Nature Notes - April 2017
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American Robin
Eastern Phoebe/Dennis Burnette

Wednesday Wildflower Walks in April

Naturalist Ann Walter-Fromson is leading a series of Wednesday morning wildflower walks at area parks, preserves, and watershed trails again this year.
You’re welcome to join in for any or all of these walks.  We have four walks scheduled in April.
On April 5, we will go to the Richardson-Taylor Preserve, where we will walk the wetlands loop trail that overlooks an area of prior beaver activity, and see what wildflowers we can find. This will be about one mile of mostly easy walking with some slopes.
Our other April wildflower walks are:
April 12 - Marie Poteat’s Farm: With Marie as our guide, we will walk trails on this 75-acre farm that is being restored with native plants. We will look for spring ephemerals that are native to the mountains, such as Dutchman’s Breeches and Goldenseal, as well as to the piedmont region of North Carolina. About two miles of walking, with some hills.
April 19 - Cascades Preserve: We will hike the Falling Waters Trail, which takes us on wooded slopes along the cascades of a beautiful creek, where we will look for wildflowers. About 1.5 miles of walking, moderate difficulty.
April 26 - Knight Brown Preserve: We begin on the Beechwood Bottom Trail and continue on the Creekside Loop trail to see which wildflowers are in bloom at this pristine site owned by Piedmont Land Conservancy. About two miles of walking, some of it hilly.
Participants should wear sturdy, closed-toe walking shoes as trails may be muddy or slippery in places, and many have exposed roots. Close-focus binoculars and a wildflower field guide would be helpful to have with you, as well as a walking stick, insect repellant (if the weather is warm), a camera, water, and a snack. No pets, please.
We will meet for each trip at 9:30 a.m. in the Whole Foods parking lot at the end closest to Friendly Avenue between BB&T and Chick-fil-A. Those who wish may carpool to our field trip site. We expect to be back between 12:30 and 1 p.m., depending on the trip location.
Please contact the trip leader at  if you are meeting us at the trail site instead of at Friendly Shopping Center.

Ambassador wrote legislators/Sarah Gilley
New Audubon Ambassadors

As part of its statewide training initiative, the NC Audubon Ambassadors welcomed 20 new supporters on March 11 in Greensboro.
Several TGPAS members participated. Kim Brand, field organizer of Audubon North Carolina, spearheaded the day-long training by reviewing strategies that support Audubon goals. The program culminated with a letter-writing session to North Carolina state legislators about key issues.
Audubon Ambassadors want to do more to protect birds in a changing climate. Here’s how you can help:
  • Be the Messenger - Share your love of birds, whether through your online network or with friends and family you see every day, and inspire people to take action to protect birds.
  • Be the Solution - Encourage people to plant a bird-friendly yard and volunteer to improve habitat.
  • Be an Advocate - Become a resource for others by hosting presentations, talking to your elected officials, and encouraging your community to take actions to protect birds.
Becoming an Audubon Ambassador is free. For more details, visit

Invasives Attackers/Jim Eldrett

Attacking the Invasives at ANA

A small but hardy group of Auduboners met on March 9 at the Audubon Natural Area to do battle with invasive plants. 
For a couple of hours they lopped, chopped, sawed, girdled, and painted the out-of-place foliage, furthering the journey towards a "natural" habitat, which is so important to birds and other critters that live there. 
The volunteers also transplanted several Trillium from the Hillmer trail, moving them out of harm’s way.  In a parallel effort, three forays into the northeast section of the area during the week by Jim Eldrett and the Burnettes (NOT a '60s Motown group) succeeded in eliminating about 15 pioneering Bradford Pear trees.  
Credit goes to volunteers David Farrier, Lynn Mosley, Jack Jezorek, Lynn Burnette, Dennis Burnette, and Jim Eldrett.

