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Nature Notes - July 2017
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Great Blue Heron/Dennis Burnette
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Wanted: Audubon Website Guru

T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society has an easy job for a website junkie who knows WordPress. We need someone to volunteer to coordinate our website -- putting articles and images on it, keeping it fresh and up to date for the world to see.

If you have such abilities and a few hours to spare each month to do a little service for your favorite Audubon group, please send an email to PearsonAudubon@gmail.com. Thanks!

Audubon NC at the Zoo Aug. 5

Mark your calendar for Audubon North Carolina’s Annual Chapter Day, Aug.5, to be held this year at the NC Zoo in Asheboro.
         
Every summer, the staff of our State Audubon office holds a meeting for all chapter leaders and members. The purpose of the meeting is to update members on new initiatives from National and State Audubon, to get feedback from members, and to learn about recent accomplishments, ongoing projects, and plans for future activities from each chapter. In addition, there’s always time for brainstorming one-on-one with other chapter members. 

An extra incentive to attend this meeting is the opportunity to hear from National Audubon’s Chief Network Officer, David Ringer (left), who will be with us for the entire day.

The 2017 meeting will take place  from 9:30 a.m .to 3 p.m. From 3 to 5:30 p.m., participants have a chance to attend an optional behind-the-scenes tour of the avian breeding and holding facility plus an aviary visit led by Debbie Zombeck, Curator of Birds. 

Attendance for the meeting is limited to 85 people, and 25 spaces are available for the optional tour.  Registration for the meeting is $15 and includes lunch; the tour is an additional $15.

We need to have good representation from our chapter, so please join your officers and other members to get the inside scoop about the amazing work that Audubon does for bird conservation. It will be an informative – and very fun –  day!

To register, click on this link: https://act.audubon.org/onlineactions/bQvxePFAjUWb_HRqLT4xOg2

Great Year Ahead For Our Audubon

The 2017 annual planning meeting and elections have come and gone, and we have some great programs and nature walks on tap.

We will be hearing about Monarch buterflies; urban wildlife; spring ephemeral wildflowers; woodpeckers of the Piedmont, and many more interesting monthly programs. We'll have second Sunday nature walks to Laurel Bluff Trail and the Guilford County Farm (aka the old prison farm). We'll explore the geology of Guilford County and partake of a Wine and Warblers outing at Grove Winery. How's that for a new twist?
 
Contributing to a great year ahead is a very talented group of board members and officers: Dennis Burnette, Lynn Burnette, Sue Cole, Sarah Gilley, Lynne Gray, Judy Hoag, Jack Jezorek, Lynn Moseley, Marie Poteat, Stella Wear, and Tom Wear.

The TGPAS officers are: Lynn Moseley, chair; Sarah Gilley, co-chair; Sue Cole, treasurer; and Judy Hoag, secretary. Many thanks to all who are giving of their time and talent to make Pearson Audubon such a wonderful chapter.


Native Plants
at Work!

TGPAS member Lynn Moseley sent the above photo and said in her email: "Here's a photo I took in our back yard a couple of days ago – the [Zebra] swallowtail is nectaring on the flowers of a winterberry.” Winterberry, Ilex verticillata, is a native holly shrub or small tree that has flowers for pollinators in spring and beautiful foliage in summer and fall. Then it loses its leaves to reveal dense clusters of bright red berries that last most of the winter and provide food for our winter birds. It's an excellent bird-friendly plant for home landscaping.

Native Plants in July

If you find yourself thinking about native plants and planting for birds all the time, then you need to know about the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference planned for July 19-22 at Western Carolina University.

North Carolina’s mountains are a wonderful place to visit in mid-summer, and the conference offers field trips to beautiful places, with expert botanists to name the plants for you. Plant walks occur at a slower pace than bird walks, making them delightful for learning more about North Carolina plants and the birds, butterflies, and other creatures who depend on them.

Native-plant guru Dr. Doug Tallamy, author of "Bringing Nature Home," will be there, and Audubon North Carolina will give a Projects of Promise talk at the conference about our Bird-Friendly Native Plants of the Year program. This will conference is recommend for anyone who is interested in planting for birds, whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been doing it for decades.
 
For more information and to sign up, click on the following link: http://nativeplants.wcu.edu.


Whose Home Is This?

TGPA board member Marie Poteat has mounted an owl nest box as the latest project at her Jamestown nature preserve/home. 
 
She bought the box and mounted it onto a 16-foot stand.  It will face east and overlook the prairie and the river (“a room with a view,” she says).  It is in the area above her pond so that it is close enough to keep an eye on but far enough away to not spook the birds. 

