MARCH NEWS


I think spring is almost here! Maybe!!

The big news from Shenandoah Naturalists is that we are planning our fourth Conservation Dinner on Friday night April 20th!  We are trying a different venue.  The dinner will be at “Cristina’s Café at 219 W King St, Strasburg, VA 22657.  We are still working on the final details.   Charlie and I have eaten there twice and both times we were very pleased.  The website is  It is owned by Wendy and Cristina Willis. The Willis sisters are descendants from an ancestry of entrepreneurs.  Their grandmother, mother & father have each owned restaurants and have been an inspirations for the sisters. In 2009 Cristina’s Cafe became the first certified green restaurant in Shenandoah & Frederick counties.  Wendy travels extensively in South America and is an avid birder.  She will be sharing stories and photos of her adventures.  SO MARK YOUR CALENDAR!!

Charlie is also planning a “Birds and Breakfast” for April the 28th.  We are still working out the details for that too.  Charlie and I will cook breakfast for you before we head out “to see what we can see”. 


BREAKING NEWS: There is a Muskrat at White's Lake!


The Winchester Bald Eagles are back for the third year!


A flock of Hooded Mergansers have been hanging out at White's lake.


The Cooper's Hawk continues to watch our bird feeders.


Hope to see you at some of these up coming activities.   Judy




SPRING BIRD & WILDLIFE WALKS at Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve - Winchester, VA
Saturdays: March 17, March 31, April 14, and April 28. Walks begin at 8:30am Join seasoned naturalist and current NSVAS President Jim Smith for his nature walks in the Abrams Creek area in the heart of Winchester. Meet at the Children of America's parking lot off of West Jubal Early Drive, approx. 1/2 mile west of Valley Avenue. Park at the west/right side of the lot by the woods. If you arrive late, simply walk the path until you catch up with the group. Allow approx. 2 hours for the walk. Dress for the weather and you may want to bring water, binoculars, and a camera. Walks will be cancelled in inclement weather. For more information contact Jim at 540-303-3983. No fee, no registration required. Great family activity.

Thursday, March 22 - 7:00 - 8:30pm Program: "VIRGINIA'S BREEDING BIRDS THIRTY YEARS LATER" Location: - Hester Auditorium of Henkel Hall, Shenandoah University's Main Campus, Winchester VAEvent - A discussion of the Virginia Bird Breeding Atlas program. The BBA program's purpose is to assess the status and breeding distribution of Virginia's breeding birds since the mid-1980s. Presented by Ashley Peele, Phd., the Virginia BBA Project Director. Join us to learn more about this exciting conservation project and see how you can get involved.Cosponsored by the Northern Shenandoah Valley Audubon Society and the Environmental Studies Program at Shenandoah University No Cost: Free and open to the public.



Sunday, March 11, 2018, 1 – 3 pm You are invited to a  SECOND SUNDAY WALK at G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area near Linden in Fauquier County.  Join Biologist and Lands and Facilities Manager at Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) Ron Hughes on a walk to the seep beside the Appalachian Trail to see Skunk Cabbage and other early bloomers. Dress for the weather, wear sturdy footgear and bring drinking water. A permit access for this walk is not required as it will be provided by VDGIF. Kindly RSVP  to if you are interested in joining us and receive directions.

Sunday, March 18, 2 pm  Native Plant Society’s Winter Speaker Series: Cultivating Unstraggly Natives with Emily Sinclair, Park Ranger at Sky Meadows State Park. Free. Refreshments provided. No reservations necessary. Emmanuel Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 9668 Maidstone Road, Delaplane, VA 20144.

Sat. March 31 at 1 pm is the G.R. Thompson WMA Walk and Invasive Removal.  Bring gloves and water.  The Native Plant Soc. Will look for early signs of spring as they work.  More info:




Rob and Ann Simpson, professors at Lord Fairfax Community College,  will be leading a trip this Aug. 3rd thru Aug. 13 to Peru.  It is thru Holbrook Travel   ( )and called “Ultimate Peru | Birding, Photography, and Natural History”  Discover new photographic techniques in the Amazon rainforest and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Seek out a variety of Peru’s spectacular avian species, including hummingbirds, cotingas, herons, jacamars, and the majestic Andean Condor. Spend time in the iconic Machu Picchu ruins and other important archaeological sites. An optional pre-trip extension for pelagic bird photography is available. Charlie and I went with them to Patagonia, Chile and they are wonderful tour guides! I am not sure when the deadline is to sign up. So if you think you may be interested, go to the web page or contact Stefanie Plein at 877-910-6548 or




Wednesday, March 21,  9:00 AM - 11:00 AM Early Spring Nature Walk at Stauffer’s Marsh Nature Preserve Berkeley Co. WV Enjoy a morning with nature at Stauffer's Marsh where flora and fauna abound. Birds expected to be seen are early spring migrants. Depending on the weather, early spring flowers may be in bloom and with any luck, you may spot a frog or turtle on this walk. The preserve is only 46 acres in size, so the distances to be walked are not great.  However, the terrain will include wet meadows and marshlands, as well as dry areas, so waterproof footwear is strongly recommended.  This is one of Charlie and my favorite places to go! For more information, please feel free to contact Krista Hawley at or 703-303-1026.

