"Protecting Wildlife Through Field Research, Education and Habitat Conservation For 25 Years"
We are excited about our 25th Anniversary logo by Megan Massa, 2019 Bird of the Year artist for the American Birding Association, ABA. The stunning artwork celebrates CVWO's 25 years of wildlife research. The Peregrine Falcon, Monarch butterfly, and Prothonotary Warbler represent a few of our research projects. Read about the new logo and meet Megan in our newsroom.
April 2019
A Word from the Prez!

HAPPY EARTH DAY! Be sure to get out and enjoy your local patch of "earth" – visit a local park and experience spring bird migration, singing warblers, and new butterflies. While you're there, pick up some litter! Leave it looking better than when you arrived. Thanks so much!

April in the Coastal Plain means nesting – and hatching – birds! And butterflies! See more info and stunning photos below.

Spring College Creek Hawkwatch continues. Volunteer Nancy Barnhart was on hand April 11 at the James River location near Williamsburg, and recorded our 1,000th bird of the season, an immature Bald Eagle. We don't record adult Bald Eagles as there are nesting pairs close by. We track the 1,000th migrant to see how the season is progressing and today's date is a bit late. However, we skipped February coverage this year and early March weather was not good for migration. Today's total was a respectable 57 birds of 7 species. Results are posted daily at  Hawkcount.org . We'd love for you to drop by for a visit. You can find us on the Colonial Parkway between Williamsburg and Jamestown in the morning hours.

Our Annual Field Research Report will be out in May. Look for it in your USPS mail boxes. Each year we describe in detail our field work and season summaries for projects and collaborations. WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE THIS REPORT BY EMAIL? Let me know . Emailing copies saves much needed funds for scholarships and seasonal staff we'll be hiring soon for our fall hawkwatch and Monarch study.

Prothonotary Warblers have arrived in Virginia from Central and South America. CVWO sponsors several trails between Chesapeake and Williamsburg. Volunteers installed a new trail in the Fords Colony neighborhood April 17 with 5 boxes. Two existing boxes already have nesting material. See more below along with some great photos.

Volunteers from CVWO and Historic Rivers Chapter of the VA Master Naturalists conducted an April Butterfly Survey April 13 - 15 in the Williamsburg area. Species list and photos are below.

We appreciate your tax-deductible donations to support these year round efforts. You can donate quickly and safely online by clicking on the "Support CVWO" button below. Or mail your check to CVWO, PO Box 764, Lightfoot, VA, 23090.

Follow us on  Facebook Twitter , and  Instagram !

Thank you so much for your continuing support.

CVWO President
PS: To celebrate CVWO's 25th anniversary, the Observatory is offering a special new donor item, a book by President Brian Taber titled Riding the Wind, with previously published and also unpublished essays celebrating birds, birding, and conservation. More details to follow. Cover art by our hawkwatcher Anna Stunkel and illustrations by award-winning artist Julie Zickefoose.
Order merchandise with CVWO's 25th Anniversary logo!
Now you can order caps, tote bags, coffee mugs, t-shirts, water bottles and more with the stunning CVWO 25th Anniversary logo. A small portion of each purchase comes back to CVWO to support our projects.

Click over to Cafe Press and CVWO's "store" to see what's available and the cost. No tax but there is a nominal shipping fee.
Men's and women's t-shirts and sweatshirts available in multiple colors.
Baseball caps come in white or khaki
Order a coffee mug with the colorful CVWO logo
Re-useable water bottle with logo
Cotton tote bag
April Butterfly Survey
By Brian Taber

Thanks to all of our “butterflyers” for our "extended-weekend-instead-of-Saturday" mid-April Butterfly Count in the Williamsburg area. The persistent rain Saturday, April 13, was not favorable for butterflies, so our lep treks took place Friday and Sunday, April 12 and 14.

Our target was 30 species. Wind, clouds, and rain kept some butterflies down, but we came close to our target. We found some "spring-only" fliers we don’t see in August on our official count.

Here’s the tally:

  • Zebra Swallowtail 25
  • Black Swallowtail 1
  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 91
  • Falcate Orangetip 11
  • Clouded Sulphur 1
  • Orange Sulphur 1
  • Sleepy Orange 2
  • Juniper Hairstreak 1
  • Henry's Elfin 7
  • Brown Elfin 1 (possibly same individual on Thurs and Fri)
  • Red-banded Hairstreak 1
  • Eastern Tailed-Blue 26
  • Azure species 11
  • American Snout 1
  • Monarch 1
  • Pearl Crescent 7
  • Eastern Comma 1
  • Red Admiral 1
  • American Lady 1
  • Gemmed Satyr 4
  • satyr sp. 1
  • Juvenal's Duskywing 3
  • Horace's Duskywing 3
  • duskywing sp. 7
  • Common Checkered-Skipper 8

