A large group of area residents, wildlife experts and community business leaders convened at Kincora (corner of routes 7 and 28) this past weekend to mark the annual return of the herons to the Kincora rookery—one of only a few of its kind in the region. “The birds arrive like clockwork each year around the first of March,” explained landowner Mike Scott.
Approximately 60 nests are currently being attended to by the birds that arrive, spend a couple of weeks fixing up their nests and then lay their eggs. Both parents continue to watch the nest and care for the hatchlings. The parents then leave around the first of June and the fledglings venture out on their own.
“We already have multi-family residential at Kincora,” Scott told the group, referring to the herons. The rookery is unique to Loudoun County and most herons from the region were born there.
The landowners of Kincora– Mike Scott and Dan Coughlan– have gone to painstaking ends to ensure that the rookery is protected and that development of the property will not disturb the birds in any way. “We want Loudoun County residents and bird/nature lovers to be able to see these amazing birds in residence,” said Scott.
Fortunately for the birds, Mike and Dan are sensitive to them and their environment. The property was initially zoned for by-right industrial uses that were less than sensitive to the heron’s natural habitat. Scott and Coughlan were able to get the zoning changed on the property that will allow for larger set-backs and protection areas around the rookery. “We wanted to preserve and protect the herons, in addition to proferring to give the County approximately 160 acres for a park along the Broad Run and around the rookery, we’ve also designed building setbacks and trail setbacks that will keep the birds protected from any construction disturbances,” Coughlan added. The land owners have also designed reforested buffers between their proposed buildings and the rookery for further protection. Kincora recently planted more than 69,000 trees and shrubs on the site.
Although these property owners have gone to such great lengths, other commercial properties on the other side of the Broad Run have recently been built fairly close and with generators. But the birds don’t seem to mind. They are active and busy right now securing their nests for their soon-to-be offspring.