Entries tagged with “Bles Park”.

DSC_3795On June 23th, Andy Rabin and Kevin Munroe led another great field trip to find and identify as many dragonflies and damselflies as they could.

The group visited Bles Park, Claude Moore Park and Willowsford.

A full list of the sightings (33 species) is below and reference of the first place they saw them during the day.

Bles Park
Claude Moore Park (CM)
Willowsford Farm (WF)

DRAGONFLIES – 23 species
Common Green Darner, Swamp Darner (WF), Unicorn Clubtail (CM), Black-shouldered Spinyleg, Lancet Clubtail (WF), Cobra Clubtail, Dragonhunter, Arrowhead Spiketail (WF), Prince Baskettail, Common Pondhawk, Spangled Skimmer, Slaty Skimmer, Widow Skimmer, Common Whitetail, Needham’s Skimmer, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Painted Skimmer, Great Blue Skimmer, Blue Dasher, Eastern Amberwing, Autumn Meadowhawk, Carolina Saddlebags, Black Saddlebags (CM)

DAMSELFLIES – 10 species
Ebony Jewelwing (WF), Slender Spreadwing, Blue-fronted Dancer, Variable Dancer (WF), Powdered Dancer, Blue-tipped Dancer, Stream Bluet, Citrine Forktail, Fragile Forktail (WF), Eastern Forktail

Photo by Sheryl Pollock.


Last year Gerry Hawkins & Joe Coleman had a productive 47 species day visit to Bles Park on Columbus Day (Oct 10, 2011).  As a result the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy decided to schedule a Columbus Day walk at Bles this year.

Nineteen people showed up this past Monday morning in spite of rather cool and damp conditions though it didn’t begin to drizzle until the end of the walk. The group included Bruce Hill, Robert Daugherty, Mary Ann Good, Jay Hadlock, Joanne Bradbury, Donna Quinn, and several other skilled birders.

And, in spite of a large group of about 30 high school runners which passed us four different times during our walk, the day was more productive than last year.

In fact, right after two of their passes we found large and active mixed flocks of birds. Their coach, who was really dragging towards the end, suggested we add him to our tally as a Pot-bellied Wobbler.

The highlights of the 53 species included several First of Season species as well as some likely end of species birds: Chimney Swifts, Blue-headed Vireo, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, both kinglet species, a Hermit Thrush, four warbler species, two Lincoln Sparrows, three Swamp Sparrows, and a 1/2 dozen White-throated Sparrows, several of which were singing.  We also had several birds of prey including a Northern Harrier and several accipiters (three of which were Cooper’s and one a Sharpie). One of the participants commented what a great place Bles was for accipiters since there were so many small birds to prey on.

For a complete list of the birds see below. For more information about the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s many free activities visit www.loudounwildlife.org.
Joe Coleman
Bles Park, Loudoun, US-VA
Oct 8, 2012 7:40 AM – 6:20 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)

53 species

Canada Goose, Mallard  2, Black Vulture  2, Turkey Vulture  1, Osprey  1, Northern Harrier  1, Sharp-shinned Hawk  1, Cooper’s Hawk  3, Bald Eagle  1, Red-shouldered Hawk  2, Rock Pigeon  3, Mourning Dove  2, Chimney Swift  20, Belted Kingfisher  2, Red-bellied Woodpecker,, Downy Woodpecker  2, Northern Flicker  10, Pileated Woodpecker  1, Eastern Phoebe 4, Blue-headed Vireo  1, Blue Jay  100, American Crow  X, Fish Crow  3, Carolina Chickadee  6, Tufted Titmouse  4, White-breasted Nuthatch  3, Brown Creeper  1, Winter Wren  1, Carolina Wren  6, Golden-crowned Kinglet  2, Ruby-crowned Kinglet  8, Eastern Bluebird  12, Hermit Thrush  1, American Robin  15, Gray Catbird  12, Northern Mockingbird  12, European Starling  125, Cedar Waxwing  7, Common Yellowthroat  1, Magnolia Warbler  1, Palm Warbler  3, Yellow-rumped Warbler  2, Eastern Towhee  6, Field Sparrow  5, Song Sparrow  12, Lincoln’s Sparrow  2, Swamp Sparrow  3, White-throated Sparrow  6, Northern Cardinal  20, Indigo Bunting  2, Brown-headed Cowbird  8, American Goldfinch  24, House Sparrow  2


Robert & Cathey Daugherty led one of the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s walks this past Saturday.  Eighteen people, many first-time birders, showed up for the walk which started at Bles Park, moved onto to scoping the Great Blue Heron rookery from the Loudoun County Parkway, and wrapped up at the Broadlands Wetlands Mitigation/Nature preserve off the Dulles Greenway across from the Harris Teeter http://broadlandsnaturally.org/2010/06/05/broadlands-wetland-mitigation-nature-preserve/
Robert Daugherty’s report follows:

Highlights at Bles were the warblers, including Prairie Warbler and American Redstart and the two male Scarlet Tanagers.  We were able to get several of the birds in the scope and everyone was amazed at how beautiful the birds were. 

