Wake Audubon Blog

Wildathon 2015 Results

i May 28th No Comments by

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.

Fishes

  •  Lepisosteus osseus  Longnose Gar
  • Amia calva  Bowfin
  • Anguilla rostrata  American Eel
  • Synodus foetens  Inshore Lizardfish
  • Umbra pygmaea  Eastern Mudminnow
  • Esox americanus  Redfin Pickerel
  • Esox niger  Chain Pickerel
  • Erimyzon oblongus  Creek Chubsucker
  • Clinostomus funduloides  Rosyside Dace
  • Nocomis leptocephalus  Bluehead Chub
  • Notropis chiliticus  Redlip Shiner
  • Notropis cummingsae  Dusky Shiner
  • Notropis petersoni  Coastal Shiner
  •  Semotilus atromaculatus  Creek Chub
  • Cyprinodon variegatus  Sheepshead Minnow
  • Fundulus heteroclitus  Mummichog
  • Fundulus lineolatus  Lined Topminnow
  •   Fundulus waccamensis  Waccamaw Killifish
  • Lucania parva  Rainwater Killifish
  • Gambusia holbrooki  Eastern Mosquitofish
  • Heterandria formosa  Least Killifish
  • Poecilia latipinna  Sailfin Molly
  • Arias felis  Hardhead Catfish *
  •  Ictalurus punctatus  Channel Catfish *
  • Noturus insignis  Margined Madtom
  • Pylodictis olivaris  Flathead Catfish *
  • Aphredoderus sayanus  Pirate Perch
  • Chologaster cornuta  Swampfish
  •  Morone americanus  White Perch *
  • Menidia beryllina  Inland Silverside
  • Enneacanthus gloriosus  Blue-spotted Sunfish
  • Lepomis auritus  Redbreast Sunfish
  • Lepomis macrochirus  Bluegill
  • Lepomis marginatus  Dollar Sunfish
  •  Lepomis microlophus  Redear Sunfish
  • Lepomis punctatus  Spotted Sunfish
  • Micropterus salmoides  Largemouth Bass
  • Pomoxis nigromaculatus  Black Crappie *
  • Elassoma boehlkei  Carolina Pygmy Sunfish
  • Elassoma evergladei  Everglades Pygmy Sunfish
  • Etheostoma [flabellare] brevispinum  Carolina Fantail Darter
  • Etheostoma olmstedi  Tessellated Darter
  • Etheostoma serrifer  Sawcheek Darter
  • Lagodon rhomboides  Pinfish
  • Leiostomus xanthurus  Spot
  • Menticirrhus americanus  Southern Kingfish
  •  Micropogonias undulatus  Atlantic Croaker
  • Mugil curema  White Mullet
  • Gobiosoma bosci  Naked Goby
  • Paralichthys dentatus  Summer Flounder
  • Symphurus plagiusa  Black-cheeked Tonguefish

Amphibians

  •  Necturus punctatus  Dwarf Waterdog
  • Amphiuma means  Two-toed Amphiuma
  • Notophthalmus viridescens dorsalis  Broken-striped Newt
  • Desmognathus fuscus  Northern Dusky Salamander
  • Eurycea n. sp.  “Sandhills Eurycea”
  • Eurycea cirrigera  Southern Two-lined Salamander
  • Plethodon chlorobryonis  Atlantic Coast Slimy Salamander
  • Scaphiopus holbrookii  Eastern Spadefoot *
  • Bufo [Anaxyrus] terrestris  Southern Toad
  • Acris gryllus  Southern Cricket Frog
  •  Hyla andersonii  Pine Barrens Treefrog
  • Hyla chrysoscelis  Cope’s Gray Treefrog
  • Hyla cinerea  Green Treefrog
  • Hyla femoralis  Pine Woods Treefrog
  •  Hyla gratiosa  Barking Treefrog
  • Hyla squirella  Squirrel Treefrog
  • Pseudacris crucifer  Spring Peeper
  • Pseudacris ocularis  Little Grass Frog
  • Gastrophryne carolinensis  Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad
  • Rana catesbeiana  [Lithobates catesbeianus]  American Bullfrog
  • Rana [Lithobates] clamitans  Green Frog
  • Rana sphenocephala [Lithobates sphenocephalus]  Southern Leopard Frog
  • Rana [Lithobates] virgatipes  Carpenter Frog

