Archive for May, 2015

Thirty-five birders showed up for the regularly scheduled monthly bird walk at the 900-acre Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship in northwestern Loudoun County this past Saturday morning. This month’s walk was sponsored by both the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and the Northern Virginia Bird Club and split into two different groups. One group, led by Elton Morel & Marc Ribaudo, concentrated on the area around the Education Center & organic farm and found 59 species; the other group, led by Joe Coleman & Mary Ann Good, walked the trails at the southern end of the property and found 57 species. Neither group spent much time in the forest and, for the most part, found the same species with some notable exceptions such as the four Chats found around the Education Center. After the scheduled walk a couple people briefly visited the open areas under the power line on Arnold Road and added American Robins and two counter-singing Orchard Orioles to the days list.

The highlights of the 70 species were five Blue-winged Warblers, a couple of which were well-seen, a flyover Broad-winged Hawk, one Cerulean Warbler, and 4 Yellow-breasted Chats.

For a complete list of the birds see the combined eBird lists 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 and information on the Northern Virginia Bird Club can be found at

Joe Coleman

Canada Goose  6, Great Blue Heron  2    , Black Vulture  3, Turkey Vulture  9, Cooper’s Hawk  1, Bald Eagle  3, Red-shouldered Hawk  3, Broad-winged Hawk  1, Red-tailed Hawk  1, Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  26, Mourning Dove  6, Yellow-billed Cuckoo  4, Chimney Swift  18, Ruby-throated Hummingbird  3, Red-bellied Woodpecker  7,, Downy Woodpecker  3, Hairy Woodpecker  3, Northern Flicker  1, Pileated Woodpecker  4, Eastern, Wood-Pewee  3, Acadian Flycatcher  6, Eastern Phoebe 1, Great Crested Flycatcher  10, Eastern Kingbird  4, White-eyed Vireo  6, Yellow-throated Vireo  2, Red-eyed Vireo  25, Blue Jay  3, American Crow  9, Fish Crow  3, Common Raven 1, Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1, Tree Swallow  9, Barn Swallow  14, Carolina Chickadee  8, Tufted Titmouse  15, White-breasted Nuthatch  2, House Wren 3, Carolina Wren  5, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  9, Eastern Bluebird  6, Wood Thrush  2, American Robin  2, Gray Catbird  5, Northern Mockingbird 2, Brown Thrasher  2, European Starling  8, Cedar Waxwing  27, Ovenbird  1, Louisiana Waterthrush  1, Blue-winged Warbler  5, Kentucky Warbler  1, Common Yellowthroat  8, American Redstart  8, Cerulean Warbler 1, Yellow-breasted Chat  4, Eastern Towhee  5, Chipping Sparrow  3, Field Sparrow  15, Grasshopper Sparrow  1, Song Sparrow  1, Scarlet Tanager  4,, Northern Cardinal  12, Indigo Bunting  25, Eastern Meadowlark 1, Common Grackle  3, Brown-headed Cowbird  18, Orchard Oriole  2, American Goldfinch  30, House Sparrow 2

Common milkweed aflutter with pollinators
Common milkweed aflutter with pollinators

Common milkweed aflutter with pollinators

Our annual meeting will be filled with activities for all members to enjoy.

Among them will be Watermark Woods selling native plants. Please go to for the current available inventory. Pre-orders are appreciated.

In addition, we’ll have our native pesticide-free milkweed available ($3 per plant). We still have Common Milkweed, the #1 favorite of Monarch butterflies, and Swamp milkweed, the #2 favorite.  Milkweed plants are first-come first serve – no pre-orders.

The plant sale and other fun activities for families starts at 12:30. The Annual meeting program starts at 2:00.

Morven Park
17263 Southern Planter Ln
Leesburg, VA

If you are not yet a member of Loudoun Wildlife but would like to support our work, please Join. You don’t have to be a member to this event but we really appreciate and need your support.


The NRDC sums up the issue quite well in their video and petition to Dow Chemical. Please sign and share: NRDC Petition to Dow Chemical


The Ligi Nestlings biggest bird-a-thon!

ligi-nstlings-2015Sunday, May 10th marked our 7th annual bird-a-thon for The Ligi Nestlings.  This was our biggest bird-a-thon yet!  We birded (I use that term loosely) for almost 2 hours and found a new record of 31 species! We also raised more money than ever before…almost $700 (including a donation from McKenzie and Addison’s piggy banks).  All donations go to the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy to support bird-friendly educational programs, habitat restoration, and citizen science projects.  A huge thank you goes to our friends and family for their generous support and encouragement along the way!

So how does a bird-a-thon work with an 8, 5, and 1 year old?  Well, it’s fun and it’s crazy.  McKenzie was our team recorder and carried a clipboard around.  She started off looking for birds, but got side tracked by all the caterpillars and butterflies.  She took a couple caterpillars home and we worked together to identify them as Eastern Tent Caterpillars (aye yi yi).  We watched them form their cocoon in our butterfly enclosure on the back porch.  I’m not sure how the release is going to go, but what a great learning experience for the girls.  Addison was the most focused during our bird-a-thon and proudly identified a Cardinal, Robin, and Mourning Dove all by herself.  Little Catherine had no idea what was going on, but she looked cute and said “bird” in the sweetest little voice.  We also spent some time playing pooh sticks and exploring around the creek with our nets.  The pollen and mayflies eventually won out, sending poor McKenzie and Catherine to the car with big puffy eyes.  They looked so miserable that we finished our birding adventure from the car and the comfort of GaGa and Opa’s house.  A special thanks goes to dad for keeping the girls dry and safe and for letting me wander off every now and then to track down a bird.

