The animal has been active in the county for about two months now, traveling in the Vienna, Oakton, McLean, Reston and Fairfax areas, according to Katherine Edwards, the Fairfax County Police Department’s wildlife management specialist.
“While searching for food, this young bear has traveled into residential areas around homes, including yards, porches, and decks,” Edwards told FFXnow. “Most of the reports indicate that the bear is taking advantage of human-sourced food items, primarily bird feeders, unsecured trash, and beehives.”
The FCPD estimates that three to four bears have been active in the county since this spring, though no formal count has been conducted. Edwards says that number is in line with what’s reported to her and the county’s Animal Protection Police each year.
While sightings “are infrequent” in the more urbanized parts of Tysons, it’s “not uncommon” for one-year-old bears known as yearlings to move through the Potomac River corridor when setting out on their own for the first time, Edwards said.
Bears who find refuge in the parks and green spaces around nearby McLean and Vienna might drift into Tysons as they search for food.
This particular bear was filmed walking on the Boyd Pointe Way Sunday night in a video shared by FOX5 reporter Angie Goff. A Facebook commenter on FFXnow’s story about the sighting said a couple of his neighbors have caught the animal on camera following the Vesper Trail from Tysons Forest.
In September, the bear was seen rummaging through a trash can near McLean Hamlet Park, walking on Park Street in Vienna, and crossing Soapstone Drive toward Frederick Crabtree Park in Reston, as previously reported.
Soapstone Drive resident Sarah Boczar told FFXnow that her mom saw the bear in their neighborhood “a couple of weeks ago” while walking the family dog. Photos of the animal have been circulating in the community.
Edwards says bears will typically travel quickly through an area without any conflicts if they don’t find food, but this bear has lingered due to the availability of easily accessible food sources.
“We encourage neighbors to take preventative actions to remove food attractants and reduce the chance of conflict with a bear in their community,” she said. “We are asking neighbors to temporarily remove any outdoor food sources to help keep this young bear wild and encourage it to safely move on.”
Police advise residents to take the following steps to avoid attracting bears:
- Secure Garbage: Keep in a locked shed or inside until the morning of collection or use a bear resistant container.
- Take down birdfeeders.
- Feed pets indoors or only what they will eat in a single feeding if you must feed them outside. Remove all uneaten food and pet bowls. Do not leave food out overnight. Store pet food where bears can’t see or smell it.
- Clean up porches, patios, and decks. Remove any potential food sources and remember a screened in porch is not a “secure” storage area from a bear’s point of view.
- Clean grills after each use. Do not dump drippings in your yard. Run the grill an extra 5 minutes to burn off grease, fat, and food particles.
- Never leave food, trash, or pet/livestock feed inside your vehicle.
- Never purposely leave out food or try to feed a bear.
(Updated at 6 p.m.) Tysons got an unexpected visitor this weekend in the form of an apparently solo black bear.
The animal was spotted ambling along the Boyd Pointe Way sidewalk outside the Adaire Apartments in a video shared on Twitter last night by FOX5 reporter Angie Goff. She said it was seen on Sunday (Oct. 30) at 1521 Boyd Pointe Way.
— angie goff (@OhMyGOFF) October 31, 2022
While startling, bear sightings have increased in Fairfax County in recent years, the police department told FFXnow in June after a bear was photographed crossing the GW Parkway in Belle Haven.
Bears were also reported near McLean Hamlet Park, in Vienna and in Arlington this summer. Reston resident Victor Toth told FFXnow on Sept. 27 that he spotted a bear crossing Soapstone Drive toward Frederick Crabtree Park around 8:45 a.m. that day.
“No picture yet, unfortunately, and while it was only medium sized it was beautiful nonetheless,” Toth said in an email.
It’s unclear if these have all been different bears or the same one or two popping up in different locations.
The Fairfax County Police Department anticipates that bears will continue to appear more frequently into the future, as the animal’s population grows and the county becomes more developed, making it harder for bears and humans to avoid contact.
