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Nature Notes - December 2017
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December Snow in Guilford County/Dennis Burnette
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Help Us Tidy Up The Audubon Natural Area

By Jim Eldrett, ANA Steward

Please join us at 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, for a variety of small projects at the Audubon Natural Area.
 
The ANA is beginning to see increases in visitor traffic. Folks that I encounter there are interested in and appreciative of our ongoing efforts. We hope you can help make the Natural Area a bit more accessible and inviting. We have several opportunities.
 
First, we need some folks with an interest in doing some sign refurbishing. The entrance and Hillmer Trail signs are showing their age. They need some light sanding and repainting of the lettering.
 
We’ll also continue working on the meadow trails, cutting some roots and filling in low areas. This will make for a more pleasant and safer stroll through the meadow. A couple of spots near the Hillmer bench and the manhole cover could use filling in as well.
 
Two old trail posts that no longer serve a purpose need to be removed, and we need to cut through a piece of metal along a trail that is a safety hazard.
 
The ANA is a wonderful place to duck in for a few moments of nature, and with our continuing efforts will be so for our community for many years to come.
 
You may park in the grass at the entrance by driving over the curb, or park behind the bank at Tankersley and Church streets. Bring any tools you feel will be helpful for these activities, along with gloves, sturdy shoes, and tick repellent. 

 
 This critter (above), found near the Hillmer bench, does not need repelling, it is a lovely little Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi), which grows only to about 10-12 inches iong and feeds on slugs and earthworms. (Photo by Jim Eldrett)

Giving to Audubon NC

 
Did you know that a gift to Audubon North Carolina renews your membership with the National Audubon Society while keeping your dollars at work in our state?

Audubon North Carolina is one of the leading conservation organizations in the state.  Our 100 year history of environmental protection in North Carolina means that we have the extensive grassroots network necessary to get things done.

Your gift is so important to us because it offers immediate resources for the most urgent needs and current opportunities available in our state. 

From the mountains to the coast, our grassroots network keeps Audubon North Carolina connected to the needs of birds and the places they need to flourish. A local donation means that we will have the resources we need to act when necessary for the protection of our birds. 

You will receive a National Audubon Society membership and our award-winning Audubon magazine with a gift of $20 or more to our state. 

Please consider joining people just like you across the state who care about our birds and the ir habitat, now and for future generations, by making a gift today. Just click here! (Tufted Titmouse photo from Audubon NC)

Wonderful Leucistic Woodpecker

Lynn Moseley has had an exciting experience with a very unusual woodpecker this year. She saw a young  leucistic Downy Woodpecker visiting her yard and was able to photograph it as its plumage changed over three months.

"Leucistic" means the bird has
partially lost pigmentation, resulting in white, patchy coloration of its feathers but not the eyes. Unlike albinism, it is caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin.

You can see by the photos below that the bird's plumage varied month to month., with the most color in the earliest photo. The dates of the photos are as follows, from the top photo: July 17, Aug. 27, Sept. 8, Sept. 27, and Oct. 16. (Photos by Lynn Moseley)


Viburnum Nudum (Will Stuart)
Bird-Friendly Native Plant Garden at the Executive Mansion

Several Pearson Audubon members attended the dedication on Oct. 26 of the refreshed Victorian garden at the NC Executive Mansion.  NC First Lady Kristin Cooper, in partnership with Audubon North Carolina, the state office of the National Audubon Society, helped refresh the garden with 1,000 native plants that will benefit pollinators, birds, and other wildlife.
 
“As someone who loves birds, gardening and our natural environment, I wanted the Executive Mansion native plant garden to be a model for those interested in supporting birds and wildlife in their own backyards,” Kristin Cooper said. “Native plants are eco-friendly, support a wider range of pollinators and birds, and require less watering, maintenance and ongoing expense.  Whether North Carolinians plant just one, or hundreds of native plants in their backyards, they are making a real difference for birds and other pollinators.”
 
Audubon North Carolina worked alongside the First Lady to design the garden and raise private funds to purchase the bird-friendly native plants.: Local Audubon chapters from the mountains to the coast contributed to the project, alongside the generous support of private donors.  New Hope Audubon Society volunteer and landscaping company owner Ben Skelton donated the garden design. 
 
“Birds depend on food and shelter in our backyards to fuel their annual migrations and to feed baby chicks. Native viburnum, blueberries, and Purple Coneflower are just a few of North Carolina’s plants that give our birds sustenance and a fighting chance against threats like habitat loss and climate change,” said Audubon North Carolina Executive Director Heather Hahn. We applaud Governor Cooper and First Lady Kristin Cooper for their leadership in highlighting the importance of native plants to birds and other wildlife.”
 
Gov. Roy Cooper also issued a proclamation designating October 22-28 as “Native Plants Week,” emphasizing the importance of North Carolina’s native plants to the state’s culture, economy and natural heritage.
 
Anyone interested in planting for birds can get started now by looking up the best plants for their area by zip code (click here) or by visiting a local participating plant nursery (click here).

TGPAS Board Email Addresses

 
(click name to send email)
Sarah Gilley
Lynne Gray
Judy Hoag
Jack Jezorek
Lynn Moseley
Marie Poteat
Stella Wear
Tom Wear
Click here for our website
Click here for National Audubon website

A Merry Holiday Event Featuring Your Photos

What: Holiday Meeting and Members Photo Show
When: 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017
Where: Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch Library, 1420 Price Park Drive Greensboro
Who: Our Own Photographers

 
Join us on Thursday, Dec. 14, for delicious holiday desserts and beverages to start this festive season with fellowship and fun. All food and drink will be provided by our TGPAS Social Committee.
 
