With the cold, frigid weather (12 degrees when we began, 14 when we ended), only two of us showed up for the regular monthly bird walk at the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve on January 10th. While there were very few birds at first, and never a lot of species, we did find numerous sparrows and other small birds along the southern & eastern edges of forest where they were sheltered from the wind and warmed by the weak winter sun. Highlights of the walk included an AMERICAN TREE SPARROW, two male Eastern Towhees, a number of Field Sparrows, and six of the seven local woodpeckers which are around here in the winter.

There were no raptors or vultures flying at Banshee Reeks but when I swung by the county landfill, which borders Banshee Reeks, after the walk there were hundreds of crows, several Ring-billed Gulls, a few vultures, three Red-shouldered Hawks, and a Common Raven.

For a complete list of the birds observed at Banshee Reeks pls see the eBird report below.

The regular monthly free bird walk (every 2nd Sat) at the Banshee Reeks Nature preserve is sponsored by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy (www.loudounwildlife.org) & the Friends of Banshee Reeks (www.bansheereeks.org ); information on both and their upcoming events can be found on their websites.

Good birding!

Joe Coleman & Del Sargent


Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve – MFF08, Loudoun, US-VA Jan 10, 2015 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM

Protocol: Traveling

1.0 mile(s)

Comments:     Regular monthly bird walk at the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve.

25 species

Mourning Dove  1, Red-bellied Woodpecker  1, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1, Downy Woodpecker  3, Hairy Woodpecker  2, Northern Flicker  1, Pileated Woodpecker  2, Blue Jay  6, American Crow  6, Fish Crow  75, Carolina Chickadee  5, Tufted Titmouse  5, White-breasted Nuthatch  2, Brown Creeper  1, Carolina Wren  2, Northern Mockingbird  5, Eastern Towhee  2, American Tree Sparrow  1, Field Sparrow  8, Song Sparrow  35, Swamp Sparrow  1, White-throated Sparrow  12, Dark-eyed Junco  20, Northern Cardinal  6, American Goldfinch  3

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21281877



Sharing an upcoming event from the Loudoun Master Gardeners:

Free Garden Lecture – 180 Miles of Trees: The Living Legacy Tree Project

The 2015 Master Gardener Lecture series kicks off the year with Peter Hart, certified tree arborist, speaking about the Journey through Hallowed Ground Living Legacy Tree Planting Project — an ambitious initiative to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War by planting one tree for each of the 620,000 soldiers who died in the war. Peter Hart is a volunteer with the program and is involved in the selection and planting of trees which eventually will create an allee of 180 miles , stretching north to south and over three states.
The free lecture will be held at 7pm on Thursday, January 8th at the Loudoun Extension office (Wells Fargo Bank Building), 30 Catoctin Circle SE, Suite B, Leesburg, VA.

For more information about the lecture or the Loudoun County VCE Master Gardener program visit the website: www.loudouncountymastergardeners.org or call the Loudoun Extension Office at 703-777-0373.

Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments.



Five-week course in sustainable gardening

Learn how even one home garden can begin to repair the web of life.

Landscape for Life is a sustainable gardening course designed by the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center and the US Botanic Garden.

It teaches us how we can transform our home landscapes and public places into healthy refuges that benefit not only birds, pollinators, and other wildlife, but also the surrounding community and the Chesapeake Bay.

Dates: Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
January 6 through February 3, 2015
Location: Morven Park
Cost: $50
Questions: geomom@lucketts.net
Registration: http://www.loudounwildlife.org/Program_Fees_Payment.html


This just in from Monarch Joint Venture:

You have been invited to the event “Monarch Biology and Conservation Basics”


Monarch Biology and Conservation Basics

From egg to adult, monarchs undergo a fascinating metamorphosis. The life cycle of monarchs is well known and inspirational, making these iconic insects ideal for research and science education. However, habitat loss and other threats are endangering this majestic creature.

