Authored by Jeff Beane
This year’s Wildathon took place on May 12 and 13. Our “24-Hour Dream Team” consists of Jeff Beane, Ed Corey, Bob Davis, John Finnegan, and Stephanie Horton. [Andy Walker also participated for the first couple of hours on Pleasure Island and was very helpful with retrieving traps and other logistics. Nate Shepard set minnow traps for us in the Sandhills on Tuesday, resulting in two species we did not encounter otherwise.] We counted only those species which we could positively identify to the agreement of our team. We recorded several species not found on any of our previous Wildathons. We omitted from the list a few species that we were uncertain of, including at least one bat sonogram from the Anabat detector that we could not positively identify.
Our total species count was the second-highest of the 24-hour Dream Team’s 16 Wildathons to date (our record was 248, in 2014). For the 9th straight year, it was a pleasure to begin the event with an Ophisaurus ventralis at Carolina Beach in New Hanover County, in the backyard of the former home of the late Ms. Myrtle Curry, mother of team member Bob Davis. The last species recorded was Spinus tristis, in Richmond County with about 20 minutes remaining. Two road-killed snakes and three frogs were salvaged, and a few invertebrates were collected, for the collections of the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences. Many observational records for various species were added to the Museum’s files and the NC Natural Heritage Program’s database.
We dedicate this Wildathon to the late Edith Morgan; the late Jennifer Harris; all the early naturalists who came before us and left their invaluable legacies; and to all wild, free things everywhere.
We wish to thank everyone who pledged our team this year. At this point, our pledged sponsors include Sunny Allen, Ronn Altig, Rudy Arndt, Jeff Beane, Ann Bilobrowka, Art Bogan, Alan Cameron, Bob Cherry, John Connors, Ed Corey, Bob Davis and Judy Morgan-Davis, Kelly Davis, Paul DeAnna, Angie and Bill DeLozier, Janet Edgerton, John Finnegan and Stephanie Horton, Bob Flook, Jim Green, Jeff Hall, Diane Hardy, Andy Harrison, Roland Kays, Susan Kelemen, Rick LaRose, Jane Lawrence, Dave Lenat, Greg Lewbart and Diane Deresienski, Dan Lockwood, Gerry Luginbuhl, Ellen Lyle, Jeff Marcus, Theresa Moran, Bob Oberfelder, Linda Rudd, Annie Runyon, Tammy and David Sawyer, Jessie Schillaci, Melody Scott, Kim Smart, Dustin Smith, Dorothy Stowe, Rick Studenmund, Paulette van de Zande, Peter Vankevich, Jan Weems, Lori Williams, Gary Williamson, Kari Wouk, Bob Zappalorti, Steve Zimmerman, Stephanie Zuk, and almost certainly some others we may have inadvertently left out. Special thanks to Andy Walker and Nate Shepard for their participation and help with trapping and other logistics, to Ed Corey for the use of his vehicle, and to Jeff Beane and Bob Davis for providing their houses as bases of operation and lodging for the very tired. All monies raised will be used to support the same projects as previous years (Audubon’s Coastal Island Sanctuaries, local Wake Audubon projects, Project Bog Turtle, and Project Simus). Your generous support is greatly appreciated! You are the reason we keep doing it every year.
If you haven’t already done so, please send your pledges to the address below (or give them to any of our team members or to Wake Audubon Treasurer John Gerwin) as soon as possible. Make checks payable to “Wake Audubon” (or “NC Herpetological Society” if you want to donate only to those projects). You can also use the PayPal option on Wake Audubon’s website (under “donate” on the home page), but please indicate that your donation is for the Wildathon, and let us know that you’ve paid via that option. Please contact one of us if you have any other questions. If you didn’t pledge, it’s not too late to make a contribution. Just contribute as noted above.
We thoroughly enjoyed the event, and we are already looking forward to participating again next year. Sincere thanks from all of us!
Date: 12-13 May 2015
Species counted: Vertebrates
Time spent: 24 hrs. We officially began our count at 8:16 a.m. on 12 May and ended at 8:16 a.m. on 13 May. Beane and Davis participated for the entire 24 hours; Corey and Horton participated for all but about the last hour. Finnegan took about a 5-hour break (from ca. 1:00 to 5:00 a.m.) to sleep, and rejoined us for the finish.
Area covered: Our search included portions of Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Hoke, Montgomery, Moore, New Hanover, Richmond, Robeson, and Scotland counties, NC. We began at 1208 Canal Drive (ca. 1.0 airmi. NNE Carolina Beach) in New Hanover County and ended at McKinney Lake State Fish Hatchery (ca. 3.2 airmi. WNW of Marston) in Richmond County.
Weather: Mostly sunny to partly cloudy and humid with some light showers; high temperatures in the low 90sºF and lows in the low 60sºF.
Techniques: Most species were observed via visual and auditory searches, while walking and driving. Binoculars and a spotting scope were used to assist in viewing many species. Several species were taken in dipnets, a 12-ft. seine, and minnow traps; and several were found by turning natural and artificial surface cover. One of two bat species was detected only via an Anabat detector. Several species were observed only as road-kills or otherwise dead specimens; these are noted by an asterisk (*).
Photos are at the end of the blog.
Reptiles (including crocodilians and chelonians)
Total Vertebrate Species: 244
Photos from our 24 hour trek
Authored by Bob Oberfelder
If you find photographs of birds engaging, viewing the award winners from the Audubon photography competition will be rewarding. Some of the birds are exotic and others are common, but the photos are all extraordinary. If you view the winners at the link Audubon Photo Winners you will be as impressed as I am with the quality of these pictures. The photographers have revealed the personas of the birds they have digitally captured. These pictures are a result of the confluence of an artistic eye, careful assessments of the lighting conditions, patience in getting the ideal pose, and high quality photographic equipment. The winners deserve accolades for the quality of their submissions, but I suspect even the average submission is worthy of praise.
If you wish to see photos from Wake Audubon field trips and activities, they can be viewed using the following link: Wake Audubon Photos. Though the quality of these photos in not in a class with the winners, they display the birds and other wildlife that have been seen on Wake Audubon field trips. Perhaps you will find them engaging enough to entice you to join us on one of our upcoming field trips.
Authored by Jeff Beane
Wildathon time approaches again!
For those of you who know what this is about, please consider pledging if you can afford it this year. For those who don’t know what it’s about (and are interested), feel free to read the explanation below . . .
Once again, Wake Audubon Society is holding its annual “Wildathon.” This year, the “24 Hour Dream Team” (Jeff Beane, Ed Corey, Bob Davis, John Finnegan, Stephanie Horton) will be participating in its 16th consecutive annual effort.
This year’s effort is scheduled for Tuesday-Wednesay, 12-13 May 2015. As usual, in the name of maximum effort and self-abuse, we plan to participate for 24 hours straight (from early Tues. morning through early Wed. morning).
For those unfamiliar with this event, Wildathon is a fund-raiser. But we aren’t just begging for money—we’re willing to work a long, hard, 24 hours for it. The object is to identify as many vertebrate species (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes) as possible in 24 hours, and enlist sponsors to pledge a certain monetary amount per species (or a flat donation). We restrict our efforts to North Carolina, and will spend most of our time in the southeastern Coastal Plain and Sandhills.
The same rules as previous years will apply.
We will NOT count:
– humans or their domestic animals, such as cattle, horses, dogs, house cats, chickens, ostriches, etc.
– anything in captivity.
– “signs” such as tracks or nests–some portion of the actual animal must be seen or heard (i.e., known to be present during the event).
– Anything we are not certain about the identification of (to the satisfaction of our entire group).
– species that are heard and positively identified, though not seen.
– Identifiable eggs, larvae, etc.
– road-kills or otherwise dead vertebrates, or their readily identifiable remains, including “pieces and parts.”
– established, introduced, non-domestic species like European starling, Norway rat, redear sunfish, etc.
– any species we manage to detect by any legal, reasonable method (trap, seine, dipnet, telemetry, Anabat, etc.).
Our team’s proceeds will be divided between support for management of
Audubon’s NC Coastal Island Sanctuaries (20 islands between Cape Fear and Cape Hatteras that support more than 60,000 nesting seabirds and wading birds, as well as other wildlife);local Wake Audubon conservation projects; and the NC Herpetological Society’s two main conservation/research projects–Project Bog Turtle (conservation and research initiative focused on protecting the bog turtle (Clemmys (Glyptemys) muhlenbergii) and its diminishing habitat in the Southeast;www.projectbogturtle.org) and Project Simus (conservation and research initiative developed to gather information on the natural history, status, and distribution of the southern hognose snake and other species tied to sandhill habitats;http://ncherps.org/project-simus/ ).
If you can sponsor us, please reply to the email at the end of this blog as soon as possible with your pledge (there’s no need to feel pressured; we all get too many requests for donations, and we won’t be offended if you don’t sponsor us.) There are different ways of sponsoring. You can pledge a certain amount per every vertebrate species we record, or for herps only, birds only, etc.; or you can pledge a lump sum (e.g., $25 regardless of how many species we record); or you can pledge “up to” a certain amount (e.g., if you pledge $1 per reptile and amphibian species up to $30, and we see 40 species, then you would just owe $30, or if we only see 20 species you would just owe $20). No amount is too small; even if you pledge a penny per species and end up owing only a dollar or two, that will help, because we will (hopefully) have many sponsors. Every bit counts. If you don’t want to donate this year, just send some positive thoughts our way. We have especially enjoyed the more “creative” pledges from some of you in past years. If you work for a company that matches charitable gifts, you can have them match your pledge or donation. Wildathon donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
We expect to end up with somewhere around 200 species, but much will depend on weather and various other factors. A good day could yield more species; a bad day could result in fewer. Our best-ever total was 248 species (in 2014), and our lowest-ever was 155 (in 2000).
As always, I’ll send a summary of our effort and a complete list of all the vertebrates we observe to everyone who sponsors us.
Pledges will be due in early June. If you wish to send yours in early, you may send them to me (Jeff Beane, NCSM Research Lab, 1626 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1626), or give them to any of our team members, or to John Gerwin (Wake Audubon Treasurer). Make checks payable to “Wake Audubon.” You may also donate via PayPal through the Wake Audubon website (www.wakeaudubon.org) by clicking on the “donate” icon (down the lefthand sidebar). Be sure to indicate that your donation is for Wildathon. Please let me know if you donate this way, so that we can keep track of all donations.
In the past, some of you have indicated a desire to support the NCHS projects (Project Bog Turtle, Project Simus) only; if you want to do that, make your check out to “NC Herpetological Society,” indicate what the donation is for, and send to either me or Ed Corey. Please contact one of us if you have any other questions.
For even more information on the Wildathon, and an account of our 2002 event, see p. 16-19 of the April 2004 issue of Wildlife in North Carolina magazine.
Please send pledges to firstname.lastname@example.org
Those of you who have already pledged to sponsor us can ignore all this, and we sincerely thank you!
The National Park Service (NPS) is taking public comments on proposed changes on wildlife buffers at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. We need your help to urge the NPS not to make sweeping changes to this successful management plan that has helped triple sea turtle nests and doubled some numbers of bird species. Unfortunately, comments can only be submitted via the NPS’s website and must be submitted by May 14. See our “Advocacy” page for talking points that you can use to craft your own comments (or copy/paste.) SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS HERE: http://bit.ly/1zjVuB2
Authored by April Hamblin, Dr. Margarita Lopez-Uribe, and Dr. Elsa Youngsteadt
In natural and agricultural ecosystems, 85% of all flowering plant species need pollinators to help them reproduce and bear fruit. Native bees are the most important and effective pollinators of flowering plants. North Carolina has over 500 species of native bees. These beneficial insects are essential to the maintenance of our gardens and the environment. April Hamblin, graduate student at NCSU studying urban native bees, gave a presentation on native bees at the Audubon Society meeting in March. In April, Dr. Elsa Youngsteadt, Dr. Margarita Lopez-Uribe, Jeremy Slone, and April Hamblin tabled next to Audubon at the J. C. Raulston Arboretum during Raulston Blooms! to educate the public about native bees and teach them how to construct homes for solitary, cavity-nesting bees.
To construct bee homes, you could bundle bamboo and other hollow stems. You could also use a block of wood and drill holes into it. The idea is that cavity-nesting native bees could turn these stems into new homes. Most native bees do not live together like honey bees, but live alone, so each stick of bamboo would be similar to an apartment. Even though some native bees nest in cavities, many of them live in the ground in mounds that look similar to ant hills. Another beneficial living area in your yard could be bare patches of soil for the ground-nesting bees.
For more information about constructing bee bamboo homes, please visit http://ncagr.gov/spcap/bee/documents/BuildingWildBeeHouses.pdf
But, even if you missed these events, there is another one coming soon. On May 16th, Dr. Lopez-Uribe, Dr. Youngsteadt, April Hamblin, and Anne Spafford will be holding Pollinator Garden Workshops in both English and Spanish. These workshops will help participants (1) recognize some of our native bees, (2) understand their unique relationships with plants, and (3) support them with attractive, bee-friendly gardens. After an overview of garden design and installation, participants will get hands-on experience planting a pollinator garden at the J. C. Raulston Arboretum and be able to take home a plant of their very own. Novice to experienced gardeners are welcome and encouraged to register as soon as possible at http://jcra.ncsu.edu/events/details.php?ID=1081 for the English session, or
http://jcra.ncsu.edu/polinizadores/ for the Spanish session
En ecosistemas naturales y agrícolas, el 85% de las especies de plantas con flores necesitan polinizadores para reproducirse y generar frutos. Las abejas nativas son los polinizadores más importantes y efectivos de estas plantas. Carolina del Norte cuenta con más de 500 especies de abejas nativas. Estos insectos benéficos son esenciales para la manutención de jardines y el medio ambiente. April Hamblin, una estudiante de postgrado de NCSU que estudia abejas nativas, dió una presentación sobre abejas nativas en el encuentro de Audubon Society en Marzo. En abril, Dr. Elsa Youngsteadt, Dr. Margarita López-Uribe, Jeremy Slone, y April Hamblin presentaron una mesa junto a Audubon en el J. C. Raulston Arboretum durante Raulston Blooms! con el objetivo de educar al público acerca de la importancia de las abejas nativas y enseñarles cómo construir nidos para abejas solitarias que nidifican en cavidades.
(Izquierda) Dr. Youngsteadt durante Raulston Blooms! con un juego que muestra la importancia de los polinizadores nativos a personas de todas las edades. También puede observarse una caja de demostración de diversidad de abejas nativas.
(Derecha) Dr. López-Uribe mostrando a un visitante cómo agrupar los tallos de bambú para crear un nido para abejas que nidifican en cavidades.
Para construir casas de abejas, puedes agrupar tallos de bambú u otras clases de tallos que sean huecos. También puedes usar un bloque de madera y abrir huecos en él. La ideas es que las abejas que nidifican en cavidades puedan convertir estos tallos en sus casas. La mayoría de las nativas no viven en grupos como las abejas de miel, ellas viven solas. Entonces, cada tallo de bambú es similar a un apartamento para una sola abeja. Aunque algunas abejas nativas nidifican en cavidades, muchas de ellas viven debajo del suelo. Las entradas de sus nidos se van como nidos de hormigas. Por esta razón, áreas de suelo sin vegetación son benéficos para las abejas nativas. Para más información sobre cómo construir casas para abejas, visita esta página (información en inglés): http://ncagr.gov/spcap/bee/documents/BuildingWildBeeHouses.pdf
(Izquierda) April Hamblin junto a tallos de bambú agrupados en el jardín de una casa.
(Derecha) Grupo de tallos de bambú donde se puede observar nidos de abejas cortadoras de hojas.
Si no tuviste la oportunidad de participar en estos eventos, habrá otra oportunidad pronto. El 16 de Mayo, Dr. López-Uribe, Dr. Youngsteadt, April Hamblin, y Anne Spafford ofrecerán un taller de ‘Jardines para Polinizadores’ en inglés y español. En este taller, los participantes aprenderán a (1) reconocer algunos de nuestros polinizadores nativos, (2) entender las relaciones únicas que estas abejas tienen con las plantas que visitan, y (3) crear jardines que sean más amigables a los polinizadores. Después de escuchar una charla general acerca de diseño e instalación de jardines, los participantes podrán plantar especies de plantas nativas en el J. C. Raulston Arboretum, y también podrán llevar una planta a sus casa. Personas interesadas en jardinería, desde principiantes hasta más experimentados, son bienvenidos. Los invitamos a registrarse cuanto antes en la siguiente página: http://jcra.ncsu.edu/polinizadores/ for the Spanish session.