Record Number of Birds sighted by SIB at Bear Island WMA

Five members of SIB left Seabrook Island at 6:30 am on Friday October 28th along with David Gardner, director of environmental education at Camp St. Christopher, to drive to Bear Island Wildlife Management Area about an hour south along Highway 17.  Our plan was to arrive for sunrise at about 7:35am and spend a few hours birding this beautiful area.   I think all the participants will agree it was well worth the 60-mile one-way trip! Part of the ACE Basin, this area is perfect habitat for birds with ponds, rivers, salt marsh, freshwater marsh, mudflats mixed pine-hardwood forest and farmland.

Bear Island closes for hunting from November 1 – February 9 each year, so this was the last chance to visit before spring.  Most of the birding was done by car with stops to get out and take short walks for viewing. Some of the winter waterfowl had returned including a few Gadwalls, Blue-winged Teals, Mottled Ducks and Pied-billed Grebes, but there were no signs of the Tundra Swan yet.

What a fabulous day!  Below is the full list of 81 species with counts submitted to eBird.  Some of the highlights included:  Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills, American White Pelicans, Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs and a special treat was identifying the four Stilt Sandpipers.  David also heard a brown-headed nuthatch but I did not record it as no one else heard the bird.
Now we can’t wait for Bear Island to open again in February!
Article submitted by:  Nancy Brown
Photographs taken by:  Flo Foley
Mute Swan  1
Gadwall  3
Mallard  2
Mottled Duck  20
Blue-winged Teal  25
Pied-billed Grebe  45
Wood Stork  70
Double-crested Cormorant  12
Anhinga  9
American White Pelican  19
Great Blue Heron  10
Great Egret  45
Snowy Egret  80
Little Blue Heron  25
Tricolored Heron  35
Black-crowned Night-Heron  5
White Ibis  90
Glossy Ibis  5
Roseate Spoonbill  12
Black Vulture  20
Turkey Vulture  32
Osprey  2
Northern Harrier  2
Cooper’s Hawk  2
Bald Eagle  5
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Common Gallinule  10
Semipalmated Plover  12
Killdeer  1
Stilt Sandpiper  4
Dunlin  6
Least Sandpiper  38
Western Sandpiper  1
Short-billed Dowitcher  1
Wilson’s Snipe  1
Greater Yellowlegs  25
Lesser Yellowlegs  15
Laughing Gull  20
Gull-billed Tern  1
Caspian Tern  5
Forster’s Tern  18
Royal Tern  3
Mourning Dove  2
Belted Kingfisher  4
Red-headed Woodpecker  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  4
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  5
Downy Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  3
American Kestrel  1
Eastern Phoebe  5
Blue Jay  38
American Crow  6
Fish Crow  14
Tree Swallow  30
Tufted Titmouse  6
House Wren  1
Marsh Wren  3
Carolina Wren  2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  5
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  3
Eastern Bluebird  10
Gray Catbird  2
Brown Thrasher  1
Northern Mockingbird  3
European Starling  3
Common Yellowthroat  4
Palm Warbler  23
Yellow-rumped Warbler  45
Chipping Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow  3
Song Sparrow  15
Swamp Sparrow  20
Eastern Towhee  7
Northern Cardinal  4
Painted Bunting  1
Red-winged Blackbird  32
Eastern Meadowlark  15
Common Grackle  53
Boat-tailed Grackle  12
House Finch

Author: sibirders

SEABROOK ISLAND BIRDERS / “watching, learning, protecting” Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) are residents, renters and guests of Seabrook Island, SC who have an interest in learning, protecting and providing for the well-being of the incredible variety of birds that inhabit Seabrook Island throughout the year.

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