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Nature Notes - December 2015
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Red-shouldered Hawk/Dennis Burnette

TGPAS Has Been Busy

 by Dennis Burnette
Our chapter members did a lot in 2014-2015! Just look at our Annual Report.

As a chapter of the National Audubon Society, T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society makes a report annually to our parent organization. TGPAS is one of 10 chapters in North Carolina and among hundreds in North America and several foreign countries. As a chapter of such a large organization, we add our weight to the enormous influence Audubon can have on national, state, and local environmental policies.
 
Our annual report indicates such things as what we have done in the areas of nature education, conservation, and so on. We set goals and develop an annual strategic plan for ourselves (not dictated by the national organization) that guides our activities and gives us an internal way to measure our successes. Our Strategic Plan was in Nature Notes last month.
 
This month we thought it would be fun to review what we accomplished in 2014-2015…it was a lot! Here are some questions asked by National Audubon and our answers:
 
How many field trips did the chapter conduct last year?
20

What was the total number of participants attending all field trips over the year?
236

How many meetings/programs did the chapter conduct?
10

What was the total number of meeting/program attendees over the year?
247

How many bird identification classes were offered for adults?
4

How many volunteers helped with at least one chapter activity over the year (including the board)?
40

In total, how many hours did Chapter volunteers provide for all activities (# hours x # volunteers)?
1,154

We also offered workshops and presentations about bird-friendly habitat for homeowners and educational materials about how to help conserve birds and wildlife at home and/or in the community. We have been engaged in ongoing monitoring of Brown-headed Nuthatches and Eastern Bluebirds at private residences and in parks.

We didn’t overlook citizen science. Many of our members participated the Christmas Bird Count and the Great Backyard Bird Count. We were asked about how many people participated in these citizen science-related activities.

The answer? 310!

Wow! That’s a lot activity and a lot of people!

Downtown Greenway: Native Plants For Birds?

 by Jack Jezorek
On a warm, sunny, Dec. 15, Pearson Audubon members Ann Walter-Fromson, Sarah Gilley, and Jack Jezorek met at the the future Downtown Greenway Innovation Cornerstone site with Dabney Sanders of Action Greensboro, coordinator of the Greenway. Also present were Elizabeth Link of Greensboro's Planning and Development Department and a Piedmont Bird Club member; Barbara Peck, art consultant for the Greenway; and Nancy Adamson of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
 
This meeting came about as result of a conversation TGPAS member Sarah Gilley had with some of the planners of the Greenway when she attended an earlier public information session at the Cornerstone site, which is located at the corner of Murrow Boulevard and Lindsey Street. Sarah told some of the planners about Audubon's Bird Friendly Communities project, specifically about the Native Plants for Birds component. As a result of her conversation the chapter was invited to provide input on the plantings at a part of the site.
 
The group attending the December gathering considered two ideas: a wildflower meadow or a native plant garden. The group settled on a Bird, Bee, and Butterfly Garden around a section of Muddy Creek that runs through the site. Chapter members and others with knowledge of native plants are compiling a list of plants and other suggestions for the area and will meet again in early January to finalize recommendations for the Cornerstone planners.
 
This collaboration with Greenway planners may open the door for the incorporation of native plants along other sections of the four-mile loop as well as along the A&Y Greenway. Incorporating native plants in our yards is great for the birds. If we can help get more planted on public lands, our birds and pollinators will benefit even more.

Friendly Audience at Friends Home

Lynn Moseley, a Pearson Audubon board member, gave a talk on Dec. 8 to the folks at Friends Homes Guilford. 

About 35 people attended, some dozen of whom were former faculty or administrators at Guilford College.  It was truly a "friendly" audience!

Lynn spoke about the decline and subsequent rise of the Bald Eagle population in North Carolina and across the U.S., and featured the pair of eagles that has nested in Greensboro since 1994.  She mentioned habitat destruction, pesticide use, and other causes that contributed to the decline​ of eagles and other birds of prey. 

The audience was clearly interested in the topic and asked thoughtful questions after the presentation. 

Calendar

January 9, 2016 (Sat) Field Trip: White Street Landfill with PBC – Morning walk, 8:30 a.m.
January 10 (Sun) Second Sunday Nature Walk: Farm Trail, Haw River State Park, meet at 1:45 p.m.
January 14 (Thur) Program:  “Piedmont Wildlife” Speaker:  Michael Romano, Ranger, Haw River State Park
January 30 (Sat) Field Trip:  Tour of Greensboro Lakes for Waterfowl – Joint trip with PBC, 9 a.m.. 
 
