Spring Migration … Who am I???

As you know, tomorrow is April and spring migration is in full swing! This month SIB will focus our articles not on individual “birds of the week,” but rather topics around bird migration. Which birds will be packing their bags and heading north for the summer? Which birds use our home as a stopping point to rest and refuel on their journey north? And which birds make Seabrook Island their summer home? We still want to give you a quiz each Friday, so leave us a comment if you want to make a guess – and watch for a new article about bird migration on Sunday morning!

Our first report of this bird being “sighted” on Seabrook Island was early Thursday morning by George Haskins.  He heard this bird’s song (which is a dead give-away), as it is a rather difficult to see. Who am I?


SIB Learning Together on Crooked Oaks Golf Course

On Monday, March 27th, SIB conducted its second “Learning Together” on Crooked Oaks golf course. As you may know, one of the two courses is generally closed for maintenance each Monday. The Seabrook Island Club, the Pro Shop and Golf Maintenance teams have been very gracious to allow SIB to borrow golf carts to ride around the 18-holes in search of birds.  It was a gorgeous spring morning with birds singing while nine SIB members and guests searched for birds by sight and sound (and tried to stay dry!).

One of the highlights was to see the eaglet sitting on the side of the nest. It’s not quite fledged, but certainly looking like it’s considering that first flight!  We also watched as a pair of Osprey build a new nest in a tall pine near the green on the 3rd Hole of Ocean Winds.  Since the Bald Eagles took over their former nest, it looks like they are starting from scratch.


It was a quiet day on the ponds and marshes, but the warblers and song birds made up for the lack of wading birds. Plenty of Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice and Northern Cardinals were seen and heard throughout the course.  The group was excited to not only hear the Northern Parula’s rising buzzy trill with a final sharp note, but also see him only 20 feet above us in a Live Oak tree.  The Eastern Bluebirds were also prevalent, and the group enjoyed watching a pair at a nesting box near the end of our trip behind a home on the 17th hole.

It was quite an educational day with Bob Mercer using the mulch to draw the difference between a Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawk – it was a Cooper’s we saw high in the sky looking like a cross.  Flo Foley pointed out the reptiles including alligators, turtles and green anoles.  And all the many songs and calls we heard to identify birds without even seeing them!  Below is the complete list of the 33 bird species seen today. Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy what we love about Seabrook Island!

Article & Photos Submitted by:  Nancy Brown

  • 2 Double-crested Cormorant
  • 1 Anhinga
  • 1 Great Blue Heron
  • 2 Great Egret
  • 2 Black Vulture
  • 2 Turkey Vulture
  • 2 Osprey
  • 1 Cooper’s Hawk
  • 1 Bald Eagle
  • 1 Red-shouldered Hawk
  • 12 Laughing Gull
  • 11 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 4 Downy Woodpecker
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 14 American Crow
  • 13 Fish Crow
  • 2 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  • 16 Carolina Chickadee
  • 9 Tufted Titmouse
  • 6 Carolina Wren
  • 5 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • 4 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 14 Eastern Bluebird
  • 4 Northern Mockingbird
  • 10 Northern Parula
  • 4 Pine Warbler
  • 7 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 4 Yellow-throated Warbler
  • 13 Northern Cardinal
  • 35 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 7 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 4 House Finch
  • 6 American Goldfinch

SIB “Bird of the Week” – Red Knot

Red Knot – Calidris canutus
Length:  10.5″; Wingspan: 23″; Weight: 4.7 oz.

(At the end of this article, read about two programs we are offering this week and how you can register to attend one or both!)

Red Knot flying at Seabrook Island – Ed Konrad

One of the most exciting visitors to our beach March-May are the Red Knots. They have one of the longest migrations of any bird, about 18,000 miles round trip, from the tip of South America to the Arctic tundra where they breed.  Our beach is an important stopping point as a food source for them to feed and rest on their long journey. In April and May, we can see thousands of knots in a group!

Continue reading “SIB “Bird of the Week” – Red Knot”

Bird of the Week … Who am I???

My friends and I are on Seabrook Island’s North Beach in growing numbers from late winter to spring. By May there will be many thousands of us visiting you! We’re a plain grey color now, but soon will be turning a spectacular rufous color. We feed in large flocks along Seabrook Island’s shore on the falling tide. We don’t like to be disturbed by people, or chased by dogs, while we’re feeding and resting. We’re on an incredibly long journey, so please help us on this very important stop to your island.  Who am I?

Leave us a comment if you want to make a guess – and watch for the full article on Sunday morning!


