September 2017                                                         

Upcoming Events
For more details see our Calendar of Events   or visit
UpcomingSat, Sep 16, 8am
Swannanoa Valley Birdwalk

Tues, Sep 19, 7pm
EMAS program
"Mountain Bogs Wildlife Refuge" 

Thur, Sep 28, 6:45pm
Swift Night Out, Civic Center Garage, 5th floor, Asheville

Sat, Oct 7, 8am
Beaver Lake Birdwalk

Tue, Oct 3, 7pm
EMAS Board Meeting

Sat, Oct 14, 8am
Jackson Park Birdwalk

Tue, Oct 17, 7pm
EMAS Program TBA, Reuter's Center, UNCAsheville

Sat, Oct 21, 8am
Swannanoa Valley Birdwalk

Tue, Oct 26 5:30pm
Birds and Brew Social
New Belgium Brewery
21 Craven Street
Asheville, NC
Sierra Club presents "Fossil Fuel Divestment and Responsible Investing" Wednesday, October 4, 7 pm. Peter Krull of Earth Equity Advisors will discuss what's really in your mutual funds, and responsible investment options. Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1 Edwin Pl. Free and open to the public 

For the latest schedule and any changes:
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 The fall birding season is upon us and EMAS has planned a few special events. Our September program promises a fascinating inside look at the only National Wildlife Refuge in Western NC. The Mountain Bogs NWR preserves endangered species and one of the rarest habitats in America. Please plan to join us at the Reuter Center on September 19 to learn about this refuge. Two other special events are scheduled as well. One is our annual Swift Night Out on September 28 th and the other is a Birds & Brew social at 5:30 p.m. on October 26 th at New Belgium Brewery. We'll meet on the deck overlooking the French Broad River so bring your binoculars.  

The board of EMAS, at our recent retreat, has made a particular commitment to advocacy on behalf of birds, which is a component of the National Audubon Society's mission. We're hoping that our members will join us to advocate for birds on the local, state and federal level. Please begin by reading a brief history of the Endangered Species Act in Bird Notes by Rick Pyeritz. As Rick writes, "the dark cloud on the horizon is a promised executive order by our President to defund the ESA". 

swift  "Swift Night Out " Thursday September 28
Civic Center Garage, 5th floor, Asheville, NC

Photo by Alan Lenk

It's Chimney Swift season, an exciting time to see swirling hordes of Swifts as they gather at sunset to enter communal roosting sites. EMAS is planning our annual Swift Night Out, a Swift viewing event scheduled for dusk in downtown Asheville. We'll meet at 6:45 on Thursday, September 28th on the fifth floor of the Civic Center Parking Deck. Please check the EMAS website and our Facebook page for updates.  

Chimney Swifts are small birds, 5" to 6" in length, dark gray or black, and often referred to as "flying cigars". They are agile flyers and are in flight almost constantly, catching insects, gathering nesting material, and even bathing. Their wings are gracefully curved rearward in flight and the short tail has noticeable bristle-like projections at the end, presumably to help   support the bird as it clings to the inside of a chimney, hollow tree, or cave, where they nest and roost.  

A dilemma facing this swift is fewer chimneys in which to roost, nest, and rear their young. The noise they make when entering a chimney to feed young or roost is very noticeable. Loud chirping begins before 6:00am each morning and doesn't cease until after dark. This cacophony of sound probably encourages the capping of chimneys by many homeowners. It is fortunate that Chimney Swift Towers have been constructed at BLBS and in Black Mountain to provide roosting and nesting locations for this declining species. Swifts will return to South America on a very long flight so enjoy them this fall before they go.  

Alan Lenk & Marianne Mooney  
Nicaraguaa Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge:
Conserving some of the Mountain's 
Rarest Places and Species
EMAS Program, Tues, Sept 19,  7 p.m. 
Reuter Center, UNCA
One of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's newest refuges
Green Pitcher Plant
lies scattered across the mountains here in North Carolina. Dedicated in April 2015, the Mountain Bogs NWR was established to protect Southern Appalachian Mountain bogs, which are among the rarest and most imperiled habitats in the U.S. These bogs host five endangered species;
Bog Turtles, Green Pitcher Plant, Mountain Sweet Pitcher Plant, Swamp Pink (a lily), and Bunched Arrowhead. They also provide habitat for animals like salamanders and migratory birds. Nearly two decades in the making, many of the bogs are on private land and some not in the refuge are still in need of protection. The refuge could eventually include 23,478 acres scattered across as many as 30 sites in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee.

