Anderson Point Park is a very special nature park in East Raleigh. It is named for the Point, an area in the park where Crabtree Creek flows into the Neuse River. This park also exemplifies the rare Piedmont Prairie, a grassland that is home to many species of birds, insects, amphibians and other animals.
Wake Audubon Society has a bird watching history with the Anderson Point Park site that pre-dates the City of Raleigh’s ownership. Members had permission and encouragement to bird the site as early as the mid-1970s. Dr. Robert Hader, Audubon’s Christmas Count compiler, had details of his birding trips to Anderson Point from that time and gave a strong recommendation to Raleigh Councilwoman Mary Cates that the site had excellent potential as a park site. Anderson Point has continued as a birding site since Raleigh’s acquisition primarily due to its unique meadow community. It is surveyed on both the Christmas and Spring Bird Counts.
This long association with the site culminated in Wake Audubon nominating two of its board members, Stephanie Horton and Jesse Perry, to become part of the Master Plan Committee for the Neuse River Corridor, with particular interest in Anderson Point. One or both of these members attended the primary planning sessions through the Spring of 1996.
It was agreed to maintain Anderson Point as a nature park and to restore the meadow with native grasses and other plants. Adopt-A-Park: As part of Wake Audubon Society’s Adopt-A-Park agreement with the City of Raleigh, we do the following to maintain habitat for birds and other animals in this exceptional area:
Anderson Point has long been a favorite birding spot for Auduboners and is listed in our Birdwatcher’s Guide to the Triangle and among our local birding sites. There is a good reason for this. The habitat at Anderson Point is diverse. Sitting at the confluence of Crabtree Creek and the Neuse River, one finds broad swaths of bottomland forest lining the waterways. There are swampy floodplain pools here that resound with the chorus of breeding frogs in season and the hoots of Barred Owls at night. Wake Audubon has placed nest boxes for the Prothonotary Warblers which are summer residents at Anderson Point.
In the Spring of 2001 Wake Audubon partnered with the City of Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department to reconstitute a piedmont prairie at Anderson Point Park. The NC Wildlife Resources Commission provided guidance on prairie restoration and seed mixture. Ten acres of former horse pasture thick with fescue was replaced with a mix of wildflowers and native warm season grasses.
The meadow is now alive with the colors, sights and sounds of birds, insects and other creatures of the piedmont prairie. Management strategy includes alternate year mowing in early spring across half the meadow. A small section is maintained as shrub thicket. Wake Audubon has installed bird boxes, bat houses, a butterfly garden and other structures to attract wildlife, as well as interpretive signage for the public’s enjoyment.
Since the conversion from horse pasture to wildlife meadow, Common Yellowthroat, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak and Field Sparrow have become established as breeding birds at the site. Loggerhead Shrikes are seen in winter. A Purple Martin apartment was installed in 2004 and a Chimney Swift nesting tower/information kiosk in 2009, and martins and swifts are now regularly seen flying over the meadows.
Anderson Point Park, with its unique mix of meadows, forest and wetlands, is an ideal place to enjoy a diverse assemblage of habitats and the wildlife that thrive within them.