Bird Atlas Tips August 2012
Loudoun County Atlasers,
Though we’re passed the peak of breeding, you can’t hang up your binoculars yet! There’s still time to document breeding evidence for our late nesters and find fledged young of many species (even those outside safe dates). You may also find species in post breeding dispersal along with early migrants, such as shorebirds and swallows. You’ll never know what birds are waiting to be discovered unless you go out and look!
1. Newly fledged Green Heron with 2 adults observed at the BRCES in Harpers Ferry 3. A rather early migrating Black-throated Blue Warbler was reported 2 weeks later.
2. Savannah Sparrow, an atlas Species of Special Interest, confirmed breeding in Waterford 4 (end of June, but close enough).
3. White Ibis, Great Egret, Solitary and Semipalmated Sandpipers, and Bald Eagle observed at the Dulles Wetlands in Leesburg 5.
4. Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Prairie Warblers feeding young, and a family of Orchard Orioles highlighted the Loudoun Wildlife-sponsored monthly walk at Banshee Reeks in Leesburg 5.
Top Ten List
If David Letterman can have a Top Ten List, so can we (thanks to our hard-working partners at Patuxent). Here are the top 10 species, ranked according to the number of atlas blocks reported in. Drumroll, please…
10. American Crow (70 of 72 blocks)
9. Eastern Towhee (70 of 72 blocks)
8. American Goldfinch (70 of 72 blocks)
7. Tufted Titmouse (70 of 72 blocks)
6. White-breasted Nuthatch (70 of 72 blocks
5. Northern Cardinal (71 of 72 blocks)
4. Carolina Wren (71 of 72 blocks)
3. Red-bellied Woodpecker (71 of 72 blocks)
2. Chipping Sparrow (71 of 72 blocks)
1. Carolina Chickadee (72 of 72 blocks)
Tips and Reminders
1. Our atlas is year round so please continue atlasing at least once a month throughout the fall and winter.
2. Don’t assume the common birds have been reported and/or confirmed for a block. Often times, this is not the case and your sighting(s) will add valuable data if entered into the atlas database. Even if a species has already been reported for the block, repetition of data can help determine frequency and provide other useful information.
3. Consider selecting one birding spot to atlas every couple of weeks (ideally in an under-covered atlas block, see block status map on atlas website for details). One of our regional coordinators cleverly suggested that continuity from visit to visit by the same observer(s) may play a role to some extent in the number of breeding confirmations. Observers familiar with an area tend to know where to look for specific breeding birds and may observe/upgrade more breeding confirmations. Some food for thought!
78 enthusiastic atlasers have spent 4,280 hours in the field documenting 48,355 sightings. You have recorded 240 species, with 103 of these species having a confirmed nesting status. An updated block status map will be available on the atlas website this fall.
Loudoun County Bird Atlas Coordinator