Archive for January, 2013

Free Garden Lecture – Monarch Butterflies, Featherweight Flyers

Please join Loudoun County Master Gardeners at their monthly lecture series on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 7 pm at the Rust Library, 380 Waterford Road, Leesburg, Virginia. This month’s topic is “Monarch Butterflies–Featherweight Fliers” and will be presented by award-winning nature photojournalist Marie Majarov. Dr. Majarov is a nature and outdoor enthusiast, Ph.D. clinical psychologist, Virginia Master Naturalist, writer and photographer. She worked on the Chincoteague Monarch Monitoring Project, and she and her husband, Milan have created an official Monarch Waystation and butterfly garden on their property near Winchester, Virginia. They are also in the process of writing two children’s books, which they hope will be the foundation for a series of children’s nature books.

For more information about the lecture or the Loudoun County Master Gardener program visit the website:www.loudouncountymastergardeners.org
or call the Loudoun Extension Office at 703-777-0373.

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The New York Times just published this powerful article on keeping cats indoors:

That Cuddly Kitty is Deadlier than You Think

We’ve seen the kitty cams. We’ve seen the quarry dragged back to the house. We’ve experienced the injuries and parasites and other harms that come to our feline friends when they go outside. We know it’s better for them and for wildlife to live indoors. We don’t let our dogs out to roam the streets – so why do it with our cats? It’s time to keep our kitties inside.

Baby bird and baby rabbit time is just around the corner – now is the time to start keeping your cat indoors and helping it find lots of fun things to do inside with you.

 

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Wonderful video on Monarchs and their lifecycle:

Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is kicking off a County-wide Monarch campaign – with the second of two kick-off sessions being held tomorrow, Thursday January 31st, 6:30pm at Rust Library in Leesburg. Please sign up by emailing Nicole Hamilton at nhamilton@loudounwildlife.org if you’d like to attend.

At the information session we’re talking about the lifecycle and plight of the Monarchs, giving an overview of our campaign and asking you to sign up with us to jump in and help – both with planting Monarch Waystations and helping to raise and release 2,013 Monarch the summer and fall!

If you’d like to come to this kickoff on Thursday, please sign up by emailing Nicole Hamilton at nhamilton@loudounwildlife.org.

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Riding the Lovettsville thermals

By John P. Flannery

Vultures_black_L_villeNorth of Lovettsville, about twenty Black Vultures soared on thermal air currents in figure eights in the sky in and around one another in a captivating display.  They seek out these updrafts to carry them high into the sky. 

Often mistaken for eagles, these birds can be distinguished in flight from Turkey Vultures by the fact that they hold their 60 inch wings nearly flat and they flap in a rapid and shallow fashion while they soar.  They have shorter wings and tails than Turkey Vultures.  

Their under-wings are mostly dark except for pale white wing tips.  They have dark wrinkled gray-black heads.  They are more social than the Turkey Vulture and found in large flocks.  

We caught about half the soaring flock at rest on a three board fence paddock by the side of the road, the Berlin Turnpike.  They appeared unperturbed.  They spread their wings for sunning. 

While some are offended by the Vultures’ menacing appearance, these raptors clean up the environment.  So watch out for their next air show.

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While it was a chilly morning & there wasn’t a lot of diversity, bird-wise (26 species) or people-wise, the four of us who showed up for the regular Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship bird walk on Saturday morning found the fields and woods at the center beautiful. 

There was a great deal of variety in the animal tracks in the light snow and the occasional mixed flock of birds in the forest kept it int’g as we did see three Common Ravens visiting a deer carcass, perched in a tree and flying back & forth overhead; several Golden-crowned Kinglets; and a Winter Wren along the partially frozen Piney Run.
 
Information on the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship can be found at http://www.blueridgecenter.org.   Information on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and its many free activities can be found at www.loudounwildlife.org.

Joe Coleman

The complete list follows:

Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship – MFF01, Loudoun, US-VA
Jan 26, 2013 8:00 AM – 10:45 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.5 mile(s)
26 species

Turkey Vulture  5, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Common Raven  3, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren  1, Carolina Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet  4, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush  1, Savannah Sparrow  1, Song Sparrow  X White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Cardinal, Purple Finch  2, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow.

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While it was a chilly morning & there wasn’t a lot of diversity, bird-wise (26 species) or people-wise, the four of us who showed up for the regular Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship bird walk this past Saturday found the fields and woods at the center beautiful. 

