Nature Preserve Named for Ned Brinkley
Anna's Stunkel's delightful artwork illustrating the habitat at the Nature Preserve near Oyster, VA is a tribute to Ned Brinkley. This artwork was created at the request of Roberta Kellam, and it was chosen as the official sign for the Nature Preserve. Read Anna's memories of Ned below.
Message from the President
May 30, 2021

Greetings friends,

At its mid-April 2021 meeting, the Northampton County Board of Supervisors on the Eastern Shore officially named the new nature preserve near Oyster for Ned Brinkley, a friend of birders on the Shore and throughout Virginia. The Edward S. Brinkley Nature Preserve is the site of many visits and discoveries by Cape Charles resident Ned Brinkley over the years.

We are pleased that artwork by our 4-time Kiptopeke Hawkwatcher, Anna Stunkel, was chosen as the primary sign for the Preserve. Thanks, also, to CVWO Board member Martina Coker for her help with the preserve, its new observation deck, and upcoming bird signage.
It will be very satisfying when birding there and entering birds into eBird, to choose a Hotspot with Ned's name attached to it.

Be sure to visit this "hot spot" just north of the Oyster landfill. Enjoy the path around the pond and the new observation deck overlooking the marsh.

And enjoy Anna Stunkel's memories of Ned she shared with us for this newsletter. See her note below.

Thanks, as always, for your continuing support.

Brian Taber
Remembering Ned Brinkley
Ned Brinkley on the right in 2019 when he visited the observation platform before it was rebuilt. On the left is Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Zone Management. Photo by Martina Coker.
By Anna Stunkel

Ned was a friend and mentor to me and many others. He had a heart of gold and was always there to help people and share his vast knowledge. I have such special memories shared with Ned, and I wish there were many more.

Here is one memorable moment: a few years ago, Ned and I saw a Swallow-tailed Kite at the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch. Ned was filling the birdfeeder by the hawkwatch parking lot when the kite floated up suddenly over the pines, and I called out excitedly. At that exact instant, Ned was unfortunately stung by a bee but also looked up joyfully to see the kite streaming gracefully overhead. He joked that seeing the kite helped him to feel better.
Another time, I told Ned that I had never seen a Sedge Wren before. He immediately offered to bring me to a spot at the end of Magotha Road to go find one. Wearing tall rubber boots and ready to explore the marshes, I joined him along with my dad who was visiting for Thanksgiving, and sure enough, there was a beautiful Sedge Wren singing exactly where he'd expected one to be! Ned's happiness upon seeing the wren was just as wonderful as the discovery itself. And I am sure that half the joy for him was in showing us this spunky little bird.

Thank you to Roberta Kellam for giving me the honor of creating this sign for the Edward S. Brinkley Nature Preserve. I have great memories of birding with Ned in the preserve, and I know that this place was very special to him.

Ned’s love of birds and curiosity about so many different subjects were contagious, and so were his sense of humor and kindness. The birding community has lost an incredible person far too soon.

Rest in peace, Ned.
HRBT May Update: Gull-billed Terns!
Here's a short photo quiz: What species of seabirds laid the eggs in the photos on the right?

Meagan Thomas, a Watchable Wildlife Biologist with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, blogs monthly about the seabirds nesting in their new habitat at the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel area.

Here is the link to Meagan's extensive May article about the big change on the island and barges since her April visit. Exciting news is the four nests of Gull-billed Terns, a state-threatened species, on the barges.

At the DWR web site you also can see 360-degree photos of the island and the barges. Also you'll see six photos of eggs of different seabirds nesting at the site. And the answer to the photo quiz will be revealed!

We encourage you to sign up for regular updates on the nesting seabirds at HRBT. Here's how! Click over to this DWR web site.

You'll have to provide your name and email. Specify that you want to receive "Wildlife Updates" in the list.
Photos by Meagan Thomas, VA Department of Wildlife Resources.
You can also sign up for Hunting News, Fishing Report, Boating Safety, and Conservation Police Notebook.
Prothonotary Warbler Updates from CVWO Volunteers
Prothonotary Warbler nest. Photo by Dave Youker
Prothonotary Warbler Nestlings. Photo by Shirley Devan
Volunteers Jennifer Trevino and Barb Neis in the canoe at Northwest River. Photo By Shirley Devan
Prothonotary Warbler nestling about to become a fledgling. Photo by Shirley Devan
Brian Taber installed predator guards on boxes 1 and 5 at Powhatan Creek Trail May 28 to help deter snakes. Photo by Shirley Devan
Male Prothonotary Warbler with food at Powhatan Creek Trail. Photo by Jim Easton
In May, nesting activity of Prothonotary Warblers ramps up with first clutches of eggs and fledgings late in the month.

