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May 2019

Quick Links


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. From April through October, surveys are conducted primarily for butterflies and dragonflies at those two locations and two others—Occoquan Regional Park and Julie J. Metz Memorial Wetlands Preserve.

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 a.m. - noon)
  • May 15
  • June 12

Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge 

(7:30 a.m - noon)
  • May 29
  • June 26

Occoquan Bay Annual Migratory Bird Count

(6:30 a.m.)
  • May 11

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys—will resume in April

(8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)
  • May 3, Metz Wetlands Preserve
  • May 10, Occoquan Regional Park
  • May 17, Occoquan Bay NWR
  • May 24, Meadowood Recreation Area
  • May 31, Metz Wetlands Preserve

Make a Difference!  
Speak Up!

 

E-Activist Network 
Volunteers Needed

 
The National Audubon Society invites all Auduboners to join its e-activist network. When you subscribe to the Society’s newsletter, you'll receive alerts about important congressional actions and information about how you can affect legislation by contacting your members of Congress.
 

Advocate Against Climate Change

 
We need passionate volunteers across Virginia who can help persuade elected officials to support actions designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If you would like to help make a difference with climate change and other important issues, please contact Glenda Booth.
 

AAH Seeks Driver To Deliver Tabling Supplies

 
Audubon at Home seeks a volunteer driver to pick up supplies from the ASNV office at the National Wildlife Federation headquarters in Reston, to deliver them to a site for tabling events in Fairfax or Arlington County, and to pick up unused supplies afterward for return to ASNV in Reston. Drivers will be needed for up to three events per month. Trips can generally be made outside rush hour at the driver's convenience and will be scheduled by driver and AAH participant using a Doodle poll or via phone call. Interested? Write AAH@audubonva.org.
 

Got a Hot Story? Let Us Know!

 
The Potomac Flier wants to deliver local bird-centered news that matters to you. Therefore, if there’s something you want us to write about, let us know at communications@audubonva.org.
 


President's Corner

by Tom Blackburn


Suddenly, it’s Spring! And bird migration is in full force right now. Each Spring, 3.5 billion birds cross the U.S. southern border, coming from Central and South America; and then 2.6 billion birds cross the northern border into Canada. A significant number of those birds come through Northern Virginia. The glorious thing about Spring migration is that most of these birds are in breeding plumage and practicing their songs. There’s no better time to pick up your binoculars and get outside to enjoy them.  

Experienced birders know where to go to see migrating birds, but for those of you who are only occasional birders, here are a few hints:

Monticello Park, at 320 Beverly Drive in Alexandria, is one of the best places to see migrating birds. Greg Butcher has a great description of what you can see in the park in the "Birdathon 2019 - When is Peak Landbird Migration in Northern Virginia and Washington DC?" article below and on the ASNV website.
 
Leesylvania State Park is also a good spot to see migrating birds. Be sure to check the grassy hillside at the very end of the road as well as the trees near the river.  
ASNV has scheduled several bird walks this month to take advantage of spring migration. Join us at Mason Neck State Park at 8:30 a.m. on May 11; Sapsucker Woods in Reston at 7:30 a.m. on May 12; Bristoe Station Battlefield in Bristow at 8:00 a.m. on May 19; and Stratton Woods Park at 7:30 a.m. on May 26. You don’t need to be an experienced birder; we’ll show you what to look for. More information is available at http://audubonva.org/calendar-view.
 
Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve in Loudoun County has a wide variety of habitats and a corresponding variety of birds. The Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is sponsoring its monthly bird walk there on May 11. More information is at https://loudounwildlife.org/event/birding-banshee-21/

Spring is also a great time to learn about butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. Bob Blakney, a long-time ASNV member, has just published “Northern Virginia’s Dragonflies and Damselflies: A Field Guide,” based on ten years of citizen science surveys of these beautiful invertebrates and photos provided by members of the survey team. Bob’s “Northern Virginia Butterflies and Skippers: A Field Guide,” published in 2015, is an equally invaluable reference. Both books are available at www.amazon.com and at ASNV events. Best of all, Bob donates all profits to ASNV, so you can support ASNV while learning about these fascinating insects.


