By Joe Coleman
While bird migration occurs year-round, from late April through early June millions of birds migrate through our area. While some of these will stay and nest here, many will continue their journey north. As a result it is possible to find and observe over a 100 species of birds in a single day. To celebrate this phenomenon the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is presenting a great program on warblers, the “jewels” of the eastern forests, holding a number of bird walks, and sponsoring a Birdathon.
Identifying and Learning about the Warblers of the Mid-Atlantic Region — Tuesday, May 3, 7:00 p.m. Morven Park. Linda Friedland, Jim Nelson, and Mike Bowen, all past presidents of the Montgomery County Chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society, will give an updated version of their popular workshop presentation, “Warblers of Maryland.” The presentation covers nearly every warbler species that breeds in or migrates through Maryland, Virginia and the other Mid-Atlantic States, stressing those that can be found locally and generally arranging them in the order in which they usually arrive in the state. Identification pointers and songs of birds in the spring are emphasized. The presentation uses high-resolution photos taken by some of North America’s finest nature photographers and song tracks from the Stokes Bird Song series.
Celebrate Birds, Go Birding! — Loudoun Wildlife sponsors a series of walks (all start at 8:00 a.m. unless otherwise noted) in many of Loudoun’s birdiest locations. Join us for one or more of the following walks (registration required for all but Banshee Reeks on the 14th):
- Morven Park on May 1; led by Nicole Hamilton & Dori Rhodes. Not only is Morven Park the place that Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy calls home, its 1,000 acres include the Ridge Loop trail, a lowland trail aptly named the Wood Thrush trail, and lots of fields and meadows. In spring wonderful neo-tropical birds are heard and seen: Scarlet Tanagers, warblers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, kinglets, woodpeckers, owls, hawks, Wild Turkeys, chickadees, nuthatches and other woodland and grassland species.
- The Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship on May 7; led by Joe Coleman and Gerry Hawkins. The center’s 895 acres has vernal pools, meadows, ponds, streams and a rich oak-hickory forest. Located in northwestern Loudoun County, the center not only borders the Appalachian Trail, it is only a couple of miles from the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, and serves as a wonderful sanctuary for Loudoun’s wildlife.
- Beagle Club/Institute Farm on Wednesday, May 11; led by Emily Southgate and Linda Millington. We have special permission to visit the Institute Farm, the home of the National Beagle Club of North America, and on the National Register of Historic Places. The farm’s brushy, scrubby intermediate habitat, bordered by mature forests, is home to many thicket-loving bird species. This group will also visit a nearby large farm which includes a large pond and extensive fields.
- Camp Highroad on Friday, May 13; led by Christine Perdue and Linda Millington. Southwestern Loudoun includes many large farms that include both extensive fields and rich woodlands through which Goose Creek and its many tributaries flow. In the spring it is home to a number of nesting birds as well as many migrants.
- Banshee Reeks on Saturday, May 14; led by Jane Yocom and Dori Rhodes. Banshee Reeks was established as a nature preserve in 1999. Its 725 acres include a variety of nature trails that are great for birding. In addition to a mile of Goose Creek frontage, Banshee has a great diversity of habitats ranging from wetlands and ponds to mixed hardwood forests of oak and hickory to wonderful meadows laden with milkweed, goldenrod and thistle.
- The Birdiest Time of The Year: Meet Your Birds! Saturday, May 14, 9:00-11:00 a.m., Algonkian Regional Park. Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and local birders Bill & Della Brown for this special International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) event just for kids and their parents. We’ll make it easy for you! We’ll point out the birds as you enjoy a morning stroll along the Potomac River. See and hear the birds which travel through our area during this special spring migration. Registration required: Space is limited to 15 children, ages 5+, with accompanying adult(s). No strollers or pets. Scout groups are welcome.
Registration required for all but Banshee Reeks: Sign Up Online. Questions: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Birdathon: Help raise money for birds in Loudoun County and have fun at the same time!
Two Ways to Participate:
1) Be a Birdathoner
- Register on the website at http://loudounwildlife.org/IMBD.htm
- Gather pledges from friends, family, neighbors
- Select your 24-hour count period between May 1 & May 15
- Conduct your count identifying as many species as possible
- Follow up with your sponsors to collect their pledges by June 12
2) Be a Sponsor
- Want to support the Birdathon but don’t have time to gather pledges? Consider making your own pledge.
- You can make a flat contribution to the Birdathon, itself, or sponsor a team and challenge them to find as many species as they can!
More information on our website at http://loudounwildlife.org/IMBD.htm