Archive for November, 2013

We need you to send milkweed seeds to Monarch Watch so we have plants for next Spring but seed balls are fun too! So, when you gather up your seeds, save a handful and make some seed balls that you can throw around — in approved places of course!

Note – Wherever you live in the country – Your seeds are needed! The plants will be grown out and used in habitat restoration projects and waystations in your locale

Send seeds to:  Monarch Watch, University of Kansas, 2021 Constant Ave., Lawrence, KS 66047

Here’s all the information you need for seed balls:

Environmentalists Adopt New Weapon: Seed Balls

When you click on the link above, you can also click on “listen to the story” – it’s great!

Also – some special tips from Ina Warren from her experience with seed balls:

Some people add perennial seeds in the mix and make big ‘bombs’  - but forget that when the rains come and break the balls down naturally, that they are then in very close proximity – far closer than we’d ever plant in the garden.

I propose to my groups that the balls be about the size of a large marble, have just 2 or 3 mw seeds and then increase the number thrown, tossed or sling-shotted (is that a word?) into an area. The slingshot would be worth its weight in gold for steep banks where mowers cannot reach or with incarnata, into ditch drainages where it’s too steep or sloggy to muck around in. 


This week, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy was among nearly twenty prominent conservation organizations — including the Piedmont Environmental Council, National Wildlife Federation, Virginia League of Conservation Voters, and Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club — that submitted a joint letter to Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe.  This letter points to the Bi-County Parkway (part of the larger Outer Beltway) as the Northern Virginia project that would have the single largest negative impact on our water, air, and climate – and outlines the many sensible alternatives that are available.

The full text of the joint letter, and a link from which to write to Governor-Elect McAuliffe on this issue, are at .


Banshee_Milkweed_20130908-28Monarch Watch needs our seeds!

They haven’t received many donations of local milkweed seeds from Virginia yet so we’re reaching out to ask….if you have some pods waving in your garden, could you collect them and send them to Monarch Watch?

All three varies are needed: Common Milkweed (asclepias syriaca), Swamp milkweed (asclepias incarnata) and Butterflyweed (asclepias tuberosa).

Monarch Watch will use these seeds to grow plants for our area for next spring’s Monarch Waystations!

Here’s what to do:

- Put the seeds in the ziplock bag (separate bags for each species of milkweed)

- Write the species name and the town/state where it was collected on the bag

- Send them to Monarch Watch:

Monarch Watch
University of Kansas
2021 Constant Ave.
Lawrence, KS 66047


Did the strong winds on Monday morning around 2:30am wake you?  They sure woke me and our dog who I had to get up to comfort. Ever since the derecho of June 2012 I’ve noticed these extraordinary nighttime winds – they’re not normal – but they’re becoming more prevalent. And, if you’ve been watching the news, you know there are extreme events occurring across our country and other parts of the world.

To bring people together on this topic, 350 Loudoun is hosting an event this Thursday – details are below:

 Climate Justice Now!

What: Candle Light vigil for all victims of extreme weather world-wide

When: Thursday, November 21 5-6 pm

Where: Leesburg Courthouse, corner of King Street and Market street

Sponsored by: 350 Loudoun,

Contact: Natalie Pien,


On November 9th, eleven people enjoyed the regular 2nd Sat. of the month Banshee Reeks bird walk on a beautiful fall day that started off in mid-20′s but warmed up quickly & didn’t become windy until a little before 11 am. This walk is sponsored by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy & the Friends of Banshee Reeks on Sat..

After the Banshee walk six of us spent an hour at the private Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation Project.   Except for seven sparrow species and a few flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds, American Robins, and Fish Crow flying over, Banshee Reeks was quieter than many of us had expected. The highlights of the walk at Banshee Reeks included a group of six Fox Sparrows and a Northern Harrier that flew by twice.

The highlight at the Wetlands were the 19 Wild Turkeys that I saw there as I passed by it on the way to Banshee Reeks about 7:30 am of which there was only one seen when we visited later.  The water level was relatively high and the mud hidden by vegetation so little was visible on or next to the water.

See below for complete eBird list of the birds seen at Banshee Reeks and the Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation Project.   The regular monthly free bird walk (every 2nd Sat) at the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve is sponsored by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy ( and the Friends of Banshee Reeks (; 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 Nov 9, 2013 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM Protocol: Traveling 1.0 mile(s) 38 species

