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Nature Notes - April 2016
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Brown-headed Nuthatch
Brown-headed Nuthatch/Dennis Burnette


Support Greensboro's 2016 Earth Day Celebration

A great day is in store for us at the annual celebration of Earth Day on Saturday April 9 at our KCE Family Branch Library.

From 1 to 5 p.m. children of all ages can enjoy a variety of activities. A hayride will transport you from the Jefferson Elementary School parking lot to the library where local organizations have set up a variety of wonderful things to see, do, and make. 

Our T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Chapter will present games and displays to challenge your knowledge of birds and to give you ideas for bringing wildlife to your yard and helping these animals to survive in our urban environment. 

Stop by and say hello. In case of rain we will still have a great day indoors.  If you would like to volunteer at our table please send an email to Sue Cole at suelyle@bellsouth.net.

Even  More Fun on April 9!

Come one!  Come all!  If you've run out of things to clean at home, or, if you'd just like a warm up for spring cleaning, please join us for the Great American Clean Up at the Audubon Natural Area on April 9 at 9:30 a.m. 
 
You'll be joining other like-minded folks from Audubon and the community to spruce up the area.  We'll be clearing the area of the six-month accumulation of litter and debris since the Big Sweep in September. 
 
We'll head off in small groups to divide and conquer different sections of the area. Trash bags will be provided. Wear sturdy gloves and shoes, and use tick repellent liberally. You will also find long-handled trash grabbers or a broom handle/stick with a nail great for picking up items without having to bend over very far. 
 
Stay as long as you like, but you will not be "supervised" beyond 11:30.  We'll try to wrap things up by then so that we can transport our haul and score some free pizza and water at the city’s gathering place. 

Jim Eldrett, Audubon Natural Area steward, will also have cold water available at the site.  Much appreciated would be someone with a pickup to haul the treasure to the central collecting area.  Many hands always make light work. 

If you have any specific questions or concerns, feel free to contact Jim directly at mooose55@msn.com. Otherwise, RSVP not required; we'll see you there.

News Notes

- llustration: The Art of Birding

Fun, Inspiration Ahead at the Audubon NC  Meeting in Triad


Get ready for a fun and inspirational event: the Audubon North Carolina Annual Meeting May 13-15 in Winston-Salem!
 
This should be named something else because “annual meeting” is not nearly as exciting as the event will be. The theme will be “The Art of Birding.” The weekend will feature workshops, field trips, and lots of social time with like-minded folks.
 
Highlighting the program will be a keynote presentation by Gary Langham, chief scientist of the National Audubon Society and the groundbreaking 2014 Audubon Birds and Climate Change Report; a presentation by Heather Hahn, Executive Director of Audubon NC; and the world premiere of an inspiring short film about a very special bird.
 
A variety of birding trips are planned to some of Forsyth County’s most beautiful birding areas, as well as to Pilot Mountain State Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
 
In addition, meeting participants can join an optional Audubon Ambassador training on Friday, learn all about creating a bird-friendly community, and attend a conservation workshop on how to become involved in advocating for long-term protection of bird strongholds, as well as gaining information about choosing and growing bird-friendly native plants, and how to take steps to help the 2016 Bird of the Year, the Chimney Swift.
 
Participating couldn’t be much easier…it will be held in neighboring Winston-Salem this year! Although that’s just a short drive from Guilford County, those who wish to stay on-site can reserve a room at the venue, the Hawthorne Inn & Conference Center.
 
It would be great if we could have a huge crowd of TGPAS members at this event. We hope that you will join us “where birds–and bird lovers–of a feather will flock together in Winston-Salem, the City of Arts and Innovation”.
 
For more detailed information about the field trips and educational sessions and also to register, go to the following website: http://nc.audubon.org/landing/about-us/landing/annual-meeting-2016


Sign up by April 15 to get in on Early Bird Registration!
 

T. Gilbert Pearson Stars in Our State Magazine

Our State magazine features T. Gilbert Pearson in an article in its April issue, which is on the newsstands now. A writer from the magazine chatted with Jack Jezorek about our Audubon chapter, which is named for Pearson.

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Group at Old Salem Hears Audubon Talk on Gardening for Birds


Dennis Burnette gave a talk on Bird-Friendly Gardening to 22 participants in a luncheon workshop in March at Old Salem. He reports that he fielded many questions and that many people took home the Bird-Friendly Gardening brochures that Audubon has provided.

