Hi Loudoun County Atlasers,
Happy New Year! 2011 will bring the halfway point of our five-year atlas. We are making good progress thanks to the hard work of each and every one of you, but still have some work ahead of us to make the atlas a success. At this point in the project, several of you may have completed your assigned blocks. If you think your block has been adequately covered (remember to check the target species list for your block), please contact your regional coordinator or myself for confirmation. We will thank you for your hard work and give you the option of choosing another block to atlas. Remember that you can continue to add sightings to a block even though it’s considered “complete.”
1. We added another species to our atlas list! A Brant flew over Snickers Gap Hawkwatch in the Bluemont 1 block.
2. An atlaser was treated to a Black-capped Chickadee visiting his feeders in the Bluemont 4 block.
3. The Central Loudoun Christmas Bird Count was a success with over 100 participants and great weather. A few of the highlights that I remember from the Tally Rally afterwards include Snow Goose, Redhead, Common Goldeneye, Horned Lark, and a flock of at least 7 Brown Creepers spread across 3 or 4 trees.
Atlas Training Session
I’ll be holding another training/refresher session in late Februrary/early March. If you are interested in attending please let me know. I will contact those who express an interest to choose a date and location that fits the most people’s schedules.
Invite your Friends to Join the Fun
If you know of someone that may be interested in atlasing please let me know. We can use atlasers at all levels of involvement – whether it’s taking ownership of a block, contributing backyard sightings when convenient, or volunteering for a day of “blockbusting” (i.e. choosing one day to survey a block with no coverage and record data for as many species as possible).
Species of the Month – Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)
• Significantly larger than other sparrows.
• Scratches in leaves for insects and seeds, often making so much noise that they sound like a much larger animal.
• Adults known to perform a broken-wing display to lure potential threats away from the nest.
• A group of Fox Sparrows are collectively known as a “den”, “flock”, and “slyness” of sparrows.
• Named for the coloring on its back.
Information taken from: Weckstein, Jason D., Donald E. Kroodsma and Robert C. Faucett. 2002. Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca), The Birds of North America Online (A.Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online
56 enthusiastic atlasers have spent 2,160 hours in the field documenting 23,790 sightings. You have recorded 226 species, with 97 of these species having a confirmed nesting status. Field cards have been reported for 39 blocks.
Upcoming Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy Event
Natural History of Owls – Wednesday, January 12, 7-9 pm at the Purcellville Library. The illustrated slide show by Paul Engman, past president of the Raptor Society of Washington, will cover field identification techniques, tips on where and how to find owls in the field, and much more. This is a great opportunity to add more owl sightings for the atlas!
Happy New Year and Happy Atlasing,
Loudoun County Bird Atlas Coordinator