The spatterdock has emerged, the ospreys are back, mayapple carpets the forest floor and spring is well underway. Woodpeckers have specially adapted beaks to excavate cavities, but chickadees? Excellent photographer, FODMer Jane Gamble captured a Carolina chickadee “excavating” a tree cavity, removing a mouthful of sawdust from a cavity along the Haul Road trail on March 21. “I saw it make several trips to the cavity and come out each time with a large mouthful of dust which it dropped nearby,” she emailed. Dyke Marsh again has three active bald eagle nests. Unfortunately, Northern Virginia lost two bald eagles on February 17 when they died just a few miles west of the marsh. Passersby found the two with their talons locked together and one bird appeared to have a burned tail feather. Katherine Edwards, Fairfax County’s wildlife biologist, speculated that the eagles died by colliding with a power line while interlocked during what’s called “a talon-grappling display.” "They are known to engage in talon-grappling and tumbling displays (also known as “talon-clasping” or “cartwheel displays”) that are thought to be involved with either territorial defense or courtship,” she explained.
Hooray for Volunteers
Hats off to volunteers! We’ve had an outpouring of people helping clip English ivy off trees to save them. This year, we have collected a whopping 136 bags of ivy, as of April 10 from the Haul Road, west Dyke Marsh, Belle Haven Park, the Marina Road and the bicycle trail across from Tulane Drive. Thank you, thank you. Starting in June, we’ll resume invasive plant control at the native plant site. We value volunteers for many reasons. We’ve learned that one volunteer hour is worth $27.20 per hour, according to Independent Sector. Visit www:independentsector.org. Parkway staff use our volunteer statistics to compete for funds to purchase tools and for other activities. Be sure to complete the NPS volunteer service agreement form. By signing the form, you are covered by the Federal Employees Compensation Act in case you are injured while volunteering. Closed Restrooms Many people are disappointed that the new concessioner of the Belle Haven Marina, with the concurrence of the Park Service, has locked the public restrooms and is restricting use to marina slip holders. We have expressed our objections and will continue to do so.
We’re eager to learn who the next director of the National Park Service will be. The new Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Debra Haaland opened her February 23, Senate confirmation hearing testimony by acknowledging that Washington, D. C., is on the ancestral lands of the Nakochtank, Anacostan and Piscataway people. The first native American to serve as a Cabinet Secretary, she told senators, “It was in the cornfields with my grandfather where I learned the importance of water and protecting our resources and where I gained a deep respect for the Earth. I will ensure that DOI’s decisions are based on science and be a fierce advocate for our public lands. If an indigenous woman from humble beginnings can be confirmed as Secretary of the Interior, our country holds promise for everyone.” Maine Senator Angus King is the new chair of the Senate National Parks Subcommittee. Senator King grew up in Alexandria, graduated from the former Hammond High School and got a law degree from the University of Virginia. The senator said, “I think we need to talk about where we want the parks to be in 25 years. This is the thrill of a lifetime to be the chair of this subcommittee. I've been working on land conservation and outdoor issues since 1987."
Glenda C. Booth