ANA Volunteers/Lynn Allison

What a Day
for the ANA

It was a beautiful, clear cool day March 4, perfect weather for spring maintenance at the Audubon Natural Area. 
Some much-needed cutting back of the northeast area of the Hillmer trail was accomplished with a combination of manual labor and our fancy new weed wacker. Spring growth will NOT get the better of us this year. 
Volunteers extended the trail from the northwest corner across the power line right-of-way cut and then down to the creek. Recent bush hogging by the city made that process much easier than anticipated. 
Thanks to Arthur Busch and his trusty wagon, we recovered the railroad ties near the creek that were left from the Eagle Scout project last summer.  Thanks also to Sue Cole and her three-girl student crew for attacking some of the English Ivy that has declared war on the site. 
Our volunteers also included Jack Jezorek, Lynn Burnette, Dennis Burnette, Terry Woodrow, Lynn Allison, Linda Hayes, and Jim Eldrett

Haw River Festival: Fun On April 8

The T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society will participate in the Haw River State Park Spring Festival from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, April 8.
The family-friendly festival will be held at the Iron Ore Belt Access, 6068 N. Church St. Throughout the event, adults and children can enjoy games, nature crafts, face painting, and tree climbing. Bring your own eggs and try out natural Easter egg dyeing.
An Easter Egg Hunt for 1- to 12-year-olds will begin at 1:15 p.m. Parents, don’t forget to bring baskets for the egg hunters.  Little ones who find special eggs will receive prizes.
Environmental groups in addition to Pearson Audubon who will exhibit at the festival include Friends of Haw River State Park, Piedmont Bird Club, NC Native Plant Society, NC Bluebird Society, and NC Box Turtle connection.
The Greensboro Parks and Recreation Eco-Bus will feature live animals and exhibits.

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

Marie Poteat's Piedmont Prairie/Dennis Burnette

Grasslands 101

Who: Jessie Birckhead, biologist with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission
What: April  Program
When: 7 p.m., Thursday April 13, 2017
Where: Kathleen Clay Edwards Family (KCEF) Branch Library, in Price Park, 1420 Price Park Drive, Greensboro,

Have you heard that birds and other wildlife of grassland ecosystems are declining at a rapid rate?  Would you like to hear from an expert why this is happening, and why prairies, meadows, and fields are important for so many species? 

A great opportunity to do just that is coming up at 7 p.m. April 13 at our monthly meeting.  Jessie Birckhead (at right), a biologist with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, will speak on “Grasslands 101: Conservation for Birds and Beyond.”

She will cover basic grassland ecology and the conservation practices currently underway to protect these systems in North Carolina and in other parts of the country.

Jessie serves the NCWRC as the Statewide Extension Biologist focused on Human-Wildlife Interactions. A graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, she previously worked in the Raleigh/Durham area as Conservation Coordinator/Philanthropy and Communications Associate with The Nature Conservacy.

Please join us for this important presentation.

Sunday Walk at Piedmont Environmental Center

What: Second Sunday Nature Walk
When: 1:45  p.m., Sunday, April 9, 2017
Where: Piedmont Environmental Center, High Point
Carpooling: Meet at 1:45 p.m. in front of Whole Foods  parking lot (beneath the Sears sign that faces Friendly Avenue near  BB&T)

Enjoy a spring afternoon April 9 with the T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society on our Second Sunday Nature Walk on the North Preserve of the Piedmont Environmental Center, 1220 Penny Road, High Point.
The walk will be along woodland trails. The public may attend, including adults and supervised children.
The group will meet at 1:45 p.m. at the Whole Foods Parking Lot between BB&T and Chick-Fil-A under the Sears sign nearest to Friendly Avenue, Greensboro. From there, the group will carpool to the parking lot at the Piedmont Environmental Center. Participants will then consolidate further to carpool to Sunnydale Drive, to begin the hike.
If you prefer, meet tin the main PEC parking lot at 2:30 p.m. Wear shoes sturdy enough for walking rough terrain, and bring water and a snack. Participants who carpool should be able to return to the Whole Foods parking lot by 5 p.m.

Eastern Meadowlark/Dennis Burnette
Spring Bird Count April 29

Birders look forward to the annual Spring Bird Count to see the beautiful tropical bird species that move through the Triad on the way to their breeding grounds further north. This year the count, sponsored by the Piedmont Bird Club, is Saturday, April 29.
This bird count is similar to Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count in which teams count species and individual numbers of birds in assigned areas within a designated 15-mile count circle. Some teams need additional counters for all or part of the day. New birders are welcome to join the fun; there’s always at least one experienced birder on each team to help with identification.
Birding with some teams is mostly riding through their areas, but some teams do a lot of walking along trails and in parks, so opportunities abound for people of all physical and skill levels.
Bring binoculars and field guides if you have them and something to drink. Dress for the weather and the type of birding your team will do.
For more information and to sign up, contact the coordinator, Elizabeth Link, 336-272-4672,

Dennis Burnette Explains Binoculars/Lynn Burnette

Beginning Birder Workshop: 'How To Identify Birds'

