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Spring Greetings.
Charlie and I have been just feeding and admiring the birds on the homestead this past month!  He did make a short trip to his hometown a couple of weeks ago and took some nice photos I am going to share with you.. 

The spring migration has started!  Our Purple Martins are starting to come back! The Hummingbirds are on the way! We are looking forward to more outdoor activity!
Charlie chased this Yellow-Throated Warbler all over the park trying for a photo. He went back the next day to try again, but the migrant had moved on!
I love his picture of this Eastern Phoebe.  The bird seems to be posing and asking for his picture to be taken!
This Hermit Thrush also was cooperative!
This is my favorite! A pair of Tree Swallows!  It looks like it could be a piece of art!
Charlie's movements were closely watched!  You never know when he might just take a picture of YOU!
 The "Winchester" Bald Eagles are back and nesting!  They had to rebuild their nest of twigs and sticks as the other one collapsed last fall. At this time of the year, they are feeding and caring for the eaglets.  We don't know how many yet.  I have several pictures of this adult apparently "just chewing" on a small branch of a stick.  Is she bored with nothing else to do?
CORNEL LAB eNEWS: Lower 48 Has 4 Times as Many Bald Eagles as a Decade Ago 
In March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the latest population estimate for Bald Eagles, and the news was heartening. Some 316,000 eagles now cruise the skies in the Lower 48—more than four times the previous estimate, from 2009. See how the most accurate eagle count in history was partly powered by 180,000 eBirders plus sophisticated eBird Science models.
Dig Deeper: Explore the latest Bald Eagle distribution models, including colorful animated maps that show where eagles go throughout the year.
 
We still have a Dark-eyed Junco who hoovers at the thistle feeder just long enough to grab a seed.
I am calling this my "Spring Newsletter because it is now mid April and I do not plan to do a May issue! Happy Spring!
See you in June!  Judy
   SHENANDOAH NATURALISTS
             JULY NEWS
 
 


 
 
 





Wow! It is too hot! Did we really have a spring this year?  I remember that we had 90-degree days in May! I am already looking forward to autumn! 

I downloaded two new apps for my cell phone. The first one was Seek by iNaturalist.  It is designed to help you ID plants, insects, fish, birds etc.  I have only used it for plants and it has worked great and it is free!  I also downloaded the THE WARBLE GUIDE.  I also am pleased with it.  It is not free ($13) but if you are trying to learn your warbles, it helps!  Also the birding app by Cornell called MERLIN has a new option.  If you use it to record a bird singing, the app tries to ID it for you.  When I recorded a House Wren singing, it guessed that it was either a House Wren or a Vireo. Then you can play the songs of each to learn if either of them are the song that you are hearing.  I know I will be using it often and I now I will be able to stop asking Charlie every few minutes "What is the bird I hear singing?"

This summer, it feels our house has become an “animal sanctuary”.  We no longer have dogs and cats that discouraged the wild critters. Here are a few of our "critters".
 
We had a phoebe trying to nest in a backpack that is on the back of one of my bikes inside the garage.  I am not sure how Charlie discovered it, but he threw it out. I felt sorry for her having to make another nest (the mother in me??)  However, I had to agree with him that since we close the garage doors every night, it would be only be a matter of time before the Phoebe and the eggs/chicks would get separated. It was a beautiful nest with moss and grass. The good news is that today I saw her checking out other places! (I will not comment on what this implies about how much I am riding my bike this year.)
 
We also have a doe with a young fawn (still has spots) enjoying the water fountain in the front yard.
 
We have a small flowing water fountain/pond in our side yard that has become a favorite bathing spot for the birds.  We had a young Robin and an Indigo Bunting at it yesterday. (Not counting the House Wrens, Catbirds, Song Sparrows, Brown Thrashers, Wrens etc.)
 
Indigo Bunting
We have a little garden where I have been working most mornings.  Charlie put up a wren box at one corner close to the snow pea plants.  The House Wrens don’t seem to care if I am within feet of their house or not.  I am apparently “just the old lady of the garden” to them.  They sit on the wire fence and entertain me with their singing most of the morning.
 
Apparently, this summer the House Finches are showing up at bird baths with extremely red plumage.   (picture courtesy of Linda Bynog) They look a lot like Purple Finches, but the Culmen is curved in the House Finch and fairly straight  in the Purple Finch.  It is also rare to see a Purple Finch here during summer time.
(The culmen is the dorsal ridge of the upper mandible. Likened by ornithologist Elliott Coues to the ridge line of a roof, it is the "highest middle lengthwise line of the bill" and runs from the point where the upper mandible emerges from the forehead's feathers to its tip. The bill's length along the culmen is one of the regular measurements made during bird banding (ringing), and is particularly useful in feeding studies.  https://webdesigner56789.blogspot.com/ )
 
The big news is that we have a fox staying under the tool shed Charlie built last year.  He is not happy about it as she appears to be making a den by tearing up the ground and the landscaping fabric under the shed. We hear her a lot at the night.  I'll let you know if we see any kits!
 
