Loudoun County Atlasers,
As the peak of our final atlas breeding season approaches it’s time to kick it up a notch! We have set aside the following weekends for small groups to blockbust areas in need of coverage: May 25-27, June 15-16, June 29-30, July 6-7. Locations and times are to be determined. Please let me know if you are interested in joining or leading a group. While these small forays will greatly assist our blockbusting efforts, there is still work to be done so please continue to atlas as much as your schedule allows this final breeding season (there’s no need to stick to the dates listed above).
1. Sandhill Crane observed in Bluemont 2.
2. Orange-crowned Warbler, Wood Duck pair, Winter Wren, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, Wild Turkey tom with hens, Double-crested Cormorant, and Killdeer observed in the Lincoln 1 block.
3. Two very early Blackpoll Warblers, Great Egret, Eastern Meadowlark, Barred Owl, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher highlighted the LWC-sponsored monthly walk at Banshee Reeks in Leesburg 5.
The following blocks are in need of coverage, especially migrants and/or breeding species:
- Region 1 – Charles Town 6 (needs everything), Round Hill 2 and 5 (need migrants and winter birds)
- Region 2 – Purcellville 6 (needs PR and CO breeders) Region 4 – Waterford 6, Leesburg 3 and 4 (all need PR and CO breeders)
- Region 5 – Middleburg 4 (needs PR and CO breeders), Ashby Gap 4 and 5 (need migrants and winter birds)
- Region 7 – Gainesville 2 (needs everything) and Arcola 5 (needs PO, PR, and CO breeders)
Please consider conducting a survey in a block listed above (or any block with little coverage). Maps and current species list for each block, along with a spreadsheet of Atlas Progress, can be found on the atlas website. I plan to post an updated Atlas Progress spreadsheet in the upcoming weeks.
General Tips and Reminders
1. Check all bridges for potential swallow nesting sites.
2. Listen for begging and alarm calls or other non-singing type calling. Most song birds can be noisy when building nests and feeding young.
3. While a singing male often alerts you to the presence of a nesting pair, the female is often the key to confirmation. Watch females closely for nest building, incubating, and feeding young.
4. When you hear a bird singing, try re-visiting the same spot a week later because that’s one of the easiest ways to document a probable breeder (T code).
5. The Owl/Nightjar and Miniroute Special Surveys begin this month. Please let me know if you are interested in covering a route.
6. If you haven’t already, please mail me your field cards from the previous atlas year.
Upcoming IMBD Events
1. Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is holding a series of bird walks between May 4 and May 12 to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day. Check the Loudoun Wildlife website for details and to sign up for a walk.
2. On May 4 my daughters (ages 3 and 6) and I will be conducting our 5th Bird-a-thon as The Ligi Nestlings. We’ve been having fun working on our birding skills and singing “Old Sam Peabody Peabody” to the White-throated Sparrows in our backyard. What a fun way to share my enthusiasm for nature and birds with them! Please let me know if you’re interested in sponsoring our team or would like more information. All Bird-a-thon donations are tax deductible and provide the primary source of funding for the atlas. Thanks for your consideration.
82 enthusiastic altasers have spent 5,082 hours in the field documenting 56,428 sightings. Because of your effort and skill we have recorded 251 species, with 103 of these species having a confirmed nesting status. 33 blocks are considered complete (though sightings can still be reported).
Loudoun County Bird Atlas Coordinator