Upcoming Classes and Events


World Migratory Bird Day Workshop
Date: Thursday, May 9
Time: 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Location: National Wildlife Federation, 11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190


Join the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV) for a FREE workshop to prepare for the longest running annual spring bird count in this area. The class will include an overview of WMBD, the Lower Potomac River Important Bird Area (LPR-IBA), key species and techniques (eBird) used to count them. We’ll also learn how the data is used. Register here.

Instructor:  Larry Meade. Larry is President of the Northern Virginia Bird Club, and a former Board member of the Virginia Society of Ornithology. He has served as a Sector Leader for a number of years for several of our local Christmas Bird Counts and is an avid nature photographer.

Cost: Free

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World Migratory Bird Day
Date: Saturday, May 11, 2019
Time: 6:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Location: Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge


The Annual Migratory Bird Count for Occoquan Bay NWR will be held Saturday, May 11. Jim Waggener leads the count and is looking for volunteers. Contact Jim Waggener for details here.

This is the longest running annual spring bird count in this area. Held at the height of spring migration, these counts have averaged 130 species (with highs of 140 or more). Teams of volunteers conduct an area search, counting species and individuals.

Data is submitted for inclusion in a hemispheric database used by Partners in Flight to chart the status and population trends of resident and neotropical migratory species.

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Birding by Ear II, Late Spring Migrants
Date: Sunday, May 19
Time: 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Location: Julia Metz Wetland Preserve and Leesylvania State Park, Woodbridge, VA


Spend a full day learning bird song in the field, focusing on late migrants. 
Some basic birding knowledge is a prerequisite, such as being able to identify some common local birds by sight. Bring a bag lunch; we'll be out in the field all day but will break for lunch at Leesylvania State Park. Register here.

Instructor: Greg Fleming. Greg is a wildlife biologist who has spent most of his career performing bird surveys on eight different military installations in surveys on eight different military installations in the Eastern and Central United States. He has recorded 775 bird species in the ABA area and over 1,600 in North America.

Limit: 15
Cost: Members $50, Non-members $60

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Marine Birds and Mammals of the Southeastern United States
Dates: Tuesdays, June 4 and June 11
Time: 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Location: National Wildlife Federation, 11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190
Field trip TBA (whole day in Outer Banks, NC) – Early July 2019


Marine birds have feathers, and marine mammals breathe air. But in almost every other way, these ocean denizens bear almost no resemblance at all to their counterparts on land. This workshop introduces participants to the identification, foraging strategies, behavior, and nesting/breeding ecology of marine birds and mammals typical of the southeastern Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. Join Dr. Chris Haney, founder of Terra Mar Applied Sciences, for this two-part classroom instruction and pelagic field trip. Register here.

Cost: Members $100, Non-members $140

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Audubon Afternoon: “Raptors in Virginia, Maryland, and DC”
Date: Sunday, June 9
Time: 2:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Location: National Wildlife Federation, 11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston 20190


Please join us for an exciting Audubon Afternoon, when Secret Garden Birds and Bees will present “Raptors of Virginia, Maryland, and DC.” Secret Garden will bring five live raptors for us to see and photograph, including a Red-tailed Hawk and a Red-shouldered Hawk. We’ll gather for refreshments at 2:30 p.m., have a brief Annual Meeting where we elect officers and directors at 3:00 p.m., and begin the main program at about 3:15 p.m. This is an event the whole family will enjoy!  As always, we welcome any food and drink that you would like to share with everyone.


Apply for ASNV Conservation Grants

 
Do you have a great idea for how to improve habitat for birds and other wildlife, but don’t have the funds to do it? Audubon Society of Northern Virginia has funds available that can help your idea come true. We have budgeted $3,300 for conservation grants for this year, and applicants may apply for all or any part of the available funds.