Please join us for an inside look at this new refuge with Sue Cameron, wildlife biologist with the US F&WS. Sue works on terrestrial species of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Her primary duties entail working with partners to recover federally listed species like the Bog Turtle. Sue received her bachelor's degree in Marine Biology from Florida Tech and a master's in Resource Ecology from Duke University. Prior to working with the US F&WS, Sue worked for NC Wildlife Resources Commission as a coastal waterbird biologist and at Virginia Tech as a red-cockaded woodpecker biologist.

EMAS programs are free and open to the public. 

  Birdnotes  Bird Notes 
by Rick Pyeritz

" The animals of the world
Carolina Parakeet
exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white or women created for men." -Alice Walker 

"I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls, they always say because it's such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her." -Ellen DeGeneres 

Carolina Parakeet, Passenger Pigeon, Bachman's Warbler, Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Eskimo Curlew, Heath Hen. Names of birds never to be seen again. All gone from the American landscape within the past century.

"There is no survivor, there is no future, there is no life to be recreated in this form again. We are looking upon the uttermost finality which can be written, glimpsing the darkness which will not know another ray of light. We are in touch with the reality of extinction." -Henry B. Hough 

What has been done to try and prevent further extinctions? Unfortunately, the one effort which has helped in species protection is in jeopardy. To find out more about the history of the Endangered Species Act, follow this link.
Simon  The Birder's Eye 
Green River Cove, Polk County, NC  
by Simon Thompson

Swainson's Warbler
Many of us are familiar with the Green River Cove Road as a great birding location during spring migration. The area hosts breeding Swainson's, Kentucky and Prothonotary Warblers (the latter in very small numbers), but it, along with the nearby Walcott Tract, can also be very good during fall migration as well. Green River Cove is best accessed from the Saluda Exit off I-26 where the road snakes down into the Green River Game lands property managed by NC Wildlife Commission. A few private enclaves are dotted along the road, but the majority of the land is managed for wildlife. Trails abound offering access to great birding locations.

From cove forest to riparian
Prothonotary Warbler
corridors, from pine woodlands to eastern deciduous forests, a slow drive down the Green River Cove Road cuts through a wide range of habitats with good birding often along the roadside. In the fall expect mixed warbler flocks anywhere along the road, along with thrushes, tanagers and vireo feeding in the Virginia Creeper berries and other fruiting shrubs and vines. It's wetter down the road, with more extensive marshes closer to Lake Adger where American Bittern and shorebirds can be found. There are also records of the ever-decreasing Black Rail as well.

This fall, enjoy exploring this excellent local birding area and, of course, report all of your sightings to e-bird. Information is on the NC birding trail website (

Simon Thompson
Ventures Birding Tours
Photos by Simon Thompson

Text and Photos by Jay Wherley

With Fall nearly upon us,
Prairie Warbler
migrating birds are wasting no time fueling up at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, including Prothonotary Warblers, Swainson's Warblers, for their flight South. September can provide a wide variety of species for viewing in pleasant weather. Over the years, 29 species of warblers have been seen during this month at BLBS. The highest count of a single warbler species during September was 13 American Redstarts in 2015. The next highest single visit count is Palm Warbler at 10 from 2012, followed by eight each of Northern Waterthrush and Chestnut-sided Warbler in 2015.

Hooded Warbler
Less commonly seen-in-September warblers are Goldenwinged (one in 2015), Prothonotary (one in 2015), and an early Palm Warbler from 2014. Interesting September sightings over the years at Beaver Lake include Least Sandpiper in 2013, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher in 2014, and both Sora and Common Tern in 2016.

By the end of September, arrivals can include Northern Shoveler, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Winter Wren, Rubycrowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, and the start of the seasonal onslaught of Yellow-rumped Warblers.

In short - get out to BLBS in September - just about anything is possible!
Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society || PO Box 18711 Asheville, NC 28814