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Nature Notes - November 2017
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Greensboro's Bog Garden in November/Dennis Burnette
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Groundhog/Jim Eldrett

Time to Attack Invasives

 
On Saturday, Nov. 11, Audubon volunteers and friends can spend a couple of hours in the cool fall air chasing invasive plants from our Audubon Natural Area. 
 
Please join us as we form into teams of two or three and lop, chop, poison, and pile our way to a more “native” natural area.  Bring a friend to help the work go more quickly.
 
As previous sessions have shown, this ongoing method of attack is having a real impact.  It has also proven to be an enjoyable experience as we join for a common cause.  Included free of charge is soaking up the natural beauty of this oasis in the company of the plants and critters that live there.
 
Meet at 2 p.m. at the Audubon Natural Area on Tankersley Drive behind Moses Cone Hospital.  Park by driving over the curb and onto the grass at the area’s entrance, or park behind the bank at Tankersley and Church streets. 

Handy tools to bring include loppers, pruners, and saws.  Sturdy shoes, gardening gloves, and tick/chigger repellent are in order as well.

Photo Note: The groundhog (above), a species of “least concern,” was seen recently doing its part at the Audubon Natural Area.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature categorizes a least-concern species as evaluated but not qualified for any other category. As such, the IUCN does not consider it threatened or near threatened.

Music Center/Dennis  Burnette

Our Group/Idun Guenther

A Beautiful Day on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Pearson Audubon and Piedmont Bird Club had a joint naturalists’ field trip on Sept. 30,  to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Parkway is a beautiful place, and late September is a great time to welcome the beginning of autumn. Thirteen folks participated in the field trip.
 
This was planned as an outing for naturalists of all kinds. We had set it on this date because late September is prime time for Monarch butterfly migration, and these beautiful and interesting butterflies tend to follow the Parkway on their journey south to Mexico.

For birders, the date also is near the peak of migration for hawks. Late summer wildflowers are blooming in profusion at the end of September.
 
We began our field trip at the Blue Ridge Music Center at Milepost 213 just inside Virginia. We were welcomed and given an introduction to the music center by a National Park Service ranger to start the morning. Then we explored the meadows and woodland edges around the grounds.

We ended up spending more time there than expected, so we stopped at the music center to eat our picnic lunch. Coincidently, there was a bluegrass group playing mountain music on the veranda near our picnic tables.
 
From the music center we worked our way slowly southwest along the Parkway toward Sparta, stopping along the roadside periodically to check flowering meadows and woodland edges. It was a beautiful sunny day for exploring.

As expected, wildflowers dominated the landscape. By the end of the trip, we had seen 10 species of butterflies nectaring on the flowers and flying by.
 
Fall is the season when folklore tells us that “wooley bear” caterpillars will predict how cold and snowy the coming winter will be. We saw two species, three Banded Wooly Bear Caterpillars (Isabella Tiger Moth larvae) and a blond Yellow Bear Caterpillar (Virginian Tiger Moth larva). Unfortunately, we couldn’t figure out what kind of winter we’ll have!
 
Oddly, birds were a bit scarce, although we did see one hawk, a Red-tailed. We also saw interesting species such as several Eastern Phoebes and a flock of American Goldfinches, as well as expected birds such as Eastern Towhees, Blue Jays, and Carolina Wrens.
 
By the time we called it a day in mid-afternoon, everyone had enjoyed the variety of wildlife and even a bit of mountain music.

Speaking of Audubon

Several members gave talks during the past month on behalf of Audubon.
 
October marked the second visit of TGPAS co-chair Sarah Gilley to the seventh-grade students participating in the Life Science Internship Program at Greensboro Day School during 2017-2018.
 
“Life Science internships will play an important role for students as they become constructive contributors to the world while applying major concepts in the biology curriculum,” said Clarissa Marshall, seventh-grade life science instructor. “Students see that science is not isolated to the classroom and that people in the greater Greensboro community use science every day.”
 
Sarah met with eight students who chose to construct a bird-friendly habitat just outside the classroom window and near the garden. Throughout the year, the students will learn about birds visiting the area, in addition to food sources and native plants. Additional teams participating and meeting with mentors include students working on the compost crew, gardeners, trailblazers, waste team warriors, and future veterinarians.
 