We are looking for applications from individuals, non-profit organizations, and public schools. Projects submitted by individuals should have a connection to public or non-profit lands.

Grants are available for projects that will protect or improve habitat for birds, butterflies, other wildlife, and/or native plants in ASNV’s territory, generally including Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford Counties, and the independent cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park.

You may apply between April 1 and May 10, 2019 by requesting an application form from Greg Butcher, ASNV vice president, at gregbutcherwi@hotmail.com. Grant awards will be announced by June 10, 2019. 

Successful applicants will sign an agreement to provide to ASNV periodic progress reports and a project completion report specifying how the funds were expended and the outcomes for a period following completion of the project.

Please send us your project – the birds and other wildlife of northern Virginia need your help!
 

WE NEED YOUR HELP!


ASNV is primarily a volunteer-driven organization. We rely on people like you to carry out most of our organization’s functions.

If you would like to volunteer your time to help support birds and the environment, check out the following opportunities. If you are interested, please send me an email at president@audubonva.org and if you have other ideas about projects you’d like to undertake, let me know about those too.

Volunteer Coordinator: We need an enthusiastic person to help us manage our volunteers. You would keep a roster of volunteers, publicize volunteer opportunities in our newsletter and website, coordinate the volunteers’ activities, and help ensure that their volunteer experiences are good ones.

Speaker: We receive requests from time to time for speakers who can talk about birds, wildlife, habitat, and conservation. Let me know if you would like to join our Speakers Forum. ASNV can provide some training, access to photographs from the National Audubon Society website, and an already-prepared slide show of common birds that you can use or modify to suit your preferences. 

Public Events Representative: ASNV attends festivals and conferences, where we set up a table with information about our organization and items to purchase such as hats and books. We also have a wide variety of children’s activities. You would pick up materials for the event from the National Wildlife Federation building in Reston and be our representative to the public, discussing ASNV’s mission and current activities and encouraging people to join. 

We have a specific need coming up at Ellanor Lawrence Park 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. on May 11 to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day. This year’s theme for WMB Day is “Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution.” Let us know if you can help.

Finance Committee Member: We need one person with some financial/investment experience to help us manage our investments. You would meet, either by phone or in person, with our other committee members four times each year to discuss whether we should update our investment strategy.

Thanks!
Tom Blackburn

 

Take Action

by Glenda Booth and Connie Ericson

 

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and School Board to Form Joint Environmental Task Force

On April 2, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax County School Board formed a joint task force to discuss ways to collaborate on initiatives related to climate and energy, called the Joint Environmental Task Force (JET). Members of both the Board of Supervisors and the School Board will serve on this committee. 

“Both Boards have a desire to move forward on a number of environmental fronts, and this joint committee will help us identify and focus our priorities,” Chairman Sharon Bulova said. “Environmental issues intersect with many aspects of community life and require a ‘One Fairfax’ lens in order to address comprehensively. I am pleased with this collaborative approach and look forward to innovative and visionary ideas stemming from this committee.”

“Our community is aware of the urgency needed to deal with climate change, and the establishment of this committee puts that issue front and center for Fairfax County,” said School Board Chair Karen Corbett Sanders. “With both FCPS and the county at the table, we can address these critical issues holistically, keeping the health and well-being of our young people front and center of our work to ensure we address the need for environmental sustainability.” 

More information about JET can be found here. For information on the county’s environmental initiatives, visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/environment/ or contact Lindsey Doane, Communications Director, Office of Chairman Sharon Bulova, 703-324-4932.
 

Arlington County Adopts Bicycle Plan with ASNV Improvements

ASNV efforts succeeded in convincing Arlington County officials to alter plans for two proposed bike paths that would have run through designated conservation areas in Glencarlyn and Barcroft Parks. 

