"Protecting Wildlife Through Field Research, Education and Habitat Conservation For 25 Years"
November at the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch
Sharp-shinned Hawk November 7, 2020 by Steve Thornhill
Red-tailed Hawk October 31, 2020 by Steve Thornhill
Red-shouldered Hawk October 31, 2020 by Steve Thornhill
Cooper's Hawk November 3, 2020 by Steve Thornhill
Winter Wren November 21, 2020 by Steve Thornhill
Palm Warbler November 21, 2020 by Steve Thornhill
CVWO is thankful for Steve Thornhill and his willingness to share his remarkable photos from his visits to the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch.
Currently, at Kiptopeke State Park, face coverings are required in all park facilities and where social distancing is not possible. Stay up to date on the park's guidelines by checking their web site. Here's a special message from President Brian Taber about guidelines for the fall of 2020.

Because of the pandemic, and to ensure the safety of our staff and visitors, we limit group sizes on the hawkwatch platform. And of course we'll be abiding by all guidelines in effect at the Park.
November 28, 2020
Note from the Prez!
Rest in peace, Ned
I was sitting on the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch platform before sunrise when I read the email about Ned Brinkley’s passing the day before. It was so unexpected. He was birding in Ecuador, doing what he loved. Ned was an early Board member for the Observatory and since then has been a long-time Advisor. He coordinated our Kiptopeke Challenge event in the early years. The Observatory worked with him to print the book, “Shorebirds of Chincoteague,” in which he edited the surveys of Claudia Wilds. He also helped with our Eastern Shore butterfly counts. I was always in awe of his knowledge. We are so proud to be associated with him. Ned was a world-class friend to all. Rest in peace. 
Ned Brinkley edited Claudia Wilds book on the "Shorebirds of Chincoteague," printed by CVWO.

Remembering Ned Brinkley
By Bill Williams

Ned’s towering intellect, prodigious scholarship, and bigger-than-life personality are without exception the foundation of legend. His high standards for thoroughness, accuracy, and depth of understanding were exemplified in every book, article or monograph he authored, not to mention most conversations folks enjoyed with him. How many of us longed for the next North American Birds issue he edited to digest how his erudite Changing Seasons essays synthesized the peoples’ continent-wide birding data into the peoples’ ornithology. From those monographs we also came to understand the breadth of Ned’s global understandings of birds and those who chronicled them.

Below are a couple of anecdotes to add to those posted by others.

The passage of Hurricane Bertha during the early morning hours of 13 July 1996 hastened a flock of birders to the CBBT first Island in hopes of sighting seabirds tossed into or along Chesapeake Bay near-shore waters. Ned, already present, chaired that several-hour tutorial during which all eyes were on Thimble Shoals Channel, all ears were on him.

It would take a bit of searching on our part to resurrect the list of  birds the group experienced that day, but all of us would bet Ned would remember them all, in sequence of detection most likely. As we departed that memorable event, Ned encapsulated his species detections, topping it off with a list of the languages he’d heard from passers-by, including Farsi.
Photo by Roberta Kellam
When CVWO was looking to hire its first paid hawk watch coordinator in 1995, Ned suggested contacting a young raptor enthusiast he’d met at Derby Hill, New York.

That recommendation brought Brian Sullivan (1995, 1996, 1997) and subsequently Marshall Iliff (1998) to Kiptopeke.

Stand back and look at the magnitude of ornithological/birding expertise that trio, along with near-by Bob Ake and Brian Patteson, brought to Virginia, the mid-Atlantic, and eventually far beyond.

Ned’s passing leaves an almost unfillable void at many, many levels. Missed seems too transitory.

Best Birds, now probably with Roxie once again, Ned. 
Giving Tuesday is December 1, 2020. As a CVWO supporter, you make it possible for CVWO to hire incredible young biologists like Karl Bardon, Bridgett Brunea, and Ashley Hansen each fall to carry on our tradition of raptor and Monarch surveys. Your support also allows CVWO to give three scholarships each year to deserving graduate students at W&M and ODU who are studying Virginia’s avifauna.