The evening’s program features nature pictures shot by Audubon members during the year who are willing to share them with the rest of us – our chapter’s long-standing tradition for our holiday meeting. We hope you’ll join in the fun by bringing some of your photos. This program always is a great hit for the December meeting.
 
For this to happen, though:
 
WE NEED PHOTOS FROM MEMBERS! Here’s all you have to do: Select up to 20 of your nature photos from 2017 and share with us what you’ve seen. Not many of our members are professional photographers, so don't worry if Audubon magazine hasn’t been knocking on your door for your photos. Amateurs are welcome. We hope that you’ll share what natural wonders you’ve seen this year.
 
Topics can be just about anything in nature such as birds, butterflies and other insects, native wildflowers, beautiful scenery, rock formations, weather events, and so on. We also will welcome photos of our chapter members enjoying Audubon activities like field trips, Second Sunday Nature Walks, Audubon Natural Area maintenance days, and Audubon social events. Please don’t bring general travel and family photos, but you don’t have to limit yourself to local nature photos. You can show us what nature you saw on your trips out of the Triad.
 
You can bring as few as you like up to about 20 photos. Be sure to bring them on a flash drive (thumb drive or “memory stick”). We cannot accommodate on-line photos, CDs and DVDs, nor can we switch between our computer and your computer.
 
RSVP: Please let our photo show coordinator, Craig Lawrence craig.carolina@gmail.com, know by Tuesday evening, Dec. 12, the number of photos you plan to bring so that we can plan how to organize our great evening of photos.

(Seed snowman and Carolina Wren photo by Dennis Burnette)


Guilford County Farm Trip Proves Successful

By Marie Poteat
It was a great turnout and great day at the farm for the 33 people who came to Guilford County Farm Nov. 12 for our Second Sunday Nature Walk.
 
 John Gladstone, supervisor of the farm, gave us a tour of the historic prison building and the farm grounds.  More than 600 acres of the farm are in pasture or being leased to local farmers for crops.  The rest of the farm is being managed for public use.  The county will have one or two of the large greenhouses in use this spring growing annuals and perennials for the public to buy.  
 
The county is also continuing the activities of the old prison farm such as maintaining the three acres of muscadine grape vines, which local students harvest each year and which the county donates to local food banks and shelters, and managing five bee hives for honey production, which is for sale each year. 
 
Plans are being made to remove much of the razor wire used while the facility was a prison farm, leaving a few small areas for history and preservation of the prison farm concept. 

The large pond on the property will eventually be open to the public for fishing.  The farm has adopted two donkeys, named Opey and Jax, who made an appearance along the pasture fence for our group.  Ruby, the resident miniature goat, did not put in an appearance but was off doing her job of ground maintenance.

After the tour of the farm area, the group hiked the 2.5 mile trail that crosses the property.  This trail is part of the Mountains to Sea trail system and goes through a variety of habitats giving us an opportunity to see many birds. 

This area is a hot spot for birding in Guilford County as recorded in eBird for Howerton Road, which now is reporting 151 species.  The group enjoyed the day even as the weather deteriorated as the walk ended. 

The following is a list of the species observed from the walk around the farm and on the trail:  

Mourning Dove, Northern Mockingbird, Killdeer, European Starling, Red-headed Woodpecker, Song Sparrow, Red-bellied Woodpecker, White-throated Sparrow, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Meadowlark, American Kestrel, Northern Cardinal, Blue Jay, Duck (sp), American Crow, Red-winged Blackbird, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Northern Harrier, Eastern Bluebird, and ellow-bellied Sapsucker
.
The farm is open from dawn to dusk to the public.  Please review the guidelines for use of the area which are posted on the kiosk in the general parking area and go enjoy this special part of Guilford County.

Top Photo – Audubon visitors stand near razor-wire-topped fence outside the old prison. (Photo by Lynn Allison)
Second Photo – Audubon field trip members are led on the walk by John Gladstone, supervisor of the farm. (Photo by Dennis Burnette)
Third Photo – One of the pet donkeys makes friends with Audubon visitors. (Photo by Lynn Allison)
Bottom Photo – Pearson Audubon Board Chair Lynn Moseley enjoys the visit to the former county prison farm. (Photo by Marie Poteat)


Volunteering at the City's Innovation Cornerstone

Several Pearson Audubon members worked in October and November at the Woven Works Park of the Innovation Cornerstone garden in downtown Greensboro.

They planted native plants and mulched and cleaned up the garden plots along with UNCG student volunteers and NC  Native Plant Society members.

Students working at the NCA&T State University greenhouses grew the native plants from seeds provided by the Native Plant Society. It is a great community effort that benefits everyone who visits Greensboro's downtown area.

(Photos by Stella Wear)

Fun, Fun, Fun Playing in the Dirt at the Audubon Natural Area


Dozens of volunteers from Pearson Audubon have been having a blast while volunteering at the Audubon Natural Area. Below, at the November invasives attack, volunteers are seenhacking, pulling, chopping, and discussing what can be done to eradicate invasive plant species from our natural area. Pearson Auduboners love getting sweaty for a good cause!

(All photos below by Lynn Allison)
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TG Pearson Audubon Society · P.O. Box 10157 · Greensboro, NC 27404 · USA

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