After attending this webinar, you’ll have a greater understanding of the monarch’s life cycle, biology, as well as their incredible journey across North America to overwintering sites in Mexico and California each year.

This is the first webinar in the “Monarch Butterfly Conservation Webinar Series” that is being jointly produced by the Monarch Joint Venture and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Future webinars will focus on habitat conservation and enhancement, milkweed propagation, and other topics where you can learn how to take a more active role in protecting monarchs.

Event: Monarch Biology and Conservation Basics
When: Wednesday 17 December 2014, 02:00 PM – 03:00 PM
Time Zone: (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US and Canada)

To register now, please visit the following link:


To know more about the event, please visit our website:

Thank you,
MJV/NCTC Webinar Team


If you’re doing any online shopping this year and are heading over to Amazon as you check off your list, you can make your gifts (and other purchases) extra special by shopping through the Amazon Smile portal!

It’s no cost to you – the donation comes from Amazon but by using this link you designate Loudoun Wildlife as the organization that you’d like to support:


You can also bookmark this link for use throughout the year — and share it with friends! It’s an easy way to support Loudoun Wildlife while doing the shopping you would do anyway.



With much gratitude:


Fifteen people gathered for the regular (every 4th sat. except Dec.) bird walk at the Blue Ridge Center on a cold (15 degrees) but still and sunny morning.

The first couple of hours were spent around the Education Center and the Organic Farm while two people visited Arnold Rd afterwards and added a few more species.

We found lots of sparrows and other int’g birds in and along the edges of the overgrown fields around the Education Center, including at least 8 Fox Sparrows, a Savannah Sparrow, three Hermit Thrushes, and a single Purple Finch.

BRCES_Cedar_Waxwing_Flock_20141122-3Several of the Fox Sparrows and a couple of the Hermit Thrushes posed in bright sunlight so the photographers could carefully take their photos.

We also enjoyed watching a Sharp-shinned Hawk fly right overhead so its diagnostic characteristics could be clearly and easily described.

We also saw a large flock of Cedar Waxwings, first perched along the edge of one of the fields looking like Christmas ornaments, and then doing darting maneuvers in the sky while sharply reflecting the sun off their waxy bodies.

While cutting through the mature forest which borders two of the fields we found three different Brown Creepers which we able to spend some time watching as they gleaned insects and spiders in the crevices of the tree bark.

When we visited Arnold Rd we added a male American Kestrel, two Red-tails, and a loud Raven who flew right over our heads.

Also int’g were the misses, both kinglet species (surprising because they have been common around our homes in western Lo Co this past week) and White-crowned Sparrows.

While there haven’t been a lot of sightings of the latter in western Lo Co so far this fall, three were seen during last month’s walk at the center.

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 – MFF01, Loudoun, US-VA Nov 22, 2014 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
3.0 mile(s) (one walking, two driving)

37 species

Canada Goose X, Black Vulture 10, Turkey Vulture 8, Sharp-shinned Hawk 1, Red-shouldered Hawk 3, Red-tailed Hawk 2, Red-bellied Woodpecker 7, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1, Downy Woodpecker 3, Pileated Woodpecker 2, American Kestrel 1, Blue Jay X, American Crow X, Common Raven 1, Carolina Chickadee 11, Tufted Titmouse 2, Brown Creeper 3, Carolina Wren 2, Eastern Bluebird 8, Hermit Thrush 3, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling 1, Cedar Waxwing 40, Field Sparrow 5, Savannah Sparrow 1, Fox Sparrow 8, Song Sparrow 8, Swamp Sparrow 1, White-throated Sparrow 35, Dark-eyed Junco 15, Northern Cardinal 9, Brown-headed Cowbird 15, House Finch 6, Purple Finch 1, American Goldfinch 3, House Sparrow 1

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S20648581

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


Last Saturday’s Dulles Wetlands walk was chilly but good! There were 15 people on the walk. Although is was a cold day, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The pond was partially frozen over so we didn’t see the ducks we had hoped for but fresh signs of Beaver could be found.  You can see the full list of birds seen below.

