Ten people showed up on Saturday for the regular (every 4th Saturday except December) bird walk at the Blue Ridge Center. While we began the walk with umbrellas, the rain quickly dropped off to a light drizzle, and then quit altogether. The walk was led by Joe Coleman and Del Sargent, ably assisted by Laura McGranaghan, Nicole Hamilton, and Elliott & Nancy Kirschbaum as well several other good birders.

Our first few minutes were spent birding around the main parking lot and the close-by pond but we then drove over to Arnold Road where we spent the next two and a half hours in the woods except for a short walk along the power cut. Our most exciting sightings were two very vocal males and one female Cerulean Warbler in an area where they have nested for several years. While driving down Arnold Road we first heard, and then saw, perched on the fence right next to the road, a Grasshopper Sparrow; two Eastern Meadowlarks were also singing in the fields along Arnold Road. Though all of us saw them, as is often the case with Cerulean Warblers, the looks weren’t great because they were high in the canopy. Our other highlights included a vocal White-eyed Vireo at the pond, a vocal Yellow-throated Vireo, a Wood Thrush, and several Ovenbirds along the Sweet Run Loop as well as two singing Scarlet Tanagers. We also found and watched for several minutes a Rose-breasted Grosbeak in a location where one has been observed several years in the spring.

scarlet_tanager

For a complete list of the birds see the eBird list below.

Information on the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship can be found at http://www.blueridgecenter.org.  Information on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and its many free activities can be found at www.loudounwildlife.org.

Joe Coleman

 

Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, Loudoun, Virginia, US Apr 23, 2016 8:00 AM – 11:15 AM

Protocol: Traveling

1.5 mile(s) walking, three miles driving

Comments:     FOS & other Highlights: White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Wood Thrush, Ovenbird, Cerulean Warbler, Grasshopper Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Eastern Meadowlark.

49 species (+1 other taxa)

Canada Goose  2

Black Vulture  4

Turkey Vulture  2

Cooper’s Hawk  1

Red-shouldered Hawk  1

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  1

Mourning Dove  1

Red-bellied Woodpecker  5

Downy Woodpecker  5

Hairy Woodpecker  1

Northern Flicker  1

Pileated Woodpecker  2

Eastern Phoebe  2

White-eyed Vireo  1

Yellow-throated Vireo  1

Blue Jay  15

American Crow  15

Tree Swallow  6

Barn Swallow  5

Carolina Chickadee  12

Tufted Titmouse  8

White-breasted Nuthatch  4

Carolina Wren  4

wren sp.  1     brief glimpse of a small brown wren; not seen well enough to determine whether House or Winter

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  12

Eastern Bluebird  6

Wood Thrush  1

Brown Thrasher  6

Northern Mockingbird  5

European Starling  10

Ovenbird  4

Louisiana Waterthrush  1

Common Yellowthroat  3

Cerulean Warbler  3

Northern Parula  1

Grasshopper Sparrow  2

Chipping Sparrow  8

Field Sparrow  3

White-throated Sparrow  8

Song Sparrow  6

Eastern Towhee  2

Scarlet Tanager  2

Northern Cardinal  12

Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1

Red-winged Blackbird  2

Eastern Meadowlark  2

Common Grackle  2

Brown-headed Cowbird  20     One of the the most common birds on the walk

American Goldfinch  25

House Sparrow  1

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S29191477

 

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This is peak Spring bird migration season and millions of birds are coming to or passing through our area on their way north!

You can help celebrate the season and International Migratory Bird Day, which is May 14, by taking part in Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s Birdathon. It’s easy! Form a team with friends and/or family to see how many species you see in a 24-hour period between May 1 and May 15.  Supporters can sponsor you with a set amount or per species and can do that on our website here.  You can read more about the event here. There will be prizes for participants in the Birdathon, which is a major fundraiser for Loudoun Wildlife.

As part of the celebration, Loudoun Wildlife will present a special program May 3 on warblers that breed in or migrate through Maryland and Virginia. There will also be a number of special walksGrasshopper-Sparrow the county. We invite you to join us!

You might even see a Grasshopper Sparrow like the one in the photograph, taken by Diane Nastase.

Morven Park Nature Walk — Sunday, May 1, 8:00 a.m. This walk will be led by Nicole Hamilton & Dori Rhodes.  Not only is Morven Park the place that Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy calls home, its 1,000 acres include the Ridge Loop trail, a lowland trail aptly named the Wood Thrush trail, and lots of fields and meadows. In spring wonderful neo-tropical birds are heard and seen: Scarlet Tanagers, warblers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, kinglets, woodpeckers, owls, hawks, Wild Turkeys, chickadees, nuthatches and other woodland and grassland species. Meet at the Coach House parking lot. Registration required: Sign Up Online. Questions: Contact jcoleman@loudounwildlife.org.

