There are so many highlights in the birding year, but one would have to argue that the Audubon Christmas Bird Count ranks up near the top of the list. The Audubon Christmas Bird Count has been going on since 1900. This year, between December 14th and January 5th, counts are taking place in count circles across the globe. There are several opportunities for birders in our area to be involved. The first is the Hanging Rock bird count on December 18th. The count begins at 8:00 AM at the Hanging Rock Visitor Center, and groups count until noon. Then they will meet back at the visitor center for lunch and compile the results. All levels of experience are welcome. Contact Jean Chamberlain if you are interested.
The Pilot Mountain State Park Bird Count is on December 30th. Contact Jesse Anderson if you are interested in participating.
And finally, our Forsyth County Audubon Christmas Bird Count takes place on Saturday, January 4, 2020. Contact Nathan Gatto if you are interested in participating. All levels of experience are encouraged to join us for our bird counts. If you are just learning how to bird watch, spending a day with a small group of experienced birders is one of the very best ways to learn, and all of our count leaders are happy to help. We will compile our results at a count dinner at Nathan and Sarah Gatto's home. Please contact Nathan if you have any questions.
News From the Parks
On November 21, 2019 members of Forsyth Audubon met with William Royston, Director, City of Winston Salem Recreation and Parks Department. This is a summary of our conversation.
We thanked William for his service to City of Winston Salem and for supporting our mission of conserving and restoring natural ecosystems for birds and other wildlife.
We congratulated him upon receiving a Certificate of Wildlife Habitat from NC Wildlife Federation for Quarry Park.
William outlined his view of City of Winston Salem Parks embracing the important role that this public space plays in the physical and mental health of city and county residents. He reported that what people want most from their parks is walking trails in natural surroundings.
He strongly supports Natural (Passive) park development in existing and new parks using Native Plants to restore and develop natural habitats for wildlife and humans. He will be seeking Certification of Wildlife Habitat for other parks in concert with this philosophy.
William plans to increase outdoor environmental education opportunities for children and adults in City parks using year round and summer programs and Nature interpretation.
We discussed Quarry Park and especially Phase Two plans. He sees Quarry park as a combination Natural (Passive) and Developed (Active) space with an emphasis on Natural. Priority will be on walking trails with a small playground development, a small number of picnic shelters and some expanded parking using a porous surface if possible. There are plans for Bird and Pollinator Friendly gardens and other native plantings and plans for eradication of invasive plants. He is supportive of Forsyth Audubon placing a Chimney Swift tower at Quarry Park at a suitable site.
We discussed Long Creek Park including the acreage under conservation easement that will be maintained as a natural area, mowed once a year, and transitioned to warm season native grass when possible. He sees this as primarily a Natural park emphasizing walking trails and nature education using native plantings to restore and enhance the environment.
William points out that Forsyth Audubon can help in several ways. He wishes to show the public the natural beauty of our parks: wildlife, plants, and geologic features. He asks us to send to him (firstname.lastname@example.org) photographs of these features, e.g. birds seen, observations, e-bird lists, landscape, indicating which park they represent. The inventory of flora taken at Long Creek Park by Lisa Gould is being used by the contracting company to plan invasive plant eradication and control. We can educate the public about Natural parks, explaining why the grass is not mowed, why old or dead trees are not removed, and how the habitat is being restored. FA can participate in the design and installation of native plant areas and interpretive signage and environmental education. He feels it would be most helpful for us to work with the Vegetation Control department offering education and guidance.
We will not have a Chapter Meeting in December, but there are plenty of other events coming up! Along with the Christmas Bird Counts, we have our Second Saturday Bird Walk on Saturday, December 14th at Tanglewood Park. Meet walk leader Chuck Thompson at the parking area near the dog park at 9:00 AM, and we will carpool in to the park. To get to the parking area, turn left on Campground Road after you drive through the entrance to Tanglewood, but before you go through the gatehouse. Follow the road until you see the parking area on your right and the dog park on your left.
Birds and Beer will meet at Bleu Restaurant at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, December 18th. Come join us for a drink and bird talk. You can order dinner if you like. Bleu Restaurant is located at 3425 Frontis Street in Winston-Salem.
Welcome Forsyth Audubon's New Conservation Chair
Please join us in welcoming our new Conservation Committee Chair and Forsyth Audubon Board member Max Nottke. Max is good friends with several Forsyth Audubon members and well known in the Winston Salem conservation community. He has been active with Master Gardeners and is a volunteer at Emily Allen Wildflower Preserve, Gateway Nature Preserve, and Tanglewood Medicinal Garden. Originally from Boston, he has family in Winston Salem, his grandparents Mr. and Mrs. James Nottke. He is co-owner of Bashavia Gardens, a fine gardening company offering Design, Installation, and Maintenance of gardens with emphasis on Native Plants, Bird and Pollinator friendly landscapes. Max joins us with enthusiasm, skill, and a love of nature. He will be fun to work with. We invite you to join Max and the conservation committee as we fulfill our mission of “Conserving and restoring natural ecosystems focusing on birds, other wildlife, their habitats, for the benefit of humanity and North Carolina biological diversity”.
Mark your Calendar:
December 14: Second Saturday Bird Walk
Tanglewood Park 9:00 AM December 18: Audubon Christmas Bird Count at Hanging Rock Park December 18: Birds and Beer 6:00 PM Bleu Restaurant December 30: Audubon Christmas Bird Count at Pilot Mountain State Park
January 4: Audubon Christmas Bird Count Forsyth County.
Our Next Chapter Meeting will be on January 28, 2020. World Traveler and Forsyth Audubon Member Shelley Rutkin will talk to us about Birds of China. We meet at the Historic Bethabara Visitor Center at 7:00 pm. Our business meeting begins at 7:15, and our program begins at 7:30.
Order "Birding Guide to Forsyth County"!
The fifth edition of "Birding Guide to Forsyth County," by David Disher, is now available. David's book, in a handy 6 x 9 paperback format, compiles documented observations for 280 bird species in Forsyth County. Learn what birds can be seen here and during which weeks of the year you are most likely to see them. Photos of uncommon sightings are included. Information on local birding spots also is included. For $15, this is a great gift for your favorite birder. All profits go to our chapter. Copies are available at Wright's Backyard Birding Center, 3906 Country Club Rd., Winston-Salem, and at Wild Birds Unlimited, 1589 Skeet Club Rd, High Point. Copies also are available for sale at our monthly chapter meetings. If you have a smart phone or tablet, download the electronic version available for $4.99 from www.lulu.com.
Forsyth Audubon T-shirts are here! They are available now at most of our chapter events, or you can pick one up at Wright's Birding Center during business hours. There are two different styles to choose from, both with our fabulous brown-headed nuthatch logo. The soft cotton poly blend shirts are $20.00 and the polyester tech tee with the cool dri wicking fabric is $25.00.