Those of you who have been away
most of the summer will notice some changes at Felts
Audubon Preserve. Despite the rampant growth that accompanies the rainy season, the trailsare open and nicely groomed, thanks to our new tractor and the dedication of Fred Allen. Dueto a break-in over the summer, which was discovered before anything was stolen, additionalsecurity measures have been installed in the storage barn, including an alarm system. So far there have been no repeat incidents.
The buttery garden
planted on Earth Day is thriving with minimal maintenance, and it is fullof butteries. The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have also discovered it.
Preparation work has begun
on a new wildower meadow at the north end. The area will be tilled and planted in January. In the meantime, the St. Augustine grass in that area is being
mowed and sprayed.
Summer is the quiet time
at the preserve, with fewer bird species and also fewer humanvisitors. However, there were two new sightings in August, an Eastern Kingbird and NorthernRough-winged Swallows. This brings our unofcial species count to 126. We hope to have anew ofcial total in January.
We have some urgent needs
for volunteers for non-physical tasks. We need someone to takeover the gathering and compiling of checklists at the Felts Preserve. You can either pass the
information on to a board member once a month to write up a summary for the newsletter, or
write the summary and give it to our newsletter editor yourself. Whatever you are comfortablewith. We can mail you the completed checklists if picking them up at the bird blind is a prob-lem. Contact any board member if you can take on this task.
If you have visited Felts recently
, you probably noticed that the bird feeders are often empty.
We need to address this immediately or we will not get our usual wealth of winter birds at the bird blind. We need a committee to keep the feeders full, a coordinator and some worker bees.
If you can help, please contact a board member.
By Don Bansen, MCAS Historian
Friday April 24, 1985, saw Bra-denton Mayor Bill Evers reading a proclamation on the Courthouse steps designating the city as a bird sanctuary. Robert McNesky, presi-dent of Manatee County Audubon Society, joined the mayor along with about a dozen members of the Audubon Club and Lisa Shock-nesse, who was holding a Red-tailed Hawk. A local attorney, Thomas W. Stew-art, assisted us, without charge,in making us a corporation. Thisenabled us to obtain a commer-cial bulk mailing permit and, at a later date, formal recognition from the Internal Revenue Ser-vice as a tax-exempt organization,which allowed us to obtain a much
less costly non-prot bulk mailing
rate. By-laws were written and ad-opted in February 1985. Developer Pat Neal was a state senator in November 1985 whenhe addressed the MCAS meet-ing at the Manatee River GardenClub. Neal hired MCAS president McNesky as an environmental consultant when he started the Perico Bay Club. This raised acloud of criticsm of McNesky due
to the possibility of a conict of
interest. The local papers carried numerous articles about this ar-rangement. Audubon member Irene Mur- phy of Holmes Beach received an award for collecting the most stamps in the state for the Birds of Prey Center. In the 1985 Christmas Bird Count in Bradenton, 27 observ-ers reported spotting a total of 122 species and 28,109 birds.
Felts does not exist in isolation.
The surrounding land either is or was agricultural; or is or as
- pires to be residential. Native groundcover has disappeared. Replacing it are often aggressiveexotic plants - non-native species that thrive in disturbed conditions which our native plantsaren’t accustomed to - and soon they overrun the place.
They are encroaching throughout our property.
Some were already there, courtesy of people
who dumped unwanted houseplants on our ground before we owned it. And often wind, birds
or other animals drop seeds. You get rid of them either manually (including equipment if nec-essary) or via herbicides. If you don’t get them out and keep at it, they come right back.
We try the old-fashioned way,
every month: pull and dig. It’s not enough. Why? Too fewcome out to help, and it’s usually the same people every time.
We use herbicides
. As little as possible. The most benign of them - but herbicides nonthe-less. It doesn’t make us happy, and various members rightly scold us. They have no place in anatural ecosystem, of course. But if we didn’t use any, we’d soon have something that didn’tresemble native Florida at all.
You hold the key.
Our membership is over 350. Some of our members undoubtedly are physi-cally limited. Many aren’t. We need you. Hope to see you at Felts on our next workday - Sat-urday, October 31, 8 a.m. to 12 noon.
Felts is thriving but needs volunteers
By Lucette Wombacher, treasurer
Look back at our history Preserve Felts with more ‘elbow grease’
By Arlene Flisik, vice president