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Twelve people showed up at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship in northwestern Loudon for the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s regular (every 4th Saturday of the month) bird walk. After meeting at the Education Center on the north side we drove to the parking area at the end of Sawmill Rd. After walking there for a couple of hours about half of us drove over to where Arnold Rd crosses under the power lines to see if we could add a seventh woodpecker species to the six we’d already found. While we didn’t succeed we did see another American Kestrel, an Eastern Meadowlark, and a Red-tailed Hawk.

The highlights of the walk included two American Kestrels, five Ring-billed Gulls (unusual in western Loudoun County and generally only seen during migration), numerous flocks of between 150 and 200 Canada Geese flying north high in the sky for the first hour or so, and a single Eastern Meadowlark.

American Kestrel

American Kestrel

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 http://www.blueridgecenter.org.  Information on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and its many free activities can be found at www.loudounwildlife.org.

Joe Coleman & Del Sargent

Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, Loudoun, Virginia, US Feb 25, 2017 7:45 AM – 10:45 AM

Protocol: Traveling

1.7 mile(s)

Comments:  Regularly scheduled bird walk at BRCES; met at Education Center & drove down to the parking lot at the end of Sawmill. After walking there about 1/2 of us went over to Arnold Rd where it goes under the power line and had great views of open fields and saw another American Kestrel, an Eastern Meadowlark, a Red-tailed Hawk, and a few more species.

38 species

Canada Goose 800 — for the first hour or so observed several flocks of between a 150 and 200 geese each flock migrating north high in the sky

Black Vulture 10

Turkey Vulture 12

Red-shouldered Hawk 2

Red-tailed Hawk 1

Killdeer 8

Ring-billed Gull 5

Mourning Dove 4

Red-bellied Woodpecker 2

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2

Downy Woodpecker 4

Hairy Woodpecker 1

Northern Flicker 2

Pileated Woodpecker 2

American Kestrel 2

Blue Jay 3

American Crow 20

Fish Crow 1

Carolina Chickadee 12

Tufted Titmouse 12

White-breasted Nuthatch 2

Carolina Wren 8

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1

Eastern Bluebird 8

American Robin 2

Northern Mockingbird 1

European Starling 5

Field Sparrow 4

Fox Sparrow 1

White-throated Sparrow 8

Song Sparrow 8

Swamp Sparrow 2

Eastern Towhee 1

Northern Cardinal 5

Red-winged Blackbird 6

Eastern Meadowlark 1

Common Grackle 2

American Goldfinch 2

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34791563

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

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While the walk at northwestern Loudoun County’s Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship this past Saturday began with cool temperatures (48) and drizzle, it quickly turned into a great morning of birding with 87 species.

Several species were found by Gerry Hawkins and the others who arrived early around the pond near the Education Center and then we all traveled to the southern part of the center, entering at Arnold Road and then taking the Sweet Run Loop, Butterfly Alley, and Old Bridge Trails, finally wrapping up around noon.

Highlights were 19 warbler species (including Cerulean, Blue-winged, Tennessee, Prothonotary, Hooded) , four vireo species, a White-crowned Sparrow, nice looks at both Swainson’s ThrushVeery and Veery – see Hawkins’ photograph – and glances of a couple more catharus species that disappeared too quickly to identify, and great looks at Scarlet Tanagers. When we returned to our cars at Arnold Road we found in the meadows there not only more Eastern Meadowlarks, the Red-headed Woodpecker, a Grasshopper Sparrow, and another Blue-winged Warbler, but a kestrel and an Osprey as well. We also found some nice wildflowers, including a showy orchis.  It was a great day of birding!

We also had some interesting misses including Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Kentucky Warbler and Louisiana Waterthrush.

This was one of Loudoun Wildlife’s Celebrating Birds walks, which began on May 1, included a program on warbler ID on May 3 and a Birdathon to raise funds for Loudoun Wildlife. Information on the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship can be found at www.blueridgecenter.org/.   Information on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s many free programs and field trips can be found at www.loudounwildlife.org.

