Archive for July, 2008

Just living is not enough, one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.

- Hans Christian Anderson


Nature Camp 2008 has come to a close but by all reports it was a fun time.  As in past years, we held it at Banshee Reeks and this year had 13 kids join in the adventures.  Phil and Ellie Daley led the charge with help from Paul Miller and our two interns, Kate Gentry and Joey Villiari.

Each morning of the camp, the kids went on a nature hike through the fields and forests of Banshee and into Goose Creek. They found lots of toads and three species of salamanders and learned some of the bird calls. They checked out the beaver dam and got hands on with water quality monitoring in Goose Creek, checking the pH and dissolved oxygen, and classifying stream critters according to how sensitive they are to water quality.

The kids kept daily nature journals and were asked 20 questions each day to help spur ideas for their journals.  They also made nature id albums, which turned out like mini-field guides to the animals and plants that they saw and learned about each day of camp.

On the last day of camp, families joined in to help make and enjoy hand-cranked ice cream and participate in pill bug races (which you have to see to believe).  Winner of the races was the pill bug of Niko Rabin.


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Bats are one of the most misunderstood mammals we know yet they play an important role in our ecosystem and are beautiful to watch. Listen to this episode to learn more about the Bats of Loudoun.

To listen to this episode, click the play button at the top of this post and it will play now or Right Click Here to Download (select “Save as Target”).

You can also subscribe through iTunes to have our podcasts delivered directly to your computer each time we post a new audio episode. If you want to subscribe through iTunes (or another podcasting software), copy this URL: and paste the link into the podcasting software. In iTunes this option is located in the “Advanced” menu, listed as “Subscribe to podcast.”


Field trip report from Joe Coleman (and a photo of a Field Sparrow):

Twenty-five people showed up for the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s regular monthly bird walk at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship in northwestern Loudoun County yesterday morning.  We walked the area at the end of Sawmill Road and did the loop into the woods along Sweet Run from the power cut.  Afterwards we tallied at the Visitor center where we added 10 more species. It was pretty obvious that summer has started as while we found 55 species, there were a lot fewer individuals and they weren’t nearly as vocal as they were just a couple of weeks ago.
The highlights of the 55 species were a WILD TURKEY in the field along Sawmill Rd, and a BLUE GROSBEAK and a GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, both near the Visitor Center.
There were several butterflies on the morning walk and even more during the 1 pm Butterfly walk (total of 19 species).  Next Sat. is LWC’s Butterfly Count and the Blue Ridge Center, along with several other locations from Leesburg to the Blue Ridge, are part of the count.  If you’re int’d contact
The trails at BRCES are normally open to the public 7 days a week from dawn to dusk – check the BRCES website for dates and times of anything special going on that would limit access to some part of the Center.
Information on the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship can be found at   Information on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy can be found at
Joe Coleman, near Bluemont, Loudoun Co
Location:     Blue Ridge Center
Observation date:     6/28/08
Bird species (55):
Canada Goose, Great Blue Heron, Wild Turkey, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Red-shouldered Hawk, Mourning Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, House Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Louisiana Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat, Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Eastern Meadowlark, Common Grackle, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow
Butterfly species (19):
Zebra Swallowtail, Black Swallowtail, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, Clouded Sulphur, Orange Sulphur, Eastern-tailed Blue, Summer Azure, Variegated Fritillary, Great Spangled Fritillary, Pearl Crescent, Question Mark, Eastern Comma, Monarch, Silver-spotted Skipper, Least Skipper, Peck’s Skipper, Little Glassywing, Sachem


When you have found a bird’s nest, you have found him out. You have found the very center of his life, and his dearest secret. In the case of small, ground-nesting birds especially, the difference between secrecy and discovery is the difference between success and failure, life and death, continuance and oblivion…Small wonder that birds hide their nests with every last evolved instinctual whit of cunning that they have.

- William Burt


Check out the latest issue of the Loudoun Magazine!

Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is featured in the article entitled “The Preservationists” and the cover is a photograph by LWC member, Dave Thomas! 

The article is wonderful, providing great background on LWC and what we offer along with excerpts from an interview with Joe Coleman about the importance of protecting and preserving wildlife habitats.

This issue also has a great article on cougars called “Ghost Cats of the Blue Ridge”.


Many thanks to the Staff and Editors at Loudoun Magazine for putting the spotlight on Loudoun’s wildlife!


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

In this podcast we give a brief talk about the stages of the lifecycle of butterflies and things you can do to attract them to your yard.

To listen to this episode, click the play button at the top of this post and it will play now or Right Click Here to Download (select “Save as Target”). You can also subscribe through iTunes to have it delivered directly to your computer each time we post a new episode. If you want to subscribe using iTunes, just do a search on Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and it should come right up.


Once downloaded, you can listen to the podcast on your computer or on any mp3 player (like an ipod).


We had a great walk led by Andy Rabin and Mona Miller. Eighteen people of all ages came out to spot and help identify these beautiful insects. In total, we saw 17 species of butterflies, 13 species of dragonflies and 1species of damselflies.

The highlight of the butterflies was the large number of Juniper (aka Olive) Hairstreaks that we found throughout the wildflowers and grasses. The Red Cedars present at the Park serve as the host plant for the Juniper Hairstreak so this was an indication that we might see them but we certainly didn’t expect to see as many as we did.  It was a special treat to see this uncommon butterfly.

Many thanks to the kids on the walk – they all did a great job helping spot the dragonflies and butterflies so we could take a closer look.

Here’s a listing of the species seen today:

Butterflies: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Orange Sulphur, Juniper Hairstreak, Gray Hairstreak, Eastern-tailed Blue, Summer Azure, Pearl Crescent, American Lady, Common Buckeye, Red-spotted Purple, Little Wood Satyr, Silver-spotted Skipper, Wild Indigo Duskywing, Least Skipper, Fiery Skipper, Peck’s Skipper, Sachem.

Dragonflies: Prince Baskettail, Calico Pennant, Halloween Pennant, Common Pondhawk, Slaty Skimmer, Widow Skimmer, Common Whitetail, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Blue Dasher, Wandering Glider, Spot-winged Glider, Eastern Amberwing, Black Saddlebags.

Damselflies: Fragile Forktail.

…..and one box turtle trying to stay cool in the tall grasses.


Received this great email on Bobolinks from Joe Coleman this morning:

This morning I observed 4 BOBOLINKS, 3 adult males and 1 adult female, on one of my neighbor’s farms along Ebenezer Church Rd in western Loudoun Co near Bluemont. They were flying in & out of an uncut field near Legacy Farm’s “van entrance” as well perching on the utility wires that hang over that field. While one of the males stayed perched the whole time I was there, the other three birds went in & out of the tall grass several times.

This is the first female I’ve seen in my neighborhood since another neighbor’s field was hayed on July 8.  The day after the hay was baled I observed both males & females perched on the bales.

Since BOBOLINKS seem to be pretty late nesters in our area (most egg dates in the records appear to be in June) there will hopefully be some actual fledglings appearing in the next week or so as several fields are still uncut in my neighborhood.  Unfortunately most of those fields are far from the road and one needs a scope to check them out.

Thanks, Joe Coleman, near Bluemont, Loudoun Co


Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares drop off like falling leaves. 

- John Muir