Bird Atlas Tips July 2010
Hello Loudoun County Atlasers,
As summer progresses, the breeding season is wrapping up for some species while others are just getting started. Isn’t it wonderful how mother nature works! As you atlas, keep in mind that safe dates for several species end in early or mid-July (Green Heron, Killdeer, Eastern Kingbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, Bobolink, Orchard Oriole, etc). Swallows and Ravens are already outside of safe dates, but please don’t stop looking for fledged young of these species. Now is a good time to look for breeding in Goldfinches, Indigo Buntings, and other late nesters.
1. As some of you may have noticed, there is a new public report available for Special Areas (Banshee Reeks, Algonkian Park, etc.). You’ll see the new link under the Results tab of the left navigation tabs (located under the atlas logo). It’s not necessary to login. This report lists the best evidence for all species recorded in a special area.
Tips (taken from the 2002-2006 MD/DC Breeding Bird Atlas and Joe Coleman)
1. Look for patches of habitat that are not common in most of that block. Survey these patches extra well. Ask landowners for permission to access such unusual habitats if not on public property.
2. Having trouble determining whether the sudden increase of hummingbirds at your feeder are fledglings? If they have extensive red on the throat they aren’t juveniles but adult males. Young juveniles (male and female) look a lot like adult females but, except for a sharp line around the eye, are less crisp and distinct. The males develop ruby/black spots on the throat as the summer and fall continues but it is never as full as adult males. Also check out behavior such as food begging, following an adult, etc.
1. Prothonotary Warbler confirmed as breeding at Algonkian Park in the Seneca 3 block.
2. Wild Turkeys (a hen and 6 poults) observed crossing a along the border of the Lincoln 1 and 2 blocks.
3. Cedar Waxwing observed nest building in the Bluemont 3 block. Grasshopper Sparrow, Rosebreasted Grosbeak, and Eastern Meadowlark also documented as probable or confirmed breeders for this block.
47 enthusiastic atlasers have spent 1,615 hours in the field documenting 17,997 sightings. You have recorded 210 species, with 92 of these species having a confirmed nesting status. Field cards have been reported for 32 blocks.
Loudoun County Bird Atlas Coordinator