“Bears have adapted to living near people and we must also learn to adapt to bear activity and take responsible action to prevent conflicts from occurring in our communities by removing food sources that attract bears,” police said in June.
Still, a bear in Tysons at this time of year may be particularly unusual. According to Fairfax County, bear sightings are more often reported during the spring and summer as bears venture out in search of food.
“Black bears hibernate early November through March or April, depending on food availability,” the county says on its website.
Located near the Spring Hill Metro station, Adaire Apartments has a small expanse of grass with a path and benches known as Great Lawn Park, but the area is otherwise decidedly urbanized. The bear could have traveled from McLean Hamlet Park, which is just over a mile away on the other side of the Dulles Toll Road, or across Route 7 from Tysons Forest.
Fairfax County’s Animal Protection Police doesn’t take action to remove black bears, but any issues can be reported to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) helpline at 855-571-9003.
The FCPD advises preventing conflicts by removing food sources that could attract the creatures.
Image via Google Maps
The Fairfax County Park Authority will celebrate the importance of protecting the night sky on Saturday, Nov. 12.
The free event, which takes place in McLean at Lewinsville Park from 6:30-8:30 pm, will feature live demonstrations, hands-on activities, and opportunities for the public to learn how to fight light pollution.
Tammy Schwab, project manager, tells FFXnow that there will be stations for people to learn about artificial light’s effect on plants, animals, and people. If the weather permits, there will be telescopes and binoculars to view constellations.
“We will also have information about the small actions folks can take to help reverse light pollution in their neighborhood.”
Schwab said it’s essential to educate the public on light pollution because it causes harm to animals and plants that are adapted to dark nights.
“This artificial light at night, especially those with high color temperatures like bright white and blue, have been shown to cause harm in humans as well by interrupting our circadian rhythms. Additionally, light pollution is a waste of energy,” Schwab said, adding that unlike other forms of pollution, humans can easily reverse light pollution with a switch.
The park authority is partnering with the McLean Citizens Association, the Analemma Society, and Dark Sky Friends. Registration is encouraged but not required.
Photo via Mindaugas Vitkus/Unsplash
A September hunt intended to control the local deer population in Tysons Forest has been canceled.
Voicing safety concerns, residents and other community members near the 33-acre Tysons Forest — also known as Old Courthouse Spring Branch Stream Valley Park — successfully campaigned to get it removed from a list of areas marked for deer hunting.
South of Route 7, Tysons Forest was one of 112 parks selected for the 2022-2023 archery season under the Fairfax County Deer Management Program. Overseen by the Fairfax County Police Department, the program is a partnership between the Fairfax County Park Authority, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, and local landowners.
According to resident Jack Russell, the community became concerned about the hunt due to the park’s proximity to a daycare center.
The county allows archery as the primary tool to thin out high-density deer herds. According to the program’s website, bows and arrows have proven to be safe, with no bystanders injured by an archer hunting deer in the Commonwealth since Virginia began tracking those injuries in 1959.
However, in an Aug. 27, 2014 letter, then-Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Joseph Ward told a Fairfax resident that there have been five hunting incidents involving archery since 1960, most recently in 1996. According to the letter, none of them involved deer hunting.
Still, the narrowness of Tysons Forest and the nearby daycare center was enough for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to cancel the planned hunt.
“I want to thank Supervisor Alcorn and Dr. Katherine Edwards for their understanding,” Russell told FFXnow. “Fairfax County and the Board of Supervisors really listened to the concerns of the residents and were helpful in preventing a potential problem in Tysons Forest.”
While Tysons Forest will be researched to determine its viability for future deer hunts, the overall archery program will kick off on Saturday, Sept. 10, with eight parks added to the list of approved sites. The 2021-2022 program had 103 parks, totaling 21,236 acres.
According to Dr. Katherine Edwards, FCPD’s wildlife management specialist, new parks are suggested and evaluated for inclusion in the hunt each year where deer densities are above carrying capacity and pose conflicts.
Edwards says smaller parks close to residential areas have been added in recent years, since they have become movement corridors and refuges for deer.
