Archive for November, 2009

A sense of the power and mystery of nature shall spring up as fully in one’s heart after he has made the circuit of his own field as after returning from a voyage round the world.

- John Burroughs

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Man is wise and constantly in quest of more wisdom; but the ultimate wisdom, which deals with beginnings, remains locked in a seed. There it lies, the simplest fact of the universe and at the same time one which calls forth faith rather than reason.

- Hal Borland

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At the last LWC Nature Book Club meeting, readers selected our next book:  Bringing Nature Home – How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants by Douglas Tallamy. 

bringing-nature-homeBy the simple act of planting native plants (and the not so easy removal of invasive plants) we can each be a conservation activist and do our part in saving the eco-system and protecting biodiversity. 

Our next meeting will be February 4, 2010, location TBD.  We encourage everyone to read this important book and to dedicate themselves to cultivating native plants.

Our future endeavors:  meet once a quarter, write a regular column in Habitat Herald including what we are reading and other recommended books by members, encourage a book swap, share information on speakers and upcoming book events.  We also considered a book discussion board on LWC’s Facebook although this is problematic as not everyone uses Facebook. 

To participate in the book club, visit our Nature Book Club page. After you sign up, our Book Club coordinator, Donna Quinn, will be in touch with more details.

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Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing,
wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating;
there is really no such thing as bad weather,
only different kinds of good weather.

- John Ruskin

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I care to live, only to entice people to look at nature’s loveliness.

- John Muir

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Here’s an exciting update on our Monarch Butterflies from Journey South, a great organization that uses citizen science to track migrations of wildlife across North America:

Monarch-october v1Migration Highlights: Monarchs Crossing Mexico by the Thousands At last! Thousands and thousands of monarchs appeared across northern Mexico this week. Observers in the state of Coahuila say this is the best migration they’ve seen in years. Señora Rocío Treviño, who coordinates Mexico’s migration-tracking program Correo Real, forwarded the news. She wrote late Tuesday night after her spectacular monarch-watching day:

October 20: Saltillo, Coahuila
Today monarch butterflies adorned the sky and fields across Coahuila like we haven’t seen for years. From Cuatrocienegas to Saltillo people reported thousands of butterflies. I went out into my garden this morning and counted an average of 60 per minute for nearly two hours. This evening, I took my granddaughters to a stream in the “Boca de Leon” canyon to search for roosts. At last, there were clusters of some three thousand butterflies and something incredible that I have never encountered in all my years–a monarch with a tag! Unfortunately, I didn’t have my net so couldn’t catch the butterfly to read the tag but I did take a photo.

Can you find the monarch with the tag (etiqueta)? Take a look!
http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/fall2009/Caption3_102209.html

Read Rocio Treviño’s report in Spanish:
http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/fall2009/CorreoReal102209_Esp.html

Photos of the Week: What does northern Mexico Look Like?http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/fall2009/Image102209.html
The pictures at the link below were taken in the Mexican states of Coahuila and Nuevo Leon and posted on Google Maps. This week, you can explore the landscape of the monarch’s migration trail across northern Mexico through pictures!

Links: Monarch Resources to Explore
http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/fall2009/Update102209.html#Links

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Flying squirrels are all around but are often out and about after we’ve already headed indoors for the evening.  With their big black eyes they can see through the night as they glide from tree to tree! We did a Flying Squirrel podcast and an article on flying squirrels awhile back. 

For more fun with flying squirrels, check out our newest brain teaser….the Flying Squirrels crossword

More puzzles and other information on Loudoun nature and wildlife can be found on our Educational Resources page.

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When I first moved to Loudoun, over a decade ago, I set up my first bird feeder and bought a little pocket size guide to backyard birds. Sitting at our breakfast table, with a cat on my lap and binoculars in hand, I was glued to all the happenings right outside our window as I discovered all sorts of “new” birds…. I was definitely hooked.

yellow-rumped_warbler_oct_09About that same time, I discovered Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and started going on bird walks.  That, combined with jumping into Cornell’s Project Feederwatch, were my introductions to birding and I like to think I’m better for it :) If you haven’t heard about Project Feederwatch, I wanted to share some information on it here, and encourage you to come out on some of our monthly bird walks. We also offer occassional classes on the introduction to bird watching so keep an eye out for those too. You’ll meet lots of great new friends and see some really cool birds that call Loudoun home!

Project FeederWatch: What happens in the backyard should not stay in the backyard—at least when it comes to bird feeders. By sharing information about which birds visit their feeders between November and April, backyard bird watchers can help scientists track changes in bird numbers and movements from year to year, through Project FeederWatch, a citizen-science program from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada.

Project FeederWatch begins on November 14 and runs through early April. Taking part is easy. Anyone can count the numbers and kinds of birds at their feeders and enter their information on the FeederWatch website. Participants submitted nearly 117,000 checklists last season. Since 1987, more than 40,000 people from the United States and Canada have taken part in the project.

“To get the most complete picture of bird movements, we always need new sets of eyes to tell us what species are showing up at backyard feeders,” says David Bonter, leader of Project FeederWatch. “Participants always tell us how much fun it is and how good it feels to contribute to our understanding of birds by submitting their sightings.”

Project FeederWatch is for people of all ages and skill levels. To learn more and to sign up, visit www.feederwatch.org or call the Cornell Lab toll-free at (866) 982-2473. In return for the $15 fee ($12 for Cornell Lab members) participants receive the FeederWatcher’s Handbook, an identification poster of the most common feeder birds, a calendar, complete instructions, and Winter Bird Highlights, an annual summary of FeederWatch findings.

Participant Nancy Corr of Harrisburg, Oregon, sums up her Project FeederWatch experience: “Thanks for the wonderful opportunity to share our love of birding and to participate in something meaningful!”

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