Archive for August, 2008

Wow what a great weekend we had last Sat and Sun for the fair!  As in past years, our booth was set up at Ms.Luckett’s Garden near the kids stage so we had entertainment, shade from a big ‘ole oak tree and a nice breeze that passed through every now and then.  We had lots of people visit us at the booth asking questions about local flora and fauna and sharing stories of their wildlife encounters.

For those who filled out our survey of interests (which helps us come up with new program ideas), we held a raffle for a book called “Wildlife at Your Back Door:  How to Create A Haven for Nature’s Friends”. (drum roll please….) And the winner of the raffle is Amanda Sanes of Leesburg.   We’ll be mailing the book to Amanda this week so she can start enjoying it.  Thanks to everyone who participated! 

Many thanks to all our volunteers who helped set up and man the booth: Sandy Ruefer, Nancy Walker, Nicole Hamilton, Bonnie Eaton, Lynn Webster, Lisa Taylor, Casey and Candi Crichton, Barbara McKee, Debbie and Lloyd Burtaine, Ellie Florance and Richelle Brown

As always, the fair was really well run and had so much to offer.  We look forward to doing it again next year!

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Mysterious and little-known creatures live within reach of where you sit.
Splendor awaits in minute proportions.

- E.O.Wilson

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In this episode we talk all about skunks – their lives and times, how to get one out of a window well and why they’re a gardener’s best friend.

The photo above is of the skunk that came to our feeder and was quite patient as I inched closer and closer for a shot.

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”).

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Here’s a great one ….. this is straight from the field from our bird walk at BRCES last Saturday.  Ray Smith sent this over and we’re interested in knowing what insect this is.  Many thanks to Marcia for standing still while Ray got the shot. If you can help id this insect, please do post a comment. Here’s his note:

I was on a bird walk Saturday with the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and came across an unusual (at least for me) situation and was wondering if one of you could help me with an ID.  Attached is a picture of a scary looking critter clasping, and either sucking the insides out of or laying eggs in another scary looking critter.  The claspee appears to be a Bald-face Hornet and the claspor I do not know.  Although it kind of looks like a very large fly.  Can you ID the claspor?  All of you are my best insect ID friends.
Also, if you know it, do you know anything about it’s natural history and what it is probably doing in the picture? Thank you.

Ray Smith

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This past Saturday (Aug 23), we had our monthly bird walk at the Blue Ridge Center. Mary Ann Good provided a report of the sightings:

Ten birders led by Laura Weidner and Mary Ann Good found 46 species Saturday morning at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, highlighted by an early Broad-winged Hawk, 2 Kestrel, and 3 Worm-eating Warblers at two locations.  At the fire station where we met, we also enjoyed watching 2 men from Pennsylvania releasing groups of homing pigeons, that swirled into the sky and headed north!  (We didn’t include them in our count!)  Pewees were the bird seen and heard everywhere.
 
Black Vulture(3), Turkey Vulture(12), Canada Goose(150), Red-shouldered Hawk(1), Broad-winged Hawk(1), Am. Kestrel(2), Mourning Dove(5), Yellow-billed Cuckoo(3), Chimney Swift(4), Ruby-throated Hummingbird(2), Red-bellied Woodpecker(2), Downy Woodpecker(4), Pileated Woodpecker(6), E. Wood-Pewee(15+), Acadian Flycatcher(1), E. Phoebe (1), Great Crested Flycatcher(1), E. Kingbird(3), White-eyed Vireo(1), Red-eyed Vireo(10), Blue Jay(2), Am. Crow(4), Tree Swallow(2), Barn Swallow(3), Carolina Chickadee(4), Tufted Titmouse(4), White-breasted Nuthatch(2), Carolina Wren(4), E. Bluebird(2), Gray Catbird(4), No. Mockingbird(6), E. Starling(15), Cedar Waxwing(2), Worm-eating Warbler(3), Ovenbird(1), Scarlet Tanager(1 juv.), E. Towhee(2), Chipping Sparrow(6), Field Sparrow(5), No. Cardinal(12), Indigo Bunting(9), Baltimore Oriole(2), Orchard Oriole(1), House Finch(1), Am. Goldfinch(25), House Sparrow(5)

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If my first glance of the morning was for the sun, my first thought was for the butterflies it would engender.

- Vladimir Nabokov

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In this episode we talk all about opossums, their life cycles, behaviors and what to do if one gets in our house.

The photo above is of Stanley the Opossum, who came to our annual meeting one year with wildlife rehabber Peggy Coontz who shared her knowledge of opossums with us.

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”).

For more information about opossums, check out the Opossum Society: www.opossum.org

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This coming Wednesday,  August 20, at 9:00 am, LWC plans to again remove mile-a-minute from around the stream buffer shrubs that were planted on March 1 at the Phillips Farm in Waterford.  We’ve been able to control the invasives from around the shrubs but think we need to remove them at least one more time as the plantings take hold. This will be the third time we have done so this summer.  If you’re interested in participating, we’ll meet at the Mill in Waterford at 9 a.m. and you will need work gloves and might find it more comfortable to wear long sleeves and long pants due to the thorns.  Questions, please contact Joe Coleman at jcoleman@loudounwildslife.org

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Andy Rabin led our walk at Banshee on Saturday.  Here is his report from the field:

The walk yesterday went very well. We had 9 people show up, including 2 families (3 kids). We managed to catch a few damselflies and a dragonfly and examine them closely, found a recently emerged Calico Pennant on some emergent vegetation just below it’s exuvium (shed skin), as well as some mating damselflies. It was windy, but we still manged to find 14 species, all near the pond and visitor center.

DRAGONFLIES: Common Green Darner, Calico Pennant, Common Pondhawk, Slaty Skimmer, Widow Skimmer, Common Whitetail, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Blue Dasher, Eastern Amberwing

DAMSELFLIES: Blue-fronted Dancer, Variable Dancer, Familiar Bluet, Fragile Forktail, Eastern Forktail

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I was out working with Meg Findley, Otto Gutenson and David Ward filming a surprise for you all so I missed this walk but did receive a report from Joe Coleman (below). Definitely sounds like we’re starting our transition of the seasons:

Except for one very surprising highlight, a flyover dark morph SNOW GOOSE, Saturday morning’s walk, led by Mary Ann Good & Joe Coleman, was a bit slower than expected but was still a great deal of fun.  The effects of last year’s drought and the lack of recent rain in this area can be clearly seen in the rapidly drying out wetlands.  While still not bone dry and somewhat muddy, it is drying out quickly.  It was fun to also see several waders including several GREAT EGRETS, GREAT BLUE HERONS, GREEN HERONS, 2 adult BALD EAGLES, a WILSON’S SNIPE, and a few more shorebirds.

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