According to Edwards, the hunts were established to address deer-related conflicts by controlling populations throughout the county. Conflicts include vehicle collisions, environmental damage to parkland and forested areas due to over-browsing by deer, residential complaints about property damage, and public health concerns about Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.
Another emerging disease of concern for wildlife professionals is Chronic Wasting Disease, a fatal, neurological disease that affects deer populations in Virginia.
The county’s archery season ends on Feb. 18, 2023.
First Responders Train for Silver Line Phase 2 — “More than a hundred fire and emergency personnel will converge on the new Ashburn Station on the Silver Line Extension as part of a full-scale emergency drill Wednesday, August 17. Metro is conducting the exercise in coordination with Fairfax County, Loudoun County and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) as part of preparations for the opening of the Silver Line Extension expected later this fall.” [WMATA]
Route 1 Trailer Park Residents Build Community — “Poverty often takes from people. It snatches. It steals. It can leave people with empty bellies, low self-esteem and a lost sense of security. That’s why the women want people to know what they’ve created in that trailer park on Route 1. From a shared struggle, they have built something special — a network of moms who regularly check on one another, inform one another and push one another.” [The Washington Post]
Community Raises Funds for Family of Reston Football Player — “A GoFundMe campaign started Wednesday to help cover funeral expenses for 18-year-old Shyon Smith reached its $30,000 goal thanks to 555 donors. Smith, who was a standout player on the South Lakes football team, died on Aug. 8.” [Patch]
Restaurant Week Is Underway — “Before the back-to-school season begins, DC area residents can enjoy a summer night out during Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week from Aug. 15 to 21. The restaurant week features three-course $25 lunch or brunch menus and $40 or $55 dinner menus.” [Patch]
Loose Pig Caught at Kingstowne Garden Center — A pig at large in the Kingstowne neighborhood last week was corraled by workers at Nalls Produce, who were working with Fairfax County Animal Protection Police to locate the animal’s family. The swine was reportedly happy and healthy. [Supervisor Rodney Lusk/Twitter]
Mount Vernon Pickleball Courts Ready for Use — “Fairfax County Park Authority’s (FCPA) conversion of George Washington Park’s aging tennis courts into six dedicated pickleball courts and two dual-use courts for tennis and pickleball is substantially complete, according to Adam Wynn, a project manager and senior planner with FCPA.” [On the MoVe]
McLean Church Celebrates 150th Anniversary — “Interfaith congregations from throughout the region have joined together to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the historically black Shiloh Baptist Church at 8310 Turning Leaf Lane in McLean, with additional special activities on the way.” [Sun Gazette]
Tysons Software Company Opens India Center — “Tysons low-code software company Appian Corp. (NASDAQ: APPN) is not letting fears of a recession slow down its hiring plans. Appian just opened a product development center in Chennai, India, and is hiring across the company, CEO Matt Calkins told the Washington Business Journal.” [Washington Business Journal]
Look Inside Retired Nats Star’s Former Great Falls Home — “The $7.9 million home of retired Washington Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman — a.k.a., Mr. National — went on the market earlier this week…The six-bedroom, 10-bathroom Great Falls estate looks more like a lavish resort than a single-family home.” [Washingtonian]
It’s Tuesday — Possible light rain in the morning. High of 79 and low of 65. Sunrise at 6:25 am and sunset at 8:04 pm. [Weather.gov]
Two Face Drug Charges After Seven Corners Police Shooting — “Two men have been charged after an officer-involved shooting that occurred last night at approximately 10:45 p.m. in the 6100 block of Arlington Boulevard in Seven Corners…The officer involved in the shooting has been identified as an 11-year veteran assigned to the Street Crimes Unit.” [FCPD]
Local LGBTQ+ Student Group Speaks Out — Fairfax County’s Pride Liberation Project released a statement backed by more than 600 students criticizing a proposal from the state Department of Education that they fear will classify any references to LGBTQIA+ people and events as sexually explicit. The guidelines address a new law that requires parents to be notified when school materials include sexually explicit content. [The Washington Post]
Meet Reston Association’s New CEO — “On Thursday, July 28, the Reston Association board of directors voted unanimously to confirm Mac Cummins, AICP* as the next chief executive officer of the non-profit organization…Cummins sat for a Q&A with the Connection Newspapers on Friday, July 29.” [Connection Newspapers]