Here’s our species list and a few highlights from the Blue Ridge Center and surrounding areas:

  1. American Robin (6)
  2. Mourning Dove (3)
  3. Crow (10)
  4. Black Vulture (11)
  5. American Goldfinch (7, McKenzie’s favorite because we saw them with a small flock)
  6. Eastern Bluebird (3)
  7. Great Blue Heron  (2, most likely flying to a nearby rookery)
  8. Turkey Vulture (4)
  9. Tree Swallow (10, this was one of the few birds that stuck around long enough for Catherine to see)
  10. Indigo Bunting (2)
  11. Carolina Chickadee (8)
  12. Eastern Towhee (1)
  13. Blue Gray Gnatcatcher (1)
  14. Field Sparrow (3)
  15. Northern Cardinal (6, Addison proudly identified this species for our team and even knew the boys from the girls!)
  16. Barn Swallow (1)
  17. Downy Woodpecker (1)
  18. Blue Jay (3)
  19. Chipping Sparrow (1)
  20. Chickens (8, not really wild but everyone on our team actually saw them so they made the list )
  21. Pileated Woodpecker (1, flying into his nest cavity)
  22. Carolina Wren (1)
  23. Eastern Phoebe (2, a nice pair twitching their tails near the water)
  24. Northern Mockingbird (2)
  25. European Starling (1)
  26. Common Grackle (6)
  27. Red-winged Blackbird (3)
  28. Osprey (catching a fish and flying off towards the nearby Potomac River, probably heading to her own nest to feed her own nestlings. Unfortunately the girls missed it, but it was definitely a highlight for me!)
  29. House Sparrow (1)
  30. Gray Catbird (1)
  31. Song Sparrow (1, chowing down at the feeder in GaGa and Opa’s backyard)

Our naturalists-in-training also found caterpillars, butterflies, a turtle, flowers, pigs, dogs, and a gazillion bugs.



May 22, 2015 - Sterling, VA - The Dulles Greenway’s 10th annual Drive For Charity reached a record high for donations with $298,000 collected as part of the 2015 campaign. Monies raised will be donated to six local charities and the Greenway scholarship program.

“The Drive for Charity funds will allow the six charities to reach many more people making a huge difference in the lives of those who are in need,” said Terry Hoffman, Public & Customer Relations Manager of the Dulles Greenway. “We are proud to be a small part of making Loudoun County a better place for everyone.”

Thank you to our 2015 sponsors: WTOP, WINC FM, Jiffy Lube ®, Dewberry, Shirley Contracting, Faneuil, Deloitte, Strittmatter, Capital Rail Constructors, Transcore, Clyde’s, Davis Paige, David Madison Photography.

The Dulles Greenway is a privately owned 14-mile toll road that connects Washington Dulles International Airport with Leesburg, Virginia. A trip from Leesburg to the Dulles Airport or to the Dulles Toll Road can be made in less than 15 minutes. Travelers save time and money when compared to the alternate routes.

If you have additional questions or need further comment, please contact Terry Hoffman via email at or phone at 703-668-0033.


Stanley_opossomLet’s celebrate! Come commemorate 20 years of conservation and community with us at our Annual Meeting. It will be an afternoon full of fun!  Even some of our feathered and furry friends from the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center will be visiting! We’ll also have some native plants for sale if you are still looking to fill up your garden.

Starting at 12:30, we’ll be hosting a special family experience that will include: light snacks, live bluegrass and swing music by local musician Tara Linhardt, hands-on activities, native plant sales, nature program, a trail walk and other surprises!

Then we will begin our meeting and wildlife program at 2:00. The Blue Ridge Wildlife Center will do a program on Wild Virginia, an up-close and personal visit with our wild neighbors and their natural history. The program focuses on animals that live in Virginia and interesting facts and stories about their lives.

Where: Morven Park, Vaughn Room & Carriage Museum

When: Sunday, May 31st, Our Outdoor Family Experience starts at 12:30, Meeting & Wildlife Program starts at 2:00

Come for all or just part of the event!

Cost: FREE!

Register here!


Here’s a great event being organized by the Loudoun County Master Gardeners — and when you visit Julie’s place, be sure to pick up some great native plants for your garden!

Free Garden Lecture – Visit Loudoun’s Native Plant Nursery and Learn About Using Natives in Your Landscape
Come out to the country on Thursday, June 4th at 7pm to visit Loudoun’s one and only all native, pesticide free plant nursery!  Owner Julie Borneman will provide a practical look at using native plants in a suburban setting.  She’ll discuss native choices to add structure and interest to your landscaping and debunk the myth that native plants look unruly.

