Bird Atlas Tips October 2012
Loudoun County Atlasers,
I often encourage you to get out in the field because you never know what birds are waiting to be discovered. Well, September has proven how true this statement is! We added 3 new species for the atlas – Connecticut Warbler, Blackbellied Plover, and Common Tern. Keep up the great work!
September Highlights – Wow!!
1. Connecticut Warbler reported in the Point of Rocks and Arcola areas.
2. Black-bellied Plover, Common Tern, Philadelphia Vireo, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Horned Lark, and Ruddy Duck observed in Arcola 2.
3. Philadelphia Vireo and Blackburnian Warbler reported for Bles Park in Sterling 3.
4. Western Kingbird documented during an Audubon Society of Northern Virginia walk at Algonkian Park.
5. Northern Goshawk, Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, and Olive-sided Flycatcher reported from Snickers Gap Hawkwatch in Bluemont 1. 6. Common Nighthawk reported in the Waterford, Bluemont, and Point of Rocks areas.
Tips and Reminders
1. Be on the lookout for Red-breasted Nuthatches. Early reports throughout the greater area indicate this may be an irruption year for them.
2. Continue to watch for migrants, including raptors, unusual hummingbirds, and out-of-area western flycatchers. A lot of interesting observations are still possible so be sure to atlas your block at least once a month.
3. If you’re like me, you use the fall and winter to catch up. Please submit any outstanding Special Survey or Atlas Verification Forms and take time to familiarize yourself with parts of your block you haven’t atlased yet. Determine who you need to get permissions from (I’m happy to send landowner permission letters upon request). If your block is complete, consider atlasing other areas in the county.
Species of the Month – Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi)
As a way to motivate you to continue atlasing (not that you need it!), I’ll challenge you each month 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!
Here are a few interesting facts about this month’s species, the Olive-sided Flycatcher:
• Undertakes the longest migration of any of North America’s flycatchers, arriving on their breeding grounds late in the spring.
• Defends its nest aggressively. A pair was observed knocking a red squirrel off a nest limb and chasing it away.
• Frequently associated with burned forests. The opened area and abundant snags may help it to catch flying insects.
• When flushed off the nest during incubation, the female often drops down toward the ground without beating her wings.
• A group of flycatchers has many collective nouns, including an “outfield”, “swatting”, “zapper”, and “zipper” of flycatchers. Information taken from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology (http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Olivesided_Flycatcher/lifehistory) and www.whatbird.com.
78 enthusiastic atlasers have spent 4,420 hours in the field documenting 50,205 sightings. You have recorded 242 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