Entries tagged with “Rust Nature Sanctuary”.

I hope so! Now it’s time for some fun holiday shopping and a nature walk!

Head over to the Rust Nature Sanctuary Shop in Leesburg for some wonderful gifts for the nature enthusiasts (and crazy ‘ole birds) in your family and when you’re done, take a stroll along the trails (you can’t do that at the mall!).

At the shop you’ll find a wide selection of nature books for adults and kids, binoculars (nice gift – just in time for the Christmas Bird Count on December 28th!), bird feeders, bird-friendly coffee, notecards, tshirts, toys….and very friendly volunteers to help you out.

Members of Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy receive a 20% discount (that’s huge!) on seeds and other items.

While at the sanctuary, take a few minutes for a nice nature walk – the trails are lovely, and with this warm weather, you’ll likely see all sorts of neat wildlife out and about.

Rust Nature Sanctuary, located at 802 Childrens Center Rd in Leesburg, is one of our great places here in Loudoun and a wonderful place to recharge during this holiday season


Spring Ligi provided this great report of the birdathon that she and her kids did on behalf of Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy last week.

Our team, the Ligi Nestlings, had a fun and successful morning, documenting 24 species!  Please check our blog  for the complete species list, highlights, and pictures.

We did our birdathon this morning and the girls did great. They both hiked all around the Rust Sanctuary and never once asked to be carried. 

My best bird was a gorgeous mature male Bald Eagle getting mobbed by several crows.  McKenzie’s favorite bird was the Canada Goose on the pond and little Addy was impressed by the Tree Swallows in the open field.  She kept shouting “bird!”  and proudly pointing them out to me. 

We saw 24 species altogether and managed to document a few nesting behaviors for the Bird Atlas despite all the chaos.

I’m proud to say we raised $254 for the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy to help identify and protect important bird areas throughout Loudoun County. 

We appreciate all of your support and generosity.  If you haven’t given us your money yet, please mail us a check payable to “Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy” for the appropriate amount.  Let us know if you have any questions.

Special thanks to Grandma and Opa for joining us on our adventure and helping to keep the girls safe and dry.  Bird-watching with a preschooler and toddler is challenging (to say the least), but it’s so nice to share my enthusiasm for birds and nature with them.  We’re already looking forward to next year!  Go wild! Go Birding!

Thanks again,
Spring, McKenzie, and Addison 


The pond near the Audubon Naturalist Society’s Rust Nature Sanctuary Manor House is not only excellent wildlife habitat that many of us love to visit, it is a favorite educational tool for the numerous environmental education classes that are held at the sanctuary.  It is a favorite of both adult visitors and children. 

Rust_pondUnfortunately it has sprung a leak which needs to be repaired.  Additionally, there are a lot of invasive alien plants around the pond as well as some other aggressive plants that need to be removed. 

On Friday, November 6, from 9 am to about lunch, the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy will help Bruce repair the leak and begin working on removing the invasive and aggressive plants.  On Saturday, November 7, from 9 am to about lunch, we will concentrate on removing, or at least, reducing, the aggressive plants and invasive alien plants.

If you are interested in helping please contact Bruce McGranahan at bruce@audubonnaturalist.org or 703-669-2561.

A group of volunteers renovated the Audubon Naturalist Society’s Rust Nature Sanctuary pollinator garden to include only native plants and shrubs.  Now they would like to enhance the pollinator garden by adding more host and nectar plants to an area behind the present garden.  To do this they must first remove the non-native invasive wisteria which covers this area.  Once that is completed they will plant pawpaw, sassafras, and spicebush as host trees and possibly a couple of other trees as well.  They also plan to plant additional flowers as nectar sources as well as some native grasses.

The Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy plans to help Ann with this project on Saturday, November 7 from 9 am to noon.   If you are interested please contact Ann at ahgarvey@aol.com or 540-882-4405.


Come on out this Sunday for the Conservation Celebration!  The Conservation Celebration nature festival at Rust Nature Sanctuary will be fun for the whole family. Rust Santuary is located at 802 Childrens Center Rd in Leesburg.

On September 27 from noon to 4 pm you can enjoy live Bluegrass by Acoustic Burgoo and music by Moon Music, art and nature crafters, magicians and street theatre, food and fun. There will be lots of hands-on activities for children, guided nature walks, house tours, nature exhibits, exhibits of solar and other “green” personal and home products.

