Archive for May, 2014

There will be a fantastically stocked SILENT AUCTION held to at tomorrow’s Annual Meeting for Members at Morven Park (Carriage House, 4pm).

Get an EARLY look at the incredible items before tomorrow’s silent auction by clinking below.  All available information has been listed for each item.  Start making your shopping list, and get those bids ready for your favorite items! All bidding will take place AT the meeting.

Thank you for your support, and for your participation in what we hope will be a fun a reciprocal
“FUNd-raising” event to benefit Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy efforts.

Silent Auction Items

I know what I will bid for!

Sarah Steadman


Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy president, Nicole Hamilton, is known for her extraordinary vision and her dedication to fostering events that invite, have purpose, and put a spotlight on wildlife…but did you know that she ALSO participates in many of these events? An avid birder, Nicole and her team of birders (the Raucous Robins) enthusiastically competed in this year’s IMBD Birdathon. She tells us all about it in the following article. 

I will warn you…this read has the potential to spark binocular purchases and Bird Walk sign-ups (hint-hint:  here’s the schedule).

So now, we give you Nicole Hamilton and the “Raucous Robins” IMBD REPORT!

Sarah Steadman

Wow time really flew since our team went out for our big IMBD Birdathon day!  We want to thank all those who supported our team, and widely share a short summary of our 12.5 hour day.  In all we saw 90 species (the full list is below)!

Thank you all for rooting us on and showing your support both for our team and the work of Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy!  It really means a lot to us all! Attached are a few photos from the day as well — birds, glorious birds, and a sweet fox that was camera shy!

Raucous Robins Birdathon 2014!
May 3, 2014, 7:00 am to 7:30 pm
Team members: Joanne Bradbury, Mike Friedman, Tess McAllister and Nicole Hamilton

We started out the day at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship at 7am in order to make sure we got the warblers and vireos at their most active time.  We weren’t disappointed. The birds were down low for most of the morning and were singing away. Gnats and Blue-gray gnatcatchers were a plenty. Northern Parulas were calling so heavily it seemed like they were everywhere!

As we got to the confluence of Piney Run and Sweet run we knew we needed to get a LA Waterthrush but before crossing the bridge we were delighted by a Kentucky Warbler at eye level singing and foraging. Then we crossed the stream and decided, “We’ll just go see for a minute and then we’ll turn back.” Well as we stood on the other side, we had an incredible showing of birds!  Veery, American Redstart, Scarlet Tanager, Black-and-white Warbler, Wood Thrush and Black-throated Blue warbler!  They were beautiful! We never did get a water thrush during the day but what great views of these other birds.

Another highlight were views of a Barred Owl that seemed to be curious about what we were up to. We had just finished identifying a bird when Joanne looked up and said — “an Owl!”  It preened and cleaned its feet before taking off.

From the Blue Ridge Center, we went to the Dulles Wetland, Banshee Reeks and then to the Reservoir.  This was the tough part of the day when the birds have quieted down.  We really worked for each species, but ticked off Wood Ducks, Horned Grebe, Bald eagle, Osprey and even a Red-shouldered Hawk on a nest.

For the last part of our day, we visited the Broadlands Wetlands where we had Baltimore and Orchard Orioles (plus nest building), Green Heron, and peeps (Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper).

By this point it was getting harder to tick off new species, and there were some glaring omissions of common birds that we rather needed. So we headed to Bles Park and had a lovely walk and a temporary drizzle. Here we thankfully added the Indigo Bunting, but that was the only new species.

Broadlands Wetlands Orchard Oriole

Broadlands Wetlands Orchard Oriole


Beaver Dam Rd, Red Fox

Beaver Dam Rd, Red Fox

BRCES, Barred Owl

BRCES, Barred Owl


BRCES, Scarlet Tanager

BRCES, Scarlet Tanager


BRCES, White-eyed Vireo

BRCES, White-eyed Vireo

We were at 89 species and the team was determined to at least hit 90. One of the misses of the day to that point was a Red-tailed Hawk, and we all agreed that we couldn’t go home having missed that…so we scanned the power lines as we drove Rte. 7 and there she was….”Hawk on wire,” I called out…but it was on the other side of the road up an exit ramp. Do we turn back? Yes! Tess made the u-turn and off we went. There she was — species #90 for the day!