There was a great deal of variety in the animal tracks in the light snow and the occasional mixed flock of birds in the forest kept it int’g as we did see three Common Ravens visiting a deer carcass, perched in a tree and flying back & forth overhead; several Golden-crowned Kinglets; and a Winter Wren along the partially frozen Piney Run.
 
Information on the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship can be found at http://www.blueridgecenter.org.   Information on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and its many free activities can be found at www.loudounwildlife.org.

Joe Coleman

The complete list follows:

Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship – MFF01, Loudoun, US-VA
Jan 26, 2013 8:00 AM – 10:45 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.5 mile(s)
26 species

Turkey Vulture  5, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Common Raven  3, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren  1, Carolina Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet  4, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush  1, Savannah Sparrow  1, Song Sparrow  X White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Cardinal, Purple Finch  2, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow.

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BOP_20130120-18January 20th was the annual Birds of Prey search with the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.   This year we had 28 people join us and therefore decided to split into two teams: one led by Liam and Laura McGranaghan, the other led by Joe Coleman and Liz Dennison. 

Despite the sunny conditions, strong winds hindered our search.   Although the groups saw several species of raptors we did not see the numbers as in years past. 

One of the highlights of the day was getting great views of a Loggerhead Shrike, our honorary raptor.   Late in the afternoon both groups had great looks at Northern Harriers hunting.  Of these, 2 were Grey Ghosts!  At sunset a few of us spotted Short-eared owls coming up out of a field and flying off to hunt.

Here is the combined list from both teams:

Bald Eagles  4
Red-tailed Hawk  18
Red-shoulder Hawk  7
Coopers Hawk  3
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
Northern Harrier  11
American Kestrel  4
Barred Owl  1
Short-eared Owls  5
Turkey Vultures  28
Black Vultures   21

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Environment for the Americas, which coordinates the International Migratory Bird Day event that Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy participates in, is offering a Latino internship program funded through the America’s Great Outdoors initiative and asked if we would help spread the word. See details below:

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We have an opening for a Latino/Hispanic youth (ages 18- 25) to work with our US Forest Service partners in Washington, DC.

We have a preference for a bilingual (Spanish/English) intern with some coursework in biology and/or environmental sciences.

We offer a monthly stipend and lodging may be available.

There is a mandatory training that that takes place in Monterey, CA from Feb 26- March 3, 2013. All expenses are paid for the intern’s participation in the training.

The internship period is Feb 26- July 31,2013.

The deadline to apply is January 31st. Please see the description below with details on how to apply.

www.indeed.com/cmp/Environment-for-the-Americas/jobs/Latino-Paid-Internship-bb9f22013c712731

And see their facebook page here.

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Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is pleased to offer two (2) scholarships to interested adults (age 18 and older) for this year’s Annual Nature Camp at Vesuvius, VA.

Nature Camp, located in the idyllic valley by Big Mary’s Creek in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Rockbridge County, has been in existence since the early 1940′s. It is once again offering a four day nature camp for adults running from August 16-20, 2013.

If you are interested in participating in this camp experience you must: (1) be a member of LWC, (2) be 18 years of age, and (3) provide an written explanation (1 page or less) of why you wish to attend and how you hope to apply what you learn to the mission of Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.

Space is limited to the camp so all interested participants must submit their paperwork by May 1st, 2013 to Paul Miller at 38712 Rickard Road, Lovettsville , VA 20180. More information about Adult Nature Camp is available at www.naturecamp.net

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In spite of the dense fog this past Saturday which was only starting to lift as we finished the walk and a lack of diversity in species, the 15 people on the regular monthly bird walk at Banshee Reeks appeared to enjoy themselves. 

While the birds were especially quiet early they did became more active as the morning continued though nothing very unusual was spotted and a number of species one would expect to see this time of year proved to elusive.  And while the dense fog may have kept the birds down it also made the winter forest and the Goose Creek more attractive. And it made it int’g to watch an immature Bald Eagle flying along the Goose come out of the fog and a Sharp-shinned Hawk who flew directly over our heads slip away in the fog.

See below for the complete list of birds seen.

The regular monthly free bird walk (every 2nd Sat) at the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve is sponsored by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy (www.loudounwildlife.org) and the Friends of Banshee Reeks (www.bansheereeks.org); information on both and their upcoming events can be found on their websites.

Good birding,
Joe Coleman, near Bluemont, Loudoun Co
 
Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve – MFF08, Loudoun, US-VA
Jan 12, 2013 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.5 mile(s)
31 species

Canada Goose, Turkey Vulture, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker,
Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch.

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