"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.
June 2019
A Word from the Prez!

The spring College Creek Hawkwatch near Williamsburg is in the books for 2019. Coverage was good in March, April, and May thanks to Bill Williams and Nancy Barnhart who helped me out this year. The total of 1,519 migrating raptors is lower than average for recent years. We're still analyzing the numbers. Stay tuned for more later.

Again, this year CVWO received a grant from the Mathews Community Foundation and the Mary Watt Pulley Wildlife Preservation Fund. This is the 9th year we’ve received a grant from this fund. Mary Pulley was a long time supporter of CVWO and a dedicated advocate for wildlife conservation. And for the first time ever, we received a grant from the Mabel Davis Liles Charitable Fund. These funds make it possible to continue our field-based research and hire our seasonal biologists in the fall.

You should have received a 2019 membership renewal letter and form in your USPS mail box in the last few weeks. If you've lost track of it, you can find the renewal form here .

If you have already renewed your membership for 2019 – THANK YOU for your continued support.

If not, WILL YOU RENEW NOW? You can renew quickly and safely online here or by clicking the "Support CVWO" button below. Or mail your check to CVWO, PO Box 764, Lightfoot, VA, 23090.

We have five membership levels:
  • Warbler – $25
  • Sparrow – $50
  • Thrush – $100
  • Falcon – $250
  • Life – $500

We appreciate your tax-deductible donations and membership renewals to support our year round efforts.

Thank you so much for your continuing support. Follow us on  Facebook Twitter , and  Instagram !

CVWO President
Get your copy now – "Riding the Wind: A Birder's Ups and Downs"
The books have arrived and you can get your copy right away!

Use your credit card through our PayPal account to purchase or e mail Nancy Barnhart to let her know you want one…or two!

For a donation of $20.00 per book (plus $5.00 shipping & handling) Nancy will mail a copy out to you. If you live in the Williamsburg area. You can save shipping and handling by visiting Backyard Birder at 1490 Quarterpath Road, or Wild Birds Unlimited soon.

Soon you'll be able to get copies at Amazon and Buteo Books. Stay tuned!

Riding the Wind is a book of essays by CVWO President Brian Taber about birds, birding, and conservation, several of which were previously published. Cover art by our hawkwatcher Anna Stunkel and 20 illustrations by award-winning artist Julie Zickefoose.
Spring 2019 Waterbird Team Report
By Bill Williams

The CVWO Waterbirds Team devoted its spring 2019 field work exclusively to weekly bird monitoring surveys of Craney Island Dredged Materials Management Area (CIDMMA), a U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) facility in Portsmouth, Virginia. The purpose of these weekly visits is to provide the USACE with timely data that can be used to support the agency’s Long-term Bird Management Plan for Craney Island. 

From 7 March-30 May the team documented a total of 173 species, logging 94.3 hours (translates to 377 person hours) during 13 surveys. All data were entered into eBird, and/or the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas 2 eBird portal. By the end of May the team had located six Least Tern colonies totaling about 125 adults. Each of the colony sites was posted with restrictive signage by USACE staff. In addition to the Least Tern colonies, 4 Black-necked Stilt pairs appeared to be nesting. One of those was incubating eggs on 2 May, the earliest egg-date heretofore recorded in Virginia. See photo above.

Team member Dave Youker continued to oversee the MOTUS station apparatus that was functionally installed on CIDMMA during late summer/early fall 2018. Although the system has not logged any data “hits” to date, the team remains optimistic. The high diversity of migrating taxa known to pass through the site will sooner or later bring nano-tagged individuals through the 15-20 km sensitivity reach of the CIDMMA MOTUS antennae.

Because preliminary work on the expansion of Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel was begun this past spring, the Waterbirds Team will no longer be monitoring seabird breeding efforts on that complex.

A Least Tern/American Oystercatcher survey visit to Grandview Nature Preserve in Hampton will be completed by mid-June.

Anecdotal observations of non-avian fauna at CIDMMA documented Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, coyote, beaver, river otter, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, gray squirrel, eastern cottontail; eastern ratsnake, northern watersnake; yellow-bellied slider, red-bellied cooter, diamond-backed terrapin, box turtle; bull frog, leopard frog, green tree frog 

The Spring 2019 Waterbirds team members included Bob Ake, Alex Minarik, Lee Schuster, Brian Taber, Bill Williams and Dave Youker

All photos by Bill Williams
Blue Grosbeak at Craney Island May 19, 2019.
Volunteers Document Three Pearly-eye Species Near Jamestown
By Ken Lorenzen

In April 2018, volunteers began conducting systematic weekly surveys at the research site near Jamestown, VA, looking for Creole Pearly-eye butterflies and hoping to document two broods of the species. By October, only one brood had been documented (mid-August through September).

