Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Annual Bird and Tree Tour Saturday at Pig Tail and Greenbridge Recreation Areas

The songbirds are arriving from the south and mountain laurel is blooming to signal that spring is here.  To celebrate, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) is offering free bird and tree tours on Saturday, May 5.

Bird lovers are in for a rare treat when WSSC hosts its third annual Warbler tour at Pig Tail Recreation Area. Visitors will have a chance to see Black-Throated Green Warblers, Palm Warblers and Yellow Warblers showing off their bright colors while trying to attract a mate.

Warblers are attracted to open water, making Pig Tail a favorite.  When returning in the fall, warblers are less likely to be seen since their winter plumage is more subdued.

WSSC also will host its third annual Native Tree tour on Saturday. This year, the tour will highlight the blooming mountain laurel tree and other native plants of the low pH soils of the Greenbridge Recreation Area. The tour will be led by WSSC’s certified arborist, Doug Sievers.

What: Warbler Bird Tour

Where: Pig Tail Recreation Area, 5550 Green Bridge Road, Dayton.

When: 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 5

What: Tree Tour

Where: Greenbridge Recreation Area, 2800 Greenbridge Road, Brookeville.

When: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 5. 

For more information, contact Kimberley Knox, WSSC Community Outreach Manager, at 301-206-8233.

Feathers, fur and flights of fancy – May is Garden for Wildlife Month

hatchling1 “Green” gardening and wildlife habitats go hand in hand. Some people learn the pleasures of sharing their gardens with wildlife after they have begun to create a more eco-friendly landscape and the birds, butterflies and other critters just start showing up in the native plants and chemical free, critter safe zone.
Other gardeners make a concerted effort to create habitat for wildlife, which by its nature and definition, results in a more environmentally friendly landscape.
Since May has been designated as Garden for Wildlife Month, now is the perfect time to learn how to make your own landscape more wildlife friendly.
To create a wildlife friendly landscape, a property should provide wildlife with food, water, shelter and places to raise their young. Other sustainable gardening practices which help to create a more environmentally friendly habitat are:
You can learn more about creating wildlife friendly landscapes by visiting some of the links at the bottom of this post.
I would also like to thank Donna Williamson, a fellow wildlife lover who contacted me about the photo I used  of hornworms in a bowl of soapy water as a form of eco-friendly pest control. Donna, author of the book The Virginia Gardener’s Companion, pointed out that hornworms are the caterpillars of the sphinx moth, and instead of disposing of them, another option is just to grow enough plants to share with them! Donna said:
“I wanted to share some info about the sphinx moths/tobacco hornworms - it was disconcerting to see them drowning in a bowl on your blog which I usually enjoy so much and I applaud your effort to get folks to realize the danger of homemade pesticides! I grow lots of tomatoes so the hornworms and I can share, and I also support the wasp predators that lay their eggs in some of the caterpillars.”
Thanks Donna. I really appreciate it when our readers share what they have learned to do around their own eco-friendly gardens.
Now, for more information about creating eco friendly landscapes:
May is Garden for Wildlife Month (NWF website)
10 Tips for Creating a Wildlife Friendly Garden
The Proof is in the Planting
Butterflies help remind us to be good environmental stewards
Eco-friendly gardeners say "Let me tell you about my garden critters"
Gardening for Hummingbirds

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