Bird Atlas Tips October 2010
Hello Loudoun County Atlasers,
September was a great month for atlasing, with several highlights. There have already been a few reports of early winter birds (Yellow-rumped Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, etc.) so be on the lookout!
1. The day after a big storm, Bles Park hosted 16 warbler species (including Wilson’s, Blackburnian, and Canada), 5 species of flycatchers (including Yellow-bellied), and a Lincoln’s Sparrow.
2. Highlights at Algonkian Park included good looks at a Scarlet Tanager and 3 Ospreys, as well as a Great Egret, Red-headed Woodpecker, and Tennessee Warbler. 3. 10 warbler species (including Cape May and Blackburnian) were observed during Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s monthly walk at Banshee Reeks. A Northern Harrier, Raven, and Barred Owl also highlighted the walk.
4. Flock of at least 29 Wild Turkeys observed in the Lucketts area, along with a few Bald Eagles.
A warning flag will now appear if you enter a code other than “E” for a species not thought to breed in Loudoun. This new warning was created to reduce the number of typos when entering data. For example, it is very easy to enter a “FL” (fledgling) or other breeding code for a Cackling Goose when you meant to report it for a Canada Goose, located on the line directly below. This new warning message should help alert you and the Regional Coordinators to these typos. If you do happen to observe probable or confirmed breeding behavior for a species not thought to breed in Loudoun, simply ignore this warning message and submit an Atlas Verification Form. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Species of the Month
As a way to motivate you to continue atlasing during the non-breeding season, I will challenge you each month (most birders love a challenge, right?) to find a particular rare or uncommon species previously documented in Loudoun County. Even if you don’t find the featured species, you may encounter another great species along the way or at the very least have fun trying! This month I challenge you to be the first person to report a Peregrine Falcon for the atlas!
Here are a few facts about the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus):
• One of the most widely distributed species in the world, found on every continent except Antarctica.
• Performs vertical dives called “stoops” in which they snatch prey out of mid-air. During the stoop they can reach speeds of more than 175 mph, making them the fastest bird in the world. • Mates for life and returns to the same nesting site each year. Some sites have been used for centuries by multiple generations.
• Once listed as an endangered species in the United States. Peregrine Falcon populations have made a great comeback due to bans on usage of DDT and similar pesticides. • For all you etymologists out there – the term falcon derives from the Latin falco meaning ‘sickle’. This references the curved beak and talons of these birds. The name peregrine derives from the Latin peregrinus meaning ‘pilgrim’, ‘wanderer’, or ‘foreigner’. This references the extreme range of this falcon species.
Information taken from:
• http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/animalbytes/animalia/eumetazoa/coelomates/ deuterostomes/chordata/craniata/aves/falconiformes/peregrine-falcon.htm
54 enthusiastic atlasers have spent 1,920 hours in the field documenting 21,390 sightings. You have recorded 214 species, with 97 of these species having a confirmed nesting status. Field cards have been reported for 37 blocks.
Loudoun County Bird Atlas Coordinator