November 2017                                                         

Upcoming Events
For more details see our Calendar of Events   or visit
Sat, Nov 18, 9am
Swannanoa Valley Birdwalk

Tues, Nov 21, 7pm
"Fire and Birds: Forest Disturbances and Breeding Birds"
Reuter Center, UNCAsheville.

Sat, Dec 2, 9am
Beaver Lake Birdwalk

Thur, Dec 5, 7pm
EMAS Board Meeting

Sat, Dec 9, 9am
Jackson Park Birdwalk

Sat, Dec 16, 9am
Swannanoa Valley Birdwalk.

Content Editor: Marianne Mooney,
Technical Editor:  James Poling,

For the latest schedule and any changes:
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By the time you read this, I will be in Africa, undoubtedly amazed by the animals and, with the help of Ventures Birding, seeing many beautiful birds. But I didn't want to leave before writing to thank our members, board members, and dedicated volunteers for all you have done to make this year a success. With your generous support, our Birdathon raised a record $9,200. Audubon's mission is to protect birds and the places they need. This is exactly what Birdathon is about, as the funds will help reforest and preserve habitat in Nicaragua for their native species and our western North Carolina neo-tropical migrants, including Golden-winged Warbler and Wood Thrush. Thank you! 

Screech Owl at BLBS 
Virginia Senechal
Elisha Mitchell's Bird-Friendly Coffee initiative hit its stride this year. We've signed up 5 local roasters and retailers who offer shade grown coffee, and three more are expected to join the program. Please see our website for information on patronizing these firms. and always ask for shade grown or bird-friendly coffee! 

Managing and maintaining Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary continues to be a priority. In March, we achieved a long-time goal by constructing a Chimney Swift tower there. In addition, we began a systematic effort to eliminate or at least curtail the scourge of invasive plants that mar the Sanctuary. Our contractor, K.D. Ecological Services, using environmentally friendly methods, made great strides in 2017 and we hope to make even more progress in 2018 in our "War on Invasives." 

On the education front, in collaboration with the NC Arboretum, BLBS is now an activity site for their EcoExplorer youth in nature program. EMAS offered a full roster of programs and bird walks this year, and we presented several programs to outside groups on Bird-friendly Gardening and Birds and Climate Change. 

With your help, EMAS can continue to make a difference for birds. Please consider making a year-end, tax-deductible donation to Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society. EMAS relies on your donations to support our good work. To make a donation to the chapter, click on the "Donate" button on the home page of the EMAS website or send a check to EMAS, PO Box 18711, Asheville, NC 28814. 

We are very grateful for your support. Birds sing beautifully but they cannot speak. It is up to us to speak for them. 

Thanks and Good Birding! 
Tom Tribble, EMAS president

program  Fire and Birds: 
Forest Disturbances and Breeding Birds
Tuesday, November 21, 7 p.m. 
Reuter Center, UNCAsheville 
Over 85 years of research
Controlled burn Dupont Forest
and hundreds of studies have been conducted at Bent Creek Experimental Forest, a research work unit of the USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station. Research ecologist Cathryn Greenberg will present the results of studies addressing how breeding bird communities respond to prescribed fire, fire severity, and both natural and silvicultural disturbances in the Southern Appalachians. She will also present an overview of research conducted by other scientists at Bent Creek. The Experimental Forest was established in 1925 to study forests and educate natural resource professionals and others about forest management in the Southern Appalachians. Their research focuses on sustainable forest management, wildlife and habitat quality, and forest restoration, and on emerging issues such as invasive species, effects of prescribed fire on upland hardwood ecosystems, forest restoration, and climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration. 

A Research Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Ms. Greenburg received an MS from the University of Tennessee and a PhD in wildlife ecology from the University of Florida. At Bent Creek, she studies the effects of prescribed fire, regeneration harvests, and other forest management practices on reptile, amphibian, and breeding bird communities. She also researches the production of forest food resources, such as native fleshy fruit and hard mast, in relation to forest disturbances. One of Ms. Greenburg's projects is the long-term monitoring of amphibian populations in Longleaf pine-wiregrass sandhills. Besides her research work, she has co-edited books on early successional habitats and natural disturbances.

EMAS programs are free and open to the public. 
  Birdnotes  Bird Notes 
by Rick Pyeritz

Scrub Jay and mystery birder
Last month I proposed a challenge to our readers to correctly name all the endemic bird species which occur in the continental United States. But first, it was necessary to define the term endemic. I used the succinct definition from Ernst Mayr, a famous evolutionary biologist and ornithologist.

ENDEMIC: In ornithological usage, a bird that is restricted to a given region; Not found elsewhere

Readers were asked to submit their speculations on how many endemic species there are in the continental United States, and further, to name the country with the most endemic bird species. The results are in! If you would like to see the official U.S. endemics list, and learn who won the Ventures Outing, follow this link.
Simon  The Birder's Eye 
Fletcher Community Park    
by Simon Thompson

Eastern Kingbird
by Simon Thompson
Fletcher Community Park, Fletcher, NC Although just over the county line in adjacent Henderson County, the 60+ acres of Fletcher Community Park is another excellent local birding spot. Like the more popular Jackson Park in Hendersonville, Fletcher Park is a multi-use facility with baseball fields, a health fitness circuit put in by Park Ridge Hospital, and over 3 miles of walking trails. It's easy to judge the park by looking at the vast grassy expanse full of joggers and dog-walkers as somewhat birdless, but the trails take you into riverside vegetation and along the edges of some large arable fields. 

A small, somewhat seasonal, wetland adjacent to the parking area has attracted some excellent birds over the years, including Little Blue Heron, Sedge Wren and Sora, and an Olive-sided Flycatcher was found one year in the nearby tall cherry trees. Tree Swallows nest in many of the Bluebird boxes and a nearby martin house has attracted a pair of two of Purple Martins over the years. Both Eastern Kingbird and Willow Flycatcher have nested in the willows, along with Yellow Warbler and Orchard Oriole. In total over 150 species have been seen in this small park, including 24 species of warbler. 

The walking trails follow
Sora by Simon Thompson
some thickets and edge habitat, which can be good during migration A recent trail extension heads into the fields where American Pipit and White-crowned Sparrow feed during the winter months, and then winds through some swamp forest adjacent to the river. Both Yellow-billed Cuckoo and even Prothonotary Warbler have been recorded along this stretch of the trail, and with increased observer coverage, more unusual species are bound to be found. 

Fletcher Community Park is worth a visit during any season, but especially during spring and fall migration. It's open from dawn to dusk and accessed using Howard Gap Road off US 25 in Fletcher. The address is 85 Howard Gap Road. A site checklist is available here on Ebird

Simon Thompson
Ventures Birding Tours
Text and Photos by Jay Wherley

As winter approaches,
Fox Sparrow
birders can look forward to a variety of ducks and sparrows at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. White-throated sparrows have already returned, singing their musical song of "Poor Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody". November sparrows also can include Field and Swamp, and possibly White-crowned and Fox. Unless you spotted one earlier this fall, Lincoln's Sparrow will be a no-show this month. 

American Bittern
Scaup, Bufflehead, Ring-necked and Ruddy Ducks, Northern Shovelers and Hooded Mergansers will not be surprise sightings in November. However, the return of a Surf Scoter, which appeared at this time last year, would be! Other November rarities could include American Bittern and Wilson's Warbler. 

Notable recent sightings at Beaver Lake include three Great Egrets, and two Bald Eagles. 

Correction: The "Wilson's" Plover mentioned last month should have been a "Semipalmated" Plover.

Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society || PO Box 18711 Asheville, NC 28814