"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.
May 2019
A Word from the Prez!

May is membership renewal time for CVWO members! Your annual membership runs from May to April each year.

We thank you for your past support and hope you will continue to help us in our mission to protect wildlife through field research, education and habitat conservation as we embark on our 25th field research season.

Our 2018 Annual Field Research Report may have already landed in your mail box. This 44-page booklet describes in detail each of our research efforts. You'll be amazed at the depth and breadth of our studies and research.

WILL YOU RENEW NOW? You can renew quickly and safely online here . If you have already renewed your membership for 2019 – THANK YOU for your continued support.

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

If you renewed at the Warbler level last year, consider renewing at the Sparrow or Thrush level this year!

Every dollar you contribute directly supports our important mission and these programs:  
  • The annual fall Kiptopeke Hawkwatch conducted by a paid biologist for three months beginning in early September
  • A paid educator at Kiptopeke State Park in the fall to interact with visitors and share information about the Park’s wildlife, bird and butterfly migration, and habitat diversity
  • The Fall Monarch Butterfly Migration Program conducted by a paid biologist. This program provides crucial data for understanding the migration needs and patterns of this beleaguered species
  • Monitoring Prothonotary Warbler nest boxes in 7 locations on the Coastal Plain of Virginia
  • Study of the rare Creole Pearly-eye butterfly near Jamestown, in partnership with the National Park Service and James River Association
  • Year-round waterbird surveys
  • Scholarship award to a William & Mary graduate student

Our Board members are volunteers, but our seasonal biologists are not! We count on your membership renewals and donations to fund these paid biologists and their equipment and supplies.

We appreciate your tax-deductible donations and membership renewals 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.

Thank you so much for your continuing support.

Follow us on  Facebook Twitter , and  Instagram !

CVWO President
"Riding the Wind: A Birder's Ups and Downs"
To celebrate CVWO's 25th anniversary, the Observatory is offering a special new donor item, a book by President Brian Taber entitled Riding the Wind: A Birder's Ups and Downs

It's a book of essays about birds, birding, and conservation, eleven of which were previously published.

Cover art by our hawkwatcher Anna Stunkel and 20 illustrations by award-winning artist Julie Zickefoose.

We'll have it from the printer soon and we'll let you know how you can get one!
Eastern Shore Monarch Recently Recovered in Mexico
A female monarch with tag# YPH070 was recovered in Cerro Pelo, Mexico recently. We don’t have a date yet. From Michael Ferrara's field notes, he tagged this butterfly at Pickett’s Harbor on October 14, 2018. Thanks, Michael!
Newly Published Brochure with Life-sized Photos of Butterflies of Coastal Virginia
CVWO is distributing these new colorful butterfly brochures to state and local parks as well as schools in the Coastal Plain.

If you want one or a quantity, contact Brian Taber at his email address .
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.
New Early Dates for Several Butterfly Species
By Shirley Devan

Butterfly enthusiasts are out on "lep treks" to scour the Williamsburg area for early appearances of spring butterfly species.

Viceroy butterfly (photo below) was spotted and photographed by Shirley Devan in Lightfoot, VA May 6, 2019 – a full 20 days earlier than the previous early date of May 26, 2000.

Appalachian Brown butterfly (two photos on the right) was observed and photographed by Jim Easton May 8 in James City County – three days earlier than previous early date of May 11, 2013.

Juniper Hairstreak was observed April 12 on Williamsburg's Spring Butterfly Count by Ken Lorenzen at New Quarter Park in York County. The previous early date was April 13, 2016.
Viceroy butterfly. Photo by Shirley Devan
Appalachian Brown. Photo by Jim Easton
Another look at the Appalachian Brown. Photo by Jim Easton
Juniper Hairstreak. Photo by Ken Lorenzen
Prothonotary Warblers Are Hatching!
Male Prothonotary Warbler on bridge at Powhatan Creek Trail. Photo by Judy Jones
Prothonotary Warbler nest with six eggs at Northwest River in Chesapeake, VA. Most first clutches are five eggs. Photo by Shirley Devan
Prothonotary Warbler nestlings at Northwest River in Chesapeake. Photo by Shirley Devan
Despite best efforts and box placement, occasionally a Ratsnake enters the box and lunches on eggs or nestlings. In this box, Carolina Chickadee nestlings were the prey. Photo by Shirley Devan
Prothonotary Warblers have laid their eggs for the first clutch and they hatch in mid-May.

CVWO volunteers are monitoring seven sites in the Coastal Plain. Here's the latest:

May 16 at Harwoods Mill Reservoir, four of six boxes occupied with 19 Prothonotary Warbler eggs

May 14 at the Dragon Run, nine nestlings

May 13 at Chickahominy Riverfront Park in James City County, females are incubating 25 eggs in 5 boxes along Gordon's Creek.

May 14 at Northwest River in Chesapeake, 47 boxes had 73 eggs and 35 nestlings. First Clutches are still hatching.

May 16 at Powhatan Creek Trail in James City County. Chickadees have fledged and boxes are now available for Prothonotary Warblers. One box already has five eggs.

Here are some photos.

Read more about our Prothonotary Warbler Research Project here.
At Powhatan Creek Trail, a "swamp stomp" is the only way to check the boxes. Rubber boots are a must! Photo by Judy Jones.
Carolina Chickadee nestlings in nest box at Northwest River in Chesapeake. Photo by Shirley Devan
Coming Up – Butterflies to look for in June 2019
Eleven species of butterflies make their first local appearance in June. Be on the lookout for:

Family Lycaenidae – Gossamer-winged Butterflies:
  • Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus

Family Nymphalidae – Brush-footed Butterflies:
  • Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
  • Northern Pearly-eye (Enodia anthedon)
  • Common Wood-nymph (Cercyonis pegala)

Family Hesperiidae – Spread Wing Skippers:
  • Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades)
  • Southern Cloudywing (Thorybes bathyllus)

Sub-family Hesperiidae – Grass Skippers:
  • Crossline Skipper (Polites origenes)
  • Southern Broken-dash (Wallengrenia otho)
  • Northern Broken-dash (Wallengrenia egeremet)
  • Rare Skipper (Problema bulenta)
  • Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

Read about CVWO's Butterfly Research Projects on our website.
Ocola Skipper. Photo by Jim Easton
Great Spangled Fritillary. Photo by Jim Easton
Northern Pearly-eye. Photo by Jim Easton
Common Wood-nymph. Photo by Shirley Devan
2019 Butterfly Counts – 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:

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

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

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

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

Above photo: Female Monarch laying eggs on swamp milkweed in Williamsburg area April 25, 2019. Photo By Shirley Devan
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.