Bird Atlas Tips August 2011
Loudoun County Atlasers,
As summer marches on we are past the peak breeding activity for many (but not all!) species, making breeding confirmations challenging. But birders love a challenge, right? So don’t stop looking for fledged young and evidence of breeding for our late nesters. Remember that unlike other atlases, our fun doesn’t stop as summer draws to a close. The Loudoun County Bird Atlas is a year-round project so continue atlasing your block at least once a month. The changing of seasons will bring migrants, winter birds, and many more atlasing delights!
1. Bank Swallow observed in the Poolesville 1 block.
2. Northern Bobwhite, American Black Duck, juvenile Green Herons, Wood Duck with young, and an adult Bald Eagle observed at the Dulles Wetlands.
3. Savannah Sparrow, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue Grosbeak carrying food, Prairie Warbler, and Yellowbreasted Chat highlighted the monthly Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy-sponsored walk at Banshee Reeks.
4. Bobolink, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Eastern Meadowlark observed in the Bluemont 4 block.
5. Purple Finch observed at a feeder in the Waterford 3 block on June 30th.
6. Northern Bobwhite documented as a probable breeder for the Leesburg 4 block in May. Summer Tanager also reported for this block. Sorry for the delay – I just came across these great sightings in the database.
1. Between December 2010 and February 2011 we made two significant changes to the atlas Special Areas – the Potomac River was removed and Dulles Wetlands was added. When atlasing the Dulles Wetlands, please complete a separate field card and enter your data as a Special Area. Sightings from the Potomac River should be reported as regular sightings for the appropriate block.
2. If you completed a special survey during the 2011 season, please send me your data.
3. With only 2 breeding seasons remaining for the atlas, it’s important that you promptly enter your sightings so other atlasers can focus their efforts on upgrading and finding additional species for the block.
Tips (taken from 2002-2006 Maryland/DC Breeding Bird Atlas
1. Goldfinch young are hatching now and have a strong begging call. Though common, this species has been confirmed as breeding in only 11 of our 75 blocks so be on the lookout as you travel throughout the county!
2. Blue Grosbeak can fledge young as late as Labor Day. Note the second year male resembles a female.
3. Now that atlasing has slowed down a bit, try recruiting reliable bird enthusiasts in your block to feed you information from their backyard feeders. If you don’t have time to enter their sightings in addition to your own, send them to me and I’ll make sure the data is entered correctly.
68 atlasers have spent 3,020 hours in the field documenting 33,220 sightings. You have recorded 232 species, with 100 of these species having a confirmed nesting status. Field cards have been reported for 46 blocks and 3 blocks are considered “complete”.
Loudoun County Bird Atlas Coordinator