Police Chief Addresses Staffing Emergency — The Fairfax County Police Department declared a personnel emergency last week, requiring officers to work mandatory overtime to compensate for staff shortages. Chief Kevin Davis says the department’s 189 operational vacancies are exceptionally high, though 51 recruits currently in the academy will eventually join the force. [ABC7]
Back in Nature, Snake Found in Fairfax Is Healing — “K2C Wildlife Encounters, LLC, received a call on June 5 from a Fairfax resident who had a snake in their backyard that they wanted removed…The female, eastern ratsnake had a torn jugular vein, a hole in her trachea, a protruding eye, numerous lacerations, and broken ribs.” [Patch]
New FCPS Teachers Prepare for School Year — “Minutello and Edinborough are among the newest teachers in Virginia’s largest school system, and are starting at a time when staffing challenges are making headlines. The county had hundreds of vacancies at the end of the last school year, but 97% of staffing positions have been filled as of last week, Superintendent Michelle Reid said.” [WTOP]
Centreville’s Ellanor C. Lawrence Park Lot to Temporarily Close — “The parking lot and entrance for Cabell’s Mill will be closed from Aug. 8 through Oct. 7, 2022, for construction. Work related to the new Stewardship Education Center will include a larger parking lot that will include features and a design that will better control and filter water from rain and runoff from the adjacent neighborhood.” [FCPA]
State Sales Tax Holiday Starts Tomorrow — “The 3-day sales tax holiday starts the first Friday in August at 12:01 am and ends the following Sunday at 11:59 pm…During the sales tax holiday, you can buy qualifying school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star™ and WaterSense™ products without paying sales tax.” [Virginia Department of Taxation]
It’s Thursday — Humid throughout the day. High of 95 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:14 am and sunset at 8:18 pm. [Weather.gov]
Look Out for Spotted Lanternfly — “While there are still no sightings of the spotted lanternfly in Fairfax County, it is getting closer, and experts are on the lookout for it. This summer the invasive pest was found in nearby Loudoun County…The insect feasts on more than 70 plant species, though its preferred host is the tree-of-heaven.” [DPWES]
FCPD Detective Destroyed Evidence of Rape — Fairfax County police are reviewing dozens of unsolved sexual assault cases after the victim of a rape in 1995 learned that a detective had destroyed all physical evidence in her case, including the rape kit. Police now say they believe the woman’s account and that her case was handled inappropriately, but she says the department needs “to somehow be held accountable.” [The Washington Post]
Longtime Fairfax Symphony Leader Dies — “William Hudson, a pianist and conductor who led the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra for 36 years, establishing it as a leading regional orchestra in the capital area, died July 12 at his home in Vienna, Va. He was 89. The cause was atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, said his former wife, Denise Battistone.” [The Washington Post]
Tysons Corner Center Owner Reports Retail Resurgence — “Macerich…noted that distress in the retail industry has slowed dramatically after a pandemic-spurred wave of closures in 2020…Macerich said its leasing activity in the second quarter reflected retailer demand at levels not seen since 2015.” [CNBC]
Vienna Police Share Results of Increased Traffic Enforcement — “After a noticeable increase in stop sign violations, the Town of Vienna Police Department had a directed enforcement initiative during the month of June…During the Stop Sign Enforcement Campaign, officers worked a total of 469 events utilizing stationary observation of stop signs, which generated 219 stop sign violations and 74 other violations.” [Vienna Police]
Local Meal Service Company Gets New HQ — MightyMeals, an overnight meal delivery company that grew out of a Franconia restaurant in 2015, has leased a 16,000-square-foot commercial unit at 7669 Limestone Drive in Gainesville for its new corporate headquarters. The space is seven times larger than its current 2,400-square-foot cooking prep warehouse in Burke. [Washington Business Journal]
Signs for Renamed Vienna Street in Place — “Vienna officials have replaced street signs on the former Wade Hampton Drive with new ones reading ‘Liberty Lane.’ The switch was done in early July ‘with little fanfare’ (as requested by residents), town officials said in the government’s monthly newsletter.” [Sun Gazette]
Bus Planned to Upcoming Innovation Center Metro — “OmniRide is hoping to take advantage of the forthcoming 66 Outside the Beltway toll lanes, and for the first time, its passengers could be getting one-seat trips to the Dulles area by the end of the year. The transit provider is hoping to start a commuter route that would take riders from Balls Ford Road to the Innovation Center Silver Line Metro stop in December” [Inside NoVA/WTOP]
It’s Wednesday — Humid throughout the day. High of 90 and low of 71. Sunrise at 6:13 am and sunset at 8:19 pm. [Weather.gov]
Fairfax County Animal Protection has seen an increase in the number of coyote-related calls since a rabid coyote bit three adults, two dogs and an officer last month.