TGPAS Board Email Addresses
(click name to send email)

Dennis Burnette
Sue Cole
Judy Hoag
Jack Jezorek
Margaret Kane
Lynn Moseley
Marie Poteat
Courtney Vass
Stella Wear
Tom Wear
Click here for our website
Click here for National Audubon website

January Program:

Piedmont Wildlife in Winter


What: Monthly Meeting
When: 7 p.m,. Thursday Jan. 14
Where: KCE Branch Library, Price Park
Who: Ranger Mike Romano, Haw River State Park

 
Winter is here. We can snuggle in our warm homes and wait it out. But, how do animals survive the cold? Learn how animals meet their needs by using behaviors in response to information received from the environment like cold weather. 

The featured speaker at our first meeting in 2016 will be Mike Romano, a ranger at Haw River State Park.  Ranger Mike will discuss the amazing animals that call the Piedmont of North Carolina home, and how they are adapted for winter survival.

He will bring animal mounts and a few live native animals to help us understand how animals adapt and survive in the winter.
Beaver image provided by Courtenay Vass

Enjoy the Farm Trail at Haw River State Park

 
What: Second Sunday Nature Walk
When: Sunday, January 10, 2:30 p.m.
Where: Farm Trail, Haw River State Park,
6068 N. Church St., north of Greensboro in Guilford County
Carpooling: Meet at 1:45 p.m .in the Whole Foods parking lot, under the Sears Plaza Sign on Friendly Avenue between Chick-fil-A and BB&T

Haw River State Park  Superintendent, Kelley King, will lead us along the newest park trail called the Farm Trail.  This trail is a mix of open grass areas, wetlands, and woodland forests. Join us as we take a leisurely stroll along the 3.2-mile loop that offers an opportunity to view beavers, ducks, a Great Blue Heron rookery ,and more.
 
We will meet at 1:45 p.m. next to Friendly Avenue in the Whole Foods parking lot underneath the Sears Plaza sign. If you would prefer to meet us at the site, we plan to be there about 2:20 p.m.
 
Contact the walk leader, Courtenay Vass at ackctv@aol.com, if you have any questions.

Birders at the Landfill/Dennis Burnette

Annual Field Trip White Street Landfill Planned for Jan. 9


What: Field Trip
When 8:30 a.m.. Saturday, Jan. 9
Where: White Street Landfill, Greensboro
Carpooling: Meet at 8:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the Congregational Church of Christ, 400 W. Radiance Drive, Greensboro

We will once again enjoy a trek with the Piedmont Bird Club to the White Street Landfill on Saturday, Jan. 9,  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 in the parking lot of the Congregational Church of Christ, 400 W. Radiance Dr., 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, 288-3045, texallennc@aol.com.

Bufflehead/Dennis Burnette

Field Trip Greensboro Lakes for Waterfowl Jan. 30


What: Field Trip
When: 9 a.m.. Saturday, Jan. 30
Where: Lakes north of Greensboro
Carpooling: Meet at 8:50 a.m. in the parking lot in front of the Whole Foods Market in Friendly Shopping Center between BB&T and Chick-fil-A. Look for us under the Sears Plaza sign next to Friendly Avenue.


Join us to look for waterfowl on the Greensboro lakes at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30.  Note that this is a Saturday morning field trip and will be a joint activity with the Piedmont Bird Club.
 
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 in front of the Whole Foods Market in Friendly Shopping Center between BB&T and Chick-fil-A. Look for us under the Sears Plaza sign next to Friendly Avenue.
 
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 be back at the shopping center around noon.
 
With weather being uncertain this year, our best advice is that you should 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 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!

Eagle watchers getting tips from Lynn Moseley/Dennis Burnette

Eagle Watching Trip Report

 
Our Second Sunday Nature Walk on Dec. 13 was fun, and the weather was great for eagle watching. Fourteen of us gathered at Hamburg Mill Marsh near the intersection of battleground Avenue and Strawberry Road in Greensboro to take a look at the eagle nest through our scopes.
 
Trip leader Lynn Moseley had scouted the area ahead of time to determine the best way to reach our vantage point. The current road construction on Battleground made it easy to set up and scan the marsh without being bothered by traffic.
 
December is the month when the eagles typically begin to make repairs and expand their nest in preparation for raising another pair of chicks. Unfortunately, “our” pair of Bald Eagles must have been taking a siesta elsewhere on Sunday afternoon because we missed seeing them in or around their large nest, which we watched for about an hour.
 
We did see American Black Ducks, Green-winged Teal, and other waterfowl in the marsh, though. We then adjourned to nearby Lake Higgins Marina for Part B of the afternoon trip. Lynn Moseley led the group on a walk along one of the trails to look for winter land birds on this warm late autumn day.

 
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