Nature Notes - November 2014
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Autumn at Lake Brandt – Dennis Burnette
Make Yours a
Bird Friendly Back Yard

How would you like to see Brown-headed Nuthatches in your back yard or your neighborhood?  How about Ruby-crowned KInglets and Yellow-rumped Warblers this winter? 

Wouldn't it be nice if more species of birds, butterflies, and other types of wildlife were able to find good-quality habitat right in your community instead of only in special wildlife preserves? If you’d like to help make this happen, read on.
You’re invited to a special meeting of the T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society with a focus on Bird-Friendly Communities on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 7:00 PM at the Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch Library. We need your help to get the word out on ways that people can make a difference to help birds thrive in our community. We have two projects we’re engaged with that promote Bird-Friendly Communities — nest boxes for Brown-headed Nuthatches and Native Plants for Birds. We’d like your ideas on how we can reach a wider audience with these messages. 
At the meeting, we will watch two presentations that Audubon NC has created: "Nest Boxes for Nuthatches: Make Room for a Native Southerner" and "Bird Friendly Gardening: Your Yard Matters!”. After each of these presentations, we’ll discuss what we can do to reach important audiences and how we can get more people involved in helping birds. 
There are many ways you can get involved — we need folks who are willing to talk to individuals or to groups, to participate in Citizen Science projects, to give the PowerPoint presentations, to have a conversation with neighbors, or to talk to people in the community who can make a difference. But first, we’d like you to  come to our meeting and help us plan the next steps we can take. 
We are meeting in the small conference room in the library — from the rotunda, go left and then left again to the room behind the stacks that faces out the front of the library. Please let us know if you plan to attend, email Stella Wear at, and we’ll be sure to set up enough chairs.
We hope to see you Nov. 18!
The Bird-Friendly Communities Team for T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon:
Lynn Moseley
Ann Walter-Fromson
Stella Wear
Northern Mockingbird
– Dennis Burnette
Autumn Beginning Birder Walk
By Dennis Burnette
We met for the first of our series of four seasonal beginning birder walks on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 19, at the KCE Family Branch Library Price Park. This was a joint activity with our friends in the Piedmont Bird Club, and it was a great success!
In addition to the beginning participants, we had five experienced volunteer mentors who helped with birding skills, including Marie Dow, Jim Eldrett, Gregg Morris,  Emily Tyler, and Ann Walter-Fromson. Dennis Burnette was the walk leader.
This activity was especially for people who still think of themselves as beginners. The emphasis of this easy walk was on learning to identify birds using clues such as appearance (field marks), typical surroundings (habitats), and behavior. In addition to learning about finding and identifying some of the more common bird species, we talked a bit about binoculars and field guides.
This outing was planned as a fun, relaxed, no-pressure event, and it looked like we succeeded. Everyone seemed to have a good time, from the kids through middle-agers to the more senior participants, regardless of their experience levels and abilities.
We’re looking forward to doing three more of these beginning birder walks this program year. The remaining walks will be on the following Sunday afternoons: Jan. 4, May 17, and July 19. We hope you’ll put those days on your calendar and plan to join us to see what birds are here in different seasons!
Nov. 9
(Sun) Second Sunday Nature Walk: Guilford County Open Space - Cascades Preserve
Nov. 13 (Thur) Program: “Chasing Golden-winged Warblers: Updates on Current Research and Conservation Efforts”

Nov. 18 (Tues) Bird-Friendly Communities, special meeting of Pearson Audubon and friends, 2:00 PM, KCE Family Branch Library
Dec. 11 (Thur) Program: Holiday Slide Show and Social – “Visual Treats with Tasty Treats”
Dec. 14 (Sun) Second Sunday Nature Walk: Haw River State Park
Dec. 20 (Sat) Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Contact: Elizabeth Link, 336-273-467
Email Addresses
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Click here for our website
Click here for National Audubon website
Chasing Golden-winged Warblers
Curtis Smalling
What: November Program Meeting
When: Thursday, November 13, 7:00 PM
Where: Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch Library, Greensboro

By Jack Jezorak
Who is chasing them?
Why, it's Curtis Smalling. And he is going to come down the mountain to tell us about these pursuits at our Thursday, November 13 program meeting,

Curtis has presented some wonderful programs for Pearson Audubon in the past and we confidently predict that this one will be another smash hit. We'll learn about the type of habitat these small warblers need, how they are doing as a population, and about the work that Curtis and his biotechs are doing with private as well as public landholders to manage their lands for these birds.

There is also a good chance that Curtis will discuss the  effects of climate change on these lovely birds as predicted in National Audubon's recent report on that issue.
Curtis is Director of Land Bird Conservation and the Mountain Area Biologist for Audubon North Carolina. He is based in Boone, but we try to entice him to come down to the flatlands each year to tell us about his work. He never disappoints. So please plan to join us for Curtis' return to Guilford County.  Come about 6:45 PM and join us for some light snacks and drink

Audubon members at the Cascades Preserve – Dennis Burnette
Second Sunday Nature Walk
Exploring the Cascades Preserve, a Local Natural Area

What: Second Sunday Nature Walk
When: Sunday, Nov. 9, 1:30 PM
Where: Meet  between the Chick-Fil-A and the BB&T  near Friendly Avenue in the Whole Foods parking lot, Friendly Center, for car pooling to the site.