She and her son assembled the box on site, and one afternoon while working, they heard at least three Barred Owls start to call as evening approached. She thinks she will get some tenants in the box.
 
Photo by Marie Poteat
Perfect Tweets
Our birds will benefit from $19,000 given to Audubon North Carolina, thanks to a contest sponsored by Blue Cross, Blue Shield of North Carolina. You used Twitter and Instagram to #VoteAudubonNC enough times for us to receive the donation.

TGPAS Board Email Addresses


(click name to send email)

Dennis Burnette
Lynn Burnette

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

We Hope To See You
at TGPAS' Annual
'Meet & Greet'

Who: All Audubon members and friends
What: “Meet and Greet” event
When: 2-4 p.m., Sunday, August 13
Where: Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro
Why: Get to know each other, enjoy refreshments
 
Join us from 2-4 p.m. Pearson Audubon folks have limited chances during chapter activities to interact and to get to know one another better. To counter the dearth of “face time” Pearson Audubon folks have to interact and get to know one another better, we are holding a "Meet and Greet" event from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13, at Suppernong books in downtown Greensboro.
 
The board wants to hold more purely social events, perhaps several times each program year. Instead of walking, we'll do some talking – with new members, not-so-active members, and “old hands.” We'll share bird sightings, chat about good places to walk, and get in some R&R.
 
Scuppernong Books is located at 304 S. Elm St. On weekends, parking is free in all City of Greensboro lots and decks, and so you'll have no problems finding a space. Parking is also available on Elm Street right in front of Scuppernong Books.
 
 The chapter will provide light snacks and iced tea, but you can also buy adult and other beverages. If you are new to Audubon or have not been able to attend many chapter functions, come on down to Scuppernong and meet each other and some of us long-time members. We can fill you in on what we do and answer questions you have about the chapter and its activities. Spend a pleasant afternoon with fellow Auduboners,  or just stop in to say “Howdy.” We'll be pleased to see you.

Postcard to Welcome Members

This spring, a team of TGPAS members has been working on a new “Welcome” postcard that our chapter will begin sending to new members in August.
 
The committee solicited nature photographs from our members and received more than 60! Out of these, the group completed the difficult task narrowing the field of possibilities to a representative few.
 
Six photos were selected t
o represent various aspects of nature that we see on our nature walks and enjoy in our monthly programs. A team of two wrote the welcome message for the reverse. Bids have been requested from printing companies and the board is in the process of selecting a printer. We expect to receive the final printed postcard in July.
 
Many thanks go to the members who submitted their nature photographs. It’s too bad that we couldn’t have used all of them. Thanks especially to Lynn Allison, Dennis Burnette, Lynn Burnette, Fiona Meisner, Wallie Meisner, and Phyllis Shaw for the hours that they spent collecting and evaluating photographs, and to Lynn Moseley and Jack Jezorek for penning the welcome message.

Chimney Swift Tower Nest Under Construction

By Dennis Burnette
Our chapter is sponsoring the construction of a Chimney Swift nesting/roosting tower as part of Audubon NC’s efforts to help this threatened species.
 
Volunteers and bird lovers across North Carolina are taking action to help protect Audubon North Carolina’s Bird-Friendly Communities 2016 Bird of the Year – the Chimney Swift.
 
Audubon NC explains, “Chimney Swifts are in steep decline, and the chimneys where they roost are rapidly disappearing as old chimneys are capped or torn down. Uncapping a chimney, reporting swift sightings or participating in a fall Swift Watch are great ways to get involved and help these urban birds thrive.” (Our chapter has a Swift Watch planned for this coming fall.)
 
Audubon NC goes on to say that building a new chimney-like tower is a way to make sure these birds have a place to nest or roost while they’re in North Carolina in spring, summer and early fall before they migrate. Our chapter is doing just that.
 
We have been working with Richard "Dick" Thomas, Executive Director of the Piedmont Environmental Center in High Point, to support the construction of a swift tower next to the PEC building at 1220 Penny Road.
 
The tower construction is being done by Steve Hall, former PEC board member and currently a volunteer. TGPAS provided the tower construction plans and is funding the purchase of materials and supplies. In addition, the City of High Point has contributed equipment, assistance in erecting the tower, and paint to match the PEC building.
 
The construction phase of project is nearing completion. Next on the list is to consider educational signage that will go next to the tower. We plan to explain the life history of Chimney Swifts, why they’re declining in numbers, and what individuals can do to help.
 
This is an excellent collaborative project that we could do again elsewhere. We hope that it serves as a model for the construction of other swift towers in our area. Do you know of public sites (parks, marinas, schools, etc.) where we could build others along the Deep River drainage in Guilford and Randolph Counties? Please let a board member know so that we can contact the land manager.