The Claremont to Four Mile Run Trail would have run through or adjacent to Magnolia Bog, a rare wetland ecosystem that is globally significant and a refuge for plants and animals not seen in other parts of the County for decades. The plan the Arlington County Board adopted April 23 eliminates this future trail. 

The proposed Glencarlyn/Hospital Trail would have run through a natural resource conservation area with significant natural seeps and locally rare native plants and wildlife. Instead, the Board adopted a plan to move the trail out of the conservation area and Glencarlyn Park, protecting resources that include Willow Pond and a natural stream leading to Long Branch.

Because of comments from ASNV, individual ASNV members and several of Arlington County’s volunteer commissions (Environment & Energy Conservation Commission, Urban Forestry Commission) the final Bicycle Plan requires plans to upgrade bike trails by widening them and possibly adding lights to consider environmental and natural resource effects of those changes. For example, the final Bicycle Plan requires that plans to add lights to trails, many of which run through sensitive stream valleys, be guided by goals and standards set by the County’s Natural Resources Management Plan, which is set to be updated in the coming months.  

Information about the Bicycle Plan is available at https://newsroom.arlingtonva.us/release/a-new-vision-for-bicycle-transportation/.
 

Fairfax County Community-Wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) 

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is developing an energy and climate action plan and expects to invite assistance from our local organizations, as Board Chair Sharon Bulova wrote to ASNV, “to encourage community engagement and input . . . it is encouraging that the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia is willing to assist in the creation of the plan.” The schedule and next steps have not been announced.
 

Calling all Birders: Birdathon 2019!


Birdathon 2019 is underway! How does it work? Like a walk-a-thon, Birdathon participants collect pledges from friends and family. Then, during any 24-hour period between April 19 and May 19, participants record how many species they can identify. The more species they identify, the more funds they raise! Birdathoners also import their data into eBird, an online database of bird observations run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Birdathon helps ASNV continue to support outdoor education, support citizen science, advocate for habitat conservation, and encourage people to plant native plants and foster native wildlife. Birdathon also helps ornithologists better understand spring migration, which is happening right now!

All birding levels are welcome. Participants can form teams of up to five, but team members must also donate or secure their own pledges. Sightings and donations are due on June 4, 2019. Report your Birdathon sightings by on eBird and email your list to info@audubonva.org.

Ready to get started? Register your team here. Now go out and have a great day birding!

All participants and their supporters are invited to join us on Sunday, June 9, 2019 at the National Wildlife Federation, 11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190 at 2:30 p.m. for our Annual Meeting, where we’ll announce the winners of the “Most Species Counted” and “Most Money Raised” competitions. We’ll also have a live raptor presentation from Secret Garden Birds and Bees.


Birdathon 2019 - When is Peak Landbird Migration in Northern Virginia and Washington DC?

by Greg Butcher


Audubon Society of Northern Virginia sponsors a Birdathon every spring. We send out a bunch of teams whose goal is to see as many species as possible in a 24-hour period and to raise money for our programs.

Here are the 4 main tricks to seeing the maximum number of species in a 24-hour period:
  • Trick #1 is to get up before dawn and bird all day long (and into the night for owls).
  • Trick #2 is to visit a wide variety of habitat types.
  • Trick #3 is to find the best birders with good eyes, good ears, and good knowledge of the local birds (especially their songs).
  • Trick #4, especially in the Washington DC region, is to go at the peak of migration.
More and more information exists to help determine the peak of migration in any given place. There is a ton of information on eBird, the website maintained by Cornell Lab of Ornithology that records all birds encountered by eBirders every day at every birding spot in the world. The data are summarized in a variety of easy-to-understand formats, but I haven’t yet figured out the easiest way to study peak migration using eBird.

However, in northern Virginia, we have a golden gem of a resource that highlights anything you might want to know about spring migration of landbirds – it’s a website called MPNature. MPNature has a limitation that you might think minimizes its usefulness – it is focused on the birds (and plants) of one of the smallest and most suburban parks in Northern Virginia – Monticello Park.

