(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!

VSO Craney Island Field Trip - 19 August 2016 - (NOTE: Trip is Full as of July 15)

(NOTE: Trip is Full as of July 15) - Craney Island Field Trip Friday, August 19, 2016. Meet at 4599 River Shore Road, Portsmouth, VA at 7:15 A.M.The field trip will run from 7:30 until 11:30. Please come prepared to car pool which is one of the prerequisites of the trip. Each car must have at least 3 people in it. 4 x 4 vehicles suggested. There is a limit of 30 participants. The Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area is an active U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works project. The site is located on the north side of Portsmouth, Virginia and consists of approximately 2,500 acres of dredged material management area. The site is served by a perimeter road approximately 6 miles in length located near the shoreline. Varied habitats at the site support a wide diversity of bird species. Waders, shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors and land birds take advantage of this dredge spoil site. A few species that have been seen on August field trips include: Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Wilson's Phalarope, Red-necked Phalarope, Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, Blue-winged Teal, American Black Duck, Sora, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Bald Eagle, Bobolink & Black Tern. All VSO field trips will have a registration fee of $20 for NON-members only. This fee will be applied to an individual membership that will be active until the end of 2016. If 2 or more people from the same family register, the registration fee will be $25, which covers a family membership. Groups of students accompanied by their instructor are exempt... Click Here To Continue Reading!

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!