February 16, 2006 [LINK]

"Important bird areas"

This month's Augusta Bird Club meeting on Monday evening featured a very interesting and informative presentation by Aimee Weldon on the National Audubon Society's Important bird areas program. It is part of a systematic worlwide attempt to survey specific locations that various migratory bird species depend upon for their survival. This project depends on the coordinated efforts of thousands of grass-roots volunteers who have detailed knowledge of wildlife and geography in their respective localities. The Atlantic coast of Virginia, from Assateague to Chincoteague, is one of those "Important bird areas"; see my recent post about the plight of the Red knots. The Blue Ridge is the summer home of many Cerulean warblers, which are declining in numbers, and the mountains of Highland and Bath County are home to breeding area for Golden-winged warblers, which I only glimpsed once -- just last summer, in fact.

More of John's photos

Once again, they are exquisitely clear and detailed: one is of a Widgeon, a kind of duck, and the other is of a Varied thrush, a relative of the American robin that lives in the Great Northwest.