JANUARY NEWS


Happy New Year!  Hopefully this is the coldest part of winter and that it will be getting warmer SOON!

Charlie is busy feeding our birds with lots of peanuts and seeds.  He also puts huge scoops of peanut butter on the Rose of Sharon plants in our front yard and the birds love it.  We have even had one crow be brave enough to come that close to the house.  He appeared to have enjoyed the peanut butter because he returned thru out the day to see if we had added anymore!

Charlie continues to fill the Blandy bird feeders which the local Audubon erected on honor of Sam Patton who, I believe, was one of the founding members of the local group.  So, when you are at Blandy, remember to check out the feeders south of the main building in the trees.  There is a bench close by where you can watch all the activity.  The bench was dedicated to Sam’s wife, Jean.

It has been so cold that several people have had Flickers coming in to eat from their suet feeders.  If you have a Flicker in your area, help them out by putting some out!.
Birders are starting to see more "irruptive" species coming down from Canada.  The Short-ear Owls are back and some Rough-legged Hawks have been seen.



The Snowy Owls are coming south.  There is one which seems to be staying in the Mt. Crawford area.  Today’s newspaper reported about an injured Snowy Owl landing in Winchester.  He was captured and is being treated.  Belinda Burwell is hoping that his wing will heal completely so he can fly again. So, keep your eyes OPEN!
(Pictures are of a Snowy Owl I saw in Manitoba Canada)


Charlie was excited to get his first photo of a Swamp Sparrow!


I just had to call for Charlie to come and see the "new bird" that had decided to visit our bird feeders..


It seems we are seeing a lot of Red-shouldered Hawks this winter..


The Bald Eagle pair that nests at Cool Springs were hard at work repairing their HUGH nest last month. (There are actually two eagles in the picture)  The Winchester pair is also back working on their nest too!!


BELIEVE IT OR NOT BUT:   Sunday Jan. 21st National Squirrel Appreciation Day: Take a moment to honor the mammal that the kids most often see in the “wild”!  Actually, if it stays this cold, you won't see any that day :-)

Stay warm!





Saturday, Jan. 6 Explore the Sky Inside a Pop-up Planetarium at Blandy Two Sessions:10-11 a.m. and  11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. View a projection of the night sky in a pop-up planetarium, including planets, constellations, and more. Learn about planetary motion, and hear stories and myths about constellations, stars, and planets. Recommended for those six and above with an adult, but all are welcome. Attend either session. Register  for Programs Here

January 20, 4-6 p.m Creatures of the Night in the Parkfield Learning Center (PLC) at Blandy In this program we will explore the fascinating world of nighttime animals, from bats and owls to the evening chorus of frogs and insects. Through games, crafts, and activities we will gain a better understanding the creatures of the night. We will end with a night walk, so dress for the weather and bring a flashlight. Designed for those six years and older with an adult. FOSA member and UVa alumni families $20, non-member families $25 Registration Required--Space is Limited

Jan. 25 at 1 pm Blandy Book Club is reading: The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf.  Free

Jan. 27 at Blandy from 10 am to 2 pm. 8th Annual Seed Exchange at Blandy~FREE! Native Plants, Herbs, Perennials, Vegetables, plus a book and magazine swap! Learn more at http//    Presented by Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners Association



Sunday, January 14 at 1:00 pm  Virginia Native Plant Society’s SECOND SUNDAY WALK with Rod Simmons C & O Canal Towpath at Ferry Hill, MD  Join Rod for a stroll on the level canal towpath at Ferry Hill, an old age forest on limestone bedrock above the Potomac and C&O Canal in Maryland (near and across from Shepherdstown, VA). We will see many large trees and rock outcrops that may provide mosses and ferns. This is an easy walk. Bring water, wear sturdy footwear and dress for the weather. To sign up and receive directions, please RSVP to This walk is free and all are welcome.

Sunday, January 21 at 2:00 pm PIEDMONT CHAPTER of the Native Plant Society invites you to their 2018 Winter Speaker Series “Restoration”.  The first one is “Unlocking the Benefits of Habitat Restoration through Citizen Science” with Amy Johnson is Program Director for Virginia Working Landscapes of the SCBI (Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute) that promotes the conservation of native biodiversity and sustainable land use through research, education and community engagement. Location: Emmanuel Episcopal Church’s Parish Hall at 9668 Maidstone Road Delaplane, VA 20144


*Unless otherwise specified, contact with questions.
Birding Banshee ― Saturday, January 13, 8:00 a.m. Whether you’re a beginning birder or an expert, you’ll be dazzled by the many bird species you’ll find at the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve south of Leesburg. Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and the Friends of Banshee Reeks for the monthly bird walk at this birding hot spot. Bring binoculars if you have them. Questions: Contact Joe Coleman at 540-554-2542 or
Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls — Saturday, January 13, 6:00 p.m., Ida Lee Park.
Book signing, refreshments, and viewing of live owls followed by program at 7:00 p.m.  As the main feature of this celebration, award-winning photographer Paul Bannick will present his new program featuring video, sound, and stories from the field as he teaches us about all 19 species of North American owls and the habitats they need to thrive.  Paul uses intimate yet dramatic images to follow owls through the course of a year and in their distinct habitats. Audiences will witness the four seasons on territory, as each stage in an owl’s life is chronicled through rare images: courtship, mating, and nesting in spring; fledging and feeding of young in summer; dispersal and gaining independence in fall; and finally, winter’s migration and competition for food.  His program shows how owls use the unique resources available to them in each habitat to face those challenges. Paul’s book, Owl, is a stunning follow-up to his bestselling title The Owl and the Woodpecker, giving bird and nature lovers alike a gorgeous photographic tribute, engaging natural history, and a compelling call to preserve the habitats that sustain these most iconic of birds. Watch our website and email announcements for more details on this celebration! Registration required: Sign up at Questions: Contact
Birding the Blue Ridge Center — Saturday, January 27, 8:00 a.m. The Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship (BRCES) is a beautiful 900-acre preserve in northwestern Loudoun County. With its diverse wildlife habitats, including meadows, streams and heavily forested slopes, BRCES draws a wide variety of birds and other creatures. Join the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy on our monthly walk, and see what’s there! Meet at the Education Center; bring binoculars if you have them. BRCES is located just north of Neersville at 11661 Harpers Ferry Road (Rte 671); detailed directions at Questions: Contact Joe Coleman at 540-554-2542 or