* * *
 

Rescuing Native Plants for Our Natural Area

Ann Walter-Fromson participated in a plant rescue with the Triad Native Plant Society in late March. She collected many plants for Pearson Audubon to put in the Audubon Natural Area, including Jack in the Pulpit, Toothwort, Bloodroot, Perfoliate Bellwort, Trout Lily, and Putty Root.  Ann and Audubon volunteer Judy Hoag planted them the next day, just in time for some good rain..

* * *
 

Audubon Volunteers Work on Cornerstone Project In Greensboro

On a cold, rainy March day, TGPAS members Deborah Staves, Ann Walter-Fromson, Tom and Stella Wear, Dennis Burnette, and Jack Jezorek helped spread mulch at the Innovation Cornerstone site on the Downtown Greenway.

The plan is to kill off the fescue and Bermuda grass so that native plants can be planted in the fall. From the looks of the still-high mounds of mulch, another round of work days is needed. Dabney Sanders of Action Greensboro, and the coordinator of the Greenway project, is hoping that we might have help at that point in the form of a front-end loader borrowed from Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department.

Watch for announcements of upcoming work days and come out to assist with this project that will introduce to Greenway users the idea of using native plants to help our birds.

Egg-actly What We Wanted!

Reports of successes for our Brown-headed Nuthatch population are coming in.

One of the Brown-headed Nuthatch boxes at Greensboro's  Bicentennial Garden has eight eggs and was photographed by monitor Ann Walter-Fromson. Dennis Burnette has reported seven eggs in a nest box at his home.  We are excited that several of our boxes are providing good homes for these favorite birds. 

Some of our box holders are also reporting Carolina Chickadee nests.  Don’t be disappointed; these are good birds too, and it is fun to watch the process.
 
If you have bird houses in your yards or are monitoring boxes in other places, please continue to report information to TGPAS and Nestwatch.  We want to know any and everything about your box.  Please let Stella Wear know by sending her an email at
stellaandtom2605@gmail.com.
 
As a reminder, here are instructions for the nest box project:  http://nestwatch.org:
  • Sign in (located in upper right corner) using:  username:  TGPASociety; password:  bhnuthatch.  A page called “your data” comes up.
  • If you have not registered your box, use the choice “add a new site.”  Follow steps to locate and describe your box location.  There are some drop down instructions that help. After you save your entry, you are returned to “your data” page. 
  • If your box is already registered, click on “nest site list” to see the boxes that have been registered.  Select your box (using the name you gave it) from the list to enter data when you have something to report.
  • If you are registering your box for the first time, please let us know what you named it so we can follow along with group progress.  If you have trouble signing into the group site because you have a personal account already, uncheck the box that says “keep me signed in.” Then you can go to another site.

TGPAS Board Email Addresses

(click name to send email)
Judy Hoag
Jack Jezorek
Margaret Kane
Lynn Moseley
Marie Poteat
Courtenay Vass
Stella Wear
Tom Wear
Click here for our website
Click here for National Audubon website
All photos in this issue of Nature Notes were taken by Dennis Burnette, unless otherwise noted.

Exhibiting a Sustainable Planet:

Gardens & New Spaces at the Greensboro Science Center

What: Monthly Meeting
When: 7 p.m,. Thursday, April 14
Where: KCE Family Branch Library, Price Park
Who:
Horticulturist Chandra Metheny
 
You may have noticed recent building additions to the Greensboro Science Center, but have you noticed the additions to the green space at the Science Center?

The Center is all-abuzz with two honeybee hives, butterfly gardens, herb gardens (used by the zoo animals), and more.  

Our featured speaker for the April Pearson Audubon meeting will be Chandra Metheny, the first full-time horticulturist at the Science Center.  Chandra will discuss how she is changing the landscape at the Center through sustainable practices that the public can duplicate in their own yards.  Pollinator gardens, living rooftops and rain barrels are just a few of the exciting changes she will discuss.

A graduate of UNCG with a bachelor's of science in environmental biology, Metheny is certified in permaculture landscaping design.

Second Sunday Nature Walk

Exploring Northeast Park

What: Second Sunday Nature Walk
When: 2 p.m. Sunday, April 10
Where: Guilford County’s Northeast Park near Gibsonville
Carpooling: Meet at 1:45 p.m. in Friendly Shopping Center under the Sears Plaza sign facing Friendly Avenue, between BB&T and Chick-fil-A
 
Our Second Sunday
Nature Walk on April 10 will visit Guilford County’s Northeast Park near Gibsonville. We will walk part of the Buffalo Creek Trail to observe birds, spring wildflowers, and other wildlife. If we have time, we also will walk a short way along Reedy Overlook Trail in the bottomland forest.
 
