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Nature Notes - January 2017
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American Robin
Eastern Phoebe/Dennis Burnette
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Were Those Reindeer I Saw?

By Jack Jezorek, TGPAS Chair
YES!! Santa came to Pearson Audubon this year. Early in the fall we received an e-mail from the outreach coordinator at VF Corporation. She explained that VF has an annual early-December holiday party to which three non-profit organizations are invited to set up a display describing their activities. This season, TGPAS was one of those three organizations at the Dec. 8 party. A nice present in itself.
 
But there's more. An auction of VF merchandise was held at the party, the proceeds of which were split with the three organizations. And more yet. The hundreds of VF employees at the company's many divisions were also asked to make contributions that the company matched. The bottom line is that TGPAS has received over $5,000 to be used for its many activities, such as native species planting and informational signage at the Audubon Natural Area.
 
This is truly a wonderful gift to our chapter, and we are immensely grateful to VF Corporation and its employees for their generosity. If you know people who work for VF, please let them know how much we appreciate their gift. We will use these funds carefully to benefit our birds and their habitat and to spread the conservation message.

Meanwhile, our best for the new year.

VF employee Anita Burney (left) with TGPAS's  chair Jack Jezorek and board member Marie Poteat at the VF December event. Photo by Sarah Gilley.

Chimney Swift – Bird of the Year

By Stella Wear
Join us in our efforts to help another bird in need that can benefit greatly from the power of Audubon North Carolina’s Bird-Friendly Communities.

Over the past century, Chimney Swifts have been extremely adaptable, learning to roost in urban chimneys as their natural roosting sites, large hollow trees, have been removed.

Populations are decreasing steeply as chimneys are capped or removed, leaving fewer places for swifts to nest and raise their chicks. Because swifts have become a truly urban bird, they frequently co-exist with humans, but changes in our human behaviors and landscapes have made their ability to adapt even more difficult.

This is where we come in to help this unique bird thrive in our own community. Chimney Swifts are in North Carolina from late March through October. The rest of the year they are either migrating or on wintering grounds. TGPAS is forming a special team to work on ways that we can help.  Here are some of the actions we have planned. Here's how:

Locate chimneys that are possible roosting sites. Encourage the owners to keep these chimneys open. Many schools and industrial buildings in Guilford County have chimneys that are possible roosting sites. We will need to be proactive by writing letters or meeting with school administrators, facilities managers, and others who influence decisions on chimneys before plans are made to tear the chimney down or close the chimney.

Report nesting and roosting sightings. We located several this year: Carolina Theater in downtown Greensboro, First Presbyterian Church, and Guilford County school property on the corner of Washington and Edgeworth streets. These have been reported to Audubon NC. We want to locate and report more of these. The more we know about Chimney Swift roost sites, the better we can protect them.

Construct a chimney swift tower. Plans are being made for a tower in Southwest Park where the Audubon Overlook was located. We hope to build more. Swift towers make excellent Eagle Scout projects. Schoolyards, church grounds, parks, and other open areas make good sites.

Plan more “Swift Night Out” events for Fall 2017. Events like we hosted in September are fun and an excellent avenue to get people aware and interested in helping chimney swifts.

Please let us know if you would like to join the Pearson swift team by sending an email to Stella Wear.

Swift photo: George L. Armistead.

Walk Participants /Phil Moseley

Second Sunday Nature Walk Report

By Lynn Moseley
It was a cold, gray afternoon on Dec 11 2016, when 10 intrepid Audubon friends gathered at the Visitors’ Center of Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. 

Conditions were poor for bird activity and for identifying those that we actually saw. But it turned out to be a good day for woodpeckers! At least five Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were observed, and by the end of the walk, everyone could identify the Sapsucker’s mewing call. Several Red-bellied Woodpeckers accompanied us along the trails, and a couple of Downy Woodpeckers appeared near the end of the hike, 

A “wave” of small songbirds (Carolina Chickadees, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and White-breasted Nuthatches) were heard more than seen, as they flitted about as silhouettes among a group of pine trees.  We spent some time identifying trees, a few native herbaceous plants, and talking about the ecology of the park when the birds weren’t cooperating. It was nice to have some new participants with us for this hike around such a historical site, and we hope to see them again at future TGPAS events.

TGPAS Board Email Addresses

Sarah Gilley
Judy Hoag
Jack Jezorek
Lynn Moseley
Marie Poteat
Courtenay Vass
Stella Wear
Tom Wear
Click here for our website
Click here for National Audubon website

Pollinators/Ann Walter-Fromson

Who’s Attracted to Native Plants? Pollinator Diversity In a Suburban Yard

Who: Ann Walter-Fromson
What: January  Program
When: 7 p.m., Thursday Jan. 12, 2017
Where: Kathleen Clay Edwards Family (KCEF) Branch Library, in Price Park, 1420 Price Park Drive, Greensboro,

 
As someone who has gardened with native plants for birds for the past decade, Ann Walter-Fromson recently turned her attention to the small critters that visit the flowers of native plants in her yard.

In spring and summer 2016 she completed a 16-week study of floral visitors and pollinators attracted to native plants.

