Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory



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Dunkadoo At Kiptopeke Hawkwatch


AUGUST 30, 2018

HawkWatch At Kiptopeke Kicks Off!

Anna Stunkel is back in the 757! She arrived today from Massachusetts and three volunteers from CVWO helped unload her car. She'll start counting raptors at Kiptopeke State Park on Saturday, September 1.

Last year Anna counted 14,442 raptors of 14 species at the Kiptopeke Platform between September 1 and November 30 for a total number of 783.25 hours! Whew!

Kiptopeke Hawkwatch at the tip of the Eastern Shore of VA begins its 42nd season this week, sponsored by CVWO! Anna Stunkel will be on the platform beginning Thursday, August 30 for her third year! Welcome back, Anna!

Visitors are always welcome at Kiptopeke State Park to help us find birds and to learn about the amazing hawk migration. The hawkwatch operates daily, weather permitting, through November.

Anna and the platform volunteers also keep track of the other notable species flying over the platform! How many saw the Roseate Spoonbill flyover last fall? And we’ll be paying attention to our hummingbird feeders and seed feeders, too.

Wonder how the 2018 season will go? Stay tuned to our social media pages at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Please also support our nonprofit work with your membership and/or donation!

MAY 1, 2018

CVWO Tagged Monarchs Found In Mexico And North Carolina

In the fall of 2017, 1485 Monarch butterflies were tagged by Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory biologist Clay Buffkin at Kiptopeke State Park. Weighing approximately half a gram and making a journey of 2400+ miles to their overwintering grounds in Mexico, they congregate in numbers that have ranged over the last 25 years from 14 million to 380 million (World Wildlife Fund).  

 Hoping to learn their fate is like hoping to find a needle in a haystack.   Monarch Watch, a program affiliated with the University of Kansas Biological Survey, maintains and publishes records of butterflies that are recovered in the Monarch sanctuaries in Mexico. This past winter 928 tags were recovered.  Incredibly, four of these were CVWO-tagged butterflies.  All four -- 3 males, 1 female -- were tagged in a three day period from 9/29-10/01. Two were recovered in Sierra Chincua Butterfly Sanctuary, and two in El Presario sanctuary.  

In addition a CVWO-tagged Monarch was observed in Wilmington, NC, five days after tagging at Kiptopeke. This sighting provides data on an impressive leg of the journey: 319 miles in five days, or averaging 64 miles a day.

All of these Monarchs were tagged while nectaring on goldenrod, pine, and Mist Flower. In addition to the Monarch Butterfly Migration Program CVWO creates and manages numerous butterfly gardens for education and research. For more information please see our Butterfly Research Project page and support our nonprofit work with your membership and tax-deductible donations!

Below are CVWO's past newsletters starting with October 2018. Please subscribe to our newsletters here.

Dunkadoo. It’s an unusual name. Dunkadoo is an old New England term for the American Bittern and the name of a non-profit that has developed software tools for professional hawkcounters and other research scientists.

The aim is to collect data, download, and share it using the global reach of the Internet, while saving valuable time for our hawkcounter at the end of a long day.

Using Dunkadoo our CVWO hawkcounter will enter data on a Galaxy tablet throughout the day which will automatically download to a customized web page on the Dunkadoo site. This will have links to the CVWO web page. The data is used to create colorful charts, and graphs, which can be used for education and public outreach. The tool will also auto-submit the CVWO data to With this new tool CVWO can share our hawk watch data with a global community. 

We are excited to begin the fall hawk migration season with our returning hawkcounter, Anna Stunkel, and this great new tool!