Archive for November, 2014

With much gratitude:


Fifteen people gathered for the regular (every 4th sat. except Dec.) bird walk at the Blue Ridge Center on a cold (15 degrees) but still and sunny morning.

The first couple of hours were spent around the Education Center and the Organic Farm while two people visited Arnold Rd afterwards and added a few more species.

We found lots of sparrows and other int’g birds in and along the edges of the overgrown fields around the Education Center, including at least 8 Fox Sparrows, a Savannah Sparrow, three Hermit Thrushes, and a single Purple Finch.

BRCES_Cedar_Waxwing_Flock_20141122-3Several of the Fox Sparrows and a couple of the Hermit Thrushes posed in bright sunlight so the photographers could carefully take their photos.

We also enjoyed watching a Sharp-shinned Hawk fly right overhead so its diagnostic characteristics could be clearly and easily described.

We also saw a large flock of Cedar Waxwings, first perched along the edge of one of the fields looking like Christmas ornaments, and then doing darting maneuvers in the sky while sharply reflecting the sun off their waxy bodies.

While cutting through the mature forest which borders two of the fields we found three different Brown Creepers which we able to spend some time watching as they gleaned insects and spiders in the crevices of the tree bark.

When we visited Arnold Rd we added a male American Kestrel, two Red-tails, and a loud Raven who flew right over our heads.

Also int’g were the misses, both kinglet species (surprising because they have been common around our homes in western Lo Co this past week) and White-crowned Sparrows.

While there haven’t been a lot of sightings of the latter in western Lo Co so far this fall, three were seen during last month’s walk at the center.

For a complete list of the birds see the eBird list below.

Information on the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship can be found at Information on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and its many free activities can be found at
Joe Coleman

Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship – MFF01, Loudoun, US-VA Nov 22, 2014 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
3.0 mile(s) (one walking, two driving)

37 species

Canada Goose X, Black Vulture 10, Turkey Vulture 8, Sharp-shinned Hawk 1, Red-shouldered Hawk 3, Red-tailed Hawk 2, Red-bellied Woodpecker 7, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1, Downy Woodpecker 3, Pileated Woodpecker 2, American Kestrel 1, Blue Jay X, American Crow X, Common Raven 1, Carolina Chickadee 11, Tufted Titmouse 2, Brown Creeper 3, Carolina Wren 2, Eastern Bluebird 8, Hermit Thrush 3, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling 1, Cedar Waxwing 40, Field Sparrow 5, Savannah Sparrow 1, Fox Sparrow 8, Song Sparrow 8, Swamp Sparrow 1, White-throated Sparrow 35, Dark-eyed Junco 15, Northern Cardinal 9, Brown-headed Cowbird 15, House Finch 6, Purple Finch 1, American Goldfinch 3, House Sparrow 1

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (


Last Saturday’s Dulles Wetlands walk was chilly but good! There were 15 people on the walk. Although is was a cold day, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The pond was partially frozen over so we didn’t see the ducks we had hoped for but fresh signs of Beaver could be found.  You can see the full list of birds seen below.

Species: 34 – Subspecies: 0 – Forms: 34
Total Records: 34

Great Blue Heron 1
Black Vulture 2
Turkey Vulture 3
Northern Harrier 1
Bald Eagle 2
Red-shouldered Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Wilson’s Snipe 3
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Northern Flicker 3
Blue Jay 10
American Crow 20
Fish Crow 15
Carolina Chickadee 4
Tufted Titmouse 3
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Eastern Bluebird 5
American Robin 70
Northern Mockingbird 4
Cedar Waxwing 22
Yellow-rumped Warbler 3
Eastern Towhee 1
Field Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 10
Swamp Sparrow 3
White-throated Sparrow 15
Dark-eyed Junco 20
Northern Cardinal 3
Red-winged Blackbird 25
American Goldfinch 12

Many thanks to Jeff Mauritzen for sharing some photos from the walk:


Loudoun Wildlife hires its first Executive Director!

Nicole_20110924_7The Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is thrilled to announce it has hired Nicole Hamilton as its first Executive Director. Hamilton resigned as President of the Conservancy to take over the position on November 1.

Establishment of this position was driven by the organization’s tremendous growth and the increasing demand for environmental programming in Loudoun County. The organization’s Board of Directors recognized that in order to keep pace with this demand, and to demonstrate its commitment to the future, it needed the leadership of an Executive Director.

Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, a nonprofit with approximately 1,000 members, was formed in 1995 by a small group of local citizens who recognized that the county’s explosive growth was resulting in a tremendous loss of habitat, the greatest threat to wildlife. This small group of people wanted to ensure that Loudoun had a voice for its wildlife and the natural habitats that wildlife needs to thrive.

To this end, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is entering its 20th year promoting the preservation and proliferation of healthy wildlife habitats by offering environmental education, citizen science, and habitat restoration projects, as well as advocacy on issues affecting the health of wildlife and the habitat that wildlife needs to thrive. Not only wildlife but thousands of people benefit from these opportunities annually.

Upon accepting the role, Hamilton said, “It’s exciting seeing Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy continue to develop and grow. We often wonder how organizations become part of our community and here we are creating it. We’re developing an organization that will endure and benefit future generations.”

Hamilton first volunteered with Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy in 2003 when she was asked to join the Board. She was President from 2004-2008 and again from 2012 through this new transition. While leading the organization, she established Loudoun Wildlife’s Bluebird Nestbox Monitoring program through a partnership with the Virginia Bluebird Society, developed the Loudoun Amphibian Monitoring Program, created the Field Guide to the Butterflies of Loudoun and most recently launched the organization’s Monarch butterfly campaign, “Bringing Back the Monarch, Keeping the Magic Alive”.