We had a great day and were so thankful to have all of you rooting us on through your pledges and sponsorships!  We look forward to next year and going beyond 90!

Good birding,

Here is a full list of the 90 species that we tallied for the day:

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Wood Duck
  3. Mallard
  4. Common Merganser
  5. Horned Grebe
  6. Double-crested Cormorant
  7. Great Blue Heron
  8. Green Heron
  9. Black Vulture

10.Turkey Vulture


12.Bald Eagle

13.Coopers Hawk

14.Red-shouldered Hawk

15.Red-tailed Hawk

16.Spotted Sandpiper

17.Solitary Sandpiper

18.Lesser Yellowlegs

19.Least Sandpiper

20.Ring-billed Gull

21.Rock Pigeon

22.Mourning Dove

23.Great Horned Owl

24.Barred Owl

25.Chimney Swift

26.Belted Kingfisher

27.Red-bellied Woodpecker

28.Downy Woodpecker

29.Pileated Woodpecker

30.Eastern Phoebe

31.Great Crested Flycatcher

32.Eastern Kingbird

33.White-eyed Vireo

34.Blue-headed Vireo

35.Red-eyed Vireo

36.Blue Jay

37.American Crow

38.Fish Crow

39.Common Raven

40.Purple Martin

41.Tree Swallow

42.Northern Rough-winged Swallow

43.Barn Swallow

44.Carolina Chickadee

45.Tufted Titmouse

46.White-breasted Nuthatch

47.Carolina Wren

48.House Wren

49.Ruby-crowned Kinglet

50.Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

51.Eastern Bluebird


53.Wood Thrush

54.American Robin

55.Gray Catbird

56.Northern Mockingbird

57.Brown Thrasher

58.European Starling

59.Blue-winged Warbler

60.Northern Parula

61.Yellow Warbler

62.Yellow-rumped Warbler

63.Prairie Warbler

64.Black-throated Blue Warbler

65.Black-and-white Warbler

66.American Redstart

67.Worm-eating Warbler


69.Kentucky Warbler

70.Common Yellow-throat

71.Yellow-breasted Chat

72.Scarlet Tanager

73.Eastern Towhee

74.Chipping Sparrow

75.Field Sparrow

76.Grasshopper Sparrow

77.Song Sparrow

78.White-throated Sparrow

79.Northern Cardinal

80.Indigo Bunting


82.Red-winged Blackbird

83.Eastern Meadowlark

84.Common Grackle

85.Brown-headed Cowbird

86.Orchard Oriole

87.Baltimore Oriole

88.House Finch

89.American Goldfinch

90.House Sparrow




If you need milkweed and nectar plants – stop by Morven 2-4 tomorrow (Sunday)  for a quick & dirty plant sale! We’ll have what you need!

A big thank you to Chris Chaves for putting together this video!


With the large turn-out (32 BIRDERS!) for a joint Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy/Northern Virginia Bird Club walk at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship in northwestern Loudoun County, the group split into multiple smaller groups for birding.

We were only a couple of miles from Harpers Ferry and the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Both the location and the multiple groups of birders resulted in a lot of different and exciting sightings.   There were, at one point or another, four different groups birding in these different areas.

Most of the 81 species observed were nesters at the Blue Ridge Center, but there were a few migrants among the many birds observed.  Many of these migratory species were only heard, including 14 different Warblers species. What a rich experience! The volunteer bird walk leaders included Elton Morel, Larry Meade, Elliott and Nancy Kirschbaum, Mary Ann Good, Del Sargent, and Joe Coleman. Several excellent birders were also present and assisted the walk leaders; these wonderfully informed participants made a big difference in finding the large variety of species.

