Archive for June, 2010


An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.

- Henry David Thoreau

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Seven birders joined Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy for a very pleasant bird walk at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship on Saturday, June 26. 

We met and spent a few minutes birding the area right around the Visitor Center before and after the main walk in the central portion of the Center.  Not only did we hear a Yellow-billed Cuckoo in the woods next to the Visitor Center we were entertained by a couple of YELLOW-BREASTED CHATS, one of which was very vocal and active right next to where we were tallying at the end of the walk. 

Because of the heat we headed over to Arnold Rd and spent most of the morning’s walk in the center’s extensive woods and followed a variety of trails crossing Piney Run twice and Sweet Run twice as well. 

We did spend about 30 minutes on the Butterfly Alley Trail along the powercut where we heard BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS, a couple more chats, and saw several butterflies – including this fresh Pipevine Swallowtail shown in the photo by Norm Gresley.
 
In addition to watching CEDAR WAXWINGS courting we picked up nine warbler species, including a CERULEAN, a KENTUCKY, a REDSTART, a couple of OVENBIRDS, great views of a vocalizing LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH, and one WHITE-EYED VIREO along with numerous ACADIAN FLYCATCHERS, RED-EYED VIREOS, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS, and INDIGO BUNTINGS.  As we were walking back to our cars after tallying we got great views of a GRASSHOPPER SPARROW vocalizing.
 
Additionally we saw quite a few butterflies species including a PIPEVINE SWALLOWTAIL, a couple of Zebra Swallowtails, several Great-spangled Fritillaries, a Meadow Fritillary, several Red-spotted Purples, a very worn Northern Pearly-eye, and a Monarch.
 
Joe Coleman
 
Location:     Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship
Observation date:     6/26/10
Number of species:     56

Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk (Eastern), Mourning Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Chimney Swift, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, White-eyed Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, House Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Blue-winged Warbler, Northern Parula, Cerulean Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, Kentucky Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat, Eastern Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow.

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Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soil.

- Reginald Heber

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banshee-calico-pennant-jun-15-2008-4Happy Summer Solstice! This is the day of the year when we have most number of hours of daylight…longest day of the year here in the northern hemisphere, while it’s the shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere.

If you’ve been doing a photo journal of nature through the seasons, today is the day to go back out to your special nature spot and get your picture. We started this last fall with the Autumnal Equinox, so if you did each season you should now have four seasonal views of your nature spot.

I think its pretty neat to take a look at a place from this perspective – all the changes – the sights, the sounds, the smells – yet with the familiar at the foundation. Have a happy day.

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In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.

- Aldo Leopold

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The 17 people who showed up for our monthly bird walk at Loudoun County’s Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve found 49 species of birds of which the highlights included singing OVENBIRDS and WOOD THRUSHES along the road as we entered the preserve, an under-birded but rich area due to the healthy understory that still exists in much of that area. 

The walk itself started with excellent views of a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT and an EASTERN KINGBIRD close to the parking lot.   It was also a lot of fun to stop by the MAPS banding station and watch them band several birds. 

In the woods near the banding station we had great views of both a male & female SCARLET TANAGER and in other places saw a couple of AMERICAN KESTRELS, a small flock of CEDAR WAXWINGS, heard a PRAIRIE WARBLER, and saw several ORCHARD ORIOLES as well as a single BALTIMORE ORIOLE flying over the Goose Creek.
 
After we wrapped up at Banshee Reeks four of us stopped by the Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation Project where, because of the lateness of the hour and the heat and humidity, there wasn’t that much activity but we did add a few more birds to the list, the nicest being seven GREAT EGRETS and a Great Blue Heron in a dead tree in the middle of the wetlands, the same tree where two adult BALD EAGLES perched during our walk on Wed. morning. 

We also saw a large dark shape moving around in the BALD EAGLE nest, heard two dif. YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS, and watched several Red-winged Blackbirds harass and COMMON RAVEN who must have come too close to their nests.
 
Best, Joe Coleman, near Bluemont, Loudoun Co

Location:     Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve
Observation date:     6/12/10
Number of species:     49

Canada Goose, Mallard, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, American Kestrel, Mourning Dove, Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Tree Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Prairie Warbler, Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat, Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle (Purple), Brown-headed Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole,American Goldfinch,

Location:     Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation Project
Observation date:     6/12/10
Number of species:     31

Canada Goose, Mallard, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Bald Eagle, Killdeer, Mourning Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Common Raven, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, House Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Common Yellowthroat,, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Orchard Oriole, American Goldfinch

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Fifteen people showed up for very damp bird walks at the Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation and the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve (BRNP) on Wed., June 9. 

The highlights of the 57 species seen the on & off rain were 2 GREAT EGRETS, 2 BALD EAGLES perched on a snag in the middle of the Wetlands, 4 or 5 AMERICAN KESTRELS (several near the BRNP nest box where they successfully nested), 2 YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, COMMON RAVEN, WILLOW FLYCATCHERS, and at least 15 ORCHARD ORIOLES scattered through both the Wetlands & Banshee Reeks.

Best,
Joe Coleman, near Bluemont, Loudoun Co

Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation Project
Number of species:     45
Canada Goose, Mallard, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Green Heron, Bald Eagle, Turkey Vulture, Killdeer, Mourning Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Chimney Swift, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pew, e, Willow Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Blue Jay, American Crow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, 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, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, American Goldfinch

Location:     Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve
Number of species:     41
Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel, Killdeer, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, American Crow, Fish Crow, Common Raven, 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, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat,Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, American Goldfinch.

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The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.

-John Muir

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I have my own views about nature’s methods, though I feel that it is rather like a beetle giving his opinions upon the milkyway.

- Sherlock Holmes

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