Bird Atlas Tips July 2013
Loudoun County Atlasers,
Thanks to your passion and dedication, we’ve risen to the challenge of finding those last elusive breeders for several of our top priority atlas blocks. Despite hot and humid days and no atlas database to reference, we’ve kept chugging right along and added some fantastic sightings for June. I love hearing your field reports and continued enthusiasm for atlasing. Observing a parent building a nest or feeding a fledgling can be addicting. Don’t believe me? Try a survey and see for yourself!
1. Bobolink confirmed as breeding in Upperville 2. I’d have to check the atlas database, but believe this is one of only a few confirmations for this species so far!
2. A great month for Bobwhite, with reports from Round Hill 4, Leesburg 4, Waterford 2, and Middleburg 1.
3. Young Barred Owls pleasantly surprised atlasers in Lincoln 2 with their hissing.
4. Louisiana Waterthrush, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Red-headed Woodpecker reported during a blockbusting survey in Middleburg 3 and 4.
Unfortunately, with the atlas database being down I only have a rough idea of which blocks are being blockbusted. Here is my best guess for blocks that still need PR and CO breeding bird coverage:
- Region 1 – Round Hill 5
- Region 2 – Purcellville 1 and 6
- Region 4 – Waterford 6, Leesburg 1, 3, and 4
- Region 5 – Ashby Gap 4 and 5 Region 7 – Arcola 5, Gainesville 2
- Region 8 – Sterling 5, Herndon 3
Please consider conducting a survey in a block listed above. You can use this link: http://data.mapchannels.com/embed/loudounbba.htm to determine the block boundaries for a particular block.
General Tips and Reminders
1. Though safe dates for several species end this month, you can still find fledged young so keep looking!
2. Simply listen more for begging and alarm calls or other non-singing type calling. Most song birds can be noisy when building nests and feeding young.
3. Courtship is not always as obvious as food sharing or copulation. When observing a pair (especially for species whose sexes are indistinguishable), look for subtle behaviors that are indicative of courtship, such as snuggling.
4. Do you participate in the Loudoun Christmas Bird Count or Bird-a-thon with a team of friends? If so, consider gathering your team for an atlas blockbusting survey!
Atlas Progress/Website Update
The BBA Explorer atlas website has been down for the past 2 weeks so the current atlas progress is not available. However, I know many of you have been actively collecting data and making good progress in several blocks. It seems the website will continue to be down for another week or so. Please continue blockbusting the top priority blocks and keep your field cards in a safe place. I’ll let you know when the website is up and you can begin entering your data. If your stack of field cards becomes too overwhelming feel free to mail them to me and I’ll enter the data for you.
On a fun note, the Bird Atlas is highlighted in the current Habitat Herald publication of the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy. Thanks to your enthusiastic comments, the article turned out great! Please let me know if you don’t receive the Habitat Herald and would like a copy of the article. Let’s continue the great work in July!
Happy Blockbusting, Spring
Loudoun County Bird Atlas Coordinator