 Joe Coleman

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Yes, it’s true! People in Virginia are starting to see the beautiful Ruby-throated hummingbirds at their feeders.

You can track them as they make their way north on the map here and report your own sightings.  So clean your feeders and get ready to put out the nectar – one part sugar to four parts water.

 

Rubythroatmap20160404

 

 

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Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is delighted to hear that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), has received a Virginia Green Travel Star Award for Most Innovative Green Project for a commitment to green tourism practices through its Pollinator Habitat Program at Virginia Welcome Centers.

In 2014, VDOT launched the Pollinator Habitat Program working with Loudoun Wildlife on four pilot plots in four Northern Virginia, planting milkweed and other native plants that will help species of beneficial insects such as bees and Monarch_20150823-98butterflies, including the Monarch.

Last year, Loudoun Wildlife volunteers and Dominion Power representatives worked with VDOT to restore a 15,000 square foot meadow restoration as well as smaller plantings at a center on I-95 north in Dale City. The Dale City Rest Area on I-95 south was one of the four sites planted in 2014.

VDOT has worked on three other sites in southwestern Virginia and is planning other projects as the program expands around the state. You can find out more about VDOT’s Pollinator Habitat Program here http://www.virginiadot.org/programs/pollinator_habitat_program.asp.

You can start your own pollinator welcome center at home, at school, at your business and just about anywhere. Mark your calendar for the April 23 Loudoun Wildlife Native Plant sale at Morven Park and go to our website, www.loudounwildlife.org for events and information about Monarch butterflies and other species.

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Is the suddenly warm weather making you look at your garden and imagine it full of lovely color? This is a great time to start looking at area nurseries, which are opening again, and look at their native plant offerings.

One nursery, Nature by Design, www.nature-by-design.com,  in Alexandria, is even offering a special! If you go on or before March 15, mention the Internet special to get a 15% discount. The offer does not apply to special orders and delivery fees.

Remember, once established, native plants need less water, are better suited to the local area and attract a host of beneficial insects, butterflies and birds.

Happy gardening!

.Blackwater_Falls_area_Senecio_aureus_Golden_Ragwort_20130510-6

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While yesterday morning’s regular monthly bird walk at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship wasn’t very birdy, it was a beautiful, though chilly, morning for a walk outside and there were lots of signs of spring.

The most obvious one was many Eastern Bluebirds, at least 15, singing and pair-bonding & in two or three cases even visiting the bluebird boxes on the two trails that Loudoun Wildlife maintains on the center.  In one case two males appeared to be squabbling over a female and a box.

There were also a couple of Carolina Wrens giving their long rolling calls as well as lots of Cardinals and Tufted Titmice singing (which they have been doing, at least on nice days, for over a month). Many of the birds, esp. the bluebirds and some of the sparrows, very crisp with rather bright colors, probably because they recently molted.

After the walk I paid a brief visit to Arnold Ln on the south side of the center but it wasn’t very productive either.

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 http://www.blueridgecenter.org.  Information on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and its many free activities can be found at www.loudounwildlife.org.

Joe Coleman

 

Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship – MFF01, Loudoun, Virginia, US Feb 27, 2016 8:00 AM – 11:10 AM

Protocol: Traveling

1.5 mile(s)

Comments:     The group spent 2.5 hours around the Education Center and along the Farmstead Loop. After the main walk I drove down Arnold Lane which was also pretty quiet.

28 species

Canada Goose  X
Wood Duck  6
Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  10
Cooper’s Hawk  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  3
Mourning Dove  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  2
American Crow  X
Fish Crow  1
Carolina Chickadee  X
Tufted Titmouse  X
Carolina Wren  3
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1
Eastern Bluebird  15
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  2
Field Sparrow  1
Dark-eyed Junco  12
White-throated Sparrow  12
Song Sparrow  5
Swamp Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  7
Red-winged Blackbird  50     a flyover flock
American Goldfinch  3

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S27846973

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org/VA)

 

 

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The Leesburg Garden Club is offering to sponsor a child at Nature Camp this summer.  Details and contact info to apply is below:

Loudoun County Students

                                                                                                                                                                              Want to:

…spend two weeks in a national forest?