Highlights of this walk were two Broad-winged Hawks, at least six Yellow-billed Cuckoos, three Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and a White-eyed Vireo (one of several) on a nest.  We also greatly enjoyed excellent looks at one of the Yellow-throated Vireos, two Swainson’s Thrushes interacting and then posing for one of the groups, and a Cedar Waxwing (one of 32 seen in various locations) carrying nesting material.

Also of interest were four different Blue-winged Warblers, one of which was well seen by one of the groups, four Cerulean Warblers high in the canopy, one Blackburnian, four Kentucky Warblers, one Hooded, and at least four distinct Yellow-breasted Chats, a couple of which were well-seen.

Of the nine Scarlet Tanagers spotted, only two were well seen while at least two of the four Grasshopper Sparrows posed for us. While we were tallying our counts at the picnic area next to the just-planted Monarch Waystation, we not only saw two Bald Eagles fly over high in the sky, but we were also fascinated by how much size difference there was between a much smaller Red-shouldered Hawk that was harassing one of the Bald Eagles.

Also while tallying, we got incredible looks at a male and female Blue Grosbeak which first posed on a utility wire and then landed in the grass close to us; one of the Baltimore Orioles was also seen perched & singing while we were tallying.

Two other Blue Grosbeaks were heard doing their beautiful song along Arnold Road. Additionally, there were at least 30 Indigo Buntings, many seen while in full song, as well as two Purple Martins, a male and a female, and two Eastern Meadowlarks in the vicinity of the organic farm.

As you can see, this was a bird-plentiful walk, and a walk to remember. It is also an inspiration to capture such bird engagement while seated at the picnic areas!  This is an excellent example of the opportunities awaiting participants on our bird walks in Loudoun County.

Please join us at future events, and visit these wonderful places for yourself by seeking more online at:

Submitted by Joe Coleman
Edited by Sarah Steadman

The complete list, from eBird, follows:

Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship – MFF01, Loudoun, US-VA
May 24, 2014 7:15 AM – 11:15 AM
Protocol: Traveling
4.0 mile(s)
81 species

  1. Canada Goose  9
  2. Wild Turkey  2
  3. Great Blue Heron  5
  4. Green Heron  1
  5. Black Vulture  4
  6. Turkey Vulture  13
  7. Bald Eagle  3
  8. Red-shouldered Hawk  4
  9. Broad-winged Hawk  2
  10. Red-tailed Hawk  1
  11. Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  2
  12. Mourning Dove  4
  13. Yellow-billed Cuckoo  7
  14. Chimney Swift  3
  15. Ruby-throated Hummingbird  3
  16. Red-bellied Woodpecker  5
  17. Downy Woodpecker  2
  18. Northern Flicker  1
  19. Pileated Woodpecker  4
  20. Eastern Wood-Pewee  15
  21. Acadian Flycatcher  12
  22. Eastern Phoebe  4
  23. Great Crested Flycatcher  6
  24. Eastern Kingbird  4
  25. White-eyed Vireo  4
  26. Yellow-throated Vireo  3
  27. Red-eyed Vireo  21
  28. Blue Jay  7
  29. American Crow  40
  30. Fish Crow  2
  31. Common Raven  3
  32. Purple Martin  2
  33. Tree Swallow  20
  34. Barn Swallow  12
  35. Carolina Chickadee  7
  36. Tufted Titmouse  8
  37. White-breasted Nuthatch  2
  38. House Wren  3
  39. Carolina Wren  2
  40. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  15
  41. Eastern Bluebird  12
  42. Swainson’s Thrush  2
  43. Wood Thrush  3
  44. American Robin  2
  45. Gray Catbird  3
  46. Brown Thrasher  5
  47. Northern Mockingbird  1
  48. European Starling  4
  49. Cedar Waxwing  32 (Small flocks of Cedar Waxwings were seen in several dif. locations as well as a single one carrying nesting material into a tree and a couple of pairs in widely different locations)
  50. Ovenbird  1
  51. Worm-eating Warbler  1
  52. Louisiana Waterthrush  2
  53. Blue-winged Warbler  4
  54. Kentucky Warbler  4
  55. Common Yellowthroat  10
  56. Hooded Warbler  1
  57. American Redstart  7
  58. Cerulean Warbler  4
  59. Northern Parula  5
  60. Blackburnian Warbler  1
  61. Yellow Warbler  1
  62. Blackpoll Warbler  2
  63. Yellow-breasted Chat  4
  64. Eastern Towhee  2
  65. Chipping Sparrow  12
  66. Field Sparrow  10
  67. Grasshopper Sparrow  4
  68. Song Sparrow  2
  69. Scarlet Tanager  9
  70. Northern Cardinal  X
  71. Blue Grosbeak  4
  72. Indigo Bunting  30
  73. Red-winged Blackbird  2
  74. Eastern Meadowlark  2
  75. Common Grackle  15
  76. Brown-headed Cowbird  10
  77. Orchard Oriole  1
  78. Baltimore Oriole  5
  79. House Finch  3
  80. American Goldfinch  30
  81. House Sparrow  7

