We could not have asked for better weather for the VSO field trip to Chincoteague on September 16-18, with sunny to partly cloudy skies for the entire weekend. We were excited to welcome many new members and first-time attendees, along with “old timers” who’ve been enthusiastic participants for decades. Our group of 85 tallied 129 species (see below), and the list included birds found on the Causeway, Chincoteague Island and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Unfortunately, mosquitoes were abundant everywhere on the Refuge, so it’s hard to tell how many pints of blood were unwillingly left behind!  Please note that this report continues after the gallery of images shown below (all photos taken by Lee Adams) so make sure to check it out! Many thanks to field trip leaders Jerry Via, Bill Akers, Bob Ake, Mike Schultz, Saundra Winstead, Morocco St. Andre, and Meredith and Lee Bell, who worked hard to ensure participants had a great experience. Jerry kicked off the weekend Friday evening with a fascinating presentation on bird migration. In addition to the “regulars,” we were thrilled to see species that we don’t get every year, including: American Golden Plover on the Wildlife Loop and one of the bus trips; Piping Plover and Red Knot at Swans Cove; Philadelphia Vireo and a family of Red-headed Woodpeckers on the Woodland Trail; Canada, Wilson’s and Magnolia Warblers on the Woodland Trail; Buff-breasted, Stilt, White-rumped and Pectoral Sandpipers; Red-breasted Nuthatches in good numbers on the Woodland Trail and Wildlife Loop; Whimbrel...Click Here To Continue Reading!

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: Craney Island Trip - Arrive at 7:30 to enter the compound at 7:45. We will have 15 minutes to sign-in and listen to a safety announcement. Trip around Craney Island will be from 8 until 11 and we will be following one leader and stopping where they choose. Carpooling is required; we may meet off-site at 7 to arrange carpools. Limit of 25 people. Contact Lee Adams to register at leeloudenslageradams@gmail.com or 540-850-0777. 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... 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!