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(this month and next)
Mar 9, Apr 13
Generally, the second Monday of each month. For more information, see the Meetings page.
RECENT BIRD ALERT:
On February 24, an apparent Smith's Longspur was seen near the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, along with several Lapland Longspurs and many Horned Larks. Since January, a Trumpeter Swan and one or two Tundra Swans have been seen at or near Silver Lake, near Dayton in Rockingham County.
Last bird alert:
24 Feb 2015
Due to a wave of spam attacks, this Web site feature has been disabled for the time being. Stay tuned for further announcements.
Augusta Bird Club members may submit rare bird sightings by using the Update page. For further information, or to report any unusual sightings, please contact the rare bird alert coordinator, Allen Larner.
Blue Ridge Young Birders
Please support and/or spread the word!
The Wide, Wild and Weird World of Birds and Birding
through UVA's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
by John Spahr
Dates: Thursdays, Feb 19, 26, Mar 5, 12
Time: 10:00 am - noon
Location: R.R. Smith Center, Staunton
The course includes a "light" exploration of the biology of birds, liberally illustrated with photos, as well as some basic "how to" of birding. Further exploration of birds will draw on John's personal birding experience in places far (Asia, Africa, South America, Antarctica) and near (USA, Virginia, Augusta Co.). Many fascinating and fancy birds will be highlighted.
For further information, including on-line catalog and registration material, visit www.olliuva.org.
Program for the April 13 meeting:
Speaker: Steve Rannels,
Naturalist and photographer
NOTE: The annual birding and brunch (picnic) will be held on Saturday, May 16, at Natural Chimneys. Details to follow.
At the March 9 meeting, Justin Folks of the Virginia Department of Games and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) spoke about the state's Bobwhite restoration program. The population of Bobwhites in much of the United States declined drastically during the latter part of the 20th Century, as more and more rural land was developed, thus depriving the ground-nesting birds of their special habitat requirements. DGIF officials are working with landowners to encourage more natural landscaping, with the right kind of vegetative cover for the birds. For more information, see dgif.virginia.gov/quail/ or bringbackbobwhites.org.
Photographs taken by Marshall Faintich, Brenda Tekin, and others leave no doubt that it was indeed a Smith's Longspur that appeared (along with some Lapland Longspurs) at the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport during the last week of February. It was the first-ever confirmed observation of this bird species in the state of Virginia. For more on this great find by Marshall, including many detailed photos, see symbolicmessengers.com. Also see Brenda Tekin's photo-report, identifying all the key field marks, at smugmug.com.
This year's Great Backyard Bird Count was held on February 13th-16th. In preparation for the event, Augusta Bird Club members held a public field trip at the Frontier Culture Museum, and an evening session on bird identification at the Staunton Public Library. Eventually we hope to have more information on how many people in our area participated, and the numbers of species counted.
At the February 9 meeting, Calvin Jordan Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality spoke to the club about the South River mercury project. In the 1970s it was discovered mercury was in the South River and the fish were too contaminated to eat. In 2005 was it discovered that mercury was also in the nearby terrestrial environment, affecting birds and mammals of prey. Continued monitoring will be necessary to assess the long-term effects of the industrial pollution.