Reptiles (including crocodilians and chelonians)

  •  Alligator mississippiensis  American Alligator
  • Chelydra serpentina  Common Snapping Turtle *
  • Kinosternon subrubrum  Eastern Mud Turtle *
  • Sternotherus odoratus  Eastern Musk Turtle
  • Pseudemys concinna  River Cooter
  • Terrapene carolina  Eastern Box Turtle *
  • Trachemys scripta  Yellow-bellied Slider
  • Anolis carolinensis  Green Anole
  • Cnemidophorus sexlineatus [Aspidoscelis sexlineata]  Six-lined Racerunner
  • Eumeces [Plestiodon] fasciatus  Five-lined Skink
  • Eumeces [Plestiodon] inexpectatus  Southeastern Five-lined Skink
  •  Scincella lateralis  Ground Skink
  • Ophisaurus ventralis  Eastern Glass Lizard
  • Coluber constrictor  Black Racer
  • Elaphe guttata [=Pantherophis guttatus] Corn Snake *
  • Elaphe obsoleta [=Pantherophis obsoletus, etc.]  Rat Snake
  •  Farancia abacura  Mud Snake *
  • Heterodon platirhinos  Eastern Hognose Snake *
  • Nerodia fasciata  Banded Water Snake *
  • Nerodia taxispilota  Brown Water Snake
  • Opheodrys aestivus  Rough Green Snake
  • Storeria occipitomaculata  Red-bellied Snake
  • Tantilla coronata  Southeastern Crowned Snake
  • Thamnophis sirtalis  Eastern Garter Snake *
  • Agkistrodon contortrix  Copperhead
  • Crotalus horridus  Timber Rattlesnake *

