Here’s a nice event being organized by the Virginia Society of Ornithology (VSO) coming up in June. While it’s not in Loudoun, it will provide some really fun birding and other nature experiences.
VSO Foray 2010
Culpeper and Fauquier Counties
Focusing on the Loggerhead Shrike
The 2010 VSO Foray will be held June 12-20 in Culpeper and Fauquier Counties. These counties contain a large portion of the newly established Culpeper Important Bird Area (IBA) (http://www.audubon.org/bird/iba/virginia/Documents/Culpeper%20Basin.pdf), which focuses on habitat for grassland and scrubland birds. Forest birds have traditionally received most of conservationists’ attention, but there is an increasing awareness that grassland and scrubland birds have been neglected.
Among these understudied birds, we will pay special attention to the loggerhead shrike, “one of the few North American passerines whose populations have declined continentwide in recent decades” (according to “Birds of America Online”). Virginia lies at the northern edge of the range for non-migratory loggerheads. These year-round residents tend to occupy permanent territories, so we are hoping to find overlooked shrike populations during the foray. Other “species at risk” in the Culpeper IBA include Upland Sandpiper, Henslow’s and other sparrows, and Northern Bobwhite quail.
The counties will be divided up among foray participants, who will canvas their areas as thoroughly as possible. We will carry out eBird-style “traveling counts” of up to five miles per count, counting all birds seen and collecting additional information on habitat and exact location if/when a shrike is seen.
The foray headquarters will be the Best Western in Culpeper (540 825-1253), where we will convene for dinner on the two Saturday nights. There are several other motels in the immediate vicinity (within easy walking distance), including Rodeway Inn (540 825-8088), Microtel (800 771-7171), Comfort Inn (540 825-4900 or 877 424-64230 and the Holiday Inn (540 825-7444 or 877 863-4780). Those foraying Fauquier County may prefer to stay in Warrenton.
Anyone wishing to participate in the foray should contact Susan Brown, either by email (email@example.com) or telephone (757 665-4364).