 AM

Wolf Trap is more than music!  We’ll follow the trail along the park’s streams and hills, as well as birding the pollinator meadow. John Lovaas and Jean Tatalias lead.  Sponsored by ASNV, Wolf Trap National Park, and the Friends of Wolf Trap.

Getting there: From Rt. 7, take Towlston Rd. to the park and go to the main entrance to the Filene Center. Park around the circle or in the lower lot if the circle is full.  Meet at the Filene Center Box Office.

Bles Park, Ashburn, VA

Wednesday, October 11 - 8:30 to 11:00

Enjoy a leisurely walk around the creeks and central wetland of this beautiful park with field edges and majestic trees.  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.

Upper Glade Stream Valley, Reston, VA

Sunday, October 15 - 7:30 to 10:30 AM

What a beautiful time of year to walk through the woods and enjoy autumn birding! Jenny Vick leads.  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.  Turn left on Glade Road.  Follow Glade to just past Soapstone Dr and park at Glade Pool on the right.  11550 Glade Drive.

Stuart’s Hill, Manassas National Battlefield Park, Manassas, VA

Sunday, October 22 - 8:00 to 11:00

Our route will take us past fields and into mixed forest. Different terrains should yield a good variety of species. Toby Hardwick leads. Sponsored by ASNV.

Getting there:  Travel west on I-66 to Exit 47B, Route 234 North (Sudley Road). Proceed past the turnoff to the visitor center and turn left on Route 29 (Lee Highway). At the west end of the park, turn left (South) on Pageland Lane.  Look for the left turn to the Park Headquarters and Stuart Hill Center parking lot. 

Burke Lake Park, Burke, VA

Wednesday, October 25 - 8:30 to 11:00

We’ll walk the wooded trail around the edge of the lake and then drive to the boat ramp to check the lake there.  Jean Tatalias leads.  Sponsored by the 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.

Old Cars and Beautiful Birds – Cuba!

When one thinks of Cuba, 1950’s era cars come to mind. Yes, those cars are among the sights you will see when you join ASNV’s visit to Cuba, December 6-15, 2017.  These cars are not just keepsakes! They are how many Cubans get around day to day and some are now taxis.

You’ll see those 1950’s Chevrolets or Chryslers on your way to see Cuba’s amazing birds. On the north coast at Cayo Coco, for example, you will find Oriente Warbler, Cuban Black Hawk, Mangrove Cuckoo, and more!

Our trip is through Holbrook Travel. Details and how to sign up are here. Wondering about the President’s change in U.S. policy toward Cuba?  Holbrook reviews the details here.    

Photo: Cuban Green Woodpecker - Dixie Sommers 

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

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. 
1675 Reston Pkwy, Ste J, Reston, VA 20194. (703) 437-3335

Fall Native Plant Sales

Here are locations for several local native plant sales.