Bird Atlas Tips February 2013
Loudoun County Atlasers,
After reading the January highlights, you’ll see that 2013 is off to a fantastic start for the atlas. I’ve noticed that a few of you have been reading my “Blockbusting Tips” section and conducting winter surveys in the targeted blocks. Thank you – your effort is greatly appreciated!
January Highlights – wow!
1. Northern Shrike (the first for the atlas) observed at Banshee Reeks in Leesburg 5. A Loggerhead Shrike was reported a day later, also in Leesburg 5.
2. Lapland Longspur (another atlas first), American Pipit, and Horned Lark reported in Waterford 2 for the Sugarloaf Mountain CBC, along with several other nice species.
3. Nashville Warbler observed and photographed in Round Hill 6.
4. Two Barn Owls observed in a silo in Bluemont 5. Let’s hope they stay around to breed!
5. Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Horned and Pied-billed Grebes, courting Bald Eagles, and a Merlin observed at Beaverdam Reservoir in Leesburg 6. A Merlin was also reported in Round Hill 4.
6. Redhead and Bonaparte’s Gull observed in the Sterling area.
7. Rusty Blackbird, American Pipit, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and four owl species reported in the Bluemont area for the Calmes Neck CBC, along with several other nice species.
8. Short-eared Owl reported in Waterford 4 (along with great views of Northern Harriers and other raptors) during an LWC-sponsored Birds of Prey trip.
The following blocks have very few, if any, reports of winter birds (ducks, sparrows, kinglets, etc):
- Region 1 – Round Hill 2, Charles Town 6
- Region 5 – Rectortown 1, Middleburg 4, Ashby Gap 4 and 5
Please consider conducting a survey in a block listed above (or any block with little coverage). Maps and current results for each block, along with a spreadsheet of Atlas Progress, can be found on the atlas website. Please ask if you have any questions.
1. If you are participating in The Great Backyard Bird Count (Feb 15-18), please enter your sightings for the atlas or send me a copy of your report. Check the count website for details and how to get involved: http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc. This is a great project to do with children or grandchildren!
2. Bring the birds (and butterflies and other pollinators) to you! There will be a “Why Natives, Why Now” talk on Feb 17 at 2 pm at the Rust Library in Leesburg. Sign up online.
Species of the Month – February goes to the ducks! Did you know….?
• The Canvasback (Aythya valisineria) is a very good flier and can reach speeds of up to 70 mph.
• The Redhead (Aythya americana) is known to lay eggs in the nests of other Redheads, at least 10 other duck species, and even nests of the American Bittern and Northern Harrier. Many parasitically laid eggs fail to hatch.
• An older female Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) will occasionally have male-like head color and male patterning on her back, but she still has the typical white face patch of a female.
• A group of ducks has many collective nouns, including a “brace”, “flush”, “paddling”, “raft”, and “team” of ducks
80 enthusiastic atlasers have spent 4,745 hours in the field documenting 53,705 sightings. You have recorded 247 species, with 103 of these species having a confirmed nesting status. Field cards have been reported for 53 blocks and 25 blocks are considered complete (though sightings can still be reported).
Happy Winter Atlasing!
Loudoun County Bird Atlas Coordinator