That’s 23 species plus there was a Mourning Cloak last Sunday, April 7, a White M Hairstreak last Monday, April 8, a Silver-spotted Skipper Wednesday, April 17, and a Question Mark Thursday, April 18. Count-week species total comes to 27!
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Photo by Shirley Devan
Henry's Elfin. Photo by Ken Lorenzen
Juvenal's Duskywing. Photo by Ken Lorenzen
Pearl Crescent. Photo by Ken Lorenzen
SAVE THESE DATES for 2019 Butterfly Counts

Williamsburg Area Count is August 10, 2019

Lower Delmarva Tip Count is Sunday, July 28 (tentatively)

If you want join in, contact Adrienne Frank
Prothonotary Warblers Have Arrived and Started Nesting
Male Prothonotary Warbler. Photo by Jim Easton
Hatch day for Carolina Chickadees in a Prothonotary Warbler nest box on Powhatan Creek Trail in James City County April 18. Photo by Jim Easton
Prothonotary Warbler nest under construction on the Fords Colony Prothonotary Warbler nest box trail. Photo by Shirley Devan
George Martin has just installed a Prothonotary Warbler nest box in the swamp in Fords Colony in James City County. Photo by Shirley Devan
CVWO sponsors and volunteers monitor Prothonotary Warblers in six locations in the Coastal Plain:

  • Newport News Park
  • Dragon Run
  • Chickahominy Riverfront Park in James City County
  • Powhatan Creek Trail in James City County
  • Fords Colony in James City County
  • Northwest River Park in Chesapeake

The males arrive about a week ahead of the females and start setting up territories. Males place moss in cavities and nest boxes to try to attract a female.

Here are some photos from the week of April 15 on several Prothonotary Warbler trails. No Prothonotary eggs so far. Chickadees get to the boxes first. Then the warblers take over.

Read more about our Prothonotary Warbler Research Project here.
It takes a team! Volunteers Sharon Plocher and Judy Jones (left to right) help monitor Prothonotary Warbler boxes at Northwest River Park in Chesapeake April 17. Photo by Shirley Devan
Eastern Bluebird checks out box 5 on the Powhatan Creek Trail in James City County. Photo by Jim Easton.
The entry hole is too small for bluebirds but not for a Carolina Chickadee in the same box 5. Photo by Jim Easton
Coming Up – Butterflies to look for in May 2019
Seventeen species of butterflies – including nearly a dozen skippers – make their first local appearance in May. Be on the lookout for:

Family Papillonidea-Swallowtails:
  • Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor

Family Lycaenidae-Gossamer-winged Butterflies:
  • Coral Hairstreak (Satyrium titus)

Family Nymphalidae-Brush-footed Butterflies:
  • Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)
  • Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis)
  • Appalachian Brown (Satyrodes appalachia)
  • Little Wood-Satyr (Megisto cymela)

Sub-family Hesperiinae-Grass Skippers
  • Swarthy Skipper (Nastra lherminier)
  • Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)
  • Least Skipper (Ancycloxypha numitor)
  • Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna)
  • Sachem (Atalopedes campestris)
  • Delaware Skipper (Anatryone logan)
  • Aaron’s Skipper (Poanes aaroni)
  • Broad-winged Skipper (Poanes viator)
  • Dion Skipper (Euphyes dion)
  • Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris)
  • Pepper and Salt Skipper (Amblyscirtes hegon)
  • Salt Marsh Skipper (Panoquina panoquin)

Read about CVWO's Butterfly Research Projects on our website.
Least Skipper. Photo by Jim Easton
A Correction to the ID of a butterfly in the March eNewsletter
The butterfly above is an Appalachian Brown, not a Carolina Satyr as noted in the March issue of this newsletter. Thanks to Ken Lorenzen for his sharp eye and expertise.
Pipevine Swallowtail. Photo by Jim Easton
Viceroy. Photo by Jim Easton
Little Wood-Satyr. Photo by Jim Easton
Broad-winged Skipper. Photo by Jim Easton
Pepper and Salt Skipper. Photo by Ken Lorenzen
CVWO Has A New Website!
Visit and Share CVWO's New Website!

You'll find information on raptor, butterfly, songbird and waterbird research as well as beautiful photos and rich stories from the field!

And don't forget to support our nonprofit work with your tax-deductible donation!
CVWO's Blog Is Hopping!
Question Mark butterfly by Jim Easton

Beginning in 2019, the blog will highlight butterflies by month, thanks to guest-blogger Jim Easton. If you would like to participate in butterfly surveys, check out the Blog and other announcements on this website.