“The recent incident of the rabid coyote at Lake Accotink has understandably created concerns for many residents about wildlife and public health and safety,” the Animal Protection Police said.
However, they say rabid coyotes are relatively rare, and none of the calls have indicated the animals sighted have rabies.
Coyotes are well-established in the county, and it’s normal to see them in parks and residential neighborhoods. They generally avoid human contact. The coyote that was spotted in June displaying signs of rabies — biting vehicle tires and other aggressive behavior — was killed after he bit an officer.
Since then, there have been 12 calls for service related to coyotes in the Springfield area. Seven of those reported coyote sightings involved the animals living close to people but displaying normal behavior, two reported injured coyotes, and the others shared concerns.
Animal Protection Police says most of the behavior reported is not indicative of sick or rabid animals, “especially given the time of year with coyotes raising pups.” Park ecologists were also monitoring the site and did not detect any unusual wildlife behavior on camera, police said.
“Based on the information received, the Animal Protection Police and Wildlife Management Specialist do not consider there to be an increased threat of rabies at Lake Accotink Park,” Animal Protection Police said.
In one call reported in June, a coyote followed a person on a trail, but when Animal Protection Police arrived, the animal was gone.
“The event notes stated the coyote seemed to be displaying normal behavior per the conversation with the caller,” police said. “The behavior described sounded like the coyote was engaged in ‘escorting’ behavior where coyotes will sometimes escort people and pets out of their territory, especially if there might be a den nearby.”
Another call in June reported a coyote “circling, barking, and snarling” at Greentree Village Park, and on Monday, July 18, a caller said he was approached by coyotes twice in Lake Accotink Park but was able to scare them away.
“The caller was fearful that the coyotes might attack him and requested an escort from the park,” police said. “A patrol unit provided him a ride out of the park. There was no mention of symptoms or behavior consistent with rabies in the event notes.”
Police said most of the calls were not within the immediate Lake Accotink area and were reported several miles from the park throughout the greater Springfield area.
