It is August already so we are beginning to get ready for the fall Native Plant Sale on Saturday September 10, which will be here before you know it!
Once again we will have the gorgeous, pesticide-free plants from Nature By Design, Hill House Farm & Nursery and Watermark Woods. You can visit the nurseries’ websites to see what they have in stock and, if you like, order in advance so you’ll know the plants will be there when you arrive.
The plant sale is always fun! Photo by S.A. Ferguson
In addition, we will again feature the very popular used books sale. If you have duplicate copies of nature books or ones you’d like to donate – preferably nature books with a local focus – please bring them by our office in the Carriage Museum at Morven Park (GPS location: 17171 Southern Planter Lane, Leesburg) on any Saturday this month between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. We will be closed Labor Day weekend.
The plant sale will again be at the main parking lot at Morven Park from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. You can read more about it here.
More than 150 members, family, and friends joined in the celebration of Loudoun Wildlife’s 20th year at the Annual Meeting Sunday, May 31, at Morven Park. Predicted showers held off a day, allowing hikers to explore Morven on a nature walk and gardeners to acquire a few more native perennials for their pollinator-friendly plantings, as musicians filled the sultry air with good tunes.
The crowd moved into the coolness of the Carriage Museum for refreshments and the meeting, at which the membership voted to approve the slate of Loudoun Wildlife board members serving another 2-year term (Joe Coleman, Jim McWalters, Sarah Steadman) and new board members (Bill Brown, Hatsy Cutshall, Jill Miller, and Phil Paschall). Outgoing President Joe Coleman thanked outgoing board members Janet Locklear (who also received the Volunteer of the Year Award), Phil Daley (who has been on the board for 19 years), and retiring Secretary Rhonda Chocha for their service.
Outgoing President Joe Coleman with Janet Locklear, Volunteer of the Year.
Coleman shared highlights of the organization’s 20-year history and accomplishments, emphasizing that while the organization’s founders and board members have worked hard to protect wildlife and habitat in Loudoun, “it is you—our members—who have made us the success we are today.” He also thanked Dulles Greenway sponsors for 10 years of support, through grants from the annual Drive for Charity, and Morven Park for serving as Loudoun Wildlife’s home, and for its many partnership efforts.
Science Fair participants Samantha Iliff (Loudoun Valley HS), Corwin Warner (Loudoun County HS), and Eric Esposito (Heritage HS), who placed first, second and third in the Loudoun-Wildlife-sponsored awards for best environmental science project at the Fair, were on hand to display and explain their projects. Youth and Family Programs Chair Sarah Steadman presented their awards.
Miriam Westervelt presented the Roger Tory Peterson Awards for nature journaling
Miriam Westervelt presents Roger Tory Peterson awards for nature journalling to Andrew Thomas, Kevin Natal, and Ashleigh Menzenwerth.
to five students: Kevin Natal, kindergarten (Leesburg ES); Ashleigh Menzenwerth, kindergarten (Frederick ES); Andrew Thomas, senior (Heritage HS); Maggie Lanaghan, senior (Loudoun Valley HS); and Tyler Nelson, senior (Tuscarora HS).
Blue Ridge Center wildlife rehabilitator Jennifer Burghoffer presented the afternoon’s program, sharing her knowledge about the lives of several of the Center’s residents: A barred owl, an opossum, a big brown bat, a wood turtle, and a black rat snake.
Loudoun Wildlife board and staff members extend our thanks to all the Loudoun Wildlife volunteers who helped plan and staff this special event. [Images courtesy of volunteer Judy Smith]
Waterborne Nursery offered native plants for members’ wildlife-friendly gardens.
Lori Berry led her girl scout troop #458 in setting up a Monarch Waystation at Morven Park in Leesburg VA this past June. As the wrap up of their project they produced this video to help share the accomplishment.
Here’s the video:
This waystation has been absolutely incredible in terms of productivity -Monarchs, Zebra Swallowtails, skippers, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Red Admirals, Assassin bugs, aphids, lady beetles, hummingbirds, a variety of bees, lacewings, gosh, I’m sure I’ve seen more there too.
It’s a wonderful garden. Some female Monarchs clearly found it suitable…we’ve found well over 100 caterpillars in this little patch!
Back in the 1920s, the 55th governor of Virginia, Westmoreland Davis, would open the grounds of his Morven Park home to invite the community to informal ice cream socials. The public is invited to recreate these community-building events at Morven Park’s second annual Governor’s Country Fair, Sunday, June 10, at noon to 5 p.m.
While Gov. Davis served ice cream made of the cream from his prized dairy cows, this year’s ice cream social will be provided by family-owned and operated Moo Thru of Remington, Va.
For $20 ($15 in advance) per carload of ice cream fans (and who doesn’t fall into that category?), guests will be treated not only to this special frozen treat but to hayrides, live music, horse-drawn carriage driving demonstrations, craft and food vendors, sheep shearing demonstrations, baking contests, and a day-in-the-country atmosphere.
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy will be there leading nature walks to explore the great wild places of Morven. We will also have our booth set up, naturalists on-hand to help answer your wildlife and other nature questions, and fun hands on activities for kids of all ages. You can also pick up our free materials like the Gardening for Wildlife Plant List, current and past issues of the Habitat Herald with all sorts of wildlife and plant information, checklists of Loudoun’s butterfly, bird and dragonfly species, and information about our different environmental monitoring programs. For the kids, you can pick up our wildlife coloring book, filled with information on our local species, as well as our Crossword puzzle book.
