27 members of the Virginia Society of Ornithology met at Craney Island Disposal Area in Portsmouth on August 19, 2016 to observe shorebird migration and the breeding birds that use the habitat created there. Guided by members of CVWO, Bill Williams, Brian Taber and Dave Youker, and accompanied by Kristen Scheler and several others from the Army Corps of Engineers which manages the site, the trip lasted four hours. Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory supports the on-going survey which continues Ruth Beck's long-standing conservation and education efforts at Craney Island and several other coastal Virginia sites. http://www.cvwo.org/ At the first stop on the high perimeter road, overlooking an impoundment along the south side, Black-necked Stilts, some in family groups, American Avocets, Stilt Sandpipers and both Yellowlegs were seen. Wilson's Phalaropes swam circles. Two Green Herons flew by while Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, & Snowy Egrets stalked the shallows. A Clapper Rail hugged the shoreline. An immature Bald Eagle sat barely concealed in the top of a tall pine. A Red-shouldered Hawk streaked directly over. En route to the next stop four Red-tailed Hawks were spotted perched on the power line poles. Brown Pelicans, Great Black-backed, Herring and Laughing Gulls, with several Lesser Black-backed and Ring-billed Gulls, sat on a sandbar on the east side. Caspian, Royal, and Common Terns were mixed in with Least Terns. The tide was too high to reveal flats for shorebirds but one Willet walked the shore. At a...Click Here To Continue Reading!

The VSO annual field trip to Virginia Beach will be held Friday, December 2 through Sunday, December 4, 2016. On Saturday a visit to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) is planned. The last trip of the weekend will be a tram ride at Back Bay NWR and False Cape State Park on Sunday morning. LODGING: There will be a blocks of rooms available at Comfort Suites Beachfront (VA563) Renovations have been completed. To register for the group rate you must mention the Virginia Society of Ornithology. Reserve rooms by Nov 10 for the group rate. Comfort Suites Beachfront (VA563) 2321 Atlantic Avenue Virginia Beach, VA 23451, (757) 491-2400/ FAX (757) 491-8204 $74 + tax. Reserve by November 10. http://www.comfortsuites.com/hotel-virginia_beach-virginia-VA563 FRIDAY MORNING/FRIDAY AFTERNOON: To be announced. Waiting on confirmation with the site. FRIDAY EVENING: A tally/meet & greet will be held at 7 pm Friday at the hospitality room of the hotel. Please bring a beverage of your choice and a nibble to share. SATURDAY MORNING: The Saturday field trip to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) will leave promptly at 8:00 a.m. from the parking lot of the CBBT visitor center. Participants must meet & check in at the CBBT office at 7:15 a.m.This is a half day trip. Participants should bring binoculars, spotting scopes, snacks, and beverages and be prepared for winter weather. Participation will be limited to the first 45 to sign up since there is a requirement to pay a security guard to accompany each group of 15... Click Here to Continue Reading!

(Williamsburg, VA)—The Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University has compiled 2016 survey results for the Virginia bald eagle population.  After more than 160 hours of aerial surveys, ground efforts in residential areas of lower Tidewater, and observations from inland volunteers, the survey documented 1,070 occupied breeding territories.  This result continues the dramatic year over year recovery documented over the past 40 years.  The population had fallen to a low of 20 pairs by 1970.  A federal ban on the use of DDT and like compounds in 1972 initiated a recovery by the late 1970s.  By 2007, the population had reached 500 pairs for the first time in the modern era.  The 2016 survey mapped eagle territories within 57 counties and 12 independent cities.  The highest breeding densities continue to be in counties situated around major tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay with highest numbers including 75 pairs in Westmoreland County, 73 pairs in King George County and 71 pairs in Essex County. In addition to the historic breach of the 1,000-pair barrier, this season marks some notable survey anniversaries.  2016 represents the 60th year of the annual eagle survey initiated by Jackson Abbott and volunteers of the Virginia Society of Ornithology.  In addition to this incredible milestone, the 2016 survey represents the 40th year of Mitchell Byrd’s tenure, the 25th year of Bryan Watts’ tenure conducting the survey, and the 25th year of... Click Here to Continue Reading the Full Article on The Center for Conservation Biology Website!

Every fall is different at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, so join us to discover the surprises that await us on this year’s annual fall VSO trip, September 16-18. Last we tallied 145 species, including a terrific combination of waterfowl, shorebirds and migrating songbirds.
Trip Registration: To help us plan for the weekend, please register in advance. Provide the names of participants in your party with your mobile number and email address so we can contact you if needed. Register with Meredith Bell, trip coordinator, at merandlee@gmail.com or 804-824- 4958. If you’re also registering for one of the bus trips to Wash Flats (see below), be sure to state your preferred day.
Headquarters The Refuge Inn on Beach Road in Chincoteague will be the host hotel (800-544- 8469 or 757-336- 5511). Room rates are $108 (plus tax) per night for a single or a double room, minimum two night stay. For those arriving a day early or staying an extra day, the rate for Thursday and Sunday nights will be $96. The Refuge Inn is non-smoking and no pets are allowed. To assure the VSO rate, make reservations by August 16 and state you are with the VSO when you call.
Meals: Meals are on your own. The Refuge Inn offers a complimentary continental breakfast for guests and will open early for us for breakfast at 7:00am. Chincoteague is known for its fine dining and you will be able to choose from any number of excellent restaurants... Click Here To Continue Reading!