In May 2019, volunteers again began conducting systematic surveys, this time twice each week, and on May 18 Creole Pearly-eye butterflies were observed at or near a sap seep at the base of an oak tree. This documented the expected first brood for the species. As of June 17, the first brood of Creole Pearly-eyes continues to be observed.

Also on May 18, volunteers observed a very rare occurrence: all three sibling species of pearly-eye butterflies side-by-side at the sap seep (the other two species are Northern Pearly-eye and Southern Pearly-eye). See photo on right.

And on May 21, for the first time since this project began, volunteers observed an adult Creole Pearly-eye on its host plant (Switch Cane). Switch cane is also the host plant for Southern Pearly-eye butterflies, while several woodland grasses, including Japanese Stilt Grass, are host plants for Northern Pearly-eye butterflies.
Northern Pearly-eye. Photo by Ken Lorenzen
From left to right: Northern Pearly-eye, Southern Pearly-eye, Creole Pearly-eye. Photo by Ken Lorenzen May 18, 2019
Creole Pearly-eye. Photo by Ken Lorenzen
Southern Pearly-eye. Photo by Ken Lorenzen
Rare Look Inside a Prothonotary Warbler Nest Cavity
Male Prothonotary Warbler May 7
Nest with one egg visible May 14
F emale Prothonotary Warbler feeds her nestlings June 4
Nestlings on June 5 about 2 days before fledging. Photo by Shirley Devan
In May Jim Easton discovered a Prothonotary Warbler nest in a natural cavity near Williamsburg. Amazingly enough, there was no front on the cavity and Jim was able to photograph the progress of the warblers' nesting efforts from fairly close range without disturbing the nests and birds. The photos are from May 7 to June 5. All photos here by Jim Easton except where noted.

Read more about our Prothonotary Warbler Research Project here.
Female Prothonotary Warbler incubating May 15
Male Prothonotary Warbler feeds female while she broods the nestlings May 28
Male Prothonotary Warbler removes fecal sac to help keep the nest clean May 31
Coming Up – Butterflies to Look for in July 2019
Five species of butterflies make their first local appearance in July. Be on the lookout for:

Family Nymphalidae-Brush-footed Butterflies:
  • Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
  • Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis)

Family Hesperiidae-Spread Wing Skippers:
  • Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus)
  • Hayhurst’s Scallopwing (Staphylus hayhurstii)
  • Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae)

Read about CVWO's Butterfly Research Projects on our website.
Silvery Checkerspot. Photo by Brian Taber
Long-tailed Skipper. Photo by Jim Easton
Gulf Fritillary. Photo by Brian Taber
Wild Indigo Duskywing. Photo Brian Taber
Order your CVWO Merchandise with Our Colorful 25th Anniversary Artwork
Now you can show your support for CVWO with your tote bag, coffee mug, water bottle, or t-shirt! A small portion of each purchase comes back to CVWO to support our efforts.

Click over to CVWO's store on Cafe Press to see what else is available and the cost. No tax but there is a nominal shipping fee.

2019 Butterfly Counts in Virginia – Save the Dates!
This is where you can help! Citizen scientists are critical in the summer butterfly surveys. You don't have to be a butterfly expert. We need photographers, spotters, and counters. Here are the dates for several butterfly counts in the Coastal Plain of Virginia:

June 28 (Friday): Island Ford Butterfly Count (East Rockingham County) Contact Mike Smith

July 5 (Friday): Shenandoah National Park Count. Contact Mike Smith

July 19 (Friday): Great Dismal Swamp Count, 3100 Desert Rd, Suffolk VA 23434 at 9 am. Contact Jen Wright  Biologist

July 21 (Sunday): Chippokes Butterfly Count, centered at Chippokes State Park in Surry County. Contact Teta Kain if you can help out.

J uly 24 (Wednesday): Virginia Beach Count. Possible Areas (Norfolk Botanical Garden, VBAREC, VB Middle School, Red Wing Park, First Landing State Park, Pleasure House Point Natural Area). Contact Alice Snyder

July 28 (Sunday): Lower Delmarva Butterfly Count, centered at Eastern Shore of VA National Wildlife Refuge. Contact Lynn Davidson .

August 10 (Saturday): Williamsburg Area Butterfly Count. Contact Adrienne Frank to help out.

August 26 (Monday): Back Bay Count Possible Areas (Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Villages at West Neck, Sherwood Lakes, Asheville Park, West Neck Creek Natural Area). Contact   Alice Snyder

Consider joining in a count near you. A great learning experience in the beautiful outdoors.

Above photo: Pipevine Swallowtail by Jim Easton
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.