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (


Habitat restoration project ideas are numerous, and these great ideas are actualized by passionate and dutiful volunteers.  This project is especially inspiring because it took place at a surprising location…at a bowling alley! Habitat restoration can happen anywhere!

In 2009 & 2010, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy partnered with the Piedmont Environmental Council & the Town of Leesburg to plant over 500 native trees, shrubs, and perennials along Town Branch, next to the bowling alley on Catoctin Circle. It was a successful  and purposeful collaboration between the Town of Leesburg and its volunteers citizens.

Fast forward to 2014…

In February of this year, Charlie Mumaw, Deputy Director of Leesburg’s Dept. of Public Works, reached out to Loudoun Wildlife to see if we would work with Public Works on taking care of some issues that had arisen at the same Town Branch site.

Upon investigating the site, we found that beavers had done a fair amount of damage to several trees (mostly Pin Oaks, but also a few River Birches) and some of the shrubs. Furthermore, many of the mesh protectors we’d put up around the trees to protect them from the deer had been loosened by flooding and deer.  These needed to be redone.

Additionally, while our consultant had strongly recommend that we poison the fescue to give the native plants a better chance to get established, we did not because of the site’s proximity to the stream and the highly exposed nature of the site. This meant one of our most difficult tasks would be to get the fescue away from the immediate area of the native plants, and we needed to mulch that area so that the fescue would hopefully be choked out.

Of course, we agreed to take on this task of giving a needed touch-up to the original habitat restoration efforts.

Last month, on April 21st, a dozen of volunteers gathered at the site and spent several hours making sure most of the trees and shrubs there will continue to survive and thrive.  We also gathered several bags of trash, some of which had been deposited by storms, the rest by casual bystanders.  The volunteers that day were also thanked by the Town of Leesburg with a free pass for the Ida Lee Rec Center.

Will & Nan McCarry, longtime Loudoun Wildlife volunteers.

Will & Nan McCarry, longtime Loudoun Wildlife volunteers.

Angie Rickard, Loudoun Wildlife's new Habitat Restoration Coordinator.

Angie Rickard, Loudoun Wildlife’s new Habitat Restoration Committee Chair.

However, more hours are needed to fully complete the restoration tasks at this site.
If you are interested in helping Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy finish this important task, please contact our new Habitat Restoration Committee Chair, Angie Rickard, or volunteer online.

Also, check out our other Habitat restoration efforts online and think about how you could join our efforts toward this important and rewarding work.

In closing, we leave you with this beautiful poem about being of use.  We greatly appreciate our volunteers!

“To Be Of Use”
by Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.

They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil, 
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used. 
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real. 