Mom’s Apple Pies of Leesburg is sponsoring a pie/cookie/cupcake bake-off, and Loudoun Therapeutic Riding, in residence at Morven Park since 1995, will demonstrate its superstar therapy horses. Members of the Loudoun County 4H Club’s “Leaps & Squeaks” group will have bunnies and guinea pigs available for petting. Local equestrians will demonstrate dressage, show jumping, and cross-country riding techniques.
Numerous other contests, exhibits, and demonstrations will take place throughout the afternoon.
Guests should access the Governor’s Country Fair via the Waterford Road entrance.
Morven Park, a non-profit organization, is operated by the Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation and receives no federal, state or local funding. Its mission is to preserve and advance the ideals of Gov. Davis, most notably civic responsibility, sustainable agriculture, and enhancement of life in rural Virginia. Its 1,200 acres include three museums, an equestrian center, athletic fields, hiking trails, and formal gardens, all of which serve as host to a variety of educational and recreational programs.
Sharon Kearns just sent over the field report from the IMBD walk at Morven Park – nice sightings! From Sharon:
Friday May 11th was a beautiful albeit windy day for an IMBD walk in the area of Morven Park. Mary Ann Good, Sally Snidow, Sidney Lissner and Sharon Kearns enjoyed checking out the pond at the corner of Fairview and Old Waterford Rd. We had excellent looks at two Solitary Sandpipers and a Spotted Sandpiper as well as a Great Egret that decided to land for a quick stop.
Since the woods in the ridge at the back of Morven Park have been productive we headed there and on the way found Baltimore Orioles, Scarlet Tanager, and Black-Throated Green Warblers among many other birds. Phoebe Fledglings were prevalent.
As we walked up to the ridge to look for more warblers the wind had picked up to 20+mph so for safety’s sake we nixed walking along the wooded ridge. We birded woods in a lower area and then walked/drove the road around the mansion area, entrance.
The full list of species seen follows:
Canada Goose 7, Mallard 2, Double-crested Cormorant 1, Great Egret 1, Green Heron 1, Turkey Vulture 4, Red-tailed Hawk 2, Spotted Sandpiper 1, Solitary Sandpiper 2, Mourning Dove 8, Chimney Swift 1, Red-bellied Woodpecker 3, Downy Woodpecker 1, Hairy Woodpecker 1, Northern Flicker 3, Pileated Woodpecker 1, Eastern Wood-Pewee 5, Acadian Flycatcher 2, Eastern Phoebe 6, Great Crested Flycatcher 2, Eastern Kingbird 1, Yellow-throated Vireo 1, Red-eyed Vireo 5, Blue Jay 5, crow sp. 2, Tree Swallow 8, Carolina Chickadee 2, Tufted Titmouse 6, White-breasted Nuthatch 3, Carolina Wren 1, House Wren 2 Nesting, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2, Eastern Bluebird 9, Wood Thrush 2, American Robin 12, Gray Catbird 1, Northern Mockingbird 4, Brown Thrasher 2, European Starling 16, Cedar Waxwing 12, Ovenbird 2, Louisiana Waterthrush 2, Northern Parula 4, Yellow-rumped Warbler 4, Black-throated Green Warbler 2Field Sparrow 1, Scarlet Tanager 2, Northern Cardinal 5Red-winged Blackbird 8, Common Grackle 5, Baltimore Oriole 2, American Goldfinch 2
Now I’m not talking about a physical white M like a billboard or a sign or anything……nope….I’m talking about a neat little butterfly called a White M Hairstreak that as caterpillars feeds on oaks as it’s host plant.
While it would seem like we should have this butterfly around rather commonly, the sighting this past week is only second we’ve had in 10 years!
It was found on our bird walk that took place last week at Morven Park in Leesburg (yes, sometimes eyes wander and we get distracted by other cool things when we go out into nature . Ten years ago when we had our first sighting, it was in this same area I believe so that’s an interesting correlation.
The White M was first spotted by Jenny Vick and Sheryl Pollock took this great photo. This would have been a lifer for most of us! Very exciting sighting!
Eight birders, led by Sharon Kearns & assisted by Joe Coleman, visited the 1,000-acre Morven Park on Monday morning for one of the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s International Migratory Bird walks.
Morven Park is a large property which is not only the historic home of Governor Westmoreland Davis but includes several hundred acres of mature forest along the Catoctin Ridge. Sharon has lived next door to Morven Park for years & is very familiar with its trails.
While the highlight of the walk was a butterfly, the White M Hairstreak (which I will post about separately), we also found over 50 species of birds including several thrush species, a 1/2 dozen warblers, and had dynamite looks at eye-level Scarlet Tanagers. Before the walk started, Sharon had a Great-horned Owl calling at her house.
Canada Goose, Mallard, Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Killdeer, Mourning Dove, Chimney Swifts, Red-bellied WP, Downy WP, Pileated WP, Eastern Wood-pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Common Raven, Tree, Swallow, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH at least one, maybe two, Swainson’s Thrush – at least three, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Northern Parula, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Ovenbird, Chipping Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow