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Issue Vol. III- No. 4
April , 2008
The Southeast Volusia Audubon Society promotes the protection of birds, other wildlife and their habitat through education and activism.
The April 2d meeting is almost upon us. NOTE the change in venue. We meet at the Menard-May park in Edgewater at 5:30 p.m. for the annual pot-luck dinner and election of officers. It is the meeting where a slate of officers is elected for the next year. In the past, it has been jokingly considered a “coronation for life”, but this year is different. I won’t restate what I said in the last issue, but the club needs your help to keep going. There are key positions that need to be filled. We have also several projects going which will need your support. Here is a list of some of these: • Scrub Jay habitat school tours: On February 22d, Kathy headed a group of volunteer members to survey the Scrub Jay habitat behind the Edgewater YMCA for use as a field trip opportunity for local schools. They identified and tagged trees and plants and discussed best ways for presenting the information to elementary and middle school students. This is a first step in what we hope will become a valuable resource for schools in environmental education. If you are interested in helping, please contact Kathy. • Bird inventory of Longleaf Pine Preserve: County naturalist, Bonnie Cary, asked us if the club would be interested in helping to inventory the bird life at the park. We agreed that it would be a good idea if we could get sufficient volunteers. The county has bought thousands of acres of lands to keep them in preserves. It is useful to use them as natural areas and show our appreciation to the county for the purchases and management of them. Six of us participated in the first survey on March 14th. We, and the West Volusia folks who were conducting a birding tour on the same day, found 45 species. More surveys are scheduled. Check out the website www.sevolusiaaudubon.org for details. • Myrtle Park butterfly garden: On Tuesday, 22 Jan 08, several of us met with members of the NSB Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), and Lindley’s Nursery at the park at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Canal Street. The purpose of the meeting was to brainstorm ideas for developing some type of ecological area at the park. The city is rebuilding Canal Street on the West side of U.S. 1 to the intersection of Myrtle Avenue. The CRA members wanted to include the park in the rebuilding scheme. We agreed to spearhead the project and get other groups involved. We have had several meetings since then. So far, the NSB Middle School science club is eager to participate and we have leads to FFA groups, scouts and others.
Meetings are held the 1st Wednesdays Oct. thru March at 7 P.M. Edgewater Library 103 Indian River Blvd. 7: P.M. Smoke-free environment. Refreshments are served. Plenty of parking. Public welcome.
Next meeting is April 2, 2008
Annual Potluck Picnic - 5:30 p.m.
Menard-May Park, Edgewater
Programs & Field trips subject to change.
Field trips begin at 8:00 A.M. unless otherwise noted. Meet in the Market Square parking lot Edgewater, Ridgewood Ave. & 442, between Dunkin Donuts & Chik-Fil-A. Bring lunch & drinks. Don't forget bug-spray!
April 5 - Princess Place Preserve
See details p.3 Questions? Contact Gail Domroski 428-0447
Audubon members and guests are all welcome.
Last Issue Till Fall We started publishing The eSkimmer in April 2006 as an experiment. We figured now that we're in the age of high-tech we may as well take advantage of it. The results were gratifying. We added readers and were able to utilize links that were not available to us in the hard copy edition. Along with The eSkimmer, the website was developed and we looked to be going in the right direction, electronically anyway. But membership has not kept pace with ideas and as technologically savvy as we've become, we're still back in the stone age as far as finding volunteers to keep us rolling, attendance at meetings and the rest of that which is grist for the organization (any organization) mill. That said, we've decided to take the summer off, smooth our feathers and hope for a better tomorrow. —Gil Miller
April, 2008 NSB to monitor several species of shorebirds and to document incidents of harassment of birds by people and dogs. Nancy White is our representative on the County Task Force to address this problem with a solution to be decided on by May. You are welcome to sit in the audience and also to speak on the issue. New projects are helping Myrtle Park in NSB to plant a butterfly garden and assisting the County to inventory birds at Long Leaf Pine Preserve. Please contact Kathy @ 409-3091 to volunteer or for more information and also see our website: sevolusiaaudubon.org. I have invited elected officials and encourage SEVAS members to attend a low impact development workshop in Ormond Beach on Monday, March 31st, 8-noon at Performing Arts Center Blue Room, Second Floor, 399 N. US Highway 1. Send registration of $15, which includes continental breakfast, to Citizens for Ormond Beach, P.O. Box 31, Ormond Beach, FL 32175. —Kathy Booth
The following is my letter to my Congressmen: I disagree that NASA property should be used for commercial aerospace. In a meeting last week with NASA officials, citizens were told that NASA has been given a directive by the legislature to promote commercial aerospace. I do not ever remember agreeing to that. NASA is paid for by my taxes extracted from my wallet by my federal government. Therefore, logically, my tax dollars should be used to fund government sponsored aerospace programs, not commercial aerospace. The commercial aerospace industry should take it upon themselves to find already suitable sites for their industry and not expect the government to provide for them or buy them what they think they need; and being such a new industry, they don't know what they need. The commercial aerospace industry should--as we Floridians concerned about the environment are trying to encourage our local governments to do--use already developed land that is sitting decrepit and idle, instead of developing environmentally sensitive, unspoiled habitat lands. I realize that without our government allowing some of NASA property to essentially remain as unspoiled habitat when it was purchased, we would not have the internationally esteemed Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Jobs and the amount of income to the local and federal economy from the fishing, hunting and tourist industry at the Refuge should be considered against the supposed income from commercial aerospace on NASA property, after the costs of new facility development are taken into account. It seems reasonable to request our federal government to encourage the commercial aerospace industry to consider alternative sites such as the local Air Force Base, which I understand is sitting neglected down the road. I would like to have your comments about the NASA proposal and I hope they include that you will discourage NASA from destroying one of the few large remaining natural Florida lands. PS: I was disappointed that the content of the meeting by NASA officials was vague and many questions by the audience went unanswered. Because of the lack of information given to the public, the public should have more than 45 days to present comments. Something I did not think to write in my letters at the time was the following: I have read that the aerospace industry is having difficulty keeping track of the all the human created debris already in space because of the potential destruction of space vessels and thus, astronaut fatalities. The promotion of commercial aerospace would, as a by-product, pollute our atmosphere even more. It would take only a short time before humans are unable to explore space at all, due to the risks of being hit by a missile of human released debris. But looking on the bright side, if there is no escape from pollution by traveling to and living on other planets, we might be compelled to clean up the earth, and that would be a good thing. There are several conservation projects members can choose in which to be involved. On-going is scrub habitat education with the goal of encouraging the City of Edgewater to restore the scrub jay habitat by the YMCA. (Bring back the Jays!) Also ongoing is beach patrol at Smyrna Dunes Park in
I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.
—Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojarhiu)
Prez Sez from page 1 • Dogs at Smyrna Dunes Park: Many of you have noticed in the newspapers that Volusia County decided to remove dogs from the boardwalks of Smyrna Dunes Park and require that they and their owners walk on the trail adjacent to the boardwalk. This decision was made after reports of dogs off leash and several incidents of dogs on or off leash that nipped or bit other users of the park. The NSB deputy mayor, Randy Richenberg decided to establish a committee of interested citizens to brainstorm the problem and potential solutions in the hopes of revising the county decision. Since we have a vested interest in the birds nesting and resting in NS Dunes Park, Nancy White volunteered to be our representative on the committee. Kathy Booth will back her up as necessary. If you have any input or suggestion we encourage you to contact them. If you go to the park, bring a camera to document any infractions against the bird nesting areas including dogs off leash. In addition, we have several challenges to our quality of life. Expected tripling of the Edgewater population and perhaps doubling of the New Smyrna Beach population in the next fifteen years, destruction of more and more wetlands, and the potential for water shortages are all on the horizon. We need your help and your leadership to keep these projects going. Happy birding. Don
April Field Trip
Princess Place Preserve
Our April 5 field trip will be to Princess Palace Preserve at the Flagler/StJohns county boundary. Wild, serene and beautiful, the Princess Place is the crown jewel in Flagler County’s setting of parks. Home to nesting bald eagles and situated on a knoll overlooking the confluence of Pellicer Creek and the Intracoastal Waterway, the estate was once home to a Russian Prince. It was built as a hunting lodge in 1886 by Henry Cutting and is the oldest standing structure in the county. After his death Cutting’s wife, Angela, married Boris Sherbatof a Prince in the Russian royal family and she became known as the Princess. Today, Princess Place Preserve with its rich history and 1500 pristine acres, attracts nature enthusiasts from near and far. There are five trails to choose from and we might just do them all. Bring lunch, snacks, water etc. & bug spray.
Native & Nice
As butterfly season approaches, this little native beauty is getting prepared. Necklace Pod, Sophora tomentosa is flushing out with its first spring growth of velvety slivergreen foliage and bright yellow flowers are soon to follow. Not far behind them will be the season’s first butterflies and caterpillars of the sulfur butterflies. It is also said to attract hummingbirds. The flowers appear sporadically throughout the rest of the year on spikes that can be 4 to 16 inches long! After the flower spike has finished this relative of the legume family (Leguminosae) will have a seed pod from 2-8 inches that is compressed so tightly between the seeds it could look like a strand of necklace beads, hence the name. A warning, though, for this precocious native, is its seeds have been used as a purgative by Native Americans because they contain an alkaloid, cytosine and is dangerous if ingested, especially for small children. As a member of the legume family, Necklace Pod has a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. This unique relationship helps the plant to tolerate Florida’s poor soils. On top of that, it is extremely drought tolerant, has a low fertilizer requirement, and has no serious pests. Also, this native can cope with a wide variety of locations from beachside to inland, and all soil types from acidic to alkaline, sand, loam, and even clay soils. Necklace Pod is under utilized as it can reach a shrubby height of 6 feet or eventually it can be trimmed into a small tree spreading 10 feet tall and wide. It will make a great specimen planting, mass or border planting, and do not forget its use in a butterfly garden! —Lauren Pell
Longleaf Pines Preserve Migration Study
Longleaf Pines Preserve is the newly opened, natural area located on the north side of Highway 44 near its intersection with pioneer Trail. The county purchased the 12,000 acres acquired to date in several parcels. Some was purchased in partnership with the St. Johns River Water Management District, one block in partnership with the City of Port Orange, some for the county account alone and one large block was transferred from Florida Department of Transport. So far two trails have been opened for foot, bicycle and horse travel; the six mile long red trail, and the eleven mile blue trail. The blue trail is partially under water in all but the driest times. The trails pass through stands of longleaf pine, through acres of palmettos, along drainage ditches from past logging industry work and by a large lake originally created as a borrow pit for the construction of Highway 4. Fantastic cobwebs, beautiful water lilies and wonderful solitude are the norm. SEVAS members visited the passable portion of the two trails on March 7, riding in the county eco-buggy. The club subsequently agreed to perform a spring migration bird inventory of the preserve for the county. The plan developed calls for species identification along the red trail, one unmarked trail and as much of the blue trail as personnel and conditions permit. While one or two people travel in the logistics vehicle, most walk one to two mile sections of the trails. The first audit was performed March 14. Subsequent inventories will be taken March 28, April 11, April 25 and May 9. On March 14, six club members assembled at the K-Mart lot on SR44 in New Smyrna Beach at 8:00 A.M. and travelled to the west parking area of the preserve. There they met Danielle Ivey, Volusia County Environmental Specialist, who provided an extra vehicle and opened the access gates to allow vehicle entry to drop off and pick up the birders. Only the west side of the preserve was worked, partly because of a shortage of people and partly because West Volusia Audubon was holding a Birding 101 course on the east side. Their sightings are being
incorporated into our summary. The adventure ended about 11:30 A.M. and several things were obvious. • The preserve is a fantastic treasure and an amazing place to visit. • There is a lot of bird life in the trees and on the ground. • The ability to bird by ear is a tremendous, if not completely necessary, asset. • Being on a path among tall pines or in a field of palmettos is an awesome experience. Thirty-eight species were identified during this morning. A list of the birds seen or heard follows on the next page. If you can help on any or all of the upcoming audits, please contact Don Picard, 386-957-1886, or Ken Gunn, 386-4232334. Come on out and join the team. There is enough fun to go around. —Ken Gunn
The eSkimmer Longleaf Pines Species List Double-crested Cormorant Least Bittern Green Heron White Ibis Black Vulture Turkey Vulture Bald Eagle Cooper’s Hawk Red-shouldered Hawk Red-tailed Hawk Wild Turkey Sora Sandhill Crane Mourning Dove Belted Kingfisher Red-bellied Woodpecker Downy Woodpecker Northern Flicker Pileated Woodpecker Eastern Phoebe White-eyed Vireo Blue Jay Fish Crow Tree Swallow Carolina Chickadee Tufted Titmouse Carolina Wren Ruby-crowned Kinglet Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Eastern Bluebird Gray Catbird Northern Mockingbird Northern Parula Black-throated Blue Warbler Yellow-rumped Warbler Pine Warbler Prairie Warbler Palm Warbler Yellow Warbler Common Yellowthroat Eastern Towhee Savannah Sparrow Northern Cardinal Red-winged Blackbird Eastern Meadowlark
April, 2008 Hilda is on the advisory board, she has access before the gates officially open at 9:00 AM. We successfully birded around the information center, a primitive footpath below it and the main parking lot before opening time and the arrival of several busloads of very loud tourists. We spent the rest of the morning birding the road into the forest above the center. It was crowded, but Hilda’s knowledge of where to find birds kept us from being irritated by the masses. The birding was excellent but the thrill had to be watching a pair of Orangefronted Parakeets enter their nest, located in the middle of a large termite mound on the side of a tree. The two parakeets landed on the mound and one after the other disappeared into the hole in the bottom, presumably climbing up into their nest. Amazing! Hilda treated us to a fine lunch at a buffet frequented by local workers. After eating, we drove only a short distance to a power post inhabited by a pair of Puerto Rican Woodpeckers. Both landed on the post about 20 feet in front of us. The female dove in and out of their nest hole, facing us, several times but both were in the open enough to allow us excellent looks. The rest of the afternoon, we spent birding subdivisions, acreages, a cemetery and forested roads on the north and east side of the forest, with excellent results. Count for the day was only 23 species but 20 were lifers for me. That evening Hilda dropped us off at a beach restaurant for an excellent seafood dinner, while she went off to attend to business. She picked us up again at 7:20 PM and we went back to the forest. The gate had been left unlocked for her so we were able to drive in to the main parking area. After about an hour of searching, we were treated to a good look at a Puerto Rican Screech Owl, another lifer. —Ken Gunn
Puerto Rico Birding
I arranged a short birding trip to Puerto Rico for myself and Gale Yarrow, a friend from Texas, for the week of March 10. I selected the tour company AdvenTours on the internet and it turned out to be a one-lady operation. This choice had both positive and negative features. On the plus side, Hilda knew exactly where to go to find endemic species and Caribbean specialties; her hearing was superb and her repertoire of bird calls was excellent; she was very good at recognizing and distinguishing the species, sexes and maturities; she had access to the national forest before and after closing and at night. The downsides were that she took calls from her other guides and from clients while we were driving, though not when we were actually birding; and, we only birded a small area east of San Juan – although this was a very productive area, the two other centers that participated in the 2006 CBC both listed a greater variety of species. I would recommend Hilda to others but would suggest doing more homework than I did before finalizing a schedule. We flew into San Juan the afternoon of March 10, arriving about an hour apart, and took a long taxi ride to the Hotel Yunque Mar. The hotel was recommended by Hilda and we had no complaints. It was clean, the staff pleasant and obliging, near the areas where we birded and right on the ocean – waves literally splashed the base of the building. As most restaurants in the area were closed on Mondays and we had no car, the hotel staff kindly prepared a very acceptable dinner for us. We counted seven fairly run-of-the-mill species that evening. Tuesday morning, Hilda met us at the hotel just after 7:00 AM and we headed to Yunque National Forest Reserve. Since
Officers & Chairs
President: Don Picard VP: Vacant Secretary: Jean McNeil Treasurer: Richard Domroski Newsletter: Gil Miller Programs: Ken Gunn Field Trips: Gail Domroski Conservation: Kathy Booth
386-423-2508 386-428-0447 386-423-4124 firstname.lastname@example.org 386-423-2334 email@example.com 386-428-0447 386-409--3091 386-957-1886
Membership: Richard Domroski 386-428-0447 Publicity: Bill Cox firstname.lastname@example.org
Ways & Means, Education/Outreach, Hospitality: VACANT!
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