“The enthusiasm of these students learning about birds is contagious!” Sarah said. “My goals include placing a nuthatch box near the classroom and bringing other TGPAS members to share expertise.”
* * *
Dennis Burnette made presentations as part of Audubon’s Bird-Friendly Communities project: On Oct. 19, he gave a talk titled “Introduction to Wildflowers” with a section on growing native plants in home flower gardens to 20 participants at First Baptist Church in Greensboro.
 
On Oct. 21, Dennis talked to 13 participants about “Native Plants for Birds,” at Guilford Garden Center in Greensboro.
* * *
On Oct. 19, TGPAS Chair Lynn Moseley gave a presentation for Alamance County's Think Green Thursdays program, a bi-monthly series for Master Gardeners and members of the public.  The program was "Snowbirds, Our Winter Visitors: How to Identify and Attract These Cold-weather Guests." 

About 30 people attended to learn why these birds come to our area to spend the winter, and what kinds of bird foods and native plants will attract particular species.

Her talk was recorded by the Alamance County's public relations office and will be broadcast on the Alamance public access cable channel. 

TGPAS Board Email Addresses


(click name to send email)

Dennis Burnette
Lynn Burnette

Sue Cole
Sarah Gilley
Lynne Gray
Judy Hoag
Jack Jezorek
Lynn Moseley
Marie Poteat
Stella Wear
Tom Wear
Click here for our website
Click here for National Audubon website

How to Bird-Proof Your Windows

What: November Chapter Meeting
When: 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017
Where: Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch Library, 1420 Price Park Drive Greensboro
Who: Lynn Moseley, PhD, retired professor at Guilford College
Note: This is a joint meeting of TGPAS and the Piedmont Bird Club

 
Most of us have heard the startling thud when a bird flies directly into a window. Each year nearly a billion birds die as a result of window strikes.

This presentation will describe a number of options available for homeowners to help prevent or greatly reduce bird deaths from such impacts.
 
The speaker, Lynn Moseley recently retired from Guilford College, where she taught Ornithology,  Animal Behavior, Vertebrate Field Zoology, and other courses for more than 30 years.  She is the Chair of T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society.
 
We welcome Piedmont Bird Club members to this meeting.

See You at the Farm – the Guilford County Prison Farm


Please join us Sunday, Nov. 12 for an afternoon walk to explore the Guilford County Farm, formerly known as the Guilford County Prison Farm or Gibsonville Prison Farm. 

The property is composed of 806 acres (726 acres after subtracting the area dedicated to the shooting range for the Sheriff's Department) in eastern Guilford County with slightly more than 100 acres in Alamance County. 

The prison farm opened in 1935, and the prison building was built by inmates using rocks collected from the fields.  It remained a prison farm until 2015 when it closed but still remains a farm with leased farm areas, active green houses, muscadine vines, and event opportunities.  Hiking trails are available, and a portion of the Mountains to the Sea trail is on the property. 

The trip leader is Marie Poteat who is a member of the Guilford County Parks and Recreation Commission, and our guide will be John Gladstone, supervisor of Guilford County Passive Parks and the Guilford County Farm. 

Gladstone will show us around the prison building and farm areas.  A map of the farm with most features marked will be available for those that attend.  We will then drive to the new trail and hike the trail while birding.  The farm is a real hot spot for birding with 150 species confirmed to date.  Check out the eBird list for Howerton Road which runs through the farm. 

This is a great opportunity to discover a special piece of property.  This is a moderate walk, so please dress appropriately and bring any water or snacks that you need.  Restroom facilities are not available and check before attending if the weather forecast is for rain. 

We will meet in the parking lot in front of Whole Foods on Friendly Avenue to carpool at 1:45 p.m. for a prompt departure at 2 p.m.  We plan to start our tour at 2:30 at the parking lot in front of the prison buildings.  For those going directly to the farm, the address is 7315 Howerton Road, Elon, NC 27244. 

For additional information or possible cancellation information, you may contact Marie Poteat at Marie.Poteat@gmail.com or (336) 491-8454.


Great Time at Audubon Day
at New Garden Gazebo

 
Our first Audubon Day at New Garden Landscaping and Nursery Gazebo brought in plenty of visitors as well as $500 for Pearson Audubon to use in educational activities.