NEWPORT NEWS: Dave Youker regularly checks the warbler boxes at Lee Hall reservoir and Harwoods Mill Reservoir in Newport news. At Harwoods Mills reservoir, 11 Carolina Chickadees fledged; one box has 5 warbler eggs; another has 5 warbler young. At Lee Hall reservoir, 6 Carolina Chickadees fledged and no warbler activity so far.
At Harwoods Mill reservoir, the Wood Ducks fledged 143 so far. One box has an incubating female, and one box has 12 eggs.

Powhatan Creek Trail in James City County. The Prothonotary Warblers and the Carolina Chickadees fell victim to predators in May. The low water in the wetland because of the drought has made it easier for snakes to access the boxes.
Five chickadee nestlings did fledge from one box, but warbler eggs and chickadee nestlings have disappeared during May. Brian Taber installed predator guards on two boxes May 28.

Northwest River Park: On May 25, Shirley Devan and volunteers counted over 90 nestlings in 37 boxes and observed several fledge. The other trail with 47 boxes had 95 eggs and 18 nestlings May 18. Almost 100% occupancy at this freshwater river in Chesapeake.

Dragon Run on Middle Peninsula: Gary Driscole reports, as of May 26, the warbler boxes at the Dragon Run had 17 nestlings and 11 eggs. Seven Carolina Chickadees fledged and three boxes with no activity.

Chickahominy Riverfront Park in James City County: Carolina Chickadees fledged from two boxes in May. As of May 27, two boxes had 9 Prothonotary Warbler eggs and two other boxes had beginning warbler nests.
Hawk Migration Association features a trip down memory lane
Wednesday, May 19 at noon EDT – Free but need to register
HMANA continues its monthly virtual Lunch & Learn series with a trip down hawkwatching memory lane. Clay Taylor has been hawkwatching for more than 45 years and joins us to share tales of wings and glory, hawkwatch site establishment, and making birding friends across the continent along the way.

Join us Wed., May 19, at 12 pm EDT for a personal trip through the world of hawkwatching!

Clay Taylor of Swarovski Optik NA became a birder in the mid-1970s, both watching and photographing birds in the Northeastern United States. Nearly a half-century later, he still enjoys hawk- and birdwatching and photography, and has played key roles in establishing hawkwatch sites and connecting the people that flock to them.

Monarchs still migrating north
Per Journey North, "last week, the leading edge of migration was scattered between latitude 40-45°N throughout the Upper Midwest, southern Ontario, and New England. This week, monarchs have made good progress and are being spotted as far north as latitude 50°N in Winnipeg, Manitoba."

Here in the Coastal Plain of Virginia we're seeing Monarch eggs and caterpillars.

The Monarch's range is defined by milkweed's range. See northern limit of milkweed here.

Monarch caterpillar feasting on Common Milkweed. Photo by Karen Hines
You can report your Monarch sightings to Journey North at this web site.
Eye Candy: Volunteers' Photos
Volunteers and Board members are very gracious to share their photos from ramblings around the Coastal Plain of Virginia. If you have recent photos from the Coastal Plain you want to share, please send them to CVWO's eNewsletter editor, Shirley Devan at this email. We'll try to share as many as we can! Thanks!
Short-billed Dowitcher May 11, 2021. Photo by Martina Coker
Whimbrel May 15, 2021. Photo by Martina Coker
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher working on his nest. Photo by Jim Easton.
Great Purple Hairstreak. Photo by Shirley Devan
Wild Turkey nest and eggs. Photo by Adrienne Driscole.
Marbled Godwit. Photo by Marlene Condon.
CVWO's Website and Blog
Visit and Share CVWO's Website! 

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

And remember to support our nonprofit work with your tax-deductible donation!

"White-faced" White Wagtail. Photo by Shirley Devan
Check out CVWO's Blog Posts to learn about the super rare White-faced White Wagtail that showed up in the Coastal Plain in mid-April.