The wildlife surveys conducted at Occoquan Bay NWR are part of an overall series of surveys sponsored by the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and have been taking place since March of 1989. Field work began when the site was an active army post, before the Refuge was established. Preliminary survey information was used in restoration and reuse planning for the site's closing. Initially, efforts focused on identifying sensitive natural areas and on bird life. The scope widened later to include butterflies, dragonflies, and other wildlife.
Volunteer naturalists from Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, Friends of the Potomac River Refuges, and other environmental groups provide inventory data on birds and other wildlife that can be used to inform planning and management of the Refuge and surrounding areas.
Surveys are conducted year-round. Surveys specifically for butterflies and dragonflies run April through October. An ongoing, expanding documentation of flora (particularly first blooming dates of wildflowers) is conducted in conjunction with every survey.
Photo by Rusty Moran
The number of documented birds for the Occoquan Bay NWR grew to 242 with the addition of Cackling Goose (January 3).
Notable occurrence/abundance statistics for OBNWR's 24 special interest species, tracked since 1991, indicated the following:
- Lowest year-to-date for Northern Bobwhite
- Second lowest year for Great Blue Heron
- Highest year for Osprey, Bald Eagle, and Carolina Chickadee
- One of the lowest years for King Rail
- The eighth year in the past 20 in which there was no record of Grasshopper Sparrow
The number of documented butterfly species at Occoquan Bay NWR is 75.
The number of documented dragonflies and damselflies at Occoquan Bay NWR is 68.
Information provided by Jim Waggener, Survey Coordinator Anyone interested in participating in the survey should
contact Jim Waggener at (703)567-3555