Above photo of the Piedmont Environmental Center swift tower and the PEC Executive Director Richard Thomas by Dennis Burnette.

A Pleasant Sunday in Peabody Park


June 11 was a bit warm and humid. It is summer after all. But 15 eager Auduboners took to the fields and woods in UNCG's Peabody Park to see what nature had to offer.

We were not disappointed.

The newly-constructed wetland in the Park Fields had attracted a variety of dragonflies and damselflies. Black-eyed Susans and Coreopsis in the native plant prairie attracted several butterfly species—sulfurs and cabbage whites. At least a dozen bird species were seen or heard between the fields and woods, including Titmice, Catbirds, Towhees, Bluebirds, Song Sparrows, Blue Jays, Carolina Wrens, and Fish Crows.
 
The Park Woods offered welcome shade and a host of both native and  exotic plant species, most of which were expertly identified by Ann Walter-Fromson. Walkers also marveled at some of the Shortleaf  Pines that the University had sampled with a boring tool to determine their age. The oldest we saw that day was estimated to have germinated in 1837.

We clambered over a couple of fallen trees to get a close look at the wetland in the woods. Around the edge of the small pool we discovered a number of freshly-dug tunnels that we guessed were the work of crayfish that may have migrated from the creek just a few yards away.

The stream provided a good look at several small fish species, good news as, while crayfish were found there in the past, fin fish had been sadly absent. Nature is resilient.
 
All in all, a pleasant day on campus enjoying a variety of nature's treasures just a mile from downtown Greensboro.

Peabody Park walk photos by Lynn Allison.


Field Trip Report

Birds, Butterflies and Botany

Thirteen Auduboners explored part of the Poteat Farm on the morning of Saturday, June 17, in Jamestown, Guilford County. The weather was mostly overcast with temperatures in the mid 70s. This was a joint trip with the Triad Chapter of the Carolina Butterfly Society.
 
The Poteat Farm, about 70 acres, is a privately owned nature preserve along the Deep River between High Point and Greensboro. Owner and TGPAS member Marie Poteat has reintroduced native flowering plants in the old farm fields and wooded areas to attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Marie actively manages her property to reduce non-native plants.
 
Marie has put
into practice many of the ideas that are part of Audubon’s Bird Friendly Communities initiative. She has reintroduced or encouraged native plant species that provide food for insects that the birds can eat and feed to their young. She has many plants that produce flowers in spring and fruit later in the growing season for birds and other wildlife that like nectar and fruit.

One of the most visually spectacular parts of this beautiful property, however, is her conversion of many acres of farm fields to “Piedmont prairies” with native grasses and other flowering plants that provide seeds and nesting habitats for a host of grassland wildlife.
 
We appreciate Marie opening her property to us! This definitely is a site that we will want to visit in different times of the year to see the seasonal changes in birds, butterflies and wildflowers on this gem of a property.

Poteat field trip photos by Dennis Burnette

ANA Warriors Fight Invasives

Warm weather and sunny skies, rare late in May, greeted a group of Auduboners on Saturday, May 28, when a gang of eight spread out and accomplished plenty in an  hour and a half at at the Natural Area.  

The Hillmer Trail was picked up, pruned, lopped, and whacked. Dead wood was sawed, collected, and brought in to shore up the trail borders. We added several signs to identity native plants and planted a Spice Bush at the bench in the wooded area of the Hilmer Trail.
 
Some Trillium was transplanted out of harm's way off the trail and onto the trailside. Someone had dumped a large amount of yard waste on and near the meadow trail. Everyone pitched in and cleaned up this eyesore by redistributing the waste into the meadow and building a brush pile in the woods.
 

We also met with a current Eagle Scout candidate and his family to discuss plans for building and placing a kiosk near the entrance into the woods. This will be a welcome and welcoming addition to the ANA, increasing its visibility and serving to educate visitors. Construction should conclude during the next six months.
 
The sweaty group included Lynn Moseley, Jack "High Socks" Jezorek, Jim "Ants in His Pants" Eldrett, Linda "Dirty Fingers" Hayes, Craig Lawrence, Lynn Allison, Deborah Staves, and Ann Walter-Fromson.
 
Our volunteers were treated to a pair of calling Red-tailed Hawks, a singing Indigo Bunting, and good looks at a Blue Grosbeak.  We chased a Fritillary butterfly species, and we spotted a single Zebra Swallowtail as well.

Photos of Audubon Warriors by Lynn Allison.
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TG Pearson Audubon Society · P.O. Box 10157 · Greensboro, NC 27404 · USA

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