Submitted by Joe Coleman
Edited by Sarah Steadman


An even dozen of eager birders enjoyed a warm morning bird walk at Banshee Reeks, May 10th, 2014.

The regular second-Saturday of the month bird walk is sponsored by Friends of Banshee Reeks and by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.  Additionally, this May walk also supported International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD).

A NASHVILLE WARBLER was the highlight of this walk.  It gave us all a healthy challenge to identify.  We used several field guides, compared those to the photo taken during the walk, and were ultimately convinced of the identity of this bird that is seldom seen at Banshee Reeks. What a find!  It just goes to show you how interesting birding during migratory season can be.

A total of 58 species were documented on this walk–WOW, what a variety (the list follows).
We encourage you to come out to our other bird walks and events as scheduled and seen online at Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.

Our next walk is this Saturday:
Birding the Blue Ridge Center  Saturday, May 24, 8:00 a.m. On the fourth Saturday of each month (except December), Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy leads a bird walk at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, a beautiful 900-acre preserve in northwestern Loudoun County. The property includes diverse wildlife habitats, including meadows, streams, and heavily forested slopes. Meet at the Education Center; bring binoculars. BRCES is located just north of Neersville at 11661 Harpers Ferry Road, Rte 671; detailed directions at This walk is co-sponsored by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and Northern Virginia Bird Club & led by Joe Coleman & Elton Morel. Questions: Contact Joe Coleman at 540-554-2542 or

May 10th at Banshee Reeks bird count and list:

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Wood Duck 2
  3. Mallard 4
  4. Wild Turkey 1
  5. Great Blue Heron 1
  6. Black Vulture 6
  7. Turkey Vulture 6
  8. Osprey 1
  9. Bald Eagle 1
  10. Red-shouldered Hawk 1
  11. Killdeer 1
  12. Mourning Dove 4
  13. Yellow-billed Cuckoo 6
  14. Belted Kingfisher 1
  15. Red-headed Woodpecker 2
  16. Red-bellied Woodpecker 6
  17. Downy Woodpecker 2
  18. Pileated Woodpecker 2
  19. Eastern Wood Peewee 3
  20. Acadian Flycatcher 5
  21. Eastern Phoebe 1
  22. Great-crested Flycatcher 3
  23. Eastern Kingbird 2
  24. White-eyed Vireo 1
  25. Red-eyed Vireo 5
  26. Blue Jay 4
  27. American Crow
  28. Fish Crow
  29. Tree Swallow 4
  30. Carolina Chickadee 4
  31. Tufted Titmouse 4
  32. White Breasted Nuthatch 2
  33. Carolina Wren 3
  34. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 8
  35. Eastern Bluebird 3
  36. Veery 1
  37. Wood Thrush 4
  38. American Robin 6
  39. Gray Catbird 8
  40. Northern Mockingbird 4
  41. Brown Thrasher 2
  42. European Starling 4
  43. Nashville Warbler 1
  44. Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
  45. Prairie Warbler 8
  46. Common Yellowthroat 10
  47. Yellow-breasted Chat 1
  48. Scarlet Tanager 3
  49. Field Sparrow
  50. Song Sparrow 2
  51. White-throated Sparrow 4
  52. Northern Cardinal
  53. Blue Grosbeak 1
  54. Indigo Bunting 4
  55. Red-winged Blackbird 4
  56. Common Grackle
  57. Orchard Oriole 6+
  58. American Goldfinch

Submitted by Del Sargent, Purcellville

Edited by Sarah Steadman



We are hosting another Native Plant Sale before the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy Annual Meeting
on JUNE 1, 2014.

The plant sale is from 2-4pm, and the Annual Meeting begins at 4pm in the Carriage House.

These plants are healthy, native, and pesticide-free plants that will grow beautifully in your gardens while also providing needed habitat for pollinators and Monarchs.

Pre-Order Now, Pick up June 1
To pre-order and see the list of available plants go to , then email or phone in your order.