Saturday, March 24, 7:30 AM Early Spring Bird Walk at USGS Fish Health Lab which is jut off Leetown Rd. The size is not excessively large, but the bird species are diverse and the quality of the wetland is excellent. The property has a mix of open ponds and woods; offering different species. The route is generally flat, with some gradual hills. Charlie and I have enjoyed that walk.  Please contact Krista Hawley at or 703-303-1026 with any questions you may have.

Saturday, April 7, 9:30 am -11:30 am Spring Wildflower and Nature Walk on Ferry Hill Trail  During April, a wide variety of wildflowers should still be on display, including lots of trillium, trout lilies, shooting star, bluebells, to name a few. The group will make their way to a huge rock further out on that trail that has walking fern, columbine, hepatica, sedums & other ferns on it. The Ferry Hill Trail is a little steep, but zig-zags back and forth to the top of the ridge so wear sturdy walking shoes and bring along a trekking pole or hiking stick if you like. Please make note that we are labeling this walk as 'moderate' difficulty due to the semi-steep trail. There will be the option of a longer loop across the ridge & back to the canal for those that want a longer trek. Please contact Krista Hawley at or 703-303-1026 with any questions you may have.


Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 3:00 PM 5:00 PM Golden-winged Warbler and Loggerhead Shrike an Audubon Afternoon program by Northern Virginia Audubon Society.   Want to know more about Golden-winged Warblers and Loggerhead Shrikes?  So does the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  Among their other responsibilities, DGIF  has an active and vibrant nongame bird conservation program.  Sergio Harding will be speaking to us about these programs, with a particular focus on research and conservation of Golden-winged Warbler and Loggerhead Shrike, two declining species of open, shrubby habitats.  Sergio Harding has worked as a Nongame Bird Conservation Biologist with the Virginia DGIF since 2005.  In this capacity he is responsible for coordinating with other agencies on bird conservation issues, including coordination of the Virginia Bird Conservation Initiative (  Sergio is also the Virginia coordinator of the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), and regularly participates in avian surveys.  These have included breeding landbird surveys of Wildlife Management Areas as well as surveys of bald eagles, peregrine falcons, golden-winged warblers, loggerhead shrikes and breeding marsh birds. Location: National Wildlife Federation 11100 Wildlife Center Drive Reston, VA, 20190 I want to attend this.  If anyone else is interested in going, please let me know.


Environmental Studies on the Piedmon

Morning Bird Walks, March 14th and 24th
, 8 am until 11 am We now offer both a Wednesday and a Saturday bird walk monthly. Under the expert guidance of Bert Harris or Todd Day, explore the field station in search of resident birds and early migrants. This program is suitable for novice and experienced birders. Please bring binoculars, field guides and a water bottle. We will be walking the fields and trails, so dress to be outdoors. Waterproof shoes or boots are essential. RSVP is requested.


Youth Hike Saturday! (YHikeS!), Saturday, March 17th, 9 am until noon Our monthly Saturday morning youth program meets under the guidance of Eleanor Harris, Caragh and Ryan. This month, wear boots or waterproof shoes and experience the spring explosion of amphibians on the field station. YHikerS! will visit a variety of wetland ecosystems and learn how amphibians tell us about the quality of our watersheds. Space is limited, RSVP requested.



Loudoun Wildlife Conservation Events
Vanishing Vernal Pools and the Amphibians That Use Them: Indoor ClassFriday, March 16, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m., Stone Barn, Morven Park. Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and Mike Hayslett of Virginia Vernal Pools for this popular program on vernal pools and other seasonal wetlands and their inhabitants. Through this classroom session, participants will learn where to find vernal pools in different settings, how other wetland habitats can function as vernal pools, the life cycles of local amphibians such as Spotted Salamanders, Jefferson Salamanders, and Wood Frogs, and insights into very special crustaceans called Fairy Shrimp. This class provides a great foundation for those going out into the field with us. Registration required: Sign Up Online. 
Explore the Wonders of Vernal Pools! Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy out in the field during a day or night hike as we celebrate and discover the different animals that use vernal pools and their surrounding forest habitats. Over the course of this special week, Mike Hayslett, Director of Virginia Vernal Pools, will lead us into these habitats which truly come to life as spring takes off.  We will look for Wood Frogs, salamanders, toads, Spring Peepers, Fairy Shrimp, and more as Mike shares his knowledge of these important habitats which vanish by summer. Meeting locations and other details will be provided to participants. Space is limited for each of these field trips. Fee per event is $10 per person. Registration required: Sign Up Online.
 Vernal Pools of the Blue Ridge Center, Our New State Park — Saturday, March 17, 10:00 a.m. – noon.
 Amphibian Action Night: A Family Adventure at Morven Park — Saturday, March 17, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m., Morven Park.
 Exploring a Globally Rare Wetland: Gum Farm — Sunday, March 18, 10:00 a.m. – noon.
 Private Vernal Pool Consultation with Mike Hayslett — Mike Hayslett has offered to give private vernal pool consultations to individual home owners, groups, and HOAs seeking to learn about the vernal pools in their community or how to construct a vernal pool in their yard.  If you would like to engage Mike in this activity, please contact him to schedule and make arrangements.  There may be a small fee for this consult. Each consultation will be approximately 2 hours. Contact Mike at
Bluebird Nestbox Monitoring Kickoff — Sunday, March 18, 2:00 p.m., Stone Barn at Morven Park.  Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy supports the Virginia Bluebird Society in setting up and monitoring nestbox trails across the county. By collecting information on native cavity nesters, we track population trends and learn about their lives firsthand. Karla Etten, Loudoun Wildlife’s bluebird program coordinator, will offer an introduction to nestbox monitoring and the protocol used in Loudoun for collecting and reporting data. She’ll also discuss bluebird nesting behavior, preferred foods, and habitat needs during her slideshow presentation. Individuals interested in joining a monitoring team for the 2018 season, or setting up a nestbox at home, are encouraged to participate in the kickoff. Registration required: Sign Up Online.

