Month: January 2016

Cornell Labs offering its Spring Field Ornithology course online

Red-headed Woodpecker in Loudoun county

From a Cornell Lab’s email: “Each spring for 40 years, bird enthusiasts have gathered at the Cornell Lab for Spring Field Ornithology to learn from world-renowned ornithologists. This year, for the first time, anyone, anywhere can take the course online.  Focused on species native to the Northeastern U.S., course lectures are packed with bird identification tips designed to expand your [Continue]

American Woodcocks in the Spring

I really enjoy the amazing variety of different bird calls and songs. But of all the birds calls I recognize, the one that brings a smile to my face the quickest is that of the Amercian Woodcock (Scolopax minor). Peent! Peent! And the wonder of the Woodcock certainly doesn’t stop there. They have a bill [Continue]

Spring Butterflies

As spring starts, I look forward to the first butterflies of the year. In our area, butterflies typically start flying sometime in March. We can typically expect to start seeing Mourning Cloaks (Nymphalis antiopa), Eastern Commas (Polygonia comma), Question Marks(Polygonia interrogationis), Summer Azures (Celastrina neglecta), and Cabbage Whites (Pieris rapae) starting in March. The Mourning Cloak, the Question Mark [Continue]

New York Ironweed

In our yard, we have a let it live policy for plants we can’t identify. It isn’t uncommon for the birds to leave a plant behind that we didn’t plant. So we let itgrow until we can figure out if it fits into our yard – native plants that are good for wildlife. About 5 years ago, [Continue]

American Tree Sparrows

Sparrows are often given a bum rap. Many birders will call them ‘little brown jobs’ because of how hard they can be to identify. But if you dive into the details on sparrows, you’ll find some serious beauty. One of my favorite sparrows is the American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea). It is a Loudoun county [Continue]

Hummingbird Moth

One of the most delightful insect visitors to our garden is the hummingbird moth. Several species of the genus Hemaris deserve this name and for very good reason. They fly and move just like hummingbirds and are sometimes small enough to look like large bumblebees. They can remain suspended in the air in front of [Continue]

Book Review: Field Guide to the Natural World of Washington

Field Guide to the Natural World of Washington, D.C. By Howard Youth. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 2014, 393pp. By Sheila Montalvan This compact guide to Washington, D.C. parks and natural areas identifies many common plants, trees, birds, insects, mammals, etc., which are also found in Loudoun County. The beautifully illustrated guide is for those [Continue]