Our pair of Black snakes are still here. We saw "Samson" crossing our drive the other day and I found two snake skins on my deck!
All of our Purple Martin houses are full.  It is wonderful to watch them flying over the yard catching insects.They will start their migration to Brazil in Augest.  I hate to see them go but remember that the Martins have been gathering close to the Pleasant Valley Walmart parking lot at sunset into huge flocks before they return to their winter homes.  If they do it again this year, you should go to see them!
Saturday, I saw “our” groundhog which lives under the wood shed in the back part of our lot and is huge, crossing our deck!  When he saw me, he took off running!  When I first saw him my thought was “we can’t have a badger on our deck!”  He has been there for a long time, but he stay away from the house.  Maybe he came in looking for water. (Sorry, no picture!)


Because there are so few birding activities scheduled for the summer months, I will not be doing another newsletter until   September.  Stay cool and enjoy your summer!!                     
                                       Judy                                                  

 

Blandy  https://blandy.virginia.edu/

Firefly Walks       8:00-9:30 PM 
Thursday, July 8th     Saturday, July 10th           Tuesday, July 13th  Wednesday, July 14th      Saturday, July 17th  Registration required FOSA members/UVa Alumni, $10, nonmembers $15 
Member/UVa family $20, nonmember family $25 

Bugs & Suds
Thursday, July 15th Science Cafe at Winchester Brew Works 6:00-7:00 PM Learn about conservation of native bees, butterflies, and lightning bugs with Blandy bug scientists Kate LeCroy, Emily Spindler, and Ariel Firebaugh. This free and informal event is open to the public, but registration is requested. Drinks and snacks are available for purchase from Winchester Brew Works.
Where to meet: Winchester Brew Works (320 North Cameron Street, Winchester, VA, 22601) This program is free, but advanced registration is requested.

Wildflower Walk
Friday, July 23rd 9:00-11:00 AM Join field botanist and Virginia Native Plant Society Vice President Sally Anderson on a walk through the Native Plant Trai!. Along the way, you'll learn to identify various native and invasive plant species and discover the ecology of our plant communities. This is the perfect opportunity to ask your native plant questions! What to expect: We will walk about a half mile over gently rolling terrain. Who can come: Adults and children aged 12 and up. What to bring: Wear comfortable walking shoes, bring a full water bottle, and dress for the weather.? Where to meet: Meet at the flagpole at the front parking lot close to the “Arboretum Information” kiosk. 
Registration required FOSA members/UVa Alumni, $10, nonmembers $15 
Member/UVa family $20, nonmember family $25 


Summer Science Seminars
6:00 PM Wednesdays in July
Each summer, the Blandy research community gathers Wednesdays at 6:00 PM to hear talks by visiting scientists. Seminars highlight current research in the fields of biology, ecology, and environmental science. These talks are free and open to the public. Click here for a schedule of speakers and topics. Sign up to receive the seminar schedule and information about how attend talks virtually via Zoom.
What to expect: A ~45 minute academic research presentation on Zoom with Q&A. Who this is for: Anyone with an interest in biology, ecology, or environmental science research. This program is free, but advanced registration is required. 
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Native Plant Society

The VNPS Piedmont Chapter will be hosting a plant walk at Bear Wallow in the George Washington National Forest this Saturday, July 10, 2021 at 1PM. You are invited to join us for a fun afternoon exploring! The gravel road leading from the Bear Wallow Parking Lot offers many interesting native flowers and leads to a small peat bog with Yellow Fringed Orchids! If you are interested in attending, please register by sending Ashley Landes an email. She will follow up with registrants with more detailed information about parking and additional logistics.  alandes12@su.edu

 

 


 

Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy Programs and Field Trips
Who are You Really? Masters of Mimicry and Deception in the Insect World — Wednesday, July 7, 7:00 – 8:00 pm, Virtual. From appearance to behavior, insects have developed elaborate ruses to deceive potential predators or lure prey. From femme fatale fireflies to caterpillars who cry wolf, discover who is faking it and who is not in this program that focuses on mimicry (rather than camouflage) by local species. Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and Nature Journaling Specialist Clare Walker Leslie for this presentation. Sign Up Online.
 
