Entries tagged with “Algonkian Regional Park”.

On Saturday, April 12th,  Del Sargent & Joanne Bradbury led the regular monthly bird walk (sponsored every 2nd Saturday of the month) at Loudoun County’s Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve.

One highlight of the walk was not a bird but a probable Mink (there was some debate over whether it was a possible River Otter). It was well seen by the group as it scampered along the shore of the Goose Creek for about 50 yards. Some people thought it might be a young River Otter, but the time of year has not yet arrived for that.

While looking at a kettle of vultures, the group found two Broad-winged Hawks soaring high in the sky. Also, earlier in the walk, an Eastern Kingbird was fly-catching at the pond near the Visitor Center.

While there were numerous Eastern Towhees (at least 8) and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers (at least 8), there was only one warbler–a singing Louisiana Waterthrush. Other highlights included a male and female American Kestrel, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. There were also at least 15 Spring Azure butterflies, a very fresh Zebra Swallowtail, and an Anglewing–probably an Eastern Comma.

See below for complete eBird list of the birds seen at Banshee Reeks on this walk.

The regular monthly, free bird walk (again, every 2nd Saturday of the month) at the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve is sponsored by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and the Friends of Banshee Reeks; information on both and their upcoming events can be found on their websites.

Next month, there are two REGULAR birding events scheduled on May 10th at 8am; one at Banshee Reeks, the other at Algonkian Regional Park.

In addition, May is a GREAT time to come out to a birding event with our “Celebrate Birds, Go Birding! International Migratory Bird Day” events, Saturday, May 3 – Sunday, May 11.

“During the spring, thousands of migratory birds move through North America to their nesting territories. Some will stay and nest in our area, while others will spend only a few days here replenishing their energy before continuing a journey that may be thousands of miles long. To celebrate and highlight this natural phenomenon and the importance of natural habitats, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy has scheduled several IMBD walks between May 3 and 11.
All walks begin at 8 am and require registration except for Birding Banshee.
Registration required: Sign Up OnlineQuestions:Contact Jill Miller at jmiller@loudounwildlife.org.

- Birding Elizabeth Mills Riverfront Park, Tuesday, May 6. Led by Bill Brown & Joe Coleman
- Birding Camp Highroad, Friday, May 9. Led by Linda Millington & Christine Perdue
- Birding Algonkian Regional Park, Saturday, May 10. Led by Bill Brown & Larry Meade
- Birding Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve, Saturday, May 10. Led by Del Sargent, Dori Rhodes, & Joanne Bradbury.
- Birding Waterford’s Phillips Farm, Sunday, May 11. Led by Bruce Johnson.

We encourage you to share your Loudoun County birding adventures with us on the  Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy Facebook page, especially if you have photos from our bird walk events.

Submitted by Joe Coleman for Del Sargent & Joanne Bradbury
Edited by Sarah Steadman

Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve – MFF08, Loudoun, US-VA

Apr 12, 2014 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.75 mile(s)
48 species

  • Cooper’s Hawk 1
  • Canada Goose 10
  • Wood Duck 2
  • Mallard 2
  • Black Vulture 15
  • Turkey Vulture 6
  • Red-shouldered Hawk 5
  • Broad-winged Hawk 2
  • Red-tailed Hawk 2
  • Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 1
  • Mourning Dove 12
  • Belted Kingfisher 1
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker 4
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
  • Downy Woodpecker 12
  • Northern Flicker 8
  • Pileated Woodpecker 1
  • American Kestrel 2
  • Eastern Phoebe 2
  • Eastern Kingbird 1
  • Blue Jay X
  • American Crow X
  • Fish Crow X
  • Tree Swallow 12
  • Carolina Chickadee 7
  • Tufted Titmouse 9
  • White-breasted Nuthatch 1
  • Carolina Wren 1
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 10
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet 8
  • Eastern Bluebird 10
  • American Robin 12
  • Brown Thrasher 6
  • Northern Mockingbird 4
  • European Starling 6
  • Louisiana Waterthrush 1
  • Eastern Towhee 8
  • Chipping Sparrow 5
  • Field Sparrow 16
  • Song Sparrow 7
  • White-throated Sparrow 15
  • Dark-eyed Junco 11
  • Northern Cardinal 8
  • Red-winged Blackbird 10
  • Common Grackle 2
  • Brown-headed Cowbird 2
  • House Finch 1
  • American Goldfinch 12View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S17857444
    This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org/VA)


Thirteen birders participated in a bird walk at Algonkian Park this past Saturday, co-sponsored by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and led by Bill Brown. 