So what is GivingTuesday? It’s is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

If you’re able this year, we would appreciate a tax deductible donation on GivingTuesday. Here’s where you can donate – CVWO
Final days at the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch
Raptor migration is almost complete for 2020. Karl Bardon, CVWO’s keen-eyed hawkwatcher, has been on the platform almost every day since September 1. He’ll stay until November 30.

As of November 25, Karl has counted 1249 raptors for November and 15,607 for the 2020 season. Compare this to 7,991 raptors for October.

Counts range from a high (so far) of 187 on November 5 to a low (so far) of 4 on November 25. What a difference a day makes!

In November the most numerous raptor has been Red-tailed Hawks (406) followed by Sharp-shinned Hawks (336).

In October, the most numerous raptor was Sharp-shinned Hawks (2,882) followed by American Kestrels (1,398).

As we pointed out before, Karl counts EVERYTHING he can see – and HEAR – from the platform! On November 24 he also tallied these species and counts: 7 Canada Geese, 7 Tundra Swans, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, 7 Common Loons, 41 Double-crested Cormorants, 466 Turkey Vultures, 11 Killdeer, 46 Tree Swallows, 16 Eastern Bluebirds, 1241 American Robins, 15 Cedar Waxwings, 59 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 13,390 Red-winged Blackbirds, 8 Rusty Blackbirds, 1736 Common Grackles, 180 Brown-headed Cowbirds, 4 Red Crossbills, 22 Pine Siskins, 583 American Goldfinches.

Don't feel too sorry for Karl and Bridgett (who stayed through November 15). November is often when rarities show up.

Bridgett writes in a November 5 Blog, "The past two days were highlighted by three birds we've been waiting to see for weeks: a group of Evening Grosbeaks, a Golden Eagle, and a Rough-legged Hawk!"

You can read her full Blog here and see photos of the "three long awaited birds."
When Karl is done counting raptors for the day, he often heads out to explore nearby birding hotspots. November 9, he found this Gray Heron (his photo above), not a North American species, at the landfill pond near Oyster, now called Northampton County Preserve. Amazingly, the same bird was apparently photographed at Chincoteague on Oct 31. This find set off a statewide scramble as birders headed to Oyster to add this wayward species to their lists. Way to go, Karl!
To see the final numbers for the season, look online at two web sites.

The first is Hawkcount.org. Kiptopeke's numbers can be accessed here by selecting "Find a Hawkwatch" on the left-hand side, choosing "Virginia" then "Kiptopeke Hawkwatch" and then selecting the "Monthly" or "Daily" tab on the left-hand side.

The second is Dunkadoo.org

And we'll have final totals in the December eNewsletter too!
2020 Monarch Summary
A tagged Monarch ready to release. Photo by Michael Ferrara
By Nancy Barnhart

The 2020 CVWO Monarch Migration Project on the Eastern Shore of Virginia is in the books. As Ashley Hansen, our outstanding Monarch Biologist finalizes her report, we can give a quick summary of how the fall migration developed on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Ashley tagged a total of 228 Monarchs and observed another 300 in her point counts and daily observations. While these numbers are down from the past several years, reports from Mexico wintering grounds look very promising.

Data and observations suggest at least some part of the local East Coast migration occurred further west of the route used in past years. This might be the result of timing and weather; e.g. more days of NE winds during peak periods. (Without the “funneling” effect seen on the Delmarva Peninsula, observations on the west side of the Bay are more informal than on the Eastern Shore.)

In addition to reporting on Monarch Migration, Ashley’s report will include valuable information on other insect populations she observed as well as the nectar sources being used. We thank Ashley for her outstanding work!
Ashley Hansen, CVWO's Monarch biologist for the 2020 season, tagged 228 Monarchs. Photo by Shirley Devan
Ashley wrote a wonderful Halloween Blog post for CVWO: "Creepy Crawlies of Kiptopeke (and the Eastern Shore Wildlife Refuge) in which she described the predator/prey relationship she often sees in her treks to count and tag Monarchs. You can read her post here.
Flower Crab Spider waits patiently for…
Dun Skipper is a meal for the spider

Photos by Ashley Hansen
The Winner of the Piping Plover is …
Piping Plover Trophy for team who raises the most funds.
By Dave Youker, Kiptopeke Challenge Coordinator

The winner of the 2020 Piping Plover trophy for most funds raised in the Kiptopeke Challenge goes to the Gulls Gone Wild. 