 The Strange World of Fungi — Saturday, March 24, 2:00 p.m., Stone Barn at Morven Park. Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and Teta Kain for a program on the strange world of fungi.  Did you know that the southeastern United States has the greatest variety of poisonous mushrooms of any place in the world? Virginia is home to a bewildering variety of mushrooms, bracket fungus, slimes, jellies, cups — the list goes on and on. Teta gets up close and personal with them, often lying flat on the ground to get a different perspective of these strange growths that spring up overnight in field, forest, lawn, garden, and just about any other place you can think of. She has amassed many stories about how people relate to fungus, how they get their strange names, whether they are edible, and what other uses they might have. She tells us that she is not an expert, but loves to photograph and study fungi, but she warns: “Don’t eat my identifications!” Registration required: Sign Up Online.

 Attract Birds to Your Yard with Native Plants — Sunday, March 25, 2:00 p.m., Rust Library. Native plants bring birds—and beauty—to a landscape. Join local naturalists Sheila Ferguson and Gerco Hoogeweg for a Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy presentation on how to use native plants to attract birds (and pollinators!) to your yard. Registration required: Sign Up Online.

April 27 @ 7:00 am - 6:30 pm Trip to Mt. Cuba Center  which is known for its extensive collection of native plants of the Piedmont region. A home for conservation and preservation since the 1930s, Mt. Cuba Center offers tours, educational programs, and research that inspires an appreciation for the beauty and value of native plants and a commitment to protect the habitats that sustain them. Our visit is planned to coincide with the peak blooming period of the spring ephemerals.Cost: $100—This amount includes all garden fees, round-trip transportation, a boxed lunch (see options), and lecture.  Snacks, water, and information packet will also be provided.  If after you register you are unable to attend, you must cancel before March 27, 2018.


Audubon Society of Northern VA classes offer Northern Virginians the opportunity to learn more about the natural world and be informed, active stewards for its care and protection. To register, follow the link after each class description. If you need more information contact ASNV at 703-438-6008 or at .  
Mar 31, 2018 Beginning Birding by Ear: The Language of Birds and Nature Awareness   Point of View International Retreat and Conference Center Join Dr. Tom Wood, Associate Professor of Integrative and Interdisciplinary Studies in the School of Integrative Studies (SIS) at George Mason University, to start learning birds through understanding their lives, communication and role in the world outside our windows and in the wilderness. Read More→
Apr 28, 2018 Birding by Ear Boot Camp   Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship Join Joette Borzik for a one-day Birding by Ear Boot Camp! We will spend a full day learning bird song in the field on the trails of the Blue Ridge Environmental Center and surrounding area. Read More→


Some ways you can learn to ID birds and their songs:
Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Eastern North America (Peterson Field Guides) Paperback – March 7, 2017  By Nathan Pieplow



Wednesday, April 4 @ 7 p.m Spring 2018 Community Lecture Series. Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute Front Royal,   The Ecology and Management of Canis in the Southeast.
All lectures are held at 7pm in the Smithsonian Mason School of Conservation Dining Hall 1500 Remount Road Front Royal, VA 22630  Lecture guests will be offered a special price of $10 per person.
Future lectures include:
April 11: “Promoting the Research and Conservation of Tapirs throughout Brazil” Patricia Medici,
April 18: “Conserving the Last of Guam’s Iconic Birds” Erica Royer,
April 25: “The Role of Highly Interactive Species to Ecosystem Health.”
please rsvp to Brian Miller



The Bizarre Walk of the Western Grebe Caught on Camera Western Grebes famously run on water, but few ornithologists have seen them using their aquatic feet to scamper across land. Read more

The following are from Kathy,s Corner ( PVAS):

Marley the sheep gets lessons in how to be a lamb because it thinks it is a dog