Bird Atlas Tips September 2011
Loudoun County Atlasers,
Congratulations on completing our third breeding season for the atlas, bringing us past the half way mark of this exciting 5-year project! As fall approaches, we can shift our focus to the migrants passing through our area. Earthquakes…hurricanes…anything is possible!
1. Swallow-tailed Kite observed in the Lincoln 4 block.
2. The Poolesville area continues to be productive with reports of Pectoral Sandpiper, Horned Lark, Cliff Swallow, Yellow-throated Warbler, as well as Turkey, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Dickcissel fledglings. A Dickcissel was also reported in the Waterford 3 block.
3. Loggerhead Shrike observed on top of a roof in the Purcellville 4 block.
4. Broad-wing Hawks observed passing over Snickers Gap Hawkwatch (Bluemont 1).
Reminders and Tips
1. When viewing the results for a particular block, note the “view missing species” link in green at the top of the “Results by Block” page. Click on this link for a breakdown of species observed in the 1985-1989 Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas (Atlas 1) vs. our 2009-2013 Loudoun County Bird Atlas (Atlas 2). Changes in habitat or access may make it impossible to achieve the same numbers, but the list provides a useful target for the block.
2. Please notify your regional coordinator or myself if you feel you’ve completed your block or need help atlasing those last few elusive species. Refer to page 18 of the Atlas Handbook for details regarding block completion. A coordinator can help you determine the percentages of breeding birds.
3. Thanks to the hard working folks at Patuxent, species maps in the BBA Explorer database are now being regularly updated every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
4. Falling behind on data entry? Atlasing slows a bit in the fall and winter, providing a great opportunity to catch up! Remember to check for any warning flags before finalizing your field cards.
5. Plan on atlasing your block at least once a month throughout the fall and winter to document any migrants and wintering birds you encounter.
Odds and Ends
1. As in years past, I’ll feature a “Species of the Month” for the fall and winter atlas emails. Please let me know if there is a particular species you would like to learn more about or if you have any suggestions, questions, or stories you would like to share with the other atlasers.
2. The Snickers Gap Hawkwatch, located on the Clarke and Loudoun County line, is looking for volunteers this fall. Please contact Todd Day at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or are interested in participating with the count.
71 atlasers have spent 3,085 hours in the field documenting 34,550 sightings. You have recorded 233 species, with 100 of these species having a confirmed nesting status. Field cards have been reported for 46 blocks and 4 blocks are considered “complete”.
Loudoun County Bird Atlas Coordinator