Surprisingly low numbers of woodpeckers at Bles, as well as sparrows (saw a White-crowned there last Sunday).  A pair of Ravens appear to be nesting somewhere out on the island, as they were spotted carrying food twice.  The Bald Eagle was a 2nd or 3rd year bird.

We were at the rookery long enough to answer everyone’s questions and allow plenty of time on the scope.  The Broadlands Mitigation Wetlands across from Harris Teeter right off the Greenway turned out to be just as fun as Bles.  The birds there don’t pay much attention to people and it offered great opportunities for pictures.

There were several people in the group who had never been birding before and said they had a great time and wanted to do it again.  We ran into the Raven Loonatics doing there Birdathon at Bles; they were pretty intense and said that they had picked up over 70 species at Algonkian in a little over two hours!

Bles Park:
Canada Goose, Wood Duck, pair, Mallard, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, Spotted Sandpiper, Mourning Dove, Ruby-throated Hummingbird (males on territory), Red-bellied Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Blue Jay, American Crow, Common Raven (pair carrying food), Tree Swallow (in nestboxes), Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird (in nestbox), American Robin, Grey Catbird (on territory), Northern Mockingbird (defending territory), Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing (several pairs, one we saw exchanging food), Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Prairie Warbler (on territory), American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat (on territory), Scarlet Tanager, Field Sparrow, Northern Cardinal (male and female), Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird (male and female), Common Grackle, Orchard Oriole, House Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow.

Great Blue Heron Rookery:
Great Blue Herons (numerous chicks in nests), Mockingbird, Common Grackle, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel

Broadlands Wetland Mitigation near Harris Teeter on the Greenway:
Broad-winged Hawk, American Crow, Red-winged Blackbird (male and female), Orchard Oriole (male and female), Rough-winged Swallow pair, Tree Swallows (in nest boxes), Green Heron, Canada Goose with goslings, Mallard with ducklings, Killdeer, Solitary Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Eastern Bluebird.


Five-birders enjoyed clear skies and seasonally cool weather during Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s walk at Bles Park on October 13.  Quite a few winter birds made themselves seen, including large numbers of White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows and Ruby-crowned Kinglets.  A slowly circling juvenile Bald Eagle also gave everyone good looks. 

The complete tally: Canada Goose,  Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture,  Bald Eagle,  Red-shouldered Hawk,  Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove,  Red-bellied Woodpecker,  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,  Downy Woodpecker,  Northern Flicker,  Pileated Woodpecker,  Eastern Phoebe,  Blue Jay,  American Crow,  Fish Crow,  crow sp., Carolina Chickadee,  Tufted Titmouse,  White-breasted Nuthatch,  Carolina Wren,  Winter Wren,  Ruby-crowned Kinglet,  American Robin,  Gray Catbird,  Northern Mockingbird,  European Starling,  Yellow-rumped Warbler,  Chipping Sparrow,  Field Sparrow,  Song Sparrow,  Swamp Sparrow,  White-throated Sparrow,  White-crowned Sparrow,  Dark-eyed Junco,  Northern Cardinal,  House Finch.  American Goldfinch,  House Sparrow.


Gerry Hawkins and I led one of the 10 bird walks we had going on last Saturday in celebration of International Migratory Bird Day.

For our walk, we went all around Bles Park – from the fields to the wetlands to the river, and we had some wonderful views of different birds.

We then went over to the Great Blue Heron rookery and observed them for awhile as they tended their nests. 

We finished our morning with a great walk through the nature trails around Loudoun Water where we had amazing views of Eastern Kingbirds among others.

We had an excellent day birding these areas, although some common species (year round-ers like woodpeckers as well as summer residents like the chats) were missing. Warblers were down too but we did get a great view of a Northern Parula (shown here).  

In all we had 54 species:

Canada Goose, Mallard, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great egret, Snowy egret, Green heron, Black vulture (poss. Nesting at Loudoun water), Turkey vulture, sharp-shinned hawk, Red-tailed hawk, Amer. Kestrel, Solitary sandpiper, Rock pigeon, Mourning dove, Chimney Swift, Belted kingfisher, Red-bellied woodpecker, Northern flicker, Peewee, Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern kingbird, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, Amer. Crow, Fish Crow, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Blue0gray gnat-catcher, Eastern bluebird, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, European starling, Cedar waxwing, Northern Parula, Prairie warbler, Blackpoll warbler, Nothern Waterthrush, Common yellowthroat, Chipping sparrow, Song sparrow, Northern cardinal, Indigo bunting, Red-winged blackbird, Common grackle, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Amer. Goldfinch, House Sparrow

Many thanks to Gerry for such a great walk!  We had fun exploring the trail through Loudoun Water too!


Seven of us went out to Bles Park in Ashburn, Virginia on Saturday night for a fun night hike to look and listen for frogs.  This is just the second of such night hikes that we’ve done so far but they’re so much fun that we’ll definitely be doing more starting next spring when the frogs and toads are really out in force.