But Monticello Park has three advantages that make it a wonderful barometer of the state of landbird migration in Northern Virginia (and Washington DC):
  1. It is an amazing magnet for birds, with 124 species;
  2. Its spring birds have been meticulously documented since 2005 by Tom Albright and a host of other birders;
  3. And, of course, it has an amazing website, beautifully and purposefully created by Bill Young, Ashley Bradford, and their friends.
I should probably have written an article about the beauty of the website. Ten different photographers have contributed gorgeous stills and videos of the birds, the plants, and views from within the park. But that’s a different article!

Under the “Daily Checklist” tab is a list for each day of April and May of the migratory birds that have been seen on that date between 2005 and 2018 divided into 3 groups: species that averaged more than 2 individuals on that date, species that averaged between 1 and 2 individuals, and species that have been seen in the park on that date, but not every year.

If you are interested in a particular migratory species, there is another section of the website with photos and the earliest, latest, and best dates to find that species in the park. The park is a woodland with a stream running through it, so you can’t learn much about waterbirds or grassland birds, but it does have information about 35 species of warblers!
But I had a single goal in mind – I wanted to know THE best date for spring migration in our area, so I reduced all of Tom Albright’s species-specific information to numbers, and here’s what I found out:
  • The website’s report of expected species begins on April 1, and for the first 24 days in April, you can expect 4 common migrant species (that average more than 2 individuals per day). In addition, you have the chance to see about 11 other less predictable migrants on any of those 24 days.
  • Everything starts to pick up on April 25. All of a sudden, there are 7 common migrants and 14 additional possible species.
  • The good news is that peak migration lasts for 15 days: May 1 through 15. On any one of those days, you can expect 17-21 common species with a possible total of 33-37 migratory species, plus up to 23 of the park’s resident species.
  • The next week – May 16-22 – isn’t too bad, with 16 common migrants expected on the 16th, dropping to 11 on the 22nd and a possible total of 26-32 migratory species each day.
  • After May 23, migration drops off sharply, with only 7 or 8 migratory species expected on May 30 or 31.
A few caveats: every day is different! The above numbers are averaged over 14 years, creating great uniformity, but migration depends on the weather. On a beautiful clear night with strong southerly wings, all the migrants might pass us by. Better conditions (for seeing a lot of migrants) are rainy nights with northerly winds that keep migrants from flying too far too fast. But the only way to find out if tomorrow is a great day to see migrants is to get outside and look for yourself.

If you want to see the most landbird migrants in Northern Virginia, I suggest you plan to bird between May 1 and May 15 – and remember, different species are expected on May 15 than on May 1, so if you participate in ASNV’s Birdathon this would be the best time to choose your 24 hour count day. Good luck and happy birding!
 

May Bird of the Month: the “Sparred” Owl

by Elise Brosnan

 
The Spotted Owl just can’t get a break. Endemic to old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest, the endangered owl’s population was already declining due to deforestation, but now they have been forced to accommodate an inconsiderate guest: Barred Owls. Native to the eastern half of North America, the Barred Owl’s territory has been expanding westward since the turn of the last century. By the 1990s, Barred Owls have become a permanent fixture throughout much of the Spotted Owl’s historic range. Larger, more aggressive, and more opportunistic than Spotted Owls, Barred Owls have been identified as a significant new factor driving the Spotted Owl’s population collapse.

However, Spotted Owls hold no apparent ill will towards Barred Owls. The two species occasionally hybridize, or mate, producing an offspring that is half spotted and half barred. As you might expect, “Sparred Owls” look like both of their parents. They have the Barred Owl’s larger size, but the Spotted Owl’s darker coloring. Their breast plumage is a mixture of spots and bars, described as looking like a checkerboard pattern. Their call also reflects their mixed heritage; a series of staccato Spotted Owl-like “hoos” followed by a Barred Owl-like “hoo-ah,” described by a biologist as “sort of like a Spotted Owl being strangled.”