In this program Ann will describe the diversity of pollinators and other floral visitors that she observed on native plants. You will learn which native plants attracted the greatest variety of floral visitors and hear stories about some of the more colorful and intriguing pollinators and how they interact with native plants.
 
Ann is a retired psychology professor, a certified NC Environmental Educator, and an active member of Audubon’s Bird-Friendly Native Plants initiative. She is completing a certificate program in Native Plant Studies at the NC Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill, which includes this independent research study of pollinators.

Landfill Birders/Dennis Burnette

Field Trip January 7
With Piedmont Bird Club
To White Street Landfill 

 
We will hold our annual Saturday morning field trip on Jan. 7, 2017, with the Piedmont Bird Club to the White Street Landfill in Greensboro to find unusual sparrows, gulls, hawks, ducks, and other interesting birds. The trip leader makes special arrangements for the birding group to enter this facility. We always have a great time!
 
The places we go in the landfill are on paved and dirt roads among grass-covered landfill areas, ponds, creeks, and mature mixed forest. It will be mostly driving slowly with frequent stops and some short walks where necessary.
 
It isn’t necessary to bring anything, but binoculars and a field guide will come in handy. Dress warmly for an open windy environment.
 
NOTE: Our gathering place will be different from where we normally meet before field trips. We will meet at 8:30 am in the parking lot of the Congregational Church of Christ, 400 W. Radiance Drive, Greensboro, to carpool. It is important to carpool with as few cars as possible so that our group will not interfere with trucks that usually are at the landfill.
 
There is a chance that the City will close this site to us under special circumstances. If that happens, an alternate site focused on winter birds will be chosen. The trip will be canceled if we expect inclement weather. Consequently, checking with the leader ahead of time will be to your advantage.

Please contact the leader to let her know you plan to participate. Leader: Carolyn Allen, 336-288-3045, texallennc@aol.com.

Enjoy a Wonderful Winter Waterfowl Walk on Jan. 8

What: Second Sunday Nature Walk
When: 2-5 p.m., Jan. 8, 2017
Where: On some of the Greensboro Watershed trails. Which ones will be decided by the folks who show up for this January Second Sunday Nature Walk.
As is true on all our nature walks we'll check out anything that Mother Nature brings us along the trail.
Carpooling: Meet at 1:45 p.m. in front of Whole Foods at Friendly Center beneath the Sears sign facing Friendly Avenue


We will stroll along some of Greensboro Watershed Trails that give a view of the water to see what winter waterfowl we can see, but we also will amble the trails to look for other winter birds and interesting plants and trees. In short, we'll just take a couple hours to enjoy being outside, after being cooped up preparing for the holidays.

Please plan to join us. We'll meet as usual in the Whole Foods parking lot beneath the Sear Plaza sign along Friendly Avenue.  Wear shoes appropriate for slick trails and clothes suitable for chilly weather.

Rudy Duck//Dennis Burnette

Drive-and-Stop Field Trip to Greensboro Lakes for Waterfowl Jan. 28

Join us to look for waterfowl on the Greensboro lakes at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan.28.

This will be a drive-and-stop field trip with little walking. We will carpool between observation points at Lakes Higgins, Brandt, and Townsend plus ponds north of Greensboro, get out to scan the water for migratory and overwintering ducks and geese, and move on to the next overlook. Of course, we’ll keep an eye out for winter land birds, as well.

Meet as usual in the parking lot next to Friendly Ave. at the sign in front of the Whole Foods Market in Friendly Shopping Center between BB&T and Chick-fil-A.

NOTE: Be prepared to carpool either as a driver or passenger. This is important because several spots on our itinerary have very limited parking. We plan to consolidate into a few cars and leave at 9 a.m, so please arrive about 10 minutes early.  We expect to return to the shopping center around noon.

With weather being uncertain this time of year, our best advice is dress in layers and be prepared for a cold wind off the water, even if the day is mild at home. Participants need not bring anything, but waterfowl field guides, binoculars, and spotting scopes will come in handy if you have them. If it’s really cold, consider bringing a warm beverage.

We will cancel only in the event of dangerous weather such as icy roads or if the forecast is for rain all morning.

This will be a joint activity with the Piedmont Bird Club. It will be a great field trip for beginners who want to learn more about identifying ducks and geese. It’s also suitable for mobility-impaired adults and for older children who are under adult supervision. We hope lots of folks will join us!

Why We Are Audubon

As you may be aware, one of the benefits of being a chapter of the National Audubon Society is having the enormous power of an international conservation organization behind us on efforts to save birds and other organisms and their habitats.  With your contributions to your local chapter, as a member and as a volunteer, you are able to act locally and globally for the welfare of our natural surroundings.
 
To remain a part of this great organization, we tell the parent organization what we are doing locally at the end of each program year through out Annual Report. T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon participates in plenty of activities that make us proud. As just one example, 334 TGPAS volunteers provided 1,304 hours on chapter activities in the 2015-2016 chapter year!
 
The Annual Report is
open to the public. If you would like a copy, contact TGPAS Chapter Chair Jack Jezorek.
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TG Pearson Audubon Society · P.O. Box 10157 · Greensboro, NC 27404 · USA

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