Birds

  • Aix sponsa  Wood Duck
  •  Anas platyrhynchos  Mallard
  • Aythya americana  Redhead
  • Melanitta perspicillata  Surf Scoter
  • Colinus virginianus  Northern Bobwhite
  • Meleagris gallopavo  Wild Turkey
  •  Gavia immer  Common Loon
  • Phalacrocorax auritus  Double-crested Cormorant
  • Anhinga anhinga  Anhinga
  • Pelecanus occidentalis  Brown Pelican
  • Ardea alba  Great Egret
  • Ardea herodias  Great Blue Heron
  • Bubulcus ibis  Cattle Egret
  • Butorides virescens  Green Heron
  • Egretta caerulea  Little Blue Heron
  • Egretta thula  Snowy Egret
  • Egretta tricolor  Tricolored Heron
  • Nyctanassa violacea  Yellow-crowned Night Heron
  • Eudocimus albus  White Ibis
  • Plegadis falcinellus  Glossy Ibis
  • Mycteria americana  Wood Stork *
  • Cathartes aura  Turkey Vulture
  •  Coragyps atratus  Black Vulture
  • Pandion haliaetus  Osprey
  • Buteo jamaicensis  Red-tailed Hawk
  • Buteo lineatus  Red-shouldered Hawk
  •  Elanoides forficatus  Swallow-tailed Kite
  • Haliaeetus leucocephalus  Bald Eagle
  • Rallus longirostris  Clapper Rail
  • Charadrius semipalmatus  Semipalmated Plover
  • Charadrius vociferus  Killdeer
  • Charadrius wilsonia  Wilson’s Plover
  • Pluvialis squatarola  Black-bellied Plover
  • Haematopus palliatus  American Oystercatcher
  • Arenaria interpres  Ruddy Turnstone
  • Actitis macularia  Spotted Sandpiper
  • Calidris alba  Sanderling
  •  Calidris alpina  Dunlin
  • Calidris minutilla  Least Sandpiper
  • Calidris pusilla  Semipalmated Sandpiper
  • Limnodromus griseus  Short-billed Dowitcher
  • Numenius phaeopus  Whimbrel
  • Tringa semipalmata  Willet
  •  Tringa solitaria  Solitary Sandpiper
  • Larus argentatus  Herring Gull
  • Larus delawarensis  Ring-billed Gull
  • Larus marinus  Great Black-backed Gull
  • Leucophaeus [Larus] atricilla  Laughing Gull
  • Gelochelidon [Sterna] nilotica  Gull-billed Tern
  • Rhynchops niger  Black Skimmer
  • Sterna forsteri  Forster’s Tern
  • Sterna paradisaea  Arctic Tern
  • Sternula antillarum  Least Tern
  • Thalasseus maximus [Sterna maxima]  Royal Tern
  • Thalasseus [Sterna] sandvicensis  Sandwich Tern
  • Columba livia  Rock Pigeon
  •  Streptopelia decaocto  Eurasian Collared-Dove
  • Zenaida macroura  Mourning Dove
  • Coccyzus americanus  Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  • Bubo virginianus  Great Horned Owl
  • Strix varia  Barred Owl
  •  Caprimulgus carolinensis  Chuck-Will’s-Widow
  • Caprimulgus vociferus  Whip-Poor-Will
  • Chordeiles minor  Common Nighthawk
  • Chaetura pelagica  Chimney Swift
  • Archilochus colubris  Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Dryocopus pileatus  Pileated Woodpecker
  • Melanerpes carolinus  Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Melanerpes erythrocephalus  Red-headed Woodpecker
  • Picoides pubescens  Downy Woodpecker
  • Contopus virens  Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • Empidonax virescens  Acadian Flycatcher
  • Myiarchus crinitus  Great Crested Flycatcher
  • Sayornis phoebe  Eastern Phoebe
  •  Tyrannus tyrannus  Eastern Kingbird
  • Lanius ludovicianus  Loggerhead Shrike
  • Vireo flavifrons  Yellow-throated Vireo
  • Vireo griseus  White-eyed Vireo
  • Vireo olivaceus  Red-eyed Vireo
  • Corvus brachyrhynchos  American Crow
  •  Corvus ossifragus  Fish Crow
  • Cyanocitta cristata  Blue Jay
  • Hirundo rustica  Barn Swallow
  • Progne subis  Purple Martin
  • Riparia riparia  Bank Swallow
  • Stelgidopteryx serripennis  Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  • Tachycineta bicolor  Tree Swallow
  • Baeolophus bicolor  Tufted Titmouse
  • Poecile carolinensis  Carolina Chickadee
  • Sitta carolinensis  White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Sitta pusilla  Brown-headed Nuthatch
  • Thryothorus ludovicianus  Carolina Wren
  • Polioptila caerulea  Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Catharus ustulatus  Swainson’s Thrush
  •  Hylocichla mustelina  Wood Thrush
  • Sialia sialis  Eastern Bluebird
  • Turdus migratorius  American Robin
  • Dumetella carolinensis  Gray Catbird
  • Mimus polyglottos  Northern Mockingbird
  •  Toxostoma rufum  Brown Thrasher
  • Sturnus vulgaris  European Starling
  • Bombycilla cedrorum  Cedar Waxwing
  • Geothlypis trichas  Common Yellowthroat
  • Mniotilta varia  Black-and-White Warbler
  • Parkesia motacilla  Louisiana Waterthrush
  • Protonotaria citrea  Prothonotary Warbler
  • Seiurus aurocapillus  Ovenbird
  • Setophaga americana  Northern Parula
  • Setophaga caerulescens  Black-throated Blue Warbler
  • Setophaga citrina  Hooded Warbler
  •  Setophaga discolor  Prairie Warbler
  • Setophaga dominica  Yellow-throated Warbler
  • Setophaga pinus  Pine Warbler
  •  Setophaga ruticilla  American Redstart
  • Piranga olivacea  Scarlet Tanager
  • Piranga rubra  Summer Tanager
  • Aimophila aestivalis  Bachman’s Sparrow
  • Ammodramus nelsoni  Nelson’s Sparrow
  • Pipilo erythrophthalmus  Eastern Towhee
  • Spizella passerina  Chipping Sparrow
  • Spizella pusilla  Field Sparrow
  • Cardinalis cardinalis  Northern Cardinal
  • Passerina caerulea  Blue Grosbeak
  • Passerina ciris  Painted Bunting
  • Passerina cyanea  Indigo Bunting
  • Agelaius phoeniceus  Red-winged Blackbird
  • Icterus spurius  Orchard Oriole
  • Molothrus ater  Brown-headed Cowbird
  • Quiscalus major  Boat-tailed Grackle
  • Quiscalus quiscula  Common Grackle
  •  Sturnella magna  Eastern Meadowlark
  • Carpodacus mexicanus  House Finch
  • Spinus [Carduelis] tristis  American Goldfinch
  • Passer domesticus  House Sparrow