…sleep in a cabin?

…learn about our natural resources?

…know more about the environment?

Are you interested in nature?

Apply for a free two-week session at Nature Camp, located in the   George Washington National Forest near Vesuvius, Virginia

Sponsored by members of Leesburg Garden Club

Sessions: Grades 9-12 (June 19-July2); Gr. 8-9 (July 3-16); Gr. 6-8  (July 17-30);  Gr. 5-6 (July 31-Aug 13)

Applicant must:

  1. Be a Loudoun County student currently in grade 5-12.
  2. Write a paragraph or two about why he/she wants to attend Nature Camp, including:

                …Why is the natural world interesting to you?

                 …What have you done to explore the natural world?

                  …How do you think the Nature Camp experience will help you?

  1. Include a written recommendation from your science teacher.
  2. Email or send your application and recommendation to be received by me by

Saturday, January 30, 2016.
Contact Ellie Daley   pedaley@verizon.net

 

FOR more INFORMATION:

www.naturecamp.net                        pedaley@verizon.net

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2015 CENTRAL LOUDOUN CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 29

by Joe Coleman

Cardinal_20150426-3 NAHSince 1899 thousands of people have participated in the longest running citizen science project, the Christmas Bird Count, in the world.

This year, in over 2,000 different counts, people will count every wild bird they can find during these counts.

Join Loudoun Wildlife on Tuesday, December 29 as we participate in this year’s National Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count. The results are used to better understand bird populations and dynamics.

Our count circle has a 15-mile diameter and covers 177 square miles of Loudoun’s countryside: north to Waterford, south to Aldie, east to Ashburn, and west to Purcellville.

People will explore the county’s natural and not-so-natural areas in search of birds.

Counters share their wonder of the wild beauty of feathered creatures with like-minded people and sometimes find truly rare birds. It is always a lot of fun!

Yellow-bellied_Sapsucker_20151018-3 nahThe count includes a number of Loudoun’s very special locations such as the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve, the Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation Project, Beaverdam Reservoir, Morven Park, Ball’s Bluff, a number of private estates, about five miles of the C&O Canal in the vicinity of White’s Ferry, and much of still-rural western Loudoun County.

Everyone is welcome; amateurs are teamed with experienced birders, and every eye and ear helps!

After the counting is done we hope to meet for a Tally Rally where we will find out what others found and share stories about the day’s highlights.This year we’re planning a potluck for the Tally Rally.

If you are interested in participating in the count for just a couple of hours or for the entire day, Sign Up Online by December 22 or contact Joe Coleman at jcoleman@loudounwildlife.org or 540-554-2542.

If you’d like to help with the logistics of the potluck please contact Joe.

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When you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy. Bookmark the link http://smile.amazon.com/ch/54-1762533 and support us every time you shop.

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Nine birders were greeted by strong cold wind at the monthly walk at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve in Loudoun County this past Saturday. The walk is sponsored by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and the Friends of Banshee Reeks and is open to all on the second Saturday of each month. We were able to get out of the wind along Arrowhead Ridge Trail and we found lots of both KINGLETS and several singing TOWHEES. A flock of about 15 WAXWINGS seemed to follow us along.

A total of 30 species were seen which is below the average for the November walk but probably reflective of the winds.  The list follows:

Turkey Vulture

Red-tailed Hawk

Mourning Dove

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Downy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker

Blue Jay

American Crow

Fish Crow

Common Raven

Carolina Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

White-breasted Nuthatch

Carolina Wren

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Eastern Bluebird

American Robin

Northern Mockingbird

Cedar Waxwing

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Eastern Towhee

Song Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Northern Cardinal

Red-winged Blackbird

American Goldfinch

 

Mary Ann Good and Del Sargent

 

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