Pickerel_Frog_Bles_Park_8_8_09For our walk last Saturday, we started by gathering in the parking area, discussing the possible species that we would encounter and listening to recordings of their calls. Through past nature walks at Bles, we’ve identified at least six species of frogs and toads that are definitely at Bles, but due to the time of year, we were most likely to only hear three of them (Green Frog, Gray Tree Frog and Bullfrog).

So, off we went along the trail. Bill Roberson from the county’s Parks and Recreation dept came out as a resource for us in case of anything which was great since it allowed us to just focus on wildlife. The park certainly looks different at night but donned with headlamps and flashlights, we were able to spot all sorts of great creatures.

As we walked along, we encountered numerous (at least 20)  juvenile American Toads (toadlets) out hunting for dinner -  hopping across our path and hunting through the grasses. There were also quite a few millipedes out hunting along with some really interesting beetles.

We were hoping for a slight drizzle to get the frogs to call but it missed us and the frogs stayed pretty quiet except for a lone Green Frog that called from along the river. As we explored along the river, we saw a bat or two hunting over the water. By the size of it, I’m guessing a Big Brown Bat.  We’ll have to bring the bat detector next time. We also had Great Blue Herons flying over just as the sun was setting.

The big fun of the evening was spotting the many Pickerel Frogs along the river.  They would have been breeding in the early spring time so it’s no surprise that they were not calling out their funny snore but it was great to spot them and practice some night photography.

We wrapped up our hike at 9pm.


In this issue, we have a spotlight on Bles Park, a great place for nature walks and other nature adventures in the hh-spring-09-1Ashburn area.  I love going there in the summer to photograph birds and butterflies as well as to listen to the chorus of cricket frogs. Its a splendid refuge for some peace and quiet with nice fresh air and the gentle trickle of the river passing by.  In this article, Bonnie Eaton talks about other hidden treasures at this great place.

Also in this issue, we have the continued adventures of Zoom and Compass as they discover worms. There’s also an interesting article on the Mourning Cloak butterfly, and a story of the lifecycle of bumblebees and their humble bumble homes (which you can build as a neat project). You can also learn about Lichens….part fungi, part algae or cyanobacteria…..oh this crazy world!

And, as always, our programs from now through July are listed along with programs offered by organizations with which we partner.

This latest edition of the Habitat Herald will be going out to our members in the next week. If you’re not yet a member, we could really use your support! You can join online. Your membership will run through December 2009!  ($20 for an individual, $30 for a family) and, it is tax deductible as allowed by the law. 

If you join soon we can get this latest issue of the Habitat Herald out to you in our next mailing – if you join after we have our mailing party then you’ll receive a copy of this issue in your New Member Information packet. The Habitat Herald is a member benefit and is published each quarter.


Andy Rabin led a family bird walk at Bles Park in eastern Loudoun Co on Saturday morning. Most of the warblers we saw were close and gave us great views. 

The following is the report that we also posted on eBird:
Location:     Bles Park
Observation date:     10/4/08
Notes:     Andy Rabin led a Family Bird walk at Bles Park in eastern Loudoun Co this morning.  The highlights were some well-seen warblers including a NASHVILLE, NORTHERN PARULA, and a PALM WARBLER.  Besides good numbers of CHIMNEY SWIFTS and TREE SWALLOWS we also found a few INDIGO BUNTINGS.
Number of species:     40

Canada Goose, Turkey Vulture, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Chimney Swift, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Tree Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Nashville Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow

We also saw a few butterflies including Cabbage White, Clouded Sulphur, Common Buckeye, Eastern Comma, Monarchs

Joe Coleman

note: Photo shown is a flycatcher


We had a great day of hunting dragons and damsels across the fine Loudoun countryside! Seven people joined us as Andy Rabin and Kevin Munroe, both real experts in dragonflies and damselflies, took us out into the field.

We started the day at 10am at Bles Park then went to Claude Moore at noon and ended the day at Kephart Bridge Landing.

In total, we had 29 species!

Dragonflies: Common Green Darner, Swamp Darner, Unicorn Clubtail, Black-shouldered Spinyleg, Prince Basketail, Umber Shadowdragon, Calico Pennant, Halloween Pennant, Common Pondhawk,Spangled Skimmer, Slaty Skimmer, Widow Skimmer, Common Whitetail, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Blue Dasher, Spot-winger Glider, Eastern Amberwing, Autumn Meadowhawk, Black Saddlebags

Damselflies: American Rubyspot, Blue-fronted Dancer, Powdered Dancer, Blue-tipped Dancer, Dusky Dancer, Familiar Bluet, Stream Bluet, Citrine Forktail, Eastern Forktail, Southern Spreadwing

Throughout the day, we practiced our netting skills, used small containers to look at individuals that we caught, and practiced how to properly hold a dragonfly for identification and release them.  The colors and patterns of all the varied species were beautiful.

Many thanks to Andy and Kevin for sharing this with us.