They enjoyed, in addition to excellent weather and camaraderie, good looks at Scarlet Tanagers, Warbling Vireos, Great-crested Flycatchers, and Eastern Kingbirds. 

The complete list of sightings includes:

Canada Goose 6, Wood Duck 4, Mallard 1, Double-crested Cormorant 6, Great Blue Heron 2, Green Heron 1, Black Vulture 1, Turkey Vulture 5, Red-tailed Hawk 1, Spotted Sandpiper 2, Mourning Dove 5, Chimney Swift 5, Red-bellied Woodpecker 4, Downy Woodpecker 1, Northern Flicker 1, Pileated Woodpecker 1, Eastern Wood-Pewee 1, Eastern Phoebe 2, Great Crested Flycatcher 7, Eastern Kingbird 4, Warbling Vireo 2, Red-eyed Vireo 4, Blue Jay 3, American Crow 2, Fish Crow 10, Tree Swallow 8, Barn Swallow 5, Carolina Chickadee 5, Tufted Titmouse 5, White-breasted Nuthatch 2, Carolina Wren 3, House Wren 3, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 6, Eastern Bluebird 4, Wood Thrush 1, American Robin 3, Gray Catbird 8, Northern Mockingbird 2, Brown Thrasher 2, European Starling 25, Cedar Waxwing 5, Yellow-rumped Warbler 4, Black-throated Green Warbler 1, Black-and-white Warbler 2, Chipping Sparrow 5, Savannah Sparrow (Eastern) 1, Song Sparrow 1, Scarlet Tanager 3, Northern Cardinal 5, Indigo Bunting 1, Red-winged Blackbird 4, Common Grackle 6, Brown-headed Cowbird 2, Orchard Oriole 4, American Goldfinch 8


We had our last of three amphibian monitoring program kickoffs this past Saturday.  This one was held at Algonkian Regional Park and it held some really great sightings!

To start the morning, Casey Pittrizzi, the naturalist at Algonkian Regional Park, let everyone have up close looks at a Wood Frog, Spotted Salamander, American Toad and Gray Tree Frog, that NVRPA has temporarily for education purposes. This was a great way to start off the program and start learning about our amphibians!

After our classroom session, where I basically gave everyone the run down on the different habitats amphibians use (forests and wetlands) and talked through the 25 different species we have here in Loudoun, we headed out into the field. [check out the photo album]

Our first stop was the little man-made pools at the mini-golf course.  To our excitement, we spotted numerous strings of American Toad eggs. 

That was special since we haven’t really heard the toads calling yet but they have obviously had an opportunity to get to the pools for breeding.

We also saw spotted salamander egg masses and hundreds of wood frog tadpoles, already hatched from their eggs.  We also spotted a newt in one of the pools, possibly eating frog or toad eggs.

From there, we headed out along the trails to look at the different wetland habitats – both vernal pools and swamp areas.

Here, we found an adult American Toad, obviously very cold and still in hibernation.  We also did a little dip netting and found lots of FAIRY SHRIMP! This is an obligate species for vernal pools and is only the second documented occurrence here in Loudoun.

Many thanks to all the participants for being a part of the day and to all the new volunteers for jumping in to the amphibian monitoring program this year!

Algonkian Regional Park is definitely one of our great places here in Loudoun.  Casey has some fun nature hikes and other programs lined up through the spring and summer, and we look forward to partnering on more events together!


Once nice thing about this time of year is that as trees drop their leaves and vegetation dies back, we can see signs of animal activity that may have been hidden through the summer. 

Nests built in trees become visible, cavities that may have served as nesting sites are revealed, and sapsucker holes, that may have been feverishly drilled last spring, stand out.