Morgan, a Sparred Owl, is kept in captivity at Chintimini Wildlife Center in Corvallis, Oregon.


Hybridization is surprisingly common in birds. Up to ten percent of birds are suspected to hybridize with other species, at least occasionally. However, hybridization may be increasing as the historic range of many bird species changes. As we lose grassland in the Great Plains states, eastern forest birds are interacting with western forest birds in a way that has never been seen before. Because of climate change, both western and eastern species are finding northern territories more hospitable. The Barred Owl made its way west by colonizing Canadian forests at the very north of its range, before looping south into Spotted Owl territory.

Great Plains hybridization has threatened species before. The Midwestern Blue-winged Warbler is expanding its range eastward, where it outcompetes and hybridizes with the Golden-winged Warbler. (However, some biologists argue that Golden-winged and Blue-winged Warblers are two variants of the same species, and, by definition, cannot be under threat from itself.)

Therefore, what should be done about Barred Owls? Experimental cullings have occurred, with moderate success. However, some environmentalists argue that the arrival of the Barred Owl has provided a convenient scapegoat for another enemy of Spotted Owls: the logging industry. “Competition from Barred Owls may well need to be addressed on an interim basis until Spotted Owls’ populations can be returned to health,” says Bob Sallinger, conservation director of the Audubon Society of Portland, Oregon, “but unless critical habitat needs are adequately addressed, Barred Owl control will be nothing more than a sad and pathetic footnote on the road to Spotted Owl extinction.”
 

Sources:

Axelson, G. (2016) Golden-winged and Blue-winged Warblers Are 99.97 Alike Genetically. Living Bird Magazine. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. Retrieved from https://www.allaboutbirds.org/mixed-wing-warblers-golden-wings-and-blue-wings-are-99-97-percent-alike-genetically/

Deweerdt, Sarah. “Killing Barred Owls to Keep Spotted Owls Breathing,” Newsweek Magazine, May 17, 2015. Retrieved form https://www.newsweek.com/2015/05/29/killing-barred-owls-keep-spotted-owls-breathing-332540.html

Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye (1988) “Great Plains Hybrids” and “Hybridization” in The Birder’s Handbook: A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds. Simon & Shuster, Inc., New York, NY, USA. Retrieved from https://web.stanford.edu/group/stanfordbirds/text/essays/

Hamer, T. E. et al. (1994) Hybridization Between Barred and Spotted Owls. The Auk 111(2): 487-492. Retrieved from https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/auk/v111n02/p0487-p0492.pdf

Howe Verhovek, Sam,“To Protect Spotted Owl, Larger Owl Is Targeted,” Los Angeles Times, Jun 4, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2007-jun-04-na-owls4-story.html

Mazur, K. M. and P. C. James (2000) Barred Owl (Strix varia), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.508

Report to the Fish and Game Commission: a Status Review of the Northern Spotted Owl in California, State of California Natural Resources Agency Department Fish and Wildlife, Jan 27, 2016. Retrieved from https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=116307&inline

Bird Walks

 

Walker Nature Center, Reston, VA
Wednesday, May 8, 8:30 to 11:00 a.m.

The wooded trail here leads down to Snakeden Stream and yields a variety of birds. We should see migrants as well as nesters. Tom Nardone leads. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

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

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Mason Neck State Park, Lorton, VA
Saturday, May 11, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Registration required; check the website.

Visit the Park for the Eagle Festival and join the bird walk and eagle viewing. Check the website of Friends of Mason Neck State Park for info.

Getting there: From I-495, take I-95 South 7 miles to Lorton exit. Go left (east) on Route 642 to Route 1. Go right (south) on Route 1 and then left (east) on Gunston Road, Route 242. In 4 miles, turn right into Mason Neck Management Area. 7301 High Point Road, Lorton, VA 22079-4010.
 

