Remington CE Breeding Block – Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas 2

Remington CE Breeding Block – Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas 2 (2016-2020)
(known as Remington Block 4 during the Virginia Breeding Atlas 1 1985-1989)
-Fauquier County.

This block contains the center of Bealeton; a growing town. It is primarily residential and commercial with few remaining agricultural fields. Route 28 and 17 coverage here and the rail road runs through this block. 

During the first year of the current Virginia Breeding Atlas (2016), 16 breeding bird species were confirmed for Remington CE. This already represents an increase from the first breeding bird atlas as only four species were reported to be breeding from 1985-1989. Results so far:

  •  Only three species so far have been found breeding during both atlas periods: American Robin, Common Grackle and Barn Swallow. 
  •  The current atlas has already identified seven new breeding species: Northern Mockingbird, House Finch, House Sparrow, European Starling, Brown-headed Cowbird, Red-winged Blackbird, Gray Catbird, Willow Flycatcher, Carolina Wren, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal and Mourning Dove. 
  •  Only one species was identified to be breeding during the first atlas that was not found breeding during the first year of the second atlas (four years still remain to confirm this species): Yellow-throated Vireo. However, the Yellow-throated Vireo has not been observed in the breeding block yet. 
  • During the first breeding atlas, Northern Bobwhite quail were observed. No breeding was confirmed. During the first year of the current breeding atlas, no Northern Bobwhite have been observed in the block. There has been significant development in the block since the first breeding atlas that probably has negatively impacted habitat for quail.
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Protecting Virginia’s Watershed and Enhancing Wildlife Habitat

On April 17, 2016, Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR), John Marshall Soil & Water Conservation District, and the Piedmont Environmental Council hosted, From the Rappahonnock for the Rappahannock, a conservation event at Marriott Ranch. Before the event, I joined a group of FOR volunteers to plant trees and put up bird nesting boxes on Marriott Ranch’s property.

During the event, I learned about efforts to protect land and water resources in the headwaters of the Rappahannock River. There were experts on hand to explain the conservation work at Marriott Ranch and other properties near waterways.

Tree planting is an important part of mitigating storm runoff along with keeping cattle out of the rivers by providing alternate sources of drinking water. Tom Turner, Conservation Manager, John Marshall Soil & Water Conservation District, provided visitors and volunteers an excellent overview of the use of waterers to provide clean, fresh water for livestock.

During the morning hours, I participated in putting up bird nesting boxes. I traveled around the property with Woodie L. Walker, FOR Community Conservationist, and Maggie Magliato and Jackie Bucher, two college students from University of Mary Washington. We evaluated the land for spots to install bird boxes. We hung up two large boxes on trees for American Kestrels and small nest boxes on fence posts aimed at housing Eastern Blue Birds. After nailing up the last small nest box, we spotted a pair of Eastern Blue Birds right nearby! We were excited that they might move into this box!

After we finished with the nest boxes, Woodie drove us over to Fiery Run where we planted trees with other volunteers. In total, 50 volunteers planted several hundred trees near the waterway to reduce soil erosion and absorb storm runoff. This will improve water quality, enhance wildlife habitat and protect the watershed.

 

The following organizations host volunteer opportunities, training, hikes and more:

Friends of the Rappahannock 3219 Fall Hill Avenue Fredericksburg, VA http://www.riverfriends.org

Piedmont Environmental Council 45 Horner Street
Warrenton, VA
http://www.pecva.org

John Marshall Soil & Water Conservation District 98 Alexandria Pike, Suite 31
Warrenton, VA
http://www.johnmarshallswcd.com

Duckling Rescue, Enabling a New Beginning at Blue Ridge Wildlife Center

 Last week I stopped at a local park to do some birding. When I arrived, I spotted a fellow birder and went to talk to him. We were interrupted by a small feathered visitor that walked up to us in the parking lot. It was a Mallard duckling quacking a few feet away from us. This was quite a surprise for both of us. I knew there were no recent babies at this location, so I wondered where this duckling came from.

I decided to try and catch the Mallard and attempt to find its parents, thinking that perhaps the pair of Mallards that I had seen recently in the park did have babies and that somehow I just missed them. I brought the duckling over to the area where the pair of Mallards was hanging out and put the duckling down. Neither the duckling nor the pair of Mallards seem interested in each other.

Two large lawn mowers moved up the path and I struggled to keep the duckling out of harms way. Then a man walking two dogs was nearby. At this point, I managed to recapture the duckling. I brought the duckling back to where I found it and let it down on the ground. It seemed really hungry, as it was pecking at little bits of rock trying to find something edible.


I decided to call Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, for I did not think the duckling was safe at the park. They agreed that I should bring the duckling in. So I got a container out of my trunk and put the duckling in and started to exit the parking lot for the journey to the wildlife rescue location. I did not get far when the duckling managed to hop out. Luckily I had a beach towel that I used to put over the top of the container.


The drive to the wildlife rescue was 45 minutes long and the whole way the duckling was making funny noises and attempting an escape.

When we got to the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, I took the towel off the container and let the duckling sit on top of the towel. Jennifer Burghoffer, Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Associate Manager, completed intake forms for the duckling and brought food and water out for the hungry little one.



While discussing the circumstances in which I found the duckling they determined that if was probably an Easter gift that was dumped by someone at the park. They said that this happens at Easter. We all agreed that the duckling would not have survived on its own. I am thankful the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center was able to help this duckling.

Blue Ridge Wildlife Center is a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization established to provide assistance to Virginia’s native and orphaned wildlife and educate the public in northern Virginia, the Shenandoah region and more. The center presents environmental education programs including a nature discovery camp for children. The center operates a wildlife hotline: 540-837-9000.

Blue Ridge Wildlife Center is dependent on donations. There is no state or federal funding for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. Please consider supporting them with a monetary donation or donating necessary items.
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center has some upcoming events (Please check their Facebook page and website for additional details for events):

On April 22, 2016, at 4:30 pm, The Land Trust of Virginia, in conjunction with the Goose Creek Association and Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, will host a free screening of Project Wild Thing at the Hill School for Performing Arts Center, Middleburg, VA. This is a documentary about one man’s personal quest to wean his children away from the couch and get them to experience the great outdoors.

June 12 from 12 to 3 pm: Spring is peak season for the rescue of young wildlife at Blue Ridge Wildlife Center. For this reason, a Baby Shower, will be held to collect items needed to rehabilitate these young ones. This event is open to the public and will take place at Long Branch Plantation in Boyce, VA. Visit this historic property and meet some of the wildlife center’s animal ambassadors. There will be a silent auction and raffle prizes. This is a fun event for people of all ages. I attended it a few years ago. It was held outdoors under a large canopy. There were birds of prey, mammals, turtles and more to see. Please check their website for items to donate and directions.

This beautiful Blue Jay was rehabilitated by Blue Ridge Wildlife Center.

Florida: Roseate Spoonbill Entangled in Tackle Rescued

Paul Waller was birding in Boyntan Beach, Florida this past Tuesday. He was walking through the marsh at Green Cay Wetland when he spotted a Roseate Spoonbill that was caught up in a fishing line. This is what we birders dread. Fishing tackle left behind can be a death sentence for birds and other wildlife.

Paul sprung into action by first contacting the US Fish and Wildlife Service. This call proved fruitless. 

Paul’s next attempt to get help for the bird was a call to Hope Mayer. Hope, a friend of Paul, is a licensed and experienced wildlife rescuer with experience dealing with wild birds. Luckily, Paul had this great contact that was available to assist.

 Paul made a quick trip to pick up Hope and they returned to find the Spoonbill at the same spot because the fishing line prevented it from moving anywhere. Paul climbed down the raised boardwalk and got into the water and waded out to the bird following instructions from Hope about how to handle it and cut the fishing line. 

Paul successfully got the bird loose and carried it back to the boardwalk where he transferred it to Hope. By this time, a crowd had formed to watch the rescue. A couple of bystanders helped Paul get back on the boardwalk.

  
Hope and Paul placed the Spoonbill into a pet carrier and got it into the hands of South Florida Wildlife Center. The spoonbill had an embedded fishing hook that they will remove and then the bird will need to stay for rehabilitation before hopefully being released back into the wild.

 

This Roseate Spoonbill is alive today thanks to Paul and Hope. Wildlife Heros!

 

 If you see an animal in distress please report the sighting as soon as possible to a trained rescuer. A call to a local wildlife rehabilitation center could bring help. Unfortunately, they are not often nearby or they do not have anyone who can respond. They often rely on a network of volunteers. 

Another option is to call the Department of Fish and Wildlife for your state. This may not work either though. I have tried to get help on two separate occasions for injured wild birds and no one came out in either situation. This is often the reality of trying to get help for injured wildlife…and so it was really great the Paul knew a wildlife rescuer nearby. 

South Florida Wildlife Center: If you find injured or orphaned wildlife in South Florida, call 954-524-4302 or 866-SOS-WILD.