Conservation_Celebration_Event_MapExhibitors and Activities
•Welcome Booth, First Aid, Lost Child Station
•House tours (12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30)
•Nature Walks (1:00, 2:00, 3:00)
•Audubon Bookstore and Gift Shop will be open

•Acoustic Burgoo (Under the Big Tent)
•Moon Music (On the Front Portico at 2 pm)

•Art in the Manor House Foyer and Parlor
•Sculpture in the Manor House Garden
•KidzArt – Creativity Rules! (House Foyer)

•”ARRRT” – Reduce, reuse, recycled art
•Make your own Recycled T-Shirt Tote Bag
•”Trash to Treasure” Junk Sculpture
•Scat, Skulls and Feathers
•Creepy Crawlies

•Audubon Naturalist Society
•Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship
•Blue Ridge Wildlife Center
•Friends of Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve
•Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains
•Goose Creek Association
•Keep Loudoun Beautiful
•Leesburg Environmental Advisory Commission
•Loudoun Watershed Watch
•Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy
•Piedmont Environmental Council
•Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries (Live Animals!)
•Virginia Master Naturalist
•Wildlife Ambassadors (Live Animals!)

•Always Thinking Solar
•Green Building Institute
•SandEnergy – Solar and Renewable Energy
•Sustainable Loudoun
•Virginia Solar Council

•Home Depot
•Miessence-ONEgroup certified organic skincare
•Norwex Enviro Products

Schedule of Activities
•Music by Acoustic Burgoo
•Art Show & Sale (House)
•Food (big tent)
•Green Man
•Conservation and Nature Exhibits
•Solar energy, Home and Personal Care Green Products

12:30 PM
House Tour, Kick-the-Can Ice Cream
1:00 PM
Family Wetland and Meadow Exploration Hike, Nature Walk 

1:30 PM
House Tour, Insect Relay (Sack Race)
2:00 PM
Moon Music (on the Portico), Nature Walk

2:30 PM
House Tour, Kick-the-Can Ice Cream

3:00 PM
Nature Walk
3:30 PM
House Tour, Raffle
Closing Ceremony


“You’re going to count butterflies?” That’s the response many of us get when we tell the un-initiated how we’re going to spend our Saturday as the day of the great butterfly count approaches, and this year was no exception except that we had more people that ever jump in to help with this endeavor! In past years, our participants have numbered around 35 but this year, over seventy people of all ages came out to count! We were also fortunate to have eight leaders available this year so we could split up into more teams and truly cover our count circle.

butterfly_countersOur butterfly count was held on August 1stand we had a great day for it. Butterflies need the warmth of the sun to fly so having the temperatures in the 70s and 80s was perfect. Our eight teams had pre-determined meeting spots and participants met up at 9am. My team started at Ida Lee Park with the master gardener’s butterfly garden and then headed north along Route 15. Cliff Fairweather’s team started at Rust Sanctuary and then went along the W&OD trail as well as other points through Hamilton. Covering the center and north of our count circle was Mona Miller and her team as they started at Phillips Farm and then headed up to Lovettsville. Tom Raque and Eric Raun covered the Purcellville and Lincoln areas, doing justice to some great gardens, farms and parks through there. Jon Little led his team along Appalachian Trail Road and the Blackburn Center, while Bob Blakney and Larry Meade led two teams at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship.

In all, our teams counted 4,899 individual butterflies and saw 46 different species. While we’ve had slightly higher diversity on a few of our counts, forty-six is pretty much on par. In terms of overall number of butterflies, this was the second highest in our thirteen years (in 2005 we had 5,042 individual butterflies). The higher number of individual butterflies this year may be due to having more participants spotting and identifying but we’ll have to watch this for future trends.

least_skipper_8_1_09The interesting thing about this year’s count had to do with the species that were low in number versus those that were high. Least Skippers, for instance, made a real showing. In past years we’ve averaged 20-30 individuals but this year we had 386! We had similar observations with Clouded Sulphurs (774 this year compared to 80-100 in past years), Orange Sulphurs (393 this year compared to approximately 60 in past years) and Silvery Checkerspots (227 compared to approximately 20 in past years). Monarch butterflies (193 spotted) as well as Eastern-tailed Blues (242) and Spring/Summer Azures (22), were consistent with past counts.  

Overall, the swallowtail and fritillary butterflies were low in numbers and outside of the Least Skipper, we didn’t see as many skippers in general this year. Red-Spotted Purples, while better than last year, were still low in number. Hairstreaks were also either very low or not present. In terms of rare sightings, Mona Miller’s team was lucky to find a Giant Swallowtail at Butterfly Hill Farm in Lovettsville. They are always an impressive butterfly to see.  

A big “Thank You” to our count leaders and all of our participants! We couldn’t have counted all these butterflies without you and hope you’ll join us again next August!

To learn more about our butterfly count, visit the Loudoun Butterfly Count on our website. You can also download the Butterfly Count Summary of Data to look at the trends over the years.