Their efforts raised an impressive $4,162. Congratulations to the Gulls whose team members included Shirley Devan, Nancy Barnhart, Jan Lockwood and Barbara Neis! 

Rounding out the top 4 fundraising teams are Solitary Vireo, Laughing Falcons and Philadelphia Vireos.
The overall fund total for the 2020 Kiptopeke Challenge stands at $12,311. Thanks to everyone who participated in the KC this year, and please pass along our sincere appreciation to your donors. It's only through your efforts and the support of your donors that CVWO can continue its mission.
I look forward to having each of you in next year's Kiptopeke Challenge. In the meantime, stay safe.
Gulls Gone Wild Team. Selfie photo by Nancy Barnhart on far right. Other Gulls are Barbara Neis (pink mask), Jan Lockwood (green mask), Shirley Devan (red mask)
Broad-winged Hawks featured in Dec 9
Lunch and Learn Workshop
The next event is December 9 at 12 noon when Laurie Goodrich, the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary’s Sarkis Acopian Director of Conservation Science, will give a riveting presentation on Broad-winged Hawks!

Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) sponsors these online "lunch and learn" workshops. Join in monthly at 12 pm EDT!

Here is the topic for January
  • January 20, 2021: E. Viviana Vallejo, "Establishing a Migration Count in Colombia"
Broad-winged Hawk by Steve Thornhill
Monarch Joint Venture releases a new eBook
By Christine Sanderson, Monarch Joint Venture

Monarch butterflies—an iconic flagship species for grassland ecosystems and pollinator conservation – are widespread, yet both the eastern North American and western United States populations have declined by approximately 80 percent since 2010. 
In response, U.S. Geological Survey scientists, academia, and other government scientists, managers, and conservation organizations from Mexico, the United States, and Canada formed the Trinational Monarch Conservation Science Partnership (MCSP), which identifies, performs, and translates science for Monarch conservation.  

This collaborative research entity, led by USGS, edited a compendium of 34 research articles in a special issue entitled North American Monarch Butterfly Ecology and Conservation in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, which has been released today as a publicly available ebook.

This compendium represents a broad swath of science related to monarch habitat management, population ecology, how we best monitor monarchs, and some work on social dimensions of their conservation for both populations across North America.  

It’s a great example of an international science effort, often co-produced with land managers and decision makers, that focuses on habitat management, population ecology, monitoring, and the social aspects of monarch conservation.   

The e-book includes 150 authors from Mexico, Canada, and the United States, demonstrating a vibrant, international community of scientists working diligently to fill key knowledge gaps associated with monarchs and their habitat.

Download your own FREE copy here.
Shopping online more these days? Aren't we all!
You can support CVWO just by shopping at AmazonSmile.
You can designate CVWO as the beneficiary of your shopping at Amazon! How does it work? 

For eligible purchases (most!), AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the charitable donation you specify. The donation does not affect the purchase price you pay. Designate CVWO as your charitable organization. It's a win-win! Thanks so much!
Cooler weather means soup mugs and sweatshirts!
Check out CVWO's Cafe Press store to see a variety of cool weather shirts and items with Anna Stunkel's eye-catching image of a Prothonotary Warbler, commissioned by CVWO. Thanks, Anna. A small portion of each sale comes back to support CVWO.
Water bottle
Sweatshirt with CVWO's beautiful 25 anniversary logo
15 ounce soup mug
"Riding the Wind"
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.

For a donation of $20.00 per book (plus $5.00 shipping & handling), email Nancy Barnhart and she 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, 4625 Casey Blvd, Suite 300.

You can also get a copy from Buteo books.
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!
Check out Bridgett's final blogs
Bridgett Brunea wrote several blog posts before leaving November 15. Check out her stories!

Nov 3: Migration Highlights Reel
Nov 5: Three Long-Awaited Birds
Nov 17: Gray Heron
Nov 14: A Farewell to the Hawkwatch