This preserve is one of 14 that county bond funds have  purchased, totaling about 1,700 acres. One of the most spectacular, the Cascades Preserve comprises about 120 acres in the  northwest corner of the county.

This natural area features steep wooded bluffs, a great diversity of flora, and, of course, a cascading stream that drops perhaps 100 feet or more over wonderful rock outcroppings. Interestingly, the streams in the Cascades Preserve are not in the Cape Fear River basin, but rather in the Roanoke River drainage, flowing north into a tributary of the Dan River.

Want to see this special place yourself, and check out late fall migrants, early winter visitors, and wonderful autumn color? Then come along on November's Second Sunday Nature Walk.
Note that we are meeting about 15 minutes earlier than usual because it takes about 40 minutes to get to the preserve. As always, if it is raining hard we cancel. If it is just cloudy or misting, we go. We will be back around 5:00 PM. For more information, call or e-mail Dennis Burnette at 299-4342 ( or Jack Jezorek at 272-6664 (

Above: Stream Dippers at Lake Daniel Park – Tom Ware

Fun With Lake Daniel Park Citizen Science Project
By Courtenay Vass
Despite the cool and misty conditions, our Oct. 12 creekin’ in North Buffalo Creek at Lake Daniel Park was enjoyable for all ages. 
We scooped up lots of small fish, clams, and crayfish along with aquatic worms and insect larva such as dragonfly.  We tested the water pH, recorded the air and water temperature and noted the color of the water.
All of these activities are part of an easy and very important citizen science activity called the Haw River Watch Project, sponsored by the Haw River Assembly (HRA).  This project gives the HRA a clearer picture of the health of the Haw River by determining the type and location of pollution sources. The heart of this effort is four seasonal “snapshots” performed each year.
River Watch volunteers fan out across the tributaries and riverbanks of the Haw to check on the health of the water. Teams are trained and equipped to monitor water quality through aquatic insect counts (and other critters in the water), pH tests, temperature and observations. The HRA uses the information to track any changes over time. Volunteers act as guardians of their streams, notifying the proper authorities if pollution is suspected.
Interested in becoming a River Watcher? The HRA will train you or your group. For more information contact the project coordinator, Tracy DeVoe, at 919 542-5790 or
NAS  Board Praises NC Chapters, Projects

By Randall Hayes
Dozens of North Carolinians attended the National Audubon Society board meeting held in October in Asheville, including many old faces familiar to most of the membership.  Others came from as far away as Ohio, Georgia, and California! 

NAS staff were also on hand to report on the roll-out of the national Climate Change Campaign, following up on the Audubon Birds and Climate Report, released in September and available at

NAS staff praised NC effusively as a model of cooperation between our 10 chapters and the state office.  We heard reports from five different projects here in NC that NAS staffers felt could be expanded across the nation.  These ranged from the Lights Out! Campaign (now expanded to Raleigh); to nest boxes for Brown-Headed Nuthatches; to brochures encouraging us to install native plants in our yards; to funding and visiting research projects, both here in NC and in the tropics, where many of our songbirds spend the winter. 

In just the past year, these projects, among others, have contributed over 12,000 volunteer hours statewide!

Audubon president David Yarnold said that, since September, the Climate Change Campaign has reached millions of people through media outlets such as newspapers and National Geographic magazine. 

In addition to handing out directions for activists to write letters and editorials in support of the campaign, Yarnold unveiled a program called “Talk Turkey.”  This program is designed to help ordinary members of Audubon talk to our families and friends about climate change. 

An observation by Randall Hayes:
The issue  of climate change has become so politicized that many of us avoid talking about it with people we suspect are outside the “climate change choir,” because who wants to throw grit into the gears of our social lives?  This reluctance extends into other important issues, and even into the structure of our neighborhoods and social networks, as detailed in books such as The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart

As an example, when I asked my Guilford College students to Talk Turkey with their families and friends over the upcoming Thanksgiving break, one of them said that she honestly didn't know anyone who didn't “believe” in climate change.  I encouraged her to see this assignment as a challenge, a way to broaden her own horizons.  I will also ask her and my other students to report back about their experiences.

If college students can do it, we can all do it.  Please visit to see their tips on discussing climate science with the general public.  Again, these conversations are not meant to be lectures, but two-way communications.  Treat listening to a different viewpoint as a scientific experiment, if that helps to alleviate some discomfort.  Report your data back to the chapter, at a meeting or through an e-mail to one of the Board members.  Their e-mail addresses at the bottom of the left-hand column.
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