Birding Banshee ― Saturday, July 10, 8:00 am. 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 hotspot. Bring binoculars if you have them. Questions: Contact Joe Coleman at 540-554-2542 or jcoleman@loudounwildlife.org
 
Dragonfly Walk — Sunday, July 11, 9:00 am, Dulles Greenway Wetlands. Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s Bryan Henson on a leisurely walk in search of these beautiful and fascinating insects. Visit the restricted-access Dulles Greenway Wetlands and see what dragonflies we can find in this unique protected habitat.  Bring binoculars and water.  Hats, waterproof footgear, long pants, sunscreen, and insect repellent are advised. Adults and interested children are welcomeRegistration required: Sign Up Online.  Questions: Contact Bryan Henson at bhenson@loudounwildlife.org. 
 
Family-Friendly Nature Event: The Magic of Moths! — Friday, July 16, 8:00 – 10:00 pm, The Stone Barn at Morven Park (rain date July 17).  Come discover why moths constitute about 90% of all the Lepidoptera on the planet: not bad for a group of animals that flew with some of our most well-known dinosaurs! Join Dr. David Adamski and Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy to review and explore the most common moth families found in the Capital Region. After sunset, he’ll help us identify the moths that are attracted to his blacklight set up on the wooded grounds. Registration required: Sign Up Online
 
Birding Bles Park — Sunday, July 18, 8:00 am. Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is pleased to offer a regular bird walk at Bles Park located along the Potomac River in eastern Loudoun. More than 175 different species of birds have been observed at Bles in a great mix of habitat. Everyone is welcome, whether you are an experienced or beginning birder. Bring binoculars if you have them. Questions: Contact Bryan Henson at bhenson@loudounwildlife.org
 
Birding the Blue Ridge Center — Saturday, July 24, 8:00 am. The Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship (BRCES) is a beautiful 900-acre preserve in northwestern Loudoun. With its diverse wildlife habitats, including meadows, streams, and heavily forested slopes, BRCES draws a wide variety of birds and other creatures. Join 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 www.brces.org. Questions: Contact Joe Coleman at jcoleman@loudounwildlife.org.
 
Amphibian Night Walk at JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary — Saturday, July 24, 7:00 – 10:00 pm. Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy for a unique opportunity to explore the world of amphibians (and maybe a few reptiles) at the JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary at night.  This guided tour will focus on the amphibians that inhabit the vernal pools on the property.  Waterproof footwear and a flashlight/headlamp will be a necessity. Limit 5. Registration required: Sign Up Online

Let’s Count Butterflies! — Saturday, August 7, 9:00 am. Announcing Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s 24th Annual Butterfly Count! Come and have fun while contributing to butterfly conservation. Each year the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) asks volunteers around the nation to count all the butterflies they see within specified “count circles”. Our circle stretches from Leesburg to the Blue Ridge and from Lovettsville to Lincoln, along roadsides and driveways, public pollinator plantings and private gardens. All ages and experience levels are welcome — you’ll be teamed up with experienced leaders. There is a $3 fee per adult; Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy members and children under 18 participate for free. Fees and count data are submitted to NABA, whose database is made available to researchers. Registration required: Sign Up Online.
 
Dates and locations are subject to change. For up-to-date information on our programs or to register, visit our website at www.loudounwildlife.org or contact info@loudounwildlife.org.
 

 


 

Audubon Society Of Northern Virginia

Photo Haiku uses inspiring nature photos combined with the simple elegance of Haiku poetry to express  encounters with the natural world.  By sharing a Photo Haiku, others can experience the feeling that the photographer/author had.  We explored this art form in recent Fireside Chats and we think you'll agree that Fireside Chat participants are a talented group!

Please visit https://www.audubonva.org/news/photo-haiku-project-gallery to see the full collection. 
Their newsletter has a wonderful article explaining between leucism, albinism and  other color abnormalities.
Do you have a favor birding trail?  Now you share it with everyone! https://mailchi.mp/audubonva/audubon-society-of-northern-virginia-february-2019-potomac-flier-newsletter-1307473?e=0d12c7b184#mctoc7

We spent a week in Texas with Dixie Summer.  She loves to travel and is a wonderful photographer. Please check out Dixie’s photos of birds (and other things!) from around the world: https://ddpix.smugmug.com/  If you go to her “Rest of Northern VA” page, she has 
a video of an adult Bald Eagle feeding one of the eaglets! Really cool! However the other eaglet is not fed which usually indicates it is the weaker of the two.  The weak ones sometimes do not survive.
 

 


 

Potomac Valley Audubon Society

Become a PVAS Certified Weed Warrior
Weed Warriors are given knowledge, skills and tools needed to independently tackle invasive species management at the preserves.  Everyone is welcome and every little bit of help in the fight against invasive plants is appreciated! Register for either the  July 27 course. 
https://www.potomacaudubon.org/
 

Kathy’s Corner

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