Archive for September, 2008

Nature, wild nature, dwells in gardens just as she dwells in the tangled woods, in the deep of the sea, and on the heights of the mountains; and the wilder the garden, the more you will see of her.

- Herbert Ravenel Sass

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The fall issue of our Habitat Herald newsletter just came back from the printer and will be mailed to all Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy members in the next week.

This is another robust and interesting issue filled with great articles on local flora and fauna as well as updates and activities. Here’s a quick preview of what’s inside:

- Part 1 of a 2-part story on the Woodpeckers of Loudoun County
- Insect Id: The Camel Cricket
- 12th Annual Butterfly Report
- Native Plant…Poison Ivy…
- The Adventure of Zoom and Compass..Spiders, Spiders…Oh My!
- Christmas Bird Count and Snickersville Hawk Watch updates
- Programs and Field Trips planned for the next few months as well as programs offered by our partners

If you’re not yet a member of Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, you can join now and get 15 months for 12…your membership will be good through December 2009!  ($20 for an individual, $30 for a family).

If you join soon we can get the Habitat Herald out to you in our next mailing – if you join after we have our mailing party then you’ll receive a copy of this issue in your New Member Information packet. The Habitat Herald is a member benefit and is published each quarter.

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Michelle Prysby of the Virginia Master Naturalists Banshee Reeks Chapter sent this email around recently.  It looks like a nice resource for us in our nature explorations.

Michelle writes:

I came across this neat new resource that I wanted to share with Master Naturalists.  It is an online database for bird feather ID.  http://www.lab.fws.gov/featheratlas/  They have scanned in flight feathers for 100+ species of North American birds and you can browse through them or look up individual species.  I often see feathers on the trail while I’m hiking and I’m excited to use this tool to help me identify them. 

Remember, of course, that without a permit we are not permitted to collect feathers due to state and federal laws, so a good field sketch or a digital photo is the way to go.  See http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/education/wildlife-laws-educators.pdf for more details.

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Many thanks to all of you who were out looking for Chimney Swifts this year! 

During the August Swift Night Out, I received a few reports of small groups of swifts …Gina Blake reported on Aug 12 that she has had a family nesting with her since about 2001 and Susan Ferster reported on Aug 16 that she had a group of about 12 at her house.  Here at my chimney we also had about 12-15 or so at that time. Knowing where the nesting chimneys are is important and as we look for the fall roosts so we’ll plot all of this information on a map to get a feel for where the swifts nest and then congregate for migration.

But back to the report….As the week went on we started to hear of some larger groups…. On Aug 19 Holly Flannery reported about 50 flying around the Lovettsville Community Center…..Holly’s report was the highest we had heard since we started looking a few years ago – so that was exciting!

Then….during the September Swift Night Out, we got the sighting we’ve been looking for….Phil Daley emailed….We found a roost!! I’ll paste it in here in his own words:

“Tonight, Tuesday, Sept16, I counted approx 250 Chimney Swifts entering two separate Chimneys on Foundrey Road in Lincoln. The major portion-about 150-175, entered the large Chimney near the back of ‘Breakthrough’-(in the old combined Elem/high school-Catherine Marshall Center) the smaller group-(50-75) entered one of the chimney’s across the street. Started to gather around 7:15 PM-most all in by 7:35.”

Phil and his wife Ellie went back to Foundry Rd the next night and the swifts were funneling into a couple of chimneys so it was hard to keep count. 

Next year we’ll keep a watchful eye on this location and the one that Holly found to see if we can catch a sighting of this amazing funnel that the birds make as they drop into the roosts.

I have yet to get any decent photos of chimney swifts but if you’d like to see some nice shots, here’s a great link: http://www.concentric.net/~dwa/page51.html

And to learn more about the birds, visit here: http://www.chimneyswifts.org/

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Meg Findley, David Ward and Otto Gutenson have collaborated to put on a series of five stream monitoring videos demonstrating the protocol that we use.

Each video is fairly short (about 2-3 minutes long).

As these were our first attempt at making videos (we won’t give up the day jobs just yet…) the audio quality isn’t as great as it could be. We were competing with the natural sounds of the stream and the cicadas. But, if you turn up your volume you should be able to hear Meg alright.

In the future we’ll make other videos that will support the bluebird monitoring and amphibian monitoring programs as well. 

Hope you enjoy these and find the information useful!

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In this video, Meg Findley provides an overview of our stream monitoring protocol. 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAqLj3rHuLU

The summer cicadas were really loud when we recorded these videos but if you turn up the volume you should be able to hear Meg alright.

For more information about our stream monitoring program and to sign up as a monitor, visit our website at: http://www.loudounwildlife.org/Stream_Monitoring.htm

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In this video, Meg provides an overview of the equipment used in stream monitoring.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59ftiITxpEc

Remember to turn up the volume to hear Meg over the sounds of the cicadas.

For more information about our stream monitoring program and to sign up as a monitor, visit our website at: http://www.loudounwildlife.org/Stream_Monitoring.htm

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In this video, Otto Gutenson and David Ward demonstrate how the stream sampling is done while Meg describes what they are doing and why.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VB7EZcJ408E

The audio in these videos could use improvement (summer cicadas were really loud when we recorded them). But if you turn up the volume you should be able to hear Meg alright.

For more information about our stream monitoring program and to sign up as a monitor, visit our website at: http://www.loudounwildlife.org/Stream_Monitoring.htm

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In this video, Meg, Otto and David take a look at the creatures that were collected during the sampling and sort them into families.

 httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIkZFUxZXPA

Turn up the volume to hear Meg over the summer cicadas…

For more information about our stream monitoring program and to sign up as a monitor, visit our website at: http://www.loudounwildlife.org/Stream_Monitoring.htm

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In this video, Meg talks about the data that we collect and what we do with it.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7TOdi_K3NY

Remember to turn up the volume to be able to hear the audio in this better.

For more information about our stream monitoring program and to sign up as a monitor, visit our website at: http://www.loudounwildlife.org/Stream_Monitoring.htm

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