SIB Presents – Rudy Mancke on April 26, 2017

Everyone is Welcome to Meet
Rudy Mancke
co-host of South Carolina ETV’s NatureScene

Bring your birding questions
for an interactive discussion about
The Natural History of Barrier Islands

Join us on

Date: Wednesday April 26, 2017
Registration & Social: 7:00 pm
Program Starts: 7:30 pm
Live Oak Hall at the Lake House on Seabrook Island

Please help us know how much wine, snacks and chairs we will need by letting us know you plan to join us! Click here!

If you would like to join or renew your SIB Membership, download the SIB Membership Form now and either drop it off or bring the form and your $10 per person per year when you sign in at this event.

All Seabrook Island residents and guests are welcome. There is a $5 donation for non SIB members. Information about future programs can be found at the SIB web site seabrookislandbirders.org .


About Rudy Mancke

Naturalist Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV’s NatureScene which began it’s long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, have earned him a legion of dedicated viewers. Rudy’s knowledge of the complex inner-workings of different ecosystems and his great admiration for the natural world make him the perfect guide. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation and the Garden Club of America honored his commitment to resource conservation with special awards. Since retiring from SCETV, Rudy has gone on to teach at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Before coming to television, Rudy served as the natural history curator at the South Carolina State Museum for 10 years, and was a high school biology and geology teacher. He earned a degree at Wofford College, attended graduate school at the University of South Carolina, and received honorary doctorate degrees from the College of Charleston, Winthrop College, and Wofford College.

Rudy Mancke currently hosts NatureNotes on both SCETV and South Carolina Public Radio.

Looking for a Bird Guide App for your Device???

Do you have a smart phone or a tablet?  Are you interested in learning more about birds or trying to identify a bird?  Why carry a heavy paper guidebook into the field or even around the house when you probably have a smart phone or tablet nearby!?!  Like with everything, there is an App for ANYTHING!  And birding is no different. Flo and I realized pretty quickly that using our smart phone was the best way to easily identify birds and even track our sightings.  By now we have at least a dozen different Apps we’ve tried and many of them we still use. (Note: We both use Apple products so my experience is with the iOS versions.)

In this blog, I’m going to focus on five Apps we find most useful in identifying and recording birds.  I’ve provided a summary of each below. Please use the links to learn more about each and to download to your device(s).  If there is interest, I’ll make suggestions of additional Apps in future blogs.  Or you can contact me if you want a more personalized experience in how to use these types of apps: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com

Merlin Bird ID

The first one I recommend to everyone, especially people new to birding, is called Merlin Bird ID.  Just answer five simple questions about a bird or upload a photo of a bird you are trying to identify, and Merlin will come up with a list of possible matches. Merlin offers quick identification help for beginning and intermediate bird watchers to learn about 650 of North America’s most common birds!  Cornell Lab of Ornithology created it in partnership with Birds in the Hand, LLC.  And the best part is it is FREE! (On my phone it takes about 600 MB of space)

Continue reading “Looking for a Bird Guide App for your Device???”

SIB “Bird of the Week” – Red-breasted Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser – Mergus serrator
Length:  23″; Wingspan: 30″; Weight: 36.8 oz.

Female Red-breasted Mergansers – Ed Konrad

If you missed Friday’s “Who am I?” – here it is again:  Two truths and a lie.

  1. I love to spend most of the year in the north ranging as far north as Alaska but I spend the winters along both the east and west coasts of the US and as far south as Mexico.
  2. I am a member of the duck family and my principal diet is fish.
  3. You most likely will find me in the winter around inland waterways such as ponds and rivers.

If you guessed the lie to be finding me in the winter around inland waterways (#3), you are correct. I prefer to be on the shore in the winter and am most likely to be spotted among piers and jetties.

The Red-Breasted Merganser has a distinct crest raked to the rear of his head. The male has a blackish head with a green gloss and a black crest. The male has a white ring band around the neck and a streaked chestnut breast to the waterline. The body is mostly gray with black upper-parts along the wings.

Continue reading “SIB “Bird of the Week” – Red-breasted Merganser”

Bird of the Week … Who am I???

Who am I? As a clue to this week’s bird, I’ll give you two truths and a lie about me that will help you identify me.

  1. I love to spend most of the year in the north ranging as far north as Alaska but I spend the winters along both the east and west coasts of the US and as far south as Mexico.
  2. I am a member of the duck family and my principal diet is fish.
  3. You most likely will find me in the winter around inland waterways such as ponds and rivers.

Leave us a comment if you want to make a guess – and watch for the full article on Sunday morning!