Thanks to all who bought birdseed and suet during the pre-sale and at Audubon Day and to those members who turned out to help load seed for the purchasers. Audubon volunteers included Jack Jezorek, Wallie Meisner, Stella and Tom Wear, Sue Cole, and Sarah Gilley. 

In addition to the seed and suet sale, Audubon members Dennis Burnette and Lynn Moseley spoke to visitors at the event. Dennis talked to about 10 people about "Butterfly Gardening," with a section on growing native plants in the garden. Lynn Moseley's talk, "Bird Feeding FAQ's:  Frequently-Asked Questions about Feeding Cardinals, Hummingbirds, and More,"  described best practices for choosing bird feeders and quality bird food to attract a variety of birds. A dozen people attended.  Bird feeders and birdhouses available at New Garden Gazebo were used to demonstrate the many styles and types on the market.
  
New Garden Landscaping & Nursery contributed mightily to the success of the day, and special thanks go to Betsy Perry and Jeremy Warren for their help in planning and accomplishing all we had planned. All in all it was a fun and profitable day for TGPAS.

Auduboners Lynne Gray (at left, above), Jack Jezorek, Sue Cole, and Tom Wear were among those volunteering at the Audubon Day seed sale and event at New Garden Gazebo. (Photo: Sarah Gilley)


Homeland Creamery Family Social Event Was Sweet

By Dennis Burnette
Pearson Audubon and Piedmont Bird Club held a joint social event for 25 of our members, families and friends on Saturday morning, Oct. 28.
 
We had a beautiful sunny fall morning for a hayride and behind-the-scenes tour of Bowman Dairy in southeastern Guilford County. We finished the morning by sampling some of the dairy farm’s wonderful Homeland Creamery ice cream that’s made right there on the farm.
 
Our tour included a 30-minute tractor-pulled hayride to view the working dairy farm. The farm, which has been in business since the 1930s, has more than 500 cattle with a milk herd of more than 200 that are being milked at any given time, while the rest of the cows are too young or near giving birth to their calves.

We got to see some of the mothers-to-be and some young cows on our tour of the pastures.
 
Later we viewed the milking parlor and barns. Although sterilized milking machines are used for the commercial milking, some in our group took the opportunity to hand-milk the dairy farm's simulated Holstein cow, Miss Betty. Our excellent Homeland Creamery tour guide, Ferne, made the whole event fun for us.
 
We birders didn’t ignore the birds that we saw on the hayride and around the farm. Some of the species we saw included a Great Blue Heron as well as Black and Turkey Vultures flying overhead, a distant perched hawk (probably Red-tailed), an American Kestrel on the telephone line, and we heard or saw Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Blue Jay, American Crow, Eastern Bluebird, and Northern Mockingbird.
 
European Starlings and House Sparrows were around the barns. We were even entertained by a fearless farmyard Guinea fowl that patrolled the creamery parking lot.

Top Photo: The Four L's – TGPAS has four women with a popular name, as seen in this cut-out! From left: Lynn Allison, Lynne Gray, Lynn Moseley, and Lynn Burnette. Photo by Dennis Burnette.

Center Photo: The gang enjoys the wagon ride while looking at cattle and birds. Photo by Lynn Allison.

Bottom Photo: Our little TGPAS guests tried their hand at milking Miss Betty, the faux cow. Photo by Dennis Burnette.

A Stroll Through the Moses Cone Cancer Center Healing Garden

Despite the threat of rain, several intrepid Auduboners took the opportunity to walk in the Moses Cone Cancer Center Healing Garden at Wesley Long Hospital. And even though we did get a brief shower, followed by some sun, we thoroughly enjoyed the outing.
 
Mary Magrinat, who chairs the Healing Garden project, told us about the two-year old garden while we waited under some big garden umbrellas for the shower to cease. And then we strolled.
 
We were pleased to see a variety of native plants, shrubs, and trees mixed with some non-natives. The paths meander through the garden, along North Buffalo Creek, and through the small wetland complex in the center of the garden.
 
This lovely area welcomes not just patients at the Cancer Center but everyone who would like to take a quiet stroll among the wonderful plants, birds, and other critters that inhabit it. The garden entrance is just a short distance from the main hospital entrance. Check it out.
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TG Pearson Audubon Society · P.O. Box 10157 · Greensboro, NC 27404 · USA

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