Identifying and Learning About the Warblers of the Mid-Atlantic Region —Tuesday, May 3, 7:00 p.m. Winmill Carriage Museum, Morven Park. Michael Bowen, Linda Friedland, and Jim Nelson, all past presidents of the Montgomery County Chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society, will cover nearly every warbler species that breeds in or migrates through Maryland and Virginia. Identification pointers and songs of birds in spring are emphasized. This Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy presentation uses high-resolution photos taken by some of North America’s finest nature photographers and song tracks from the Stokes Bird Song series. Registration required: Sign Up Online. Questions: Contact info@loudounwildlife.org.

Birding at Bles Park — Friday, May 6, 8:00 a.m. This walk will be led by Bill Brown and Jay Hadlock.  Located in Ashburn along the Potomac River, Bles Park includes 94-acres of passive park land with walking, birding and hiking trails. Trails run along fields, wetlands and a stream, which offer a nice diversity of species. Bles is a great place to see a variety of migratory song birds as well as the summer warblers that nest here. Meet in the parking lot. Directions can be found here. Registration required: Sign Up Online. Questions: Contact jcoleman@loudounwildlife.org.

The Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship — Saturday, May 7, 8:00 a.mBlue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship (BRCES). This walk will be led by Joe Coleman and Gerry Hawkins. The center’s 895 acres has vernal pools, meadows, ponds, streams and a rich oak-hickory forest. Located in northwestern Loudoun County, the center not only borders the Appalachian Trail, it is only a couple of miles from the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, and serves as a wonderful sanctuary for Loudoun’s wildlife. The group will meet in the parking lot between Mountain View Farm & the Education Center. Registration required: Sign Up Online. Questions: Contact jcoleman@loudounwildlife.org.

Beagle Club/Institute Farm  Wednesday, May 11, 8 a.m. This walk will be led by Emily Southgate and Linda Millington. We have special permission to visit the Institute Farm, the home of the National Beagle Club of North America, and on the National Register of Historic Places.  The farm’s brushy, scrubby intermediate habitat, bordered by mature forests, is home to many thicket-loving bird species. This group will also visit a nearby large farm, which includes a large pond and extensive fields. 22265 Oatlands Road, Aldie, VA. Parking in the field. Maximum: 15 people. Registration required: Sign Up Online. Questions: Contact jcoleman@loudounwildlife.org.

Camp Highroad  Friday, May 13, 8:00 a.m.  This walk will be led by Christine Perdue and Linda Millington. Southwestern Loudoun includes many large farms that include both extensive fields and rich woodlands through which Goose Creek and its many tributaries flow. In the spring it is home to a number of nesting birds as well as many migrants. Camp Highroad is located at 1164 Steptoe Hill Rd, Middleburg. Meet at the main office. Space is limited to 15 people. Registration required: Sign Up Online. Questions: Contact jcoleman@loudounwildlife.org.

Birding Banshee — Saturday, May 14, 8:00 a.m. This walk will be led by Jane Yocom and Dori Rhodes. Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve was established as a nature preserve in 1999. Its 725 acres include a variety of nature trails that are great for birding. In addition to a mile of Goose Creek frontage, Banshee has a great diversity of habitats ranging from wetlands and ponds to mixed hardwood forests of oak and hickory to wonderful meadows laden with milkweed, goldenrod and thistle. Questions: Contact jcoleman@loudounwildlife.org.

The Birdiest Time of the Year: Meet Your Birds!  Saturday, May 14, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m., Algonkian Regional Park. Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and local birders Bill & Della Brown for this special International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) event just for kids and their parents.  We’ll make it easy for you! We’ll point out the birds as you enjoy a morning stroll along the Potomac River. See and hear the birds that travel through our area during this special time of spring migration. Space is limited to 15 children, ages 5+, with accompanying adult(s); please register early. No strollers or pets. Scout groups are welcome. 47000 Fairway Dr, Sterling. Meet at the boat ramp parking lot.  Registration required: Sign Up Online. Questions: Contact info@loudounwildlife.org.

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The last of the winter stalks are gone and your garden beds look lovely with tender green shoots coming up. But wait, something needs to go in the far corner, doesn’t it? There’s a gap by the pond too that some kind of shrub would fill perfectly. But what? Not to worry – our Spring Native Plant Sale is this Saturday, April 23, at Morven Park!Native_Plant_Sale_20120915-8

You will be able to browse and buy lots of Spring blooming flowers, shrubs, trees, vines and ferns and get some good advice too. There will also be Bluebird houses, Monarch rearing cages and other material, as well as books and even garden art.

The sale will be in the main parking lot at Morven Park, 17263 Southern Planter Lane, Leesburg. It runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Bring your friends and neighbors and grab a bite to eat too - the Good Grubbin’ food truck will be there from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., selling freshly made fajitas!

