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(this month and next)
Oct 10, Nov 14
Generally, the second Monday of each month. For more information, see the Meetings page.
RECENT BIRD ALERT:
Since September 19, a flock of American Golden Plovers has been foraging in plowed corn fields adjacent to the Shenandoah Valley Produce Auction in Rockingham County. Ever since early June, the two Sandhill Cranes have remained in the area along Kiddsville Rd. north of Fishersville.
Last bird alert:
12 Oct 2016
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
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Program for the November 14, 2016 meeting:
by Dr. Dick Rowe,
Virginia Military Institute
Our next "Birds & Brews, Wings & Wine" social hour will be on Tuesday, October 25th, 6:00 PM at Yelping Dog, 9 East Beverley Street in downtown Staunton.
Early on Friday, October 21, Allen Larner led a field trip along the Greenway Trail which parallels the South River in Waynesboro. This was a public event, in coordination with the Waynesboro Dept. of Parks and Recreation. A total of 32 species of birds were identified by sight or sound, including the ones in the photo montage below. Later in the morning, club members were invited to inspect the proposed Sunset Park, which will occupy the hill on the east side of town where the landfill was formerly located. This area features a combination of woodlands and open areas that seem to be ideal habitat for various kinds of birds.
At the October 10 meeting, Dr. Ashley Peele gave a thorough presentation on the 2nd Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas (a.k.a. "VABBA2"), of which she is the state coordinator. This "citizen science" project is a five-year effort to document the distribution and breeding status of all birds spending the summer in Virginia. An ornithologist at Virginia Tech, Dr. Peele emphasized how environmental conservation efforts rely increasingly on the help of volunteers to understand where and why changes occur in wildlife populations. She described what a breeding bird atlas is all about, how it differs from other types of bird surveys, and how folks of all experience levels can engage and contribute to the project. Additionally, Ashley shared some of the exciting findings from the first Atlas season this past summer, and discussed why Augusta County is an important hotspot for understanding Virginia's bird diversity and breeding populations.
Unlike some past years, the weather was bright and beautiful on Saturday morning, October 15, as folks who participated in the Augusta Bird Club's annual bird seed sale picked up their bags of seeds. As usual, it took place in the Augusta County Government Center in Verona. Many thanks to everyone who placed orders in our annual bird seed sale, which is the main fund-raising source for the many educational and conservation endeavors to which the Augusta Bird Club is committed. In particular, we provide scholarships to area youth to attend Nature Camp in Vesuvius, which teaches natural history and environmental science.
On the morning of October 8, seven members and friends of the Augusta Bird Club spent several hours in the drizzle and rain exploring parts of the Lofton Lake area. Although it was not the best of weather, we had fun and managed to get a nice smattering of birds. Highlights included: Wild Turkeys, Eastern Phoebe, Swainson's Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Tennessee Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Cape May Warblers, White-throated Sparrow, and Eastern Towhee. Thanks to everyone who participated and thanks to our hosts, Kathy and Joe. We will look forward to returning there for more birding!!
Like raptors? Like to count migrating raptors? The Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch was founded in 1976 to identify and count migrating raptors each fall from August 15 to November 30. Our hawk watch is located on Afton Mountain at the site of the Inn at Afton, easily accessible from Interstate 64. Because we are a small group of volunteers, we sometimes have difficulty in keeping the watch covered on a day-to-day basis, especially week days. This fall I am especially concerned that too many days might go uncovered due to a diminishing number of volunteer counters with cooperative schedules. Thus I am putting out a general call for help to all those who would consider volunteering their help with the raptor count this fall. To be an official counter, one must be able to accurately identify all of the expected raptor species that migrate down the eastern U.S. (There are 13 common species and 2 uncommon species.) In addition, one must be able to scan and locate/identify raptors in the sky, both near and far. If you aren't skilled to this level but have interest in becoming a counter, we can provide the training to do so, don't worry. The season is almost here! It's more fun to count migrating raptors with others, so also consider teaming up with a friend. If you have any interest, know someone who may be interested, or have any questions, please contact me as soon as possible.