Winter Birds of Seabrook Island with David Gardner

Scopes, Binoculars & Cameras ... oh my! - Dean Morr
Scopes, Binoculars & Cameras … oh my! – Dean Morr

Like many of our local resident “snow birds,” our feathered wintering birds have also found their way back to Seabrook Island and it is an exciting time to bird!  If you drove past the gardens on Thursday, December 15th, you might have wondered why the parking lot was full.  A group of ten SIB members joined David Gardner, Director of Environmental Education at Camp St. Christopher, to meet and go behind the gate of the Seabrook Island Utility and Water Treatment area to bird around the grounds, including a large water treatment pond.

It was a perfectly clear crisp 50 degree day and exciting for all of us!  In an hour and a half, walking 1.25 miles, we saw a total of 36 bird species.  Before leaving the garden area we spotted nearly 200 American Robins fly overhead, Blue Jays and a Northern Cardinal.  A Red-shouldered Hawk seemed to follow us from the gardens into the Water Treatment area during our entire visit.  The trees and bushes near the administrative building contained many small passerines like Palm & Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Northern Mockingbirds.  But it was the large pond we were most interested in to see which ducks and shorebirds may be hanging around.  We were thrilled to see many Buffleheads, a couple Hooded Mergansers and even three Red-breasted Mergansers, but it was the Common Goldeneye that had David literally jumping for joy!  This is an extremely unusual sighting and David’s first for Seabrook Island!

We continued to walk around the entire pond and added the Golden-crowned Kinglet, Cedar Waxwing, Spotted Sandpiper and Least Sandpiper. As the sun warmed the earth the vultures took to the sky and we saw both the Turkey and Black Vultures along with several types of herons, egrets and ibis flying overhead.  See the full count of bird species sighted at the end of this article.

Our final SIB birding activity of 2016 was a great one!  In our first year, SIB has hosted 21 birding events for our members including Learning Together, Birding with David Gardner, Backyard Birding and volunteering at the Center of Prey fall Hawk Watch.  An average of ten people attended each session with an average of 30 species seen.  Our members have donated $370 to the Educational Outreach program at Camp St. Christopher paying for fuel for the naturalists to visit the local schools of Johns and Wadmalaw Islands to teach the children about the environment in which they live.

We already have two programs scheduled in January and another dozen remaining to post on our website for the spring of 2017.  Please be sure to check out Calendar and the Activities page for our upcoming events!

Article Submitted by:  Nancy Brown
Photos Submitted by:  Jane Southey, Dean Morr & Nancy Brown

Lesser Scaup  2
Bufflehead  49
Common Goldeneye  1
Hooded Merganser  3
Red-breasted Merganser  1
Wood Stork  1
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Great Egret  1
White Ibis  3
Black Vulture  7
Turkey Vulture  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Least Sandpiper  5
Spotted Sandpiper  1
Ring-billed Gull  4
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Northern Flicker  2
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Eastern Phoebe  1
Blue Jay  6
American Crow  8
Carolina Chickadee  3
Carolina Wren  2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  3
Golden-crowned Kinglet  4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  7
Eastern Bluebird  6
Hermit Thrush  1
American Robin  200
Northern Mockingbird  3
Cedar Waxwing  12
Palm Warbler  2
Pine Warbler  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  30
Chipping Sparrow  10
Northern Cardinal  6

View this checklist online at

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