The Guilford County website notes that Northeast Park is a 374 acre park in which visitors can choose from a wide variety of outdoor experiences to enjoy, including an aquatic center, hiking, biking, and equestrian trails, athletic fields, picnic shelters, and playgrounds.
 
Participants will amble along about three miles on our Sunday afternoon nature walk. Note that sections of the trails are quite hilly. Be sure to wear sturdy walking shoes, and bring drinking water.
 
As usual, TGPAS will meet at 1:45 p.m. near the Sears Plaza sign in front of the Whole Foods Market, 3202 W Friendly Ave. in Friendly Shopping Center in Greensboro between Chick-Fil-A and BB&T. We plan to leave at 2 p.m. and intend to return to the Whole Foods Market by 5.
 
For those who would like to go directly to Northeast Park, go to 3441 Northeast Park Drive, Gibsonville, NC 27249. Meet us at about 2:40 in the Low Water Crossing parking area at the end of the dirt road that runs by the basketball court.

TGPAS Has NC Birding Trail Sign Installed 

Back in 2007 and 2008, Audubon NC collaborated with many other groups and individuals both in state government and in the private sector to design a statewide “Birding Trail” and produce a set of three books with site descriptions. Our chapter participated in the process by nominating several Guilford County sites.
 
The NC Birding Trail and the books are valuable resources for birders and other naturalists. The regional guides to the mountains, Piedmont and coast are still available. Go to the following website for information: http://ncbirdingtrail.org/
 
Many of the sites around North Carolina initially were marked with signage that made them easy to find for travelers and also let local folks know about the program. Unfortunately, several were omitted from the signage installation including our own Bog Garden in Greensboro.
 
TGPAS has corrected that. Our chapter obtained the graphics for the sign and had several manufactured locally. We distributed some to Caswell Game Lands, an Audubon Important Bird Area that we have “adopted”. Early in March we had the last sign (pictured above) installed by the Greensboro Parks & Recreation Department near the entrance to the Bog Garden.
 
The next time you’re enjoying nature in the Bog Garden, take note of the new sign next to the information kiosk and join others in our chapter in feeling pride that we have helped make a difference one more way in our community!

For more information about the NC Birding Trail, go to http://ncbirdingtrail.org.
 Dennis Burnette

Volunteer to Help Westerwood Bluebirds

Want these beautiful birds to continue thriving in Westerwood? Please volunteer to check the bluebird boxes located along the creek two times (once a week for two weeks, seven days apart).

The period that needs to be covered is from the end of March to at least  the first week of August.  You choose your two weeks. Newcomer training begins the first weekend of April.  
 
This is a fun, challenging experience!  If you would like to volunteer or have questions about the process, please e-mail Barbara Hughes: bthomashughes@bellsouth.net.

Second Beginning Birder Workshop a Success

The second workshop in the TGPAS  Beginning Birder series was held on Sunday afternoon, March 20. It was a great success. We had a wonderful turn out of 33 folks to learn about the topic of this installment, “Familiar Birds of our Lawns and Parks".
 
As planned, the workshop included a classroom presentation of the bird species most likely to come to our feeders and be seen in our neighborhoods (such as the American Robin pictured here). We had a good discussion with lots of excellent questions. We also had a brief tutorial on how to use binoculars so that we could find birds in them. We followed this instructional time with a walk around the library grounds to practice our skills outdoors.
 
Several experienced birders from Pearson Audubon and the Piedmont Bird Club were on hand who acted as mentors to help participants find and identify birds. In addition to the workshop presenter, Dennis Burnette, our thanks go to Lynn Burnette, Sue Cole, Jack Jezorek, Emily Tyler, and Tom Wear.
 
We plan to have one more Beginning Birder Workshop on Sunday afternoon, May 15, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. The topic of each of these workshops has been different, so even if participants attended one or both of the first two, they will receive different material in May. The topic will be “Attracting Birds to Your Back Yard.” We will discuss bird feeders, bird food, and planting shrubs and other plants that will attract birds.
 
We will again meet at the KCE Family Branch Library, Price Park, in Greensboro.
 