We had a great turn out of 35 folks for our Beginning Birder Workshop titled “How to Identify Birds” on Sunday afternoon, March 26.
This was the second of three workshops focused on how to get started watching and identifying birds. It began with a 45-minute indoor class, followed by bird identification practice outdoors. It was conducted by Dennis Burnette.
Several experienced birders served as mentors to answer questions and give practical tips. Thanks to Lynn Allison, Lynn Burnette, Jim Eldrett, Mike Howard, Lyn McCoy, Roberta Newton, Emily Tyler, Ann Van Sant, Stella Wear, and Tom Wear for sharing their knowledge with our new birders.
Special thanks go to Stella and Tom Wear, who bought seed and filled the bird feeders ahead of time at the KCE Library so that we would have more birds to watch.
This series of beginning birder workshops is co-sponsored by the T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society and the Piedmont Bird Club. In addition to members of those two groups, the general public may attend the workshops. The level is suitable for adults and supervised older kids, so participants are welcome to bring family and friends.
The topic of each of these workshops is different. Participants who have attended the first two have received different material each time. Each workshop involves a classroom presentation and discussion followed by about 45 minutes of practicing birding skills.

But Wait! There's More!

Get in on the April 23 Beginning Birder Workshop: 'Attracting Birds
To Gardens and Feeders'
The final Beginning Birder Workshop of the season titled “How to Attract Birds to Gardens and Feeders” will be held from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 23. The workshop will be at the KCEF Branch Library, Price Park, 1420 Price Park Road, Greensboro.

Saving the Swifts

Pearson Audubon’s Chimney Swift team members have been active this month, checking the Swift Tower at Price Park (at right), setting up a Chimney Swift display board (at bottom) at the park’s kiosk, and meeting with members of the Piedmont Bird Club as a joint group.
They decided to follow Audubon NC’s Chimney Swift Fact Sheet as a guide to working on goals for the coming year:

  1. Keep Your Chimney Open – this calls for educating the public with displays, talks, events, etc.Laurette will check with High Point Library, Rebecca will contact Scuppernong Books, Stella and Tom will do Swift display at Price Park Butterfly Meadow, Dennis will continue to work with Piedmont Environmental Center, Stella will share information at Earth Day on April 1 and Haw River Festival on April 8, maybe newspaper article, print more Swift Fact Sheets so need best price and decide on how many.
  2. Be a Citizen Scientist – this calls for locating and reporting roosts and nesting sites.All of us will keep lists of possible locations with address and coordinates.Rebecca is working on getting map with these locations pinned so membership of TGPAS and PBC can observe.As places are confirmed as roosting sites they will be reported to Audubon NC or is checking with Preservation Society for list of older buildings that would be good possibilities.One goal is to get “many” watching.
  3. Construct A Chimney Swift Tower – Plans are being made for TGPAS to put one at Piedmont Environmental Center.When completed, we hope to follow up with a program at the center.Another possible location might be Oak Hollow Lake.PBC may be interested in another.PBC just completed one at Marie Poteat’s property in Jamestown.
  4. Save Roost Towers – Talk with those who make decisions about chimneys to not cap or take down the chimneys where we have located swift roosts.Certicates/signs are available for our successes.To date:Carolina Theater, First Presbyterian Church, Guilford County School Annex.

The team members are looking for additional eyes to spy where Chimney Swifts have begun to roost and will later nest.  If you see swifts and want to help figure out in which chimneys or towers they may make their summer and spring homes, contact Tom or Stella Wear at

Top photo/Lynn Burnette. Bottom photo/Dennis Burnette

Photos Courtesy Downtown Greenway

Bird, Bee, & Butterfly Pollinator Garden

On an unusually warm February day (75 degrees!), TGPAS members helped prepare a Greensboro bird, bee, and butterfly pollinator garden ready for spring. 

The garden is located beside the Innovation Cornerstone at Woven Works Park at the corner of Lindsay Street and Murrow Boulevard.  
After some initial weeding of the garden, volunteers added about 100 native plants grown by students in the Horticulture Department at NC A&T State University.  Special thanks go to our own Lynn Allison, Lynne Gray, Jack Jezorek, Diane Lasley, Elizabeth Link, Deborah Staves, Courtenay Vass, and Stella Wear.

The NC Native Plant Society’s Triad chapter is committing to weeding the native plant garden at the Innovation Cornerstone four times a year. The next weeding day will be held from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, June 17.  Put this on your calendar and let’s give the NPS some help fighting weeds.
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