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Yes, it’s true! People in Virginia are starting to see the beautiful Ruby-throated hummingbirds at their feeders.

You can track them as they make their way north on the map here and report your own sightings.  So clean your feeders and get ready to put out the nectar – one part sugar to four parts water.

 

Rubythroatmap20160404

 

 

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leesburg_Loggerhead_Shrike_2008A five-year statewide effort is under way to document the bird species that breed in Virginia. The project is the 2nd Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas (VBBA2), the first such  survey since the first VBBA was completed 25 years ago, and you can help.

The data collected will help document species distribution. This is important so it is known how factors such as climate change and development are affecting bird communities and that in turn will affect natural resource and conservation decisions.

The project involves the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Virginia Society of Ornithology, bird clubs, Master Naturalist chapters and, as a citizen science project, will need lots of volunteers to help collect data over the next five years. The project divides the area into 12 regions. Each region is broken into blocks, each of which is surveyed.

If you volunteered to help count for the 2009-2014 Loudoun County Bird Atlas, here’s your chance to get out again as the breeding season gets going. If you did not take part then but enjoy watching birds, here’s a chance to contribute to this very important effort. You can team up with friends to count, including the species that show up at your feeder.

If you’d like to find out what kind of information is gathered, check out the Loudoun County Bird Atlas summary and species lists at loudounwildlife.org/Bird_Atlas.htm.

For more information about the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas and how to get involved, visit the website here. You can also follow the progress on Facebook – just search for the  2nd Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas page.

 

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You may have heard or seen a bird hitting your window as it flies from feeders to escape a predator or colliding with your patio door when it sees the reflection of trees and thinks it can fly to them. With luck, the bird has only lightly glanced off the glass or is only briefly stunned. Sadly, however, millions of birds die each year from flying into both buildings and building glass.

According to a new report from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), “Annual bird mortality resulting from window collisions in the U.S. is estimated to be between 365- 988 million birds. “ carolina_wren_apr11BRCES Old Bridge north2 3-26-16

Lest you think the main culprits are gleaming, mirrored city skyscrapers, the USFWS document, “Reducing Bird Collisions with Buildings and Building Glass Best Practices,” says collisions with those structures account for less than 1% of bird deaths. The report says more than half, 56%, occur at buildings between one and three stories, 44% at urban and rural residences.

There are things you can do to help, however, and that is goal of the report in which the Service’s Division of Migratory Bird Management has compiled a list of things you can do to cut down on bird deaths from collisions. These range from suggestions for homeowners to reduce reflection to lighting changes and architectural designs for existing and new commercial buildings. For example, something as simple as adding screens or netting or adding patterns to the outside of your window at home will help.

The document also tells you how to gauge your home or office’s risk for bird collisions.

The suggestions not only will help the birds but also can reduce energy use and cut costs. Help our feathered friends and read this. You can find the study here  http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/pdf/management/reducingbirdcollisionswithbuildings.pdf

USFWS Report

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Have you ever wondered which birds use Loudoun’s parks and preserves as migratory stop-overs, wintering sites, or places to breed?

You can find out with the new species lists for 7 special birding areas in Loudoun: Algonkian Park, the Blue Ridge Center, Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve, Bles Park, Claude Moore Harrier NFG-3213-2Park, Horsepen Preserve, and the Dulles Wetlands.

These lists were compiled from data collected during the 2009-2014 Loudoun County Bird Atlas project, which includes year-round data for both breeding and non-breeding birds,  and can be downloaded from the Bird Atlas website  http://www.loudounwildlife.org/Bird_Atlas.htm.

The Bird Atlas Project involved 85 volunteers, who spent more than 5,900 hours over the five-year period collecting data. Check out the “Bird Atlas Summary Report” for some fascinating looks at what species are increasing or declining, plus the Top 25 Breeding species were. You can also find and download an updated “Birds of Loudoun County Checklist” from the website.

Contact Atlas Coordinator Spring Ligi, sligi@loudounwildlife.org, with questions or comments.

Happy Birding!

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Twenty-two people gathered for the regular (every 4th Sat.) bird walk at the Blue Ridge Center on a rather chilly (30 degrees) but still & sunny beautiful spring morning. While we met at the Education Center, where we saw a Chipping Sparrow along the driveway near the entrance and a couple of Eastern Phoebes, we drove to the southern side of center, where we walked part of the Sweet Run Loop and Butterfly Alley. After that a smaller group drove to Arnold Rd where we walked along the road & down to the ford on the Old Bridge Trail. The highlights of the walk were several vocal Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, some of which were bright, almost cerulean blue; several very vocal Field Sparrows; two Brown Thrashers, one of which was singing high on a tree; and a couple of Golden-crowned Kinglets. By 11, when we were wrapping up the walk, the temperature had risen into the mid-40’s and a mixed kettle of Black & Turkey Vultures passed by overheard.BRCES-Old-Bridge-south-3-26-16sm

For a complete list of the birds see the eBird list below. The walk was led by Joe Coleman, Del Sargent, Mary Ann Good, & Donna Quinn.