When we went on our bird walk at Algonkian Park last Saturday, we came across a tree along the river that had signs of sapsucker activity – a row of sapsucker holes, so level and so evenly spaced. 

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers themselves were flitting through the forest as well and it was great to see this connection.

To learn about Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, read this article by the Smithsonian – it’s fascinating!


We had a great walk at Algonkian Regional Park in Ashburn yesterday.  Eleven of us met up in the parking area near the pool. It was a chilly morning but refreshing and it warmed up nicely.

As we waited for folks to arrive, we watched hunters across the river monitoring their flocks of decoy ducks - one of which (in every flock) was a duck with frantically flapping wings that didn’t stop (kind of like of one those pinwheels we may have had as kids but bigger and more life-like). Needless to say, while we heard a lone goose flying, we didn’t have any actual ducks today.

Anyway, the morning was great. We walked mostly along the river, as the bird activity was pretty high through that forest buffer.

Highlights of the walk were certainly the amazing views we had of the Golden-crowned Kinglets as they gleaned insects from the trees, and of the Brown Creepers, which we had at least 4 of throughout the morning.

Woodpeckers were also quite active, as we saw 6 out of the 7 species here in Loudoun and enjoyed watching Sapsuckers, which were here in good numbers. A flock of about 6 bluebirds were also active along the trail.

The views of the river with the rusty fall colors holding out as a final hurrah before winter were lovely to soak in, as we wrapped up just before lunchtime.

Here’s the complete list of the 33 species that we saw:
Canada Goose, Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Belted Kingfisher, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Carolina Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Cardinal, and House Sparrow.

Check our Facebook photo album for some photos from the morning.


Loundoun Wildlife Conservancy’s walk at Algonkian Park on Wednesday morning drew eight people, who were treated to good looks at Palm Warblers and a Red-headed Woodpecker, among other birds.  Many thanks to Bill Brown for leading this walk! The complete list of species seen includes:

Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Mallard, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Red-shouldered Hawk, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Phoebe, Blue Jay, Fish Crow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, American Goldfinch


Susan Buckley, Loudoun County Supervisor for the Sugarland Run District, sent information about this cleanup event that’s been planned for next weekend (April 10) and we wanted to help get the word out. 

Algonkian Park is a terrific home to all sorts of wildlife – from salamanders, skinks and frogs to butterflies, birds and mammals of all sorts. I love going there for nature walks and being delighted by the wilds of nature — but have to say, I often find myself carrying a trash bag to pick up litter along the trails. Not sure why people litter but this is a great event to help clean it up (and teach our kids to respect nature and not litter).

Here’s the information from Susan:

The Rotary Club of Sterling, Algonkian Regional Park, the  Potomac Heritage Trail Association and my Office are sponsoring a Cleanup Day at Algonkian Regional Park, where we plan to clean up the shoreline of the Potomac River in addition to the shores of the Sugarland Run stream, a mile of which flows through the park.

I would like to invite you to join us. We will be working all morning, so feel free to come and go as suits your schedule. You are welcome to distribute the attached flyer to your friends.

As you know, sooner or later, the trash and debris flow downstream via the Sugarland Run through Algonkian Regional Park, into the Potomac and into the Chesapeake Bay. This is our chance to do a little something to help the environment in our own backyard.


This past Sunday we had our first amphibian foray of the year and headed over to Algonkian Park to explore the amazing network of seasonal waters and swampland that is over there.

The good news about all that snow that we had this year is that the swamp area and the vernal pools that run through Algonkian were full! We compared photos from last year at some of the same points along the trail and the comparison was dramatic. A vernal pool last year that was no bigger than a bathtub spanned over 100′ this year. It was great to see the water levels back up and the ground properly saturated.

Along our walk, Mike Hayslett, our field trip leader and director of The Virginia Vernal Pools Program, talked about soils, seasonal wetland habitats, lifecycles of the amphibian life found in these habitats, and other cool nature facts.