 Searching for Birds of Prey ― Sunday, January 28, 1:30 p.m. Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy on a winter raptor search. We will drive the back roads of Loudoun County with frequent stops to find and identify the many hawks, and an owl or two, who winter here. Space is limited so please register early. Registration required: Sign up at Questions: Contact



Potomac Valley Audubon Society

Jan. 9 “Winter Bird Walk and Driving Tour” Meet at 7:30 am to 11:30 am at Martin’s in Charles Town.

Jan. 10 at 7 pm Potomac Valley Audubon Society's Monthly Program: SkyTruth; Leveraging Remote Sensing and Spatial Science to Illustrate Environmental Issues  In his presentation, Christian Thomas will talk about who SkyTruth is and what they do. He will discuss how technology, especially satellite imagery and cloud computing, is allowing environmentalists to tackle big questions and big problems in ways that were never possible before. Location: Hospice of the Panhandle, 330 Hospice Lane, Kearneysville, WV 25430

Jan. 20 from 8 am “Winter Bird Walk” at USGS Fish Health Lab property (407 Reservoir Rd, just off Leetown Rd in Leetown, WV) Please contact Krista Hawley at or 703-303-1026 with any questions you may have.

Feb. 1 at 10 am to noon “Eidolon Winter Tree Identification “ at Eidolon Nature Preserve, 2146 Orleans Rd., Great Cacapon, WV  A few spaces left;   Please contact Krista Hawley at or 703-303-1026 with any questions you may have.



Jan. 7 at 2:30 pm Audubon Society of Northern Virginia’s Audubon Afternoon: Beautiful Bhutan presented by Bob Mumford with some of his excellent photos (mostly birds, but a few others as well) from his recent trip to this small Himalayan country with a “National Happiness Index.”  It sounds like quite a trip!  Birds included the Crimson Sunbird, Scarlet Minivet, Ward’s Trogon, Beautiful Nuthatch, and Black-necked Crane, and many others. Begins at 3 PM, but come at 2:30 for socializing and refreshments.  Location: National Wildlife Federation 11100 Wildlife Center Drive Reston, VA,

The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia has several bird walks scheduled for Jan.  Check them all out at


Thurs. Jan. 18 at 6:30 pm at the Fairlington Community Center 3308 South Stafford Street Arlington, VA, Living in the Anthropocene: Earth in the Age of Humans Interested in the unprecedented impacts humans are having on the natural world? Join John Kress, curator of botany at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History for a free talk.  “We live in a world dominated by humans,” Elizabeth Kolbert states in the foreword.  Citing rapidly changing climate, reduced freshwater aquifers, disappearing forests, and record creature extinction rates, Kolbert asks what we should do with this knowledge.  “Living in the Anthropocene” presents 32 original essays, across many disciplines, to help answer this challenge.  John Kress co-edited this book with an Afterword by E.O. Wilson.


January 26, 27, 28  Virginia Beach Winter Wildlife Festival This year Noah Stryker will be our guest speaker! We will have our exhibit booth set up at Princess Anne Rec Center on Saturday January 27th. We are also leading and supporting several field trips including the CBBT Islands, Fisherman’s Island, and Pleasure House Point. See the schedule of events and sign up for the trips that you want at:

VSO Board of Directors hosting 2018 Annual Meeting in Harrisonburg, May 18-20, 2018 This year’s meeting and field trip locations will provide great opportunities to see unique high elevation breeding species AND help support the Second Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas (VABBA2). We are excited to have Nathan Pieplow as our keynote speaker. His presentation ‘Listen to Her Sing,’ dispels the widespread notion that only male birds sing and explores the often-overlooked songs of female birds. Nathan is the author of the Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds (Eastern Region) which was published in March 2017.   

“Birding in Cuba with American Birding Association”: April 4-14 and again in Sept. 8-18                       


A wonderful resource for identifying native Northern VA plants:

Interested in knowing more about Birding In VA?

If you wanting to know where your state stand on environmental policies, here is the place to go! The Environmental Briefing Book, an annual publication of the Virginia Conservation Network (VCN), outlines the conservation community’s policy priorities. The issue briefings have been researched and written by the leading environmental experts from VCN’s partner organizations. “Our Common Agenda 018 Environmental Briefing Book” can be downloaded at

North American Bushcraft School

13 Jan Sat Buffalo Shoulder Bags 9:00am
14 Jan Sun Sewing Buckskin Bags 10:00am
20 Jan Sat Two Baskets in a Day 9:00am
21 Jan Sun Fermented Foods 9:00 am
Contact (202) 649-0017 1435 Providence Church Rd Hedgesville, WV 25427



Thanks to Potomac Valley Audubon’s “Kathy’s Corner” for the following links:

               Governments unite to conserve the world’s heaviest flying animal