SIB Identifies 116 Species in Christmas Bird Count

SIB Members Aija Konrad, David Gardner, Judy Morr, Justin Johnson & Nancy Brown
SIB Members Aija Konrad, David Gardner, Judy Morr, Justin Johnson & Nancy Brown

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) began on Christmas day in 1900 by ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, who proposed a new holiday tradition—a “Christmas Bird Census” that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them.  Since then, this tradition has continued to grow and the data collected is used by scientists to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America.

Aaron Given, wildlife biologist at Kiawah Island, is responsible for organizing the collection of data for the Sea Island CBC, a 15 mile radius which includes Seabrook, Kiawah, Wadmalaw and Johns Island.  During the chili supper, held after a day of birding last Wednesday January 4th, Aaron announced that 152 species were identified for the entire Sea Islands CBC.  There may be a couple species added after he gets a few late lists.  This is close to his record of 158 since starting the Sea Island CBC in 2010.

As for Seabrook Island, our grand total was 116 bird species and over 3,000 birds for the 24-hour period, which far exceeded the previous record of less than 90 species. Thanks to a group of SIB members, we had residents of three homes who conducted Backyard Birding and four teams of people who covered six areas of Seabrook Island.  Way to go team!!!  Here’s a summary of the results from each team.

Backyard Birders:

Rob & Melanie Jerome had 22 species, Dean & Judy Morr had 14 species and  Cindy Willis with 8 species.  Since a backyard on Seabrook Island is a little different than the average American backyard, our volunteers observed everything from woodpeckers and songbirds to herons, egrets, storks and loons.  Thank you!

Golf Courses:

A team led by George Haskins and included Marcia Hider, Charley Moore, Russ Preston, Tori Langen and Flo Foley covered both golf courses, once in the early morning and once in the late afternoon.  This was the first time the golf courses were included in the CBC.  They net a total of 35 species, of which two were only seen on the golf course:  the American Coot and the Cooper’s Hawk.

Camp St. Christopher:

Aija Konrad & Justin Johnson covered 7.5 miles of ground in a 7 hour period and saw 72 species, of which 21 were only seen at this location.  And although David Gardner was under the weather, he was able to get out for short periods to assist.  They certainly had the largest challenge trying to cover a huge and diverse habitat which included beach, woodlands, marsh and more!  Highlights included seeing all three “salty” sparrows:  Saltmarsh, Seaside and Nelson’s.

Jenkins Point, Palmetto Lake, SIPOA/Club Maintenance Area, Horse Pasture:

Judy Morr, Flo Foley and Nancy Brown spent 5 hours walking 2 miles and driving a couple miles to spot and identify 48 species, of which 14 were unique including three Greater Yellow-legs on Jenkins Point.  A visit to the Water Treatment Plant in the afternoon with David, Justin, Ed Konrad, Aija, Judy and Nancy during 90 minutes recorded 25 species.  The 31 Wild Turkeys seen inside the water treatment plant may have been one of the highlights!

Bohicket Marina:
Since Nancy & Flo live at the marina, they birded both the river and the resident feeders twice during the day and Nancy and Judy visited in the evening and reported a net count of 24.  They were lucky when a Whimbrel flew onto the low tide mud flats down river and with their birding scope the team could easily identify the bird.
North Beach:
Jim Edwards, Jane Chew and Bing covered this area and were able to get some great finds!  With a total of 50 species, 11 of those were unique for the day including Red Knots, Piping Plover and Horned Grebes.
Thanks again to all our volunteers!  We can tell you the team is already thinking about how we can beat our record of 116 next year and hope more members will join us as Backyard Birders!  Below is the species list and total count of individual birds for each seen during the day along  with some of the photographs taken.
Submitted by:  Nancy Brown
Photographs by:  Ed Konrad & Charley Moore

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Wood Duck 2
Lesser Scaup 4
Bufflehead 105
Common Goldeneye 1
Hooded Merganser 24
Red-breasted Merganser 6
Ruddy Duck 1
Wild Turkey 42
Red-throated Loon 3
Common Loon 3
Pied-billed Grebe 11
Horned Grebe 3
Wood Stork 14
Double-crested Cormorant 176
Anhinga 7
American White Pelican 3
Brown Pelican 151
Great Blue Heron 31
Great Egret 40
Snowy Egret 23
Little Blue Heron 36
Tricolored Heron 9
Black-crowned Night-Heron 1
White Ibis 23
Black Vulture 30
Turkey Vulture 28
Osprey 6
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Cooper’s Hawk 2
Bald Eagle 12
Red-shouldered Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Clapper Rail 18
Sora 1
American Coot 1
American Oystercatcher 12
Black-bellied Plover 12
Semipalmated Plover 3
Piping Plover 1
Killdeer 2
Whimbrel 1
Ruddy Turnstone 5
Red Knot 30
Sanderling 82
Dunlin 62
Least Sandpiper 1
Short-billed Dowitcher 10
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Greater Yellowlegs 3
Willet 26
Bonaparte’s Gull 1
Laughing Gull 10
Ring-billed Gull 56
Herring Gull 11
Forster’s Tern 21
Royal Tern 8
Eurasian Collared-Dove 10
Common Ground-Dove 2
Mourning Dove 1
Great Horned Owl 2
Barred Owl 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2
Belted Kingfisher 13
Red-bellied Woodpecker 26
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 7
Downy Woodpecker 7
Northern Flicker 30
Pileated Woodpecker 8
Merlin 2
Eastern Phoebe 8
Blue Jay 16
American Crow 163
Fish Crow 1
Tree Swallow 4
Carolina Chickadee 46
Tufted Titmouse 50
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
House Wren 1
Winter Wren 2
Sedge Wren 1
Marsh Wren 2
Carolina Wren 24
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 3
Golden-crowned Kinglet 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 33
Eastern Bluebird 134
Hermit Thrush 5
American Robin 351
Gray Catbird 6
Northern Mockingbird 10
European Starling 25
Cedar Waxwing 167
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 4
Palm Warbler 4
Pine Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 212
Prairie Warbler 1
Nelson’s Sparrow 5
Saltmarsh Sparrow 4
Seaside Sparrow 4
Chipping Sparrow 146
White-throated Sparrow 5
Savannah Sparrow 4
Song Sparrow 8
Swamp Sparrow 2
Eastern Towhee 4
Northern Cardinal 61
Red-winged Blackbird 58
Boat-tailed Grackle 24
Brown-headed Cowbird 22
Baltimore Oriole 2
House Finch 17
American Goldfinch 22
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