We did a bit of netting to try to find evidence of Marbled Salamanders as well.  Marbled salamanders lay their eggs in the fall in the dry leaf litter. The female then waits and protects the eggs until the fall rain comes and fills the pools. The eggs then hatch and develop through the winter. At one of the pools we did find a Marbled salamander tadpole. It was not alive but we could still make out the markings to identify it. Salamander tadpoles are easier to find at night because they are nighttime predators….moving through the water column in search of tasty insects.

Other critters that showed up in our netting were various freshwater insects – isopods, coepods – as well as clams. It was really fun to explore these swampy waters and learn about the lifecycles of the animals that use them. 

As soon as we have our first “Big Night” rainfall of the spring, the swamp will be crazy with activity from Wood Frogs, peepers, and other salamanders. Looking forward to that rain, hopefully this week!

I posted a few photos from our walk on our Facebook page – feel free to check them out.


Bill Brown, Joanne Bradbury, and Debbie Harrison enjoyed the mid-week bird walk at Algonkian Park today – and did our bit to improve international relations in the process.  Just as we were starting our walk, a group of four visitors from Sweden drove into the parking lot.  Seeing that they carried binoculars, we invited them to join us and they eagerly accepted.  This gave us the opportunity to impress them with some of our local birds, including the Northern Cardinal and the White-Breasted Nuthatch.  Perhaps the highlight of today’s walk was being able to track down an Eastern Phoebe at the request of the matriarch of the group, who beamed and advised us that it was a life-bird for her.  They left us after an hour, with smiles and thank-you’s all around, and one member of the group, who actually lives in Sterling, asked for LWC’s web address so that he can participate in future activities.

double_crested_cormorant_3_09Other highlights of today’s outing included two Barred Owls enthusiastically vocalizing with each other for several seconds and our first of season Eastern Kingbird.  Double-crested Cormorants and Yellow-rumped Warblers were plentiful, a few Palm Warblers showed themselves, and a couple of Osprey flew over.  We had great views of several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and a lone Brown Thrasher.   We found about eight Blue-winged Teals remaining in an ephemeral pool between the river and the soccer field.  Bill saw his first of season Orchard Oriole before the rest of the group arrived and a Spotted Sandpiper after they had left. 

Altogether we saw 45 species, including:  Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk, Spotted Sandpiper, Mourning Dove, Barred Owl, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Kingbird, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Tree Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird¸ American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, House Finch, American Goldfinch.


A fellow nature lover, Cheryl, just over the mountain in West Virginia, wrote this lovely piece on going for a walk in the woods. With spring at our heels, I thought it would be nice to share her writing and thoughts:

This year I have begun to think about what I want to do on my walks in the woods, what is the goal? After writing algonkian_park_3_08_09down a bunch of goals and tasks I still didn’t have the answer I was looking for. The question was all wrong. So then I asked why do I go and what do I experience. The answer wasn’t what I thought it would be. The answer was that WOW moment that I cherish, that always draws me back.

I love that sense of wow and wonder that I get when I am truly in the moment and I discover something that has been there all along. It is brand new to me and suddenly I see it everywhere. My eyes have been opened and I marvel at the new discovery and beauty of this new object. I look around for someone to tell and want to shout from the mountain tops, “Look at this…..it is sooooo cool.” These moments are addicting like a drug that opens up my consciousness. I guess John Denver would call it a Rocky Mountain High.

The challenge is to continually find that new wonder, the new discovery on the same trail year after year. But the challenge is always met. Something always pops out. Even one small thing is enough to experience that wonder. Mother Nature never fails to deliver.

Sometimes just seeing old friends like spring ephemerals is wonder enough. I can delight in the fact that they are back and I recognize them. Seeing them only once a year keeps them fresh to my eyes. But there is always the fear that they won’t return signaling the end of the world as I know it. I just can’t conceive of spring without Dutchman’s breeches along the Shenandoah River. It would be too much to bear.

So my goal this year is to just be there in the moment and notice what is right in front of me. And to say hello to old friends and see what they have to offer I didn’t notice before.

How about you?


Note: The photo included here is from Algonkian Park – as I went there this past weekend, hundreds of Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers filled one of the vernal pools that runs through the property. Their chorus was so loud, people stopped their cars in wonder. It was fabulous.