Watermark Woods is beautifully situated in one of Hamilton’s many forested glens and, true to its name, makes a soft footprint on the surrounding rural environment.  Started in July of 2014, the family owned nursery is located just off Route 9 at 16764 Hamilton Station Rd.  Please bring your own lawn chair and carpool if at all possible.  Parking on the grass is acceptable.

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

Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments.


10th Annual Dulles Greenway Drive for Charity Thursday, May 21st


In 2006, the Dulles Greenway introduced our annual Drive for Charity campaign.

Once a year, Drive for Charity contributes 100% of tolls collected on the designated day to local Loudoun charities and funds our Greenway Citizenship Award scholarships.

The Dulles Greenway has proudly donated $2.1 million over the past 9 years.

The 2015 Drive for Charity is Thursday, May 21st!

All tolls collected will be donated to fourteen student recipients of the Dulles Greenway Citizenship Award and the following six charities:

•             March of Dimes (National Capital Area)

•             Every Citizen Has Opportunities (ECHO)

•             Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS)

•             Fresh Air / Full Care

•             Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy (LWC)

•             Loudoun Free Clinic

Commuter Discount


In support of the Dulles Greenway Drive for Charity, Jiffy Lube is offering all customers who travel the Greenway on May 21st a discount on your next oil change. The discount will be emailed directly to E-ZPass customers with a good email address on file with E-ZPass.

We encourage you to travel the Greenway on Thursday, May 21st for a good cause and a faster commute. Please share with your co-workers, family and friends etc.

Thanks to our sponsors:


For more information on the Dulles Greenway Drive for Charity please visit



Rachel Carson said, “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”

This year, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is expanding its Youth and Family Programs by adding a host of field trips, nature walks, school programs, and speaker programs designed specifically for Loudoun’s K-12 citizens.  We know our young stewards are the future of conservation and people and wildlife living in harmony. Please check our programs calendar to sign up!

One of the main features to this new effort is the addition of the  “We’re Going Wild” Family Nature Walks, a series of discovery hikes in various natural habitats all over the county, and led by seasoned naturalists.  These walks are special because they are EDU-taining and designed to be hands-on, unstructured to allow for deeper exploration of findings, and FUN for FREE!

They are not just for the kids, but also for their families!  When families go wild together, a special process of shared learning takes place…where adults and children are students together as equals.  This is a significantly powerful paradigm shift that creates a richer learning environment for children learning alongside their adult role models!  This further fosters applying new knowledge together outside of our programs–in your own backyards and communities.

This group WENT WILD at Algonkian Regional Park on May 17, 2015.

This group WENT WILD at Algonkian Regional Park on May 17, 2015. Guide Ed Clark (far left) will see you again in June for the next “We’re Going Wild” Family Nature Walk at  the South Riding Blvd. pond…on Father’s Day, June 21st!

Our first “We’re Going Wild” walk took place Sunday, May 17th at Algonkian Regional Park on The Woodlands trail along the beautiful Potomac River. Local entomologist and naturalist, Ed Clark, led an enthusiastic and inquisitive group of families who seemed to have an EYE for wildlife!  Highlights of the many exciting finds on their 1.5 mile hike were a Broad-headed Skink, North American Millipedes, 6-spotted Tiger beetles, Blue-Black beetles, Skippers, and this season’s Eastern Tent Caterpillars and their tented silk nests. Additionally, hikers studied the difference between a beetle and a true bug, as well as between dragonflies and damselflies.

Broad-headed Skink

Broad-headed Skink

Plant ID included Poison Hemlock, Poison Ivy, Bush Honeysuckle/ Barberry Bush/Autumn Olive (providing the platform for a talk about non-native plants), Multi Floral Rose, Pawpaw trees (host plant for Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly), Wingstem (native aster blooming yellow later in summer), Deer Tongue plant, Morning Glory and Bindweed, Virginia Creeper, Common Milkweed (host plant for Monarch Butterflies), and Sycamore trees.

Our families also found the handiwork of wood-peckers on trees, identified as work of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker based on the pecking patterns in the tree bark, and they enjoyed learning the distinct songs of the Cedar Waxwing, Warbling Vireo, and Gray Catbird.

What an exciting day spent outdoors on the trail together!

Please join us for next month’s walk:

“We’re Going Wild” Family Nature Walk Series ― Sunday, June 21, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., South Riding Blvd. Pond, South Riding. Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and local naturalist and USDA entomologist Ed Clark to explore the natural world through the wonder-filled eyes of children! This series of family nature walks invites families to explore the wide world of nature together, led by an expert in nature and fun! This month’s walk will explore a community pond habitat during pollinator week and ON Father’s Day! Space is limited to 12 children, ages 7+, with accompanying adult. Note: Not designed for Scout groups; no strollers or pets. Registration required: Sign Up Online.




To help display of citizen stream monitoring data, David Ward created two “Story Maps” using ArcGIS for Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and Goose Creek Association.

Both groups conduct benthic monitoring and Goose Creek Association also monitors basic chemistry and bacteria.

Click on one of the links above and it will take you to a map where you can see specific stream health data.  Really neat!  Thank you David!