Archive for June, 2016


The Center for Conservation Biology says that according to 2016 survey results for the Virginia bald eagle population, there are 1,007 occupied breeding territories. Yes, more than 1,000 pairs!

What’s really wonderful is that this total number represents a comeback for this magnificent bird from a low of 20 pairs in 1970. The Center says a federal ban on DDT and like compounds in 1972 led to a recovery beginning in the late 1970s.

The Center, at the College of William and Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University, compiled more than 160 hours of aerial surveys, ground efforts in residential areas of lower Tidewater and observations from inland volunteers that documented the numbers. The densest areas of the breeding population are in the counties around the Chesapeake Bay,  including 75 pairs in Westmoreland County, 73 pairs in King George County and 71 pairs in Essex County..

The 2016 survey is the 60th year of the annual eagle survey initiated by Jackson Abbott and volunteers of the Virginia Society of Ornithology.

You can read more details about the survey here and see a map of where the birds are at an interactive portal.





As we all know, it’s going to take a lot of work by all of us to restore the pollinator populations, including honey bees and Monarch butterflies, to healthy levels. Weather, pesticides, disease, habitat loss are contributing factors and we can’t control all of it but we need to do what we can.

The current administration has spoken out before about the need for federal government agencies to work together to help. Today, the administration released the Pollinator Partnership Action Plan (PPAP), which encourages and gives examples of possible partnerships as well as suggestions that you can follow on farms and in your yards and gardens.

Bruce Rodan, Assistant Director for Environmental Health for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said “As the President made clear, ultimate success can only be achieved through an all-hands-on-deck approach to create the necessary long-term change and fully internalize the value of these creatures to our well-being.” You can read his comments here.

The PPAP examples range from research projects with state governments to making land available to bee keepers and providing tax benefits to landowners who help apiaries. Another project teams a federal agency with the Xerces Society and private seed companies to test native milkweed for commercial production. Milkweed is, of course, essential to the lifecycle of the Monarch as it’s the only plant the butterfly lays its eggs on and that the caterpillars eat.

Locally, as you may know, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy has worked with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) on modifying mowing practices and teamed up with VDOT and Dominion Power to plant waystations at rest stops in the commonwealth.

Elswhere, the PPAP says, the Federal Highway Administration and six states in the Mid- and Southwest have informally designated the 1,500-mile I-35 as the Monarch Highway for migrating butterflies.

The report suggests – and we strongly support – planting more native pollinator plants and not using pesticides. Native plants support a greater variety of species in the local environment and are essential to their life cycle.

So take a few minutes to read the report, talk about the ideas, and do what you can. Make a difference.



The highlights of the 55 bird species observed by the 13 participants on the regular monthly bird walk at the Blue Ridge Center Saturday were Yellow-billed Cuckoo and 8 different warbler species as well as long looks at a number of Acadian Flycatchers. The walk was led by Joe Coleman and Del Sargent assisted by Elliot and Nancy Kirschbaum.

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

Acadian Flycatcher

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

Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, Loudoun, Virginia, US Jun 25, 2016 8:00 AM – 10:35 AM

Protocol: Traveling

1.9 mile(s)

55 species

Wild Turkey  1

Turkey Vulture  5

Red-shouldered Hawk  2

Mourning Dove  3

Yellow-billed Cuckoo  2

Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1

Red-bellied Woodpecker  2

Downy Woodpecker  2

Hairy Woodpecker  1

Pileated Woodpecker  1

Eastern Wood-Pewee  10

Acadian Flycatcher  8

Eastern Phoebe  2

Great Crested Flycatcher  1

White-eyed Vireo  1

Yellow-throated Vireo  2

Red-eyed Vireo  12

Blue Jay  3

American Crow  2

Fish Crow  3

Purple Martin  1

Tree Swallow  11

Carolina Chickadee  5

Tufted Titmouse  5

White-breasted Nuthatch  2

House Wren  2

Carolina Wren  4

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2

Eastern Bluebird  10

American Robin  1

Gray Catbird  1

Brown Thrasher  2

Northern Mockingbird  2

Cedar Waxwing  6

Ovenbird  2

Worm-eating Warbler  1

Louisiana Waterthrush  1

Kentucky Warbler  4

Common Yellowthroat  5

American Redstart  1

Northern Parula  1

Yellow-breasted Chat  1

Grasshopper Sparrow  1

Chipping Sparrow  2

Field Sparrow  4

Song Sparrow  1

Eastern Towhee  2

Scarlet Tanager  2

Northern Cardinal  5

Indigo Bunting  10

Common Grackle  2

Brown-headed Cowbird  4

Baltimore Oriole  1

American Goldfinch  6

House Sparrow  1


View this checklist online at


This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (


Seven birders came to the regular monthly birdwalk at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve on Saturday, June 11, led by Del Sargent and Mary Ann Good.  We enjoyed a beautiful morning with an abundance of bird song and activity.  Our total count of 58 is on the high side for the June walk.  Highlights included a Red-headed Woodpecker, 7 warbler species including 3 Yellow-breasted Chats, and a Blue Grosbeak. It was nice to find a bright young Box Turtle beside the trail.

Box Turtle


The list follows:

Canada Goose

Green Heron

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Cooper’s Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Mourning Dove

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Eastern Wood Pewee

Acadian Flycatcher

Great-crested Flycatcher

Eastern Kingbird

White-eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Fish Crow

Tree Swallow

Northern Rough Wing Swallow

Barn Swallow

Carolina Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

White-breasted Nuthatch

Carolina Wren

House Wren

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Eastern Bluebird

Wood Thrush

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Northern Mockingbird

Brown Thrasher

Cedar Waxwing

Northern Parula

Yellow Warbler

Prairie Warbler


Louisiana Waterthrush

Common Yellowthroat

Yellow-breasted Chat

Scarlet Tanager

Eastern Towhee

Field Sparrow

Northern Cardinal

Blue Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting

Common Grackle

Brown-headed Cowbird

House Finch

American Goldfinch


Mary Ann Good and Del Sargent



Rust Sanctuary Great Blue Heron Aug 4 2007 2Morven Park in Leesburg is a place of varied habitats and a great place for an outing. It’s one of Loudoun’s Great Places!

Here is Bryan Henson’s account of the bird species spotted on Sunday’s walk.

During the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s Nature Walk at Morven Park, our group of 20 nature enthusiasts walking mostly on the Wood Thrush trail found 32 species of birds with highlights including

* Brown Thrasher family
* Decent looks at female and male Scarlet Tanagers
* Great looks at Indigo Buntings
* Many calling Wood Thrushes
* An active barn swallow nest
* flycatchers – Great Crested, Eastern Phoebe, and Eastern Wood-Pewee

The list is on eBird at

After the walk, 3 of us went to another section of the park and watched
Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, Great Blue Heron, Grasshopper Sparrow and an
active Eastern Kingbird nest.