Information on the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship can be found at http://www.blueridgecenter.org. Information on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and its many free activities can be found at www.loudounwildlife.org.
Joe Coleman

Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship – MFF01, Loudoun, Virginia, US Mar 26, 2016 7:45 AM – 11:15 AM
Protocol: Traveling
3.5 mile(s): 2 miles driving & 1.5 miles walking
Comments: Loudoun Wildlife’s regular monthly bird walk. While we met at the Education Center, we drove to the southern side of center, where we walked part of the Sweet Run Loop and Butterfly Alley, and then a smaller group drove to Arnold Rd where we walked along the road & on the Old Bridge Trail. The highlights of the walk were several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, some of which were bright blue, and several Field Sparrows.BRCES-Old-Bridge-north2-3-26-16-sm
38 species

Canada Goose X
Wood Duck 2
Black Vulture 3
Turkey Vulture 15
Red-shouldered Hawk 2
Mourning Dove 4
Red-bellied Woodpecker 5
Downy Woodpecker 4
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 3
Pileated Woodpecker 2
Eastern Phoebe 5
Blue Jay 7
American Crow 9
Common Raven 1
Carolina Chickadee 11
Tufted Titmouse 10
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 5 Well-seen and vocal in several different different locations. Two were bright blue-gray (almost cerulean in color in the bright morning sun) and probably males while the others were a paler blue-gray, more gray than blue; all were pale & clear chested. All were small slender active birds busy fly catching in the brush & vines on the edges of the fields & power-cut (Butterfly Alley).
Golden-crowned Kinglet 2
Eastern Bluebird 10
American Robin 4
Brown Thrasher 2
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 2
Chipping Sparrow 1
Field Sparrow 7
Dark-eyed Junco 4
White-throated Sparrow 4
Song Sparrow 6
Eastern Towhee 5
Northern Cardinal 15
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Eastern Meadowlark 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 7
American Goldfinch 6
House Sparrow 1

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28557581

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

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By Ann Garvey

Casey Crichton was an active volunteer for Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and other organizations over the past eight years. Casey passed away on March 19 after a brief, but brave, struggle with brain cancer. He was 66.Casey

Casey’s love of nature was evident from his enthusiasm for helping to educate, restore habitat and work on citizen science projects for the environment. One of his passions was trees, not only identifying them but realizing all they provide to the animals and to humans.

He was the “bird man” at the Native Plant sales. Along with fellow Virginia Master Naturalist Dori Rhodes, he helped people learn about the native plants that support native birds in our community. In the Audubon at Home program he served as an Ambassador for clients, pulling from his background as a land developer and property manager. For several of our ambassadors he served as an excellent mentor.

He loved to tell the story of being at Allegheny College and having Doug Tallamy, noted entomologist and author of “Bringing Nature Home,” as one of his classmates. Like Tallamy, Casey liked to recommend the white oak as a tree to plant for the animals.

Every August Casey and his wife, Candi, could be found participating in the butterfly count and in December they took part in the Christmas Bird Count. Helping with the Civics program for 7th grade students at Morven was another of his activities. Along with all his days volunteering for Loudoun Wildlife he also was president of the Friends of Banshee Reeks for four years and an active member with the Master Naturalist chapter.

A ready smile on his face, Casey’s frequent greeting was “Hello, sunshine,” which is exactly what he provided for so many people. He will be missed by so many of us and certainly by the animals and habitats he loved working to support.

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Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is delighted to hear that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), has received a Virginia Green Travel Star Award for Most Innovative Green Project for a commitment to green tourism practices through its Pollinator Habitat Program at Virginia Welcome Centers.

In 2014, VDOT launched the Pollinator Habitat Program working with Loudoun Wildlife on four pilot plots in four Northern Virginia, planting milkweed and other native plants that will help species of beneficial insects such as bees and Monarch_20150823-98butterflies, including the Monarch.

Last year, Loudoun Wildlife volunteers and Dominion Power representatives worked with VDOT to restore a 15,000 square foot meadow restoration as well as smaller plantings at a center on I-95 north in Dale City. The Dale City Rest Area on I-95 south was one of the four sites planted in 2014.

VDOT has worked on three other sites in southwestern Virginia and is planning other projects as the program expands around the state. You can find out more about VDOT’s Pollinator Habitat Program here http://www.virginiadot.org/programs/pollinator_habitat_program.asp.

You can start your own pollinator welcome center at home, at school, at your business and just about anywhere. Mark your calendar for the April 23 Loudoun Wildlife Native Plant sale at Morven Park and go to our website, www.loudounwildlife.org for events and information about Monarch butterflies and other species.

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