Loudoun County Atlasers,
Happy Fall! September proved to be a spectacular month of birding, with a nice variety of migrants and late breeders. Please consider enjoying this gorgeous fall weather with an hour or two survey of our feathered friends. There are a few blocks still in need of coverage, especially the Ashby Gap blocks, Purcellville 1, and Harpers Ferry 6. This is our last month for migrants so it would be great to boost these numbers while we can. We’ve worked so hard over the past 4+ years; let’s end the atlas with a bang! Unfortunately, the BBA Explorer website shut down around noon today as a result of the Federal government shutdown. Please continue to atlas and keep your cards to enter once the government shutdown is resolved. Thanks for your patience.
1. Tri-colored Heron observed and photographed on private property in the county. This is a new species for the atlas and for the county!
2. Bles Park in Sterling 3 yielded Philadelphia Vireo, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Swainson’s Thrush, 11 species of warblers (including Wilson’s and Cape May), hundreds of migrating Chimney Swifts, and 500+ Broad-winged Hawks.
3.Dickcissel fledgling and mother reported in Arcola 1.
4. Eastern Screech Owl,Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Blackburniain Warbler, and Bobolink reported at the Blue Ridge Center in Harpers Ferry 5.
5. Connecticut, Canada, and Nashville Warblers reported for Middleburg 2.
6. Philadelphia Vireo and 17 species of warbler (including Yellow-throated, Cape May, and Tennessee) reported at Algonkian Park in Sterling 4. The arrival of a few winter species was also noted.
7. Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Kestrel, Broad-winged Hawk, Osprey, and Bald Eagle reported from Snickers Gap Hawkwatch in Bluemont 1, along with Wilson’s and Canada Warblers, Veery, and Cliff Swallow.
The following blocks need additional migrants and winter birds (refer to attached Atlas Progress spreadsheet for details):
- Region 1 – Charles Town 6, Round Hill 2 and 5
- Region 2 – Purcellville 1 Region 3 – Harpers Ferry 6, Point of Rocks 3
- Region 5 – Ashby Gap 4, 5, and 6 and Middleburg 1 and 4
Please consider conducting a survey in a block listed above. Maps and current species lists for each block can be found on the atlas website. If you have any questions please ask!
Species of the Month – Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)
- Very secretive. Their song is a musical trill, but this bird is often not seen or heard even where they are common.
- Shows less geographical variation in song than any other species is in its genus, perhaps a result of high dispersal rates among juveniles.
- Named by Audubon after his friend, Thomas Lincoln. Lincoln shot the bird on a trip with Audubon to Nova Scotia in 1834 and Audubon named it “Tom’s Finch” in his honor.
- A group of sparrows has many collective nouns, including a “crew”, “flutter”, “meinie”, “quarrel”, and “ubiquity” of sparrows.
Information taken from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology (http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Lincolns_Sparrow/id) and www.whatbird.com.
85 enthusiastic atlasers have spent 5,570 hours in the field documenting 62,055 sightings. Because of your effort and skill we have recorded 256 species, with 103 of these species having a confirmed nesting status. 54 blocks are considered complete (though sightings can still be reported). I’m expecting the arrival of my third daughter around October 10th and won’t be checking my email regularly for a couple of weeks. Please contact your Regional Coordinator with any pressing issues through November. Thanks!
Loudoun County Bird Atlas Coordinator