Underground Utilities Proposed for Route 1 — Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck has joined many residents, businesses, and state Sen. Scott Surovell (D-36) as an advocate for moving power lines along Richmond Highway underground, though that isn’t in the current designs for widening the road. Advocates say undergrounding would limit storm damage and bring economic benefits. [On the MoVe]
Metro Plans for Budget Shortfall — “Metrorail has only recovered 42% of its ridership and Metrobus has recovered about 60%. This time, Metro officials are not banking on the cavalry — in the form of a federal bailout or additional local dollars — to arrive. Later this summer, board members and new Metro General Manager Randy Clarke will begin to calculate how to plug a $356 million operating budget gap.” [DCist]
Police Investigate Gunshot in Fair Oaks — “Fairfax County Police are investigating a shooting that occurred early Tuesday morning in the Fair Oaks area, according to the weekly crime report. Police responded around 3:18 a.m., for the report of a man firing a handgun into the air in the 12000 block of Thompson Road.” [Patch]
Bailey’s Crossroads Library Volunteer Honored — “Fairfax County officials gathered Saturday to honor Carmen Fernandez, a longtime pillar of the Culmore community. A conference room at the Woodrow Wilson Library in Falls Church now bears plaques in Fernandez’s honor.” [Fairfax County Public Library]
McLean Theater Group Retakes the Stage — “McLean Community Players is back after a three-year hiatus and will hit the Alden Theatre’s stage July 22 to 24 with ‘The Show Must Go On! A Musical Revue.’ The effort features an array of songs from past productions and shows the company hopes to perform in the future.” [Sun Gazette]
Local Hummingbird Photographers Get Focus — “I have been promised hummingbirds. I am, after all, at Green Spring Gardens, in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County, prime hummingbird territory…Jane [Gamble] takes me somewhere we’re guaranteed to find hummingbirds: inside the house, where 46 hummingbird photos hang on the walls.” [The Washington Post]
It’s Tuesday — Rain in the evening. High of 87 and low of 70. Sunrise at 5:55 am and sunset at 8:36 pm. [Weather.gov]
Inova Plans New Recovery Hospital — Inova Health System will open a Critical Illness Recovery Hospital at the Mount Vernon Hospital in Fort Hunt in the first half of 2023. Operated by the provider Select Medical, the 32-bed facility will provide specialized clinical support for patients who require an extended stay but no longer need intensive care — an option currently not available in Northern Virginia. [Inova]
Jollibee Opening in Lincolnia Area Sunday — “Filipino chicken chain Jollibee announced that, after some earlier delays, the Lincolnia location is scheduled to open this Sunday, June 26. The restaurant is opening at 4809 Beauregard Street in the Plaza at Landmark shopping center.” [ALXnow]
Fairfax City Mayoral Race Adds New Candidate — “Fairfax City Council member Sang Yi announced on Wednesday that he was running in the Nov. 8 general election to be city’s next mayor…Sang will be running against Catherine Read. Mayor Daniel Meyer previously announced that he wouldn’t be running for reelection.” [Patch]
Car Wheels Stolen in Newington — “Two car owners in Newington in Fairfax County woke up this morning to find their cars propped up on bricks and all the wheels stolen. One of the car owners…tells me he works hard to provide for his family and is very frustrated by this. It’s part of a troubling trend that’s been going on for years in the DC area.” [NBC4]
Fairfax County Is #1 in Country for Mental Health — Northern Virginia had a strong showing in a “Healthiest Communities” ranking from U.S. News & World Report and CVS Health, which graded 500 localities nationwide. At #17 overall, Fairfax County got its highest mark for mental health based on reports of mental distress, depression, and death rates related to suicide and substance issues. [U.S. News & World Report]
NOVA Parks Seeks Input on Five-Year Plan — The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has released a draft 2023-2027 strategic plan and is accepting feedback via an online survey until 5 p.m. on July 8. Priorities proposed by the plan include a $6 million investment in trails, a visitor center for the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, and a commitment to plant over 50,000 trees. [NOVA Parks]
Merger Gives Tysons Another Corporate HQ — “Defense contractor Vectrus Inc. and government services company Vertex Inc. are moving forward with a $2.1 billion merger that will move the rebranded company’s headquarters to Northern Virginia…V2X is expected to be based in McLean, where Vectrus already has an office at 7901 Jones Branch Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]
Vienna Cuts Ribbon on New Mural — “The new mural, a nod to the month-long Liberty Amendments Month celebration and painted by local artist, Teresa Ahmad, was unveiled today at the Patrick Henry Library! Everyone is encouraged to check out this beautiful addition to the Town!” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]
Celebrate Hummingbirds in Lincolnia — “For those who can’t get enough of the beauty of hummingbirds, a group of local photographers are mounting an exhibition this summer at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria…The show runs from June 28 through Oct. 16, 2022, at the Historic House at Green Spring Gardens and is free to the public.” [Fairfax County Park Authority]
It’s Friday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 82 and low of 64. Sunrise at 5:46 am and sunset at 8:40 pm. [Weather.gov]