Many people have been captivated by owls in Dyke Marsh this spring. Several people have confirmed a barred owl (Strix varia) pair raising two young and a great horned owl pair (Bubo virginianus) with one young. It’s parenting at its best.
On May 24, 2022, partnering with National Park Service Ranger Douglas Breton, the Friends of Dyke Marsh welcomed 60 curious, second-grade students and their teachers from Alexandria’s St. Stephens and St. Agnes School to Dyke Marsh.
From plastic bottles to plastic straws, fishing lines, clothing, carpets and diapers, plastic in the environment is ubiquitous. Sarah Kollar from Ocean Conservancy and Kurt Moser from the Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation discussed both the challenges of and solutions to plastic pollution in presentations at a May 19, 2022, FODM meeting.
Since 2016, FODM volunteers have conducted habitat quality monitoring in an unnamed, intermittent stream that flows through Mount Vernon Park into west Dyke Marsh, most recently on April 11 and May 10, 2022.
In April 2022, the Friends of Dyke Marsh reached out to the larger community when we participated in two community events and offered materials and information about FODM and Dyke Marsh.
“Virginia’s tidal rivers are just loaded with bald eagles,” Jeff Cooper told 210 people attending the March 2 FODM meeting and the Chesapeake Bay is the epicenter of eagle conservation. The area from Dyke Marsh south to where route 301 crosses the Rappahannock River is a bald eagle concentration area.
On February 26, 2022, 50 very curious youngsters from Fairfax County’s Belvedere Elementary School, grades kindergarten through fifth grade, and many of their parents visited Dyke Marsh.
The Potomac River and associated habitats are prime areas for many wintering waterbird species, Greg Butcher told FODMers and friends at their October 20, 2021, meeting on Zoom.
Keen observer and former Friends of Dyke Marsh president Ed Eder documented three new species between June and October 2021, one new to the preserve and two also new to the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
On August 28, 2021, 18 plant lovers studied the diversity of Dyke Marsh’s plant life, on a Haul Road trail walk led by Alan Ford and Margaret Chatham of the Virginia Native Plant Society’s Potowmack Chapter.
Why insects need trees was the theme of the walk for 16 nature enthusiasts in Dyke Marsh led by arborist Jessica Strother on September 4, 2021. She titled the walk, “Trees and their Insect Friends.”
On August 28, Todd Kiraly, Steve Bielamowicz and Sherman Suter saw and reported a buff-breasted sandpiper (Calidris subruficollis) in the Hunting Creek mudflats, just north of Dyke Marsh. This was a first sighting and a record for the George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP). This is bird number 294 for GWMP.