Mammals

  •  Didelphis virginiana  Virginia Opossum
  • Lasiurus borealis  Red Bat
  • Perimyotis subflavus  Tricolored Bat
  • Procyon lotor  Common Raccoon *
  • Canis latrans  Coyote *
  • Sciurus carolinensis  Eastern Gray Squirrel
  • Sciurus niger  Eastern Fox Squirrel
  • Sylvilagus floridanus  Eastern Cottontail
  • Odocoileus virginianus  White-tailed Deer
  • Tursiops truncatus  Atlantic Bottle-nosed Dolphin

Totals

  • Fishes:  51
  • Amphibians:  23
  • Reptiles:  26
  • Birds:  134
  •  Mammals:  10

Total Vertebrate Species:  244

Photos from our 24 hour trek

Eastern Glass Lizard at Carolina Beach State Park

Tuesday, 8:16 a.m. For the 9th consecutive year, we kicked off our event with an Eastern Glass Lizard at Carolina Beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southeastern Crowned Snake at Carolina Beach, NC

Tuesday, 9:06-10:01 a.m. Carolina Beach State Park has been very productive for us over the years. We added over 50 species there this year, including secretive species like this Southeastern Crowned Snake.

Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad

Tuesday, 9:06-10:01 a.m. Carolina Beach State Park has been very productive for us over the years. We added over 50 species there this year, including secretive species like this Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad.

Atlantic Coast Slimy Salamander at Carolina Beach, NC

Tuesday, 9:06-10:01 a.m. Carolina Beach State Park has been very productive for us over the years. We added over 50 species there this year, including secretive species like this Atlantic Coast Slimy Salamander.

Mosquitofish (left) and Rainwater Killifish (right)

Tuesday, 10:37 a.m. Although fishes are the most speciose vertebrate group in NC, they require much time and effort. Carolina Lake Park yielded us five fish species, including the very common Eastern Mosquitofish (left) and the not-so-common Rainwater Killifish (right).

Laughing Gulls

Tuesday, 11:29 a.m. Already over 100 species. Who’s laughing now?

Wilson's Plover at Fort Fisher

Tuesday, 11:59 a.m. Ruddy Turnstone and Wilson’s Plover were among the many shorebirds at Fort Fisher.

Ruddy Turnstone at Fort Fisher

Tuesday, 11:59 a.m. Ruddy Turnstone and Wilson’s Plover were among the many shorebirds at Fort Fisher.

Black Skimmer at Fort Fisher, NC

Tuesday, 12:02 p.m. The Black Skimmer is an oddball tern species that we don’t often get on our Wildathons, but this year there were several around Ft. Fisher.

Seining at Fort Fisher, NC

Tuesday, 12:08 p.m. Seining is teamwork. A few hauls at Ft. Fisher netted us five new fish species.

Least Tern

Tuesday, 12:39 p.m. Our smallest tern species, the Least Tern is one of seven tern species we encountered.

Rough Green Snake on a Brunswick County backroad.

Tuesday, 4:07 p.m. Roads yielded many species, like this Rough Green Snake on a Brunswick County backroad.

Swallow-tailed Kite

Tuesday, 4:21 p.m. I don’t care who you are—a Swallow-tailed Kite is a treat to see on a Wildathon.

White Ibis were among the most abundant bird species on this year's Wildathon.

Tuesday, 5:53 p.m. White Ibises were among the most abundant bird species on this year’s Wildathon.

American Bullfrog at White Marsh, NC

Tuesday, 5:59 p.m. An American Bullfrog, North America’s largest anuran, poses at White Marsh.

 

Green Anole and Southeastern Five-lined Skink

Tuesday, 6:07 p.m. Not enough riprap to go around? This Green Anole was concerned about the Southeastern Five-lined Skink in his territory. The skink was more concerned about the giant hominid watching them both.