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Sapsucker Woods, Reston, VA
Sunday, May 12, 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.

There are probably no sapsuckers left from the winter, but spring migrants and residents are arriving. Find them with leaders Carol and Jay Hadlock. Sponsored by The Reston Association, the Bird Feeder of Reston, and ASNV.

Getting there:Take the Dulles Toll Road West, to Exit 13, Wiehle Avenue. Turn left onto Wiehle, Right onto Sunrise Valley Drive, Left onto Soapstone Drive, and then Right onto Glade Drive. Meet in the parking lot of the Glade Community Pool and Tennis Courts. 11550 Glade Drive.
 

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Laurel Hill Equestrian Center, Lorton, VA
Thursday, May 16, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

The trails lead along woods, fields, and brush—great habitats for a range of birds on a May morning. Phil Silas leads for the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From I-495, take I-95 South about 13 miles to Exit 163 (Lorton Road) Continue 1.4 miles west on Route. 642 (Lorton Road) Turn left on Route 611 (Furnace Road) and then immediately right onto Dairy Road Proceed to the parking lot where we'll meet.

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Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park, Bristow, VA
Sunday, May 19, 8:00 a.m. to noon

We’re on the look for dickcissels and meadowlarks in this park where they have nested in previous years. Join leader Toby Hardwick to enjoy the fields and woods of this great location. Sponsored by ASNV. 

Getting there: From I-66, take Route 234 south (exit 44). Travel 4.5 miles and turn right onto Route 28 (Nokesville Road). Travel 1.5 miles and turn left onto Route 619 (Bristow Road). Travel ¼ mile and turn right onto Iron Brigade Unit Avenue. The parking lot is located on the left at the traffic circle. 10708 Bristow Road, Bristow VA 20136.

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Stratton Woods Park, Reston, VA
Sunday, May 26, 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Don’t miss the last days of Spring and the chance to enjoy the trail and the birds of Reston. Robin Duska Huff leads. Sponsored by The Reston Association, the Bird Feeder of Reston, and ASNV.

Getting there: From westbound Dulles Access Road, go south on the Fairfax County Parkway. From the Parkway, go west on Fox Mill Road and take the first right turn into the parking lot and park by the ball fields.  2431 Fox Mill Road, Reston VA 20171.

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Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA
Wednesday, May 29, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Join the walk at Huntley and look for wood ducks, bluebirds, and buntings, as well as the woodpeckers frequently found here. Dixie Sommers leads. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Getting there: From I-195, take Route 1 south for 3 miles. Turn right on Lockheed Boulevard and in ½ mile turn left into park entrance. 3701 Lockheed Boulevard. Meet in parking lot.
 

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Brawner’s Farm, Manassas National Battlefield Park, Manassas, VA
Sunday, June 2, 8:00 a.m. to noon

The fields of this area abound with sparrows, hawks, and butterflies. Join leader Larry Meade to find them all. 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 right (north) on Pageland Lane. Look for the Brawner Farm Parking turnoff on the right.
 

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Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA
Sunday, June 9, 8:00 to 11:00 a.m.

The fields and wooded areas of the park, as well as the water edge, are good birding territory. Colt Gregory and Jean Tatalias lead this walk sponsored by ASNV and Meadowlark Gardens. Meet in the Visitor Center.

Getting there: The gardens are located off of Beulah Road, between Route 7 and Route 123, south of the Dulles Access Road. From the Beltway, take Route 7 toward Tysons Corner. Drive 4.5 miles west on Route 7, turn left onto Beulah Road and drive 2.5 miles to the gardens entrance on the right.

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Walker Nature Center and Snakeden Stream Valley, Reston, VA
Sunday, June 16, 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Bring Dad on this Father’s Day walk to enjoy the cool path down to the stream to look for our breeding bird residents. Sponsored by Reston Association, The Bird Feeder of Reston, and ASNV.  

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

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