How to Select Binoculars for Birding

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A frequent question we are asked is how to select a pair of binoculars to use for birding. It can certainly be confusing!

  • What power (i.e. magnification) is best for birding?
  • What does the “objective diameter” mean?
  • Porro vs Roof Prism?
  • How important is the quality of the optics?
  • What brand should I purchase?

In doing some research, we found an excellent article that will explain and provide opinions on all of the above topics.  So if you are thinking of investing in a pair of binoculars, read this article.

We would definitely agree with the article, when it reports, “Without exception, every birding expert we spoke to said the same thing: Get the best pair of binoculars you can afford.” Binocular prices range from $100 – $2,500. Once you decide on your budget, read the article and to answer the questions above, and you are on your way to owning a pair of binoculars for your birding.

 

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Enjoy an Late Afternoon Bird Walk with SIB this Thursday

REGISTER NOW!

Double-crested Cormorant - Palmetto Lake
Double-crested Cormorant – Palmetto Lake – Ed Konrad

Thursday August 16, 2018 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Learning Together at Palmetto Lake
Location: Meet at Lake House Parking Lot
Max: 12
Cost None for members; $5 donation for guests

Join us for a late afternoon to explore the birds around the Lake House and the walks of Palmetto Lake. This walk is considered Handicap Accessible since it will be on the walks around the lake. Bring sun block, bug spray, a hat, water, snacks and binoculars.

Please register no later than Tuesday August 14 , 2018. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter the day prior the event.

If you are not yet a 2018 SIB member, you must first become a member by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/.

Volunteers Needed at the Avian Conservation Center

If you are looking for an organization to volunteer with, please see the information below from:

Registration is Open for New Volunteer Staff Orientation

Join us on Sunday, September 2nd, 1-4pm, for an introduction to our Volunteer Staff program. Learn about the variety of areas where we need support and meet some of our team. You’ll be able to ask questions, get to know a few of our current Volunteer Staff, and learn about the behind-the-scenes activities that make the Center function.

Continue reading “Volunteers Needed at the Avian Conservation Center”

Join us Thursday for a Bird Walk on North Beach

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2Reddish Egret
Reddish Egret – North Beach, Seabrook Island – Ed Konrad

It still feels like summer but the birds are already preparing for winter. Is the Reddish Egret still frequenting the far end of the beach? Are the breeding plumages starting to fade? Have the Piping Plovers begun to return to their winter home? Let’s see who is frequenting our beach this August by taking an early morning Learning Together bird walk this Thursday.

Join SIB Executive Committee Members Nancy Brown & Judy Morr for a walk on North Beach in search of seabirds and shorebirds (American Oystercatchers and various Gulls, Terns, Plovers, Sandpipers). Tide will be high and going out which is the perfect time to bird on our beach. Be sure to bring binoculars, camera, hats, sunscreen and water.

Thursday, August 9 at 7:30 am – 10:00 pm
Learning Together at North Beach
Location: Meet at Owners Parking Lot near entrance to Boardwalk 1
Max: 12
Cost None for members; $5 donation for guests

Please register no later than Wednesday August 8, 2018. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter the day prior the event.

If you have additional questions about the program, please contact us by sending an email to: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com

If you are not yet a 2018 SIB member, you must first become a member by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/ or we request a $5 donation to SIB.

Corrected: Ask SIB: Nesting Brown Pelicans

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Brown Pelicans roosting in trees at Sanibel Island. Photo by Ron deAndrade

This is being republished to correct the issue with some of the photos.

 

Q: We recently (April) returned from Sanibel, Fl . We noticed most Pelicans were in pine trees, near the top. I never see our Pelicans in trees on Seabrook. Is this from lack of beach trees or something else?

Thanks, Ron deAndrade, Pelican Watch

 

A: Brown Pelicans preferred nest sites are in mangroves, usually 2-3 meters above the ground. They may reuse these nests in subsequent years. On Deveaux Bank, the largest pelican rookery in SC, many do nest in wax myrtles. However, myrtles are not abundant and hundreds also nest on the ground.

Cheers – enjoy our pelicans!

Carl Helms

Here are several pelicans on nests in the myrtles…
Here is a nest on the ground…
Here is another pelican in a mangrove in the Galapagos Islands. Not nesting but roosting and preening but in a tree.
And finally, here’s more pelicans in trees. Seabrook, winter 2010. 14th tee, Ocean Winds

Ask SIB: House Finch

HOUSE FINCH - Bob Hider
House Finch
Question:  I’m reaching out to some birder friends so that I can better understand what’s happening on my back porch.  We had a pair of house finches build a nest in the corner of our porch this spring.  It was great fun watching them nurture their eggs, feed the chicks and nudge their young out of the nest.  Could hardly believe how fast those chicks grew!  It’s been about 3 weeks since they fledged and the house finches are now back tending the nest.  Are they having another set of young or is this another pair of house finches that has taken over the nest?  It’s possible to see the adults sitting in the nest and we catch them as they fly in and out.  But, even on a ladder, it’s really hard to see into the nest itself.  Can you offer any help or suggest a website that might help us?  Thanks so much.
Janet and Ray

Answer:  We don’t think you can know if it is the same pair or different.  This site says they will use another bird’s nest but will also have 1 – 6 broods in a year.

Shorebird research underscores importance of South Carolina beaches

This past spring, members of the Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) assisted the SC Department of Resources (DNR) to band the federally threatened Red Knots on Seabrook Island’s North Beach.  Felicia Sanders of SC DNR wrote to SIB, “Thanks for all the help with the Red Knot work. Please forward to others that I missed. Here is a press release about some of the findings. Thanks Ed Konrad for the photo! Felicia”

Here is an excerpt from the press release highlighting the importance of beaches like ours in South Carolina.

“Over the last few decades, red knots have declined by nearly 85%. This drastic decline led to the red knot receiving federal protection under the Endangered Species Act in 2015. Disturbance and food availability, especially during migration, are suspected reasons for the drop in numbers.

“Since 2010, SCDNR biologists have conducted research on red knots to understand the role that South Carolina plays in these birds’ journeys. Researchers and volunteers have captured hundreds of knots, measuring them them and placing field-readable engraved bands on their legs. These unique markers on each bird allow biologists to track individual birds if they are re-sighted anywhere in the hemisphere. Documenting how South Carolina’s resources are being utilized by red knots may help efforts to conserve this vulnerable species.”

This image, a collaborative effort between SCDNR, Ron Porter, Larry Niles, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, shows the one-year migration path of a red knot.
This image, a collaborative effort between SCDNR, Ron Porter, Larry Niles, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, shows the one-year migration path of a red knot. This bird was captured in South Carolina in 2016 on Deveaux Bank and a geolocator was affixed to its leg. During the life of its transmitter, the bird traveled 2x to its nesting grounds above the Arctic Circle and 2x to its wintering grounds in Tierra Del Fuego, Chile at the southern tip of South America. The bird was captured again in January 2018, and the geolocator was retrieved.

Remember: Our beaches are home for resident (including nesting) and migratory shorebirds.  Among them are endangered and threatened species such as Least Terns, Wilson’s Plovers, Piping Plovers and Red Knots. These birds do not read signs as far as we know, and thus may gather and feed outside protected habitat areas. Bird watching is great, but they need space. If they fly up, you are too close.

The brochure “Respect Seabrook Island Shorebirds and Habitat” is a recent joint venture of SIB, SIPOA, Town, SC DNR, and USFWS and is an excellent guide for those residents and visitors enjoying our beaches. Pick up a copy at the Lake House, Amenity Office, or SIPOA and Town offices.