Canada Goose  4 Mallard  1 Great Blue Heron  1 Black Vulture  5 Turkey Vulture  6 Northern Harrier  1 Sharp-shinned Hawk  1 Red-shouldered Hawk  1 Red-tailed Hawk  2 Rock Pigeon  12 Mourning Dove  2 Red-bellied Woodpecker  3 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1 Downy Woodpecker  4 Northern Flicker  5 Blue Jay  X American Crow  X Fish Crow  X Carolina Chickadee  4 Tufted Titmouse  4 White-breasted Nuthatch  2 Carolina Wren  6 Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1 Eastern Bluebird  15 American Robin  125 Northern Mockingbird  10 Yellow-rumped Warbler  5 Eastern Towhee  2 Chipping Sparrow  2 Field Sparrow  3 Fox Sparrow  6 Song Sparrow  10 White-throated Sparrow  35 Dark-eyed Junco  12 Northern Cardinal  8 Red-winged Blackbird  60 Common Grackle  1 American Goldfinch  6

View this checklist online at

Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation Project, Loudoun, US-VA Nov 9, 2013 10:45 AM – 11:50 AM Protocol: Traveling 1.0 mile(s) 23 species

Canada Goose  X Mallard  8 Green-winged Teal  4 Wild Turkey  1 Black Vulture  15 Turkey Vulture  5 Red-shouldered Hawk  1 Downy Woodpecker  2 Blue Jay  X American Crow  X Fish Crow  50 Carolina Chickadee  3 Tufted Titmouse  2 Carolina Wren  2 Eastern Bluebird  4 American Robin  4 Northern Mockingbird  2 Song Sparrow  4 White-throated Sparrow  6 Dark-eyed Junco  4 Northern Cardinal  2 Red-winged Blackbird  X American Goldfinch  2

View this checklist online at


Bill Brown led a mid-week bird walk last week and sent over the following report.  If you go out to these places, the report below can give an idea of what you might see:

Ten birders participated in a two-location walk on Nov 11 sponsored by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.  The highlights among the 40 species seen included a mature Bald Eagle soaring over Lyndora Park in Ashburn and a mixed flock of Wilson Snipe and Killdeer at the Broadlands Wetlands.

Birds at Lyndora included: Canada Goose 12 Mallard 10 Great Blue Heron 1 Turkey Vulture 4 Cooper’s Hawk 1 Bald Eagle 1 Red-tailed Hawk 1 Killdeer 6 Ring-billed Gull 1 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 12 Mourning Dove 30 Red-bellied Woodpecker 3 Downy Woodpecker 1 Northern Flicker 6 Blue Jay 15 American Crow 10 Fish Crow 1 crow sp. 15 Carolina Chickadee 6 Tufted Titmouse 4 White-breasted Nuthatch 2 Carolina Wren 8 Golden-crowned Kinglet 1 Eastern Bluebird 6 American Robin 40 Northern Mockingbird 4 European Starling 50 Cedar Waxwing 13 Yellow-rumped Warbler 5 Eastern Towhee 1 Field Sparrow 1 Song Sparrow 5 White-throated Sparrow 20 Dark-eyed Junco 15 Northern Cardinal 12 House Finch 4 American Goldfinch 5 House Sparrow 30

The water level at the Broadlands Wetlands was quite low, so we did not find many water fowl species in the 30-40 minutes we spent there.  The three stubborn birders who stuck it out to the end, however, were rewarded with a look at the snipe.  Additions to the day’s list at

Broadlands: Red-shouldered Hawk 2 Wilson Snipe 6Belted Kingfisher 1 Bill Brown


We encourage all Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy members and friends to attend a Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan open house this Thursday, November 14, 2013, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Rust Library, 380 Old Waterford Road, N.W. in Leesburg. More information is available on the Loudoun County official website at and .


The Environmental Protection Agency has required each state with waters draining into the Chesapeake Bay to submit a Watershed Implementation Plan, to reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment that enters the Bay.  Each state in the Bay watershed is responsible for its own Watershed Implementation Plan, and Virginia has in turn given each county in the watershed the responsibility for developing its own local plan.  Phase I in 2010 identified general strategies, while Phase II now involves more specific steps.


On October 2, 2013, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors outlined its Phase II work plan in a letter to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.  A set of case studies has been posted on the Loudoun County website, with examples of best management practices ranging from tree planting for individual homeowners, to stream fencing for cattle farms.


As Loudoun County moves forward with Phase II of the Watershed Implementation Plan, it will be important for all of us to stay informed and engaged, to help maintain and restore our local water quality, and reduce our role in polluting the Chesapeake Bay.





As many of you know, there is an effort underway to realign The Woods Road which runs through part of Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve.  While there have been improvements made to the plan since it was first proposed, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy still has some concerns.

Those concerns have been laid out in the letter that we sent to VDOT both for their consideration and for inclusion in the public record.

Our concerns pertain to the following (details can be read in our letter here)

1.  Wetland Impact and Mitigation

2. White Oak Forest Separation and Conservation Land Value

3.  Traffic Control

If you would like to submit public input on this topic, you can submit it here. The public comment period ends November 8th:

Mr. James C. Zeller, P.E.
Mr. W. Calvin Britt, P.E.
Virginia Department of Transportation
4975 Alliance Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030