Bird Call

Pickering Creek Audubon Center Volunteer E-News
March 2011 Edition


Great Backyard Bird Count

This year 43 new and seasoned volunteers celebrated the Great Backyard Bird Count at Pickering Creek on Saturday, February 19. Kudos to George and Katherine Peterson, Beth Burgess, and Evelyn Bookwalter for managing the childrenís craft and activities area, as well as the Junior Naturalists and another young teen who assisted in the childrenís area with crafts.   Very young visitors and their parents enjoyed crafts and activities in the classroom and special bird walks on the childrenís trail led by Audubon Junior Naturalists.  

Special thanks also goes out to experienced birders Terry Allen, Vincent DeSanctis, and Joe Jelich who helped new birders identify birds visiting our feeders like goldfinches and nuthatches as well as a few on the Creek including a common Merganser.  Participants enjoyed birding, watching the video Pale Male (about famous red tail hawk in New York City), seeing PPT slideshows about common bird and the volunteer program. Many enjoyed drinking hot chocolate, tea or coffee from the comfort of the office out of the wind.

A special note of appreciation goes to Margaret Maher, Mary Ann Ray, and Susanna Scallion for the tasty baked treats they provided to accompany the hot drinks! Quite a few participants headed out for the dock and the trails and reported on species they counted nearby, in addition to birds counted by those who stayed indoors. Two hundred and forty-two birds representing twenty-six species were tallied between 8am-2pm.  Check out the Pickering Creek Facebook Page for more pictures.

Wetland Observation Platform
Check out the progress on the new observation platform on the Wetland loop trail! The ramp has been completed and decked up to the platform. A little further to go, but well on its way!


Water Quality Monitoring at Pickering Creek

A new milestone in citizen science at Pickering Creek was reached last year. Volunteers, staff, and students collected water quality data 11 out of 12 months. Three volunteers have participated in the Pickering Creek Volunteer Water Monitoring program since its start last April.  Ron Weber leads the volunteer monitoring effort, coordinating regular coverage with two others, Erney Maher and Mary Ann Ray. Ron notes, ďMonitoring gives me more perspective on our waters and their health. Itís encouraging to see that we are doing relatively well at Pickering Creek.Ē  Erney Maher, our volunteer Wood Duck  trail coordinator and former Center board member, participates as a water quality monitor because as a resident in a community along the Wye River, heís interested in the health of the river (Pickering feeds the Wye river) from its sources to the bay.  Mary Ann Ray, who also volunteers as a feeder watcher and Wood Duck nest monitor states:

As Conservation Chair for the DC Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club for the past 10 years, I have become very aware of the threats to our beloved Chesapeake Bay. During those years, I have organized many hands-on events to try to alleviate the pollution throughout our watershed. Water monitoring at PCAC has given me the opportunity to see how the local waters of Pickering Creek have been affected. It also afforded me the opportunity to have one of my young granddaughters become a "citizen-scientist" with me, which was a very valuable lesson for her, I feel.

Volunteer Water quality testing serves two purposes. It helps us to keep a watchful eye out for the health of Pickering Creek.  It also provides a more comprehensive data set that we can use as a teaching tool for some of our middle and high school education programs.   As part of our Audubon Watershed Experience (AWE) program we conduct water quality monitoring with high school students to help them evaluate the health of the Bay and see seasonal fluctuations.  Our volunteer monitors take samples during weeks when we donít have high school groups, filling in the gaps and ensuring that we have consistent data for students get a picture of water quality conditions across all seasons.  Monitoring continues this year with data collected in January and February.  Starting in March we are striving to collect data weekly throughout the spring, summer, and fall.   

Pickering Creek water quality data is being uploaded into Chesapeake Bay Field Scope an interactive mapping website geared to students. Field Scope allows students to explore water quality throughout the Chesapeake Bay. Itís organized in layers so that students (and anyone else interested) can look at land cover, topography, roadways and other features.  Pickering Creek educators will be using this site to enhance our AWE program both in the classroom and online.  Are you interested in exploring FieldScope? Visit


Project Clean Stream Event in Easton March 19, 9AM-12noon

Pickering Creek Volunteers go to town, specifically to Easton. Pickering Creek and the Town of Easton are hosting a project Clean Stream event at along the Rails to Trails recreational area.  Volunteers will be cleaning up a portion of the trails to trails recreational area. Registration is on site. Please call the volunteer coordinator for details on the meeting site.   Bring along work gloves, water bottles, energy for the task at hand and your bright smiles.  Extra gloves, trash bags, and extra water will be provided. Participants will receive Together Green T-shirts and totes while supplies last.

Project Clean Stream in Easton is one of six volunteer events supported by Together Green, a unique partnership between the National Audubon Society and Toyota to promote citizen involvement in conservation.  Help Pickering Creek meet its goal of involving new volunteers in citizen science and conservation stewardship.  Come join staff and other volunteers in beautifying a community resource and protecting our part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Bring along interested family and friends, and spread the word out about this event to others! Your support does make a difference.

Wing Watchers needed for nest box monitoring

Are you interested in nest box monitoring this spring?  New volunteers are needed for nest box monitoring on our Bluebird and Wood duck nest box trails.  Les Roslund, our bluebird trail coordinator, and Erney Maher our Wood Duck trail coordinator are looking for a few good volunteers willing to commit to monitoring for the whole nesting season. We really could use as many as five new people to adopt sections of the bluebird trail and a couple more for a section or two of the wood duck trail. It works well to have two people assigned together so consider teaming up with a friend. Training will be provided, and the schedules for doing it can be flexible.

Wing Watchers are volunteers that participate throughout the year in a wide variety of organized bird citizen science projects used by Audubon, including our nest box monitoring projects at Pickering Creek. This team is especially designed for volunteers of all ages and birding skill levels and may be of interest to those who enjoy wildlife watching in general.  Volunteers interested in nest box monitoring should contact the Volunteer Coordinator as soon as possible.  Bluebirds and Wood Ducks will start picking out nesting sites soon!

Mark your Calendar

Be on the lookout for details about these upcoming Together Green Volunteer Days in future editions of Bird Call.

Earth Day Workday April 16

International Migratory Bird Day Celebration May 14

Upcoming Public Programs You Can Enjoy
March 13- Ducks, part of the Bird Walk-n-Talk Series
March 14- Woodcocks at Pickering Creek
April 29- Delmarva Birding Weekend Owl Prowl at Pickering Creek


Contact  Samantha Pitts, Volunteer Coordinator to register for events or ask questions.
Email:    Phone: (410) 822-4903 x26

11450 Audubon Lane, Easton MD 21601

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