Hamilton holds a Master of Business Administration and worked for 19 years with Booz Allen Hamilton as a Senior Associate leading a portfolio of Strategic Planning and Organization Transformation projects with an annual revenue of $12M.


Those with an iPhone won’t be too excited….(they already have this app and its old hat by now) but for those of us birders who use Android….mark your calendar for Nov 18th to download :) !

Here’s the news release:

BirdsEye for Android

Launching on Tuesday, November 18

It’s been in the works for years, and now the best bird finding app is coming to Android! BirdsEye uses your Android devices GPS and eBird data to show you the what birds you might find nearby, or at any place in the world. Even more exciting is that BirdsEye for Android is launching as a free app.

The free version of BirdsEye is limited to the 50 most common birds in your area. This is true for any location you are in the entire world – you’ll see sighting maps, photos, bird finding and identification text, and sounds where available. Additional regional memberships are available to unlock ALL species being reported throughout a continent, or across the world.

Android users have been asking for BirdsEye for years, and we are excited to finally make it available. This milestone was made possible through the generous donations of time and funds by many people, and we are counting on you, our most avid users, to spread the word of the Android launch and make it a success.


Amazon-Smile-logoIf you are, you can help Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy at the same time by simply going to the Amazon Smile link and shopping through that!

All you do is click this link and Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy will receive a donation from Amazon based on your purchases.  It’s no cost to you – the donation comes straight from Amazon. It’s only a few cents per purchase but all those cents can add up – especially around holiday shopping time!

We really appreciate your support!  Please share the link with friends and family:

p.s. You can use the link any time of the year – just save it as a bookmark and all your Amazon purchases will support Loudoun Wildlife!



We wanted to give a big congratulations and our thanks to David Ward for the incredible contribution he has made over the years!  Many of you know David from our stream monitoring program (he may have even helped train you in how to use the protocol)!

David has always been an incredible resource whenever we have a water question or are looking at how to manage the stream monitoring program. Many thanks to you David!

Read about the award from The Nature Generation here in the news:


A huge thank you to VDOT and Dominion Power for jumping in to Bringing Back the Monarchs, Keeping the Magic Alive with us!  Having these two powerhouse organizations as part of the solution is a huge, positive step and we are grateful for their commitment and engagement!

In June we had our first projects with Dominion Power with plantings at the W&OD Trail. They have been busy in others areas of Virginia too planting waystations and spreading the word about the plight of the Monarch. Here’s one they did in Roanoake:

Then as fall rolled around, Loudoun Wildlife, Dominion and VDOT teamed up!

We had a great project on October 29th and are looking forward to wonderful partnerships ahead….Medians for Monarchs anyone? The milkweed and nectar plants are already there along stretches of roadways so this is a no-cost solution – we just need to shift the mowing schedule – could even save $$$ — other ideas are percolating too!

VDOT put together a great video from the planting event on October 29th  - you can see it here:

And their press report is here — please let VDOTand Dominion Power know how much you appreciate this effort!

More news here:


You’ve probably heard the news about the Bald Eagle that was found a few months ago in Lovettsville – most likely hit by a car – that was thankfully found and quickly taken to the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center for care.

Well, we love a good news story! and John Flannery not only followed this whole story but put together a wonderful video essay to share it:



Banshee_White-throated_Sparrow_20140420-7Fourteen of us gathered yesterday for the regular 2nd Saturday of the month bird walk at the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve in central Loudoun Co.

It was a cold but still and beautiful fall morning and while we didn’t find as many species as we had hoped, we did enjoy watching two Bald Eagles, a juvenile and an adult, fly overhead.

We also, towards the end of the walk, had an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk fly directly towards us and then go right over our heads, giving us a wonderful opportunity to examine all its diagnostic characteristics closely.

There were also had two flocks of Fish Crows with over 125 birds fly over us making their distinctive call. At other times two flocks of blackbirds, mostly chatty Red-wings, flew overhead. And while there weren’t as many sparrow species as we had hoped to see, White-throated Sparrows were everywhere along with a healthy number of juncos.

For a complete list of the birds observed please see the eBird report below.

The regular monthly free bird walk (every 2nd Sat) at the Banshee Reeks Nature preserve is sponsored by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy & the Friends of Banshee Reeks.
Good birding!
Joe Coleman & Del Sargent
Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve – MFF08, Loudoun, US-VA Nov 8, 2014 8:00 AM -11:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 mile(s)
Comments: Regular 2nd Saturday of the month bird walk.
38 species +

Canada Goose X, Black Vulture 5, Turkey Vulture 5, Sharp-shinned Hawk 1, Bald Eagle 2, Red-shouldered Hawk 1, Red-tailed Hawk 3, Mourning Dove 4, Belted Kingfisher 1, Red-bellied Woodpecker 9, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2, Downy Woodpecker 4, Northern Flicker 5, Blue Jay 10, American Crow 25, Fish Crow 125 This count, which is actually conservative, occurred as two large flocks of Fish Crows flew overhead during the walk. They were coming from the direction of the county landfill and were constantly vocalizing with their “uhh” call as they passed overhead.Carolina Chickadee X, Tufted Titmouse X, White-breasted Nuthatch 3, Brown Creeper 1, Carolina Wren 3, Kinglet, sp. 1, Eastern Bluebird 3, American Robin 25, Northern Mockingbird 10, European Starling 25, Cedar Waxwing 1, Yellow-rumped Warbler 1, Eastern Towhee 3, Field Sparrow 1, Song Sparrow 8, White-throated Sparrow 50, Dark-eyed Junco 20, Northern Cardinal 8, Red-winged Blackbird 125, Common Grackle 5, Brown-headed Cowbird 1, House Finch 1, American Goldfinch 8.