SIB Member Profile – George Haskins

George Haskins birding on a Lindblad/National Geographic Expedition trip
in California Baja in 2010.

I’ve been interested in birding ever since my Grandmother gave me a Roger Tory Peterson Field Guide when I was six years old.  Soon after that we moved to a home adjacent to an Audubon Sanctuary in Brockton, MA. My sister and I became Junior Auduboners.  I do maintain annual lists of birds seen and compare on this with my sister each year.  I won last year with 104 birds and limited New York birding.  This year I’ve already seen 87 species. My life list is over 300. Picking a favorite bird would be difficult, but the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is special because, on two occasions, I have rescued one into my cupped hand and, then, had him look me in the eye, as if to say thanks, before flying.   

I had 43 years in two overlapping careers, first as a saving and loan officer and, secondly, as a residential real estate appraiser.

In retirement, I have been a non-resident on Seabrook for 17 years and am fortunate to be part of founding Seabrook Island Birders.  I’ve also been on the High Hammock Board of Directors and the Environmental Committee (Lakes and Wildlife Sub-Committee, Deer management Task Force and Common Property Task Force).

Our summers are spent in suburban Rochester, NY and, for numerous years, I have been a member of the Rochester Birding Association. Their monthly publication is “Little Gull.”  In the current issue, a member, John Boettcher, posted a piece entitled ‘Why Birdwatching?’  First time I’ve ever thought of this topic and I agree with the items.  I got his permission to share it with our SIB members.  I have no feel for whether he had a listing priority, but I do think I’d have had a different order, were I the originator.

Why Birdwatching?
by John Boettcher   

  1. Social — Meet new people and renew acquaintances.
  2. Competition — How many birds can you see?  How many species?  Be the first to find new ones.  Post on a list and on eBird.
  3. Hunt — Finding birds in the habitat, getting a good look, and identifying.
  4. Skill Building — Becoming proficient with optics.  Keying on birds using songs and calls.
  5. Gentle Physical Activity — Reason for a walk.  
  6. Enjoying Nature — Exposure to bird habitat — other animals, trees, and flowers.
  7. Mark Seasons — Notice the different birds with different seasons and changes.
  8. Travel to New Places — Nearby and far away.
  9. Build Identification Skills — Home study and practice in the field to build proficiency.
  10. Natural History of Birds — Study and sharing of bird behavior and physiology.
  11. Get a Better View of Birds —   No matter how many times you’ve seen a bird there awaits a better view.
  12. Better Citizen — Appreciation and understanding of nature and need to preserve.
  13. Teaching Opportunity — Pass along your understanding and enthusiasm to others — young and old.

Submitted by George Haskins

Join us for SIB / Audubon Red Knot Training

The Red Knots are here! They are on our North Beach shore in growing numbers, as they refuel and rest as a part of their incredible migration from Patagonia to breeding grounds in the Arctic. By mid-April 1000s of Red Knots will be on our beach, as they begin to turn their beautiful reddish breeding color.

If you’re interested in becoming better informed on the Red Knot, SIB has scheduled a two-hour training session on Tuesday, March 28, 10:00am to Noon, at the Oystercatcher Property Owners’ building. This program is free for all who attend.

To enroll in this interesting, informative, and important program, please REGISTER NOW.

Nolan Schillerstrom, Audubon South Carolina’s Coastal Program Coordinator, will conduct this special training. We’ll learn all about the Red Knot, a Federally Threatened species that has declined by 85% in the last 15 years, and their incredible 18,000-mile-long migration. The importance of our Seabrook island habitat will be covered, as Red Knots come to SC beaches in the spring to feed on coquina clams and Horseshoe Crab eggs as the crabs come onshore to spawn.

Red Knots travel in large flocks and are easily disturbed by people and dogs, adding stress to an already perilous journey. They can be easily flushed when feeding and roosting, causing them to expend energy in flight and not building enough fat reserves for their migration. Nolan will discuss how we as stewards can better educate other Seabrookers on the beach to be respectful and responsible with our Red Knot guests.

We’ll also highlight Seabrook’s other protected species, the endangered Piping Plover that winters here, and the threatened Wilson’s Plover and Least Tern that soon nest on North Beach.

Note there is a birding walk on North Beach scheduled on Wednesday, March 29 from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm if you would like to view the Red Knots (hopefully!) the morning after the training.  Please also sign up for the walk now! (Please note you can attend one or the other or both!)

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

Please enjoy these beautiful photos of our precious Red Knot visitors taken by Ed Konrad on North Beach, Seabrook Island, SC.

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