Monarch butterflies and other pollinators need our help, and we know it’s hard to find native plants in local nurseries – especially pesticide free plants (pesticides kill insects, including Monarch adults and caterpillars).

To help you help the Monarchs and other animal species, we have arranged for Nature-by-Design to bring a selection of nectar plants and milkweed  to compliment the common milkweed plants Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy will be selling. Nature-by-Design will have a selection of goldenrod, asters, blazing star, mountain mint  and a few other pollinator plants that will sell for $7-quarts and $12-gallons.

In addition to the plants offered by Nature-by-Design, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy will have common milkweed plants – 3” pots @ $3 each. These are not available for pre-order but can be purchased while supplies last when you pick up your other plants.

Nature-by-Design will be taking pre-orders for any native plants you need up to May 31. Again, to pre-order and see the list of available plants go to , then email or phone in your order.

So come on out to get some plants on Sunday, June 1st, 2-4pm at Morven Park in Leesburg. Afterward, you can visit the latest Monarch Waystation planting at Turkey Hill on the grounds at Morven, and you can attend our fabulous ANNUAL MEETING!
We will be set up in the main parking lot, 17263 Southern Planter Lane, Leesburg.

See you there!


BRCES Bee Milkweed Aug 6 2008 Earlier this month, a Harvard School of Public Health study provided fresh evidence of the link between neonicotinoids and collapse of honey bee colonies. And it’s not just honey bees – native bees like bumblebees are also dying as a result of pesticide poisoning.

Honey bees, native bees and other pollinators are responsible for 1 out of every 3 bites of food we eat. Bees pollinate 71 of the 100 crops that make up 90% of the world’s food supply.

Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is among nearly 100 institutional co-signatories of a petition for the U.S. EPA to join 15 other countries in imposing an immediate moratorium on the use of neonicotinoids.  Individuals can also sign that petition here .

Additionally, individuals can sign a Center for Food Safety petition asking the EPA to deny proposed expanded use of two bee-toxic pesticides, thiamethoxam and sulfoxaflor.  The EPA public comment period on this issue ends May 27.


Native Plant Sale before the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy Annual Meeting

For Nectar plants — Pre-Order Now, Pick up June 1

For Milkweed plants (Common milkweed) – no pre-order available, but they can be purchased at the sale while supplies last

Monarch butterflies (and other pollinators) need our help and we know it’s hard to find native plants in local nurseries – especially pesticide free plants (pesticides kill insects, including monarch adults and caterpillars)

To help you help the monarchs and other animal species, we have arranged for Nature-by-Design to bring a selection of nectar plants and milkweed  to compliment the common milkweed plants Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy will be selling. Nature by design will have a selection of goldenrod, asters, blazing star, mountain mint  and a few other pollinator plants that will sell for quarts $7 and gallons $12. In addition, Nature-by-Design will be taking pre-orders for any native plants you need up to May 31.

To pre-order and see the list of available plants go to , then email or phone in your order. 

In addition to the plants offered by Nature-by-Design, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy will have common milkweed plants – 3” pots @ $3 each. These are not available for pre-order but can be purchased while supplies last when you pick up your other plants.

On Sunday June 1 between 2pm and 4pm come to Morven Park in Leesburg. We will be set up in the main parking lot, 17263 Southern Planter Lane, Leesburg.


Saw this posted recently — we need this in Virginia!

Pollinator plant labeling passes the Minnesota legislature

Dan Gunderson May 15, 2014

The Minnesota House and Senate have approved a bill designed to protect bees and other pollinators from systemic insecticides in garden plants.

The legislation  says, “A person may not label or advertise an annual plant, bedding plant, or other plant, plant material, or nursery stock as beneficial to pollinators if the annual plant, bedding plant, plant material, or nursery stock has been treated with and has a detectable level of systemic insecticide.”

University of Minnesota bee expert Marla Spivak says the legislation is an important protection for bees and reflects a new consumer demand.

“Nurseries, to stay in business, will have to pay attention to this new and strong consumer demand,” she said.

full text: