1Prince William Conservation Alliance

Community Report
December 12 2011
Read this e-newsletter online here


Nokesville Christmas Bird Count!

PechaKucka Nature Night

Get to Know Backyard Birds - Northern Mockingbird

Nokesville Christmas Bird Count - One Year Ago

Prince William Conservation Alliance

To a man, ornithologists are tall, slender, and bearded so that they can stand motionless for hours, imitating kindly trees, as they watch for birds.
~Gore Vidal

Pond at Merrimac Farm

Nokesville Christmas Bird Count - One Year Ago

December 27 2010-- It was a tough day for birds and birders, cold with steady winds gusting to 30+ mph.

Despite the wind and mostly frozen ponds, 26 people sighted 85 different species at the Nokesville CBC.

Highlights of the day include an immature Golden Eagle at MCB Quantico and Brewer's Blackbirds at a dairy farm on Fleetwood Drive, near the intersection with Aden Road.

Owls included a Great Horned Owl, Short-eared Owl on Parkgate Road, Eastern Screech Owl at Prince William Forest Park, and Barred Owls at MCB Quantico and Fauquier County.

A Merlin was seen at the Rte. 234 Wetland Mitigation Area. There was a Yellow-breasted Chat at the Kelly Leadership Center and a Ring-necked Pheasant was spotted near the Cedar Run Wetland Bank, likely escaped from a nearby hunting preserve.

We had just one Winter Wren, found at Merrimac Farm, and one Purple Finch, spotted in Fauquier County.

American Tree Sparrows and a Meadowlark were at the Foggy Bottom Wetland Bank.

There were many White-throated Sparrows, especially in the wetland areas clustered near Cedar Run and MCB Quantico.

Wilson's Snipe were seen at two locations and it was good to see Northern Bobwhite on the list after two years with none. Keep reading...

Join PWCAThe French author, Albert Camus once said, "Real generosity toward the future consists in giving all to what is present." When we consider our community's environmental and conservation future, the truth underlying this quote is particularly convincing.

It is this future that compels us to ask you to consider Prince William Conservation Alliance in your year-end giving plans. Click here for more information on our services and how you can join.

PWCA Amazon StoreAnd, if you shop through the PWCA store on, a % of all your purchases comes back to our non-profit to benefit our annual programs! At our Amazon Store, you'll also find recommendations for books, field gear and more. You still pay the usual prices for all purchases, enjoy optional benefits such as Prime shipping and now can also benefit PWCA by making your purchases through our Amazon Store.

Nokesville Christmas Bird Count

Bluebird EggsWhen: Monday, December 26, beginning at 7:00 am

Where: Nokesville count area, which is centered on Merrimac Farm and covers nearly 180 sq. miles. It includes Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area, Cedar Run and Foggy Bottom Wetland Banks, Nokesville Park, and the Prince William County landfill as well as portions of Prince William Forest Park, Marine Corps Base Quantico, and Fauquier County.

Volunteer - 3 ways to help:
(1) Identify and count birds in the field, beginning birders welcome;
(2) Identify and count birds in your backyard;
(3) Prepare and/or serve food to cold birders at the Merrimac Stone House beginning at 11:00 am.

Registration - Reguired to 703-499-4954 or

For more than 100 years, citizen scientists throughout the United States have volunteered their time to count birds for the Christmas Bird Count, a national event led by the Audubon Society. Their efforts provide important information about wintering bird populations, distribution, and changes over time.

Volunteer birders (including beginners) join a team that covers a defined portion of the total count area and meets at the end of the day for a tally rally at Merrimac Farm. Read more about the Nokesville Christmas Bird Count here.

PechaKucha Nature Night

Avocet by Julia FlanaganWhen: Sat, Jan 21
Doors open at 6:00 PM (dinner) and the program begins at 7:00 pm

Where: Bungalow Alehouse, 2840 Prince William Parkway, Woodbridge

RSVP: Not required. Open to the public & free of charge, purchase your own food & drinks

PechaKucha Nights are informal community gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, experiences and thoughts in the PechaKucha 20x20 format.

PechaKucha 20X20 is a timed presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. Each presentation is a total of six minutes 40 seconds long.

You won't want to miss Nature Night, featuring presentations by:

  • Martin Jeter - Race Cars Take a Cue from Nature

  • John McBride - Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls

  • Amelia May - Natural Manmade Wonders

  • Rob Hartwell - The Nations River

  • Shirley Couteau - The Preakness

  • Jim Knapp - Rocky Mountains

  • Larry Underwood - Alaska

  • Harry Glasgow - WWMND

  • Kate Norris - Hawaii

  • Earnie Porta - Top Ten 2011 Astronomy Events

  • Judy Gallagher - Spring Comes to Woodbridge

  Get to Know Backyard Birds -
Northern Mockingbird

Mockingbird by Julia FlanaganAlways entertaining, the Northern Mockingbird is readily identified by its song, which mimics a number of other birds' songs, each repeated more than once, one after the other. Both male and female birds sing, but the male is louder and sings more often, sometimes even singing at night.

The mockingbird is also easy to recognize – a medium-sized brownish-grey and white bird with a long dark tail with white edges and short dark wings with white bars.

The wings also bear white arc-shaped spots that are most obvious as the bird flies away. Juvenile birds are spotted or streaked below rather than uniformly whitish.

An inhabitant of suburbs, parks, open areas, and forest edges , the mockingbird perches in the open on trees, fences, wires and roofs, and may also be seen hopping or running in the grass. Keep reading...