Members of T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society, Piedmont Bird Club, family and friends, and the general public are invited to attend. Older children who are supervised by an adult are welcome to participate.


A&T Farm Birders/Lon Murdick

Joint Field Trip Report:
Piedmont Bird Club, Pearson Audubon Visit  A&T Farm

By Emily Tyler, Trip Leader
On a clear, cool, late winter morning, 20 participants met at the A&T State University Farm for a little longer than four hours of birding.

At the first stop, overlooking a farm pond, the group spotted four Wilson's Snipe, one of the target species for this trip, along the pond's edges. Then everyone was alerted to a bird soaring overhead. It was identified as an immature Bald Eagle, the first one seen at the farm during the annual field trip.

American Pipits, the other target bird for the trip, were not located, probably because of the very short grass in the fields where they are usually found. This omission was more than made up for with the appearance of four species of hawks: American Kestrel, Red-shouldered, Red-tailed, and Cooper's Hawk. Several Brown-headed Nuthatches scolded us for intruding into the stand of pine trees where they were preparing their nest cavities. The immature eagle made another pass high in the sky at this location.

The group collectively saw 44 species on the trip. You can find the complete list on the Piedmont Bird Club's website, http://www.piedmontbirdclub.org, as well as other photos and a longer report.

Going Native

Native plant enthusiasts in both Pearson Audubon and the N.C. Native Plant Society have enjoyed a month of exceptional spring flowers, thanks to fantastic weather and walks led by Ann Walter-Fromson. Groups with up to 20 people gathered on several Wednesdays to explore Guilford County trails and wild gardens.

Looking for Bird-Friendly Plants? Try These Nurseries

Here’s where you can buy bird-friendly native plants in the Triad area. These nurseries are participants in Audubon NC’s Bird-Friendly Native Plants of the Year Program.

Edgefield Plant and Stone Center,  3307 Edgefield Road, Oak Ridge 27409  (336) 662-0081

Farmstead Nursery, 1818 N. Peacehaven Road, Winston-Salem 27104  (336) 760-5966

Fifth Season Gardening, 1616 Battleground Avenue D-3, Greensboro 27408  (336) 271-3373

Frank’s Perennial Border,  1744 W. Clemmonsville Road, Winston-Salem 27127  (336) 650-1111

Gethsemane Garden and Landscape, Greensboro Farmers Curb Market and Piedmont Triad Farmers Market. Garden visits by appointment only. (336) 656-3096

Guilford Garden Center, 701 Milner Drive, Greensboro 27410  (336) 299-1535

House of Plants, 507 Harvey Street, Winston-Salem 27103  (336) 765-5301

LA Reynolds Garden Showcase,  4400 Styers Ferry Road, Winston-Salem 27104  (336) 945-3776

Mitchell’s Nursery and Greenhouse, 1088 W. Dalton Road, King 27021  336-983-4107

New Garden Landscaping and Nursery - New Garden Gazebo, 3811 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro 27455  (336) 288-8893

New Garden Landscaping and Nursery - New Garden Village,  5572 Garden Village Way, Greensboro 27410  (336) 665-0291

Reynolda Nursery & Landscaping Supplies,  5353 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem 27106 (336) 923-2880

Shouse Nursery,  3621 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem 27106  (336) 922-2337

Soviero’s Tri-County Garden Center & Feed, 3818 N. Main Street, High Point 27265  (336) 885-3800

Stratford Landscape Supply,  2366 S. Stratford Road, Winston-Salem 27103  (336) 817-8163

T. Bagge Garden Shop, Old Salem Museum & Gardens,  626 S. Main Street, Winston-Salem 27101 (336) 721-7357

To find more participating nurseries in other parts of the state, visit:
http://nc.audubon.org/birds-0/bird-friendly-native-plants-year-program

Calendar

April 9 (Sat) Great American Cleanup/Trail Maintenance – Audubon Natural Area 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
April 9 (Sat) Earth Day Celebration at KCE Library 1-5 p.m.
April 10 (Sun) Second Sunday Nature Walk:  Guilford County NE Park
April 14 (Thur) Program: “Exhibiting a Sustainable Planet:  Gardens and New Spaces at the Greensboro Science Center” Speaker:  Chandra Metheny, Horticulturist       
April 23 (Sat) Field Trip: Lawrence property with PBC – Morning walk, exact time TBD
April 30 (Sat) Spring Bird Count Contact:  Elizabeth Link 336-272-4672
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