SIB Member Profile: Charley Moore

Charley Moore

Yes, I am a certified tree-hugger. I have always considered myself an environmentalist, naturalist, and biologist. Growing up in the 1950’s on a small Kentucky farm that included at one time or another nearly every animal that has ever been domesticated, I obtained an early appreciation for animals and the value and satisfaction of growing one’s own food. Fishing and hunting small game was a way of life and much of my time was spent in the woods. Being dyslectic, reading was always a chore and most learning in school was through osmosis. Needless to say, until college I was never a very good student.

The Berlin wall resulted in my spending a couple years in the Army. I then attended Eastern Kentucky University majoring in Chemistry and Biology. Seeing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time during spring break my Junior year, resulted in wanting to become a marine biologist. Following graduate school at the University of Delaware the next 9 years were spent studying Chesapeake Bay fish populations in the vicinity of coal fired and nuclear electric power plants for the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.

Moving my family (wife, Marty and two children, Wendy and Joe) to Charleston in 1977, I began my career with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as a fisheries manager. Over the next 28 years I worked to establish many of South Carolina’s current state laws dealing with marine fisheries, including establishing a saltwater fishing license. I was the Stewardship Coordinator for the ACE Basin and the National Stewardship Representative for the Estuarine Research Reserve System with reserves in all 22 coastal states.

Having worked in South Carolina’s coastal area for nearly 30 years, there was only one place I planned to retire – Seabrook Island. In preparation for retirement, in 2004 we sold our cut-your-own Christmas Tree farm which we had operated for the past 18 years on Young’s Island and moved to Seabrook Island. I retired form DNR in 2005.

The past thirteen years have been Marty’s and my best years – Seabrook Island is our idea of heaven. Where else is nature such an integral part of a neighborhood. Simply walking out your front door or taking a short walk on the beach provides a vast array of birds and other wildlife that call Seabrook Island home.

Seabrook Island’s wide variety of birds and wildlife has resulted in revitalizing my interest in photography. I have been active on the Environmental Committee for the past ten years, chaired the Deer Management Task Force, written “Wild Things” articles for the Seabrooker, grown my own vegetables, chaired the community vegetable gardens and currently serve on the Board of the Green Space Conservancy.

In October 2015, Marcia Hider and I placed a notice in the lobby of the Lake House for residents to indicated if they would be interested in forming a birding group and if they would be willing to help organize it. In two weeks seventy residents had replied positively and seven agreed to help organize such a group. Two-months later the first Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) membership meeting was held with 130 residents attending. Today, SIB with the moto “Watching, Learning and Protecting,” has over 230 members and continues to grow. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as the Board Chairman during this period.

Submitted by:  Charles Moore

SIB Learning Together at Crooked Oaks Golf Course

On a warm Saturday morning on July 15th, sixteen Seabrook Island Birders enjoyed a Learning Together “Bird Walk” on Crooked Oaks Golf Course which was closed for annual summer maintenance.  The Club graciously gave us access to not only the course but also use of carts for the outing, which helped to beat the heat of the July morning.  Due to the size of the group, the Birders split in to two groups with one going forward on the course and the other going backwards.  Each group had members with cameras to capture some of the birds seen.

The two groups met on the eleventh green where the Red Headed Woodpeckers have a nest in a dead pine. Each of our photographers captured the birds for prosperity while Charley Moore was able to catch them in their mating dance.

Since both groups were on the course at the same time, it would be expected the sited species would be very similar.  The group starting on the first hole saw 21 species.  The group starting on 18 saw 25 species. Only 15 of these species were the same for a total of 31 species.  Even with seeing so many birds on a  warm morning, neither group saw some common birds such as Turkey Vultures, Painted Buntings or Mourning Doves.  It proves that birding is always an experience in being at the right place at the right time.

Mississippi Kite – Glen Cox

A highlight for both groups was the Mississippi Kites which perched for the group and continued to fly by so we could see their grace as they dove to catch insects while in flight.

It must have been breakfast time for the birds as in addition to the Kite, an Osprey was seen eating a fish and a proud Eastern Bluebird had a lizard.

It was a great morning to Learn Together and enjoy some of the wonders of Seabrook Island.  Thanks to the Seabrook Island Club for