Species: 34 – Subspecies: 0 – Forms: 34
Total Records: 34

Great Blue Heron 1
Black Vulture 2
Turkey Vulture 3
Northern Harrier 1
Bald Eagle 2
Red-shouldered Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Wilson’s Snipe 3
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Northern Flicker 3
Blue Jay 10
American Crow 20
Fish Crow 15
Carolina Chickadee 4
Tufted Titmouse 3
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Eastern Bluebird 5
American Robin 70
Northern Mockingbird 4
Cedar Waxwing 22
Yellow-rumped Warbler 3
Eastern Towhee 1
Field Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 10
Swamp Sparrow 3
White-throated Sparrow 15
Dark-eyed Junco 20
Northern Cardinal 3
Red-winged Blackbird 25
American Goldfinch 12

Many thanks to Jeff Mauritzen for sharing some photos from the walk:


Loudoun Wildlife hires its first Executive Director!

Nicole_20110924_7The Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is thrilled to announce it has hired Nicole Hamilton as its first Executive Director. Hamilton resigned as President of the Conservancy to take over the position on November 1.

Establishment of this position was driven by the organization’s tremendous growth and the increasing demand for environmental programming in Loudoun County. The organization’s Board of Directors recognized that in order to keep pace with this demand, and to demonstrate its commitment to the future, it needed the leadership of an Executive Director.

Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, a nonprofit with approximately 1,000 members, was formed in 1995 by a small group of local citizens who recognized that the county’s explosive growth was resulting in a tremendous loss of habitat, the greatest threat to wildlife. This small group of people wanted to ensure that Loudoun had a voice for its wildlife and the natural habitats that wildlife needs to thrive.

To this end, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is entering its 20th year promoting the preservation and proliferation of healthy wildlife habitats by offering environmental education, citizen science, and habitat restoration projects, as well as advocacy on issues affecting the health of wildlife and the habitat that wildlife needs to thrive. Not only wildlife but thousands of people benefit from these opportunities annually.

Upon accepting the role, Hamilton said, “It’s exciting seeing Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy continue to develop and grow. We often wonder how organizations become part of our community and here we are creating it. We’re developing an organization that will endure and benefit future generations.”

Hamilton first volunteered with Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy in 2003 when she was asked to join the Board. She was President from 2004-2008 and again from 2012 through this new transition. While leading the organization, she established Loudoun Wildlife’s Bluebird Nestbox Monitoring program through a partnership with the Virginia Bluebird Society, developed the Loudoun Amphibian Monitoring Program, created the Field Guide to the Butterflies of Loudoun and most recently launched the organization’s Monarch butterfly campaign, “Bringing Back the Monarch, Keeping the Magic Alive”.

Hamilton holds a Master of Business Administration and worked for 19 years with Booz Allen Hamilton as a Senior Associate leading a portfolio of Strategic Planning and Organization Transformation projects with an annual revenue of $12M.


Those with an iPhone won’t be too excited….(they already have this app and its old hat by now) but for those of us birders who use Android….mark your calendar for Nov 18th to download :) !

Here’s the news release:

BirdsEye for Android

Launching on Tuesday, November 18

It’s been in the works for years, and now the best bird finding app is coming to Android! BirdsEye uses your Android devices GPS and eBird data to show you the what birds you might find nearby, or at any place in the world. Even more exciting is that BirdsEye for Android is launching as a free app.

The free version of BirdsEye is limited to the 50 most common birds in your area. This is true for any location you are in the entire world – you’ll see sighting maps, photos, bird finding and identification text, and sounds where available. Additional regional memberships are available to unlock ALL species being reported throughout a continent, or across the world.

Android users have been asking for BirdsEye for years, and we are excited to finally make it available. This milestone was made possible through the generous donations of time and funds by many people, and we are counting on you, our most avid users, to spread the word of the Android launch and make it a success.


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