 

Yellow-bellied Slider

Tuesday, 6:09 p.m. One of our most common turtle species, the Yellow-bellied Slider has made an appearance in every one of our Wildathons.

 

American Alligators at Lake Waccamaw

Tuesday, 6:50 p.m. When it comes to viewing opportunities for American Alligators in NC, few places can top Lake Waccamaw.

Arctic Tern - a rare find at Lake Waccamaw, NC

Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. This Arctic Tern on Lake Waccamaw was the highlight of this year’s Wildathon. Likely blown inland by Tropical Storm Ana, it was an extremely rare find for inland NC and a U.S. “lifer” for everyone on the team.

Copperhead

Tuesday, 8:34 p.m. A Copperhead at dusk was our only live venomous snake.

Carpenter Frog

Wednesday, 1:50 a.m. Carpenter Frogs stay up all night. Sort of like us.

Cheek Creek dipping

Wednesday, 4:15 a.m. The Dream Team Cheek Creek dipping. Open all night. It’s how we roll.

Wednesday, 6:02 a.m. Jackpot! This minnow trap produced a Blue-spotted Sunfish, Dollar Sunfish, Two-toed Amphiuma, and Eastern Musk Turtle.

Wednesday, 6:02 a.m. Jackpot! This minnow trap produced a Blue-spotted Sunfish, Dollar Sunfish, Two-toed Amphiuma, and Eastern Musk Turtle.

Bald Eagle at McKinney Lake Fish Hatchery

Wednesday, 7:45 a.m. This Bald Eagle at McKinney Lake Fish Hatchery was one of the last species we added.

Photogenic Birds

i May 15th No Comments by

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.

Wildathon! Support Wake Audubon’s “24-Hour Dream Team”

i May 6th No Comments by

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 . . .

Two of the "Dream Team" members

Two of the “Dream Team” members

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).

Wildathon5We WILL count:

– 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

Clemmys (Glyptemys) muhlenbergii. Photo by Jeff Beane in Wilkes Co. NC

Clemmys (Glyptemys) muhlenbergii. Photo by Jeff Beane in Wilkes Co. NC

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 jeff.beane@naturalsciences.org

Those of you who have already pledged to sponsor us can ignore all this, and we sincerely thank you!

 

 

 

Protect Sea Turtles and Shore Birds

i May 5th 2 Comments by

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

Piping Plovers photo by Michael Milicia

Piping Plovers photo by Michael Milicia

Native Pollinators

i May 3rd No Comments by

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.

Dr. Youngsteadt at Raulston Blooms! with a pollinator matching game to teach people of all ages the importance of native bees, and a native bee display

Dr. Youngsteadt at Raulston Blooms! with a pollinator matching game to teach people of all ages the importance of native bees, and a native bee display

 

Making bamboo bundle for bees

Dr. Lopez-Uribe showing a visitor how to bundle bamboo together to make a nest for 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

Ms. Hamblin next to a bundle of bamboo in a backyard.

Ms. Hamblin next to a bundle of bamboo in a backyard.

A bundle of bamboo with leaf-cutter bees nesting (in the cavities with leaves in them).

A bundle of bamboo with leaf-cutter bees nesting (in the cavities with leaves in them).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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.

 

Dr. Youngsteadt at Raulston Blooms! with a pollinator matching game to teach people of all ages the importance of native bees, and a native bee display

Dr. Youngsteadt at Raulston Blooms! with a pollinator matching game to teach people of all ages the importance of native bees, and a native bee display

(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.

 

 

 

 

Making bamboo bundle for bees

Dr. Lopez-Uribe showing a visitor how to bundle bamboo together to make a nest for cavity-nesting bees.

(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

Ms. Hamblin next to a bundle of bamboo in a backyard.

Ms. Hamblin next to a bundle of bamboo in a backyard.

(Izquierda)  April Hamblin junto a tallos de bambú agrupados en el jardín de una casa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bundle of bamboo with leaf-cutter bees nesting (in the cavities with leaves in them).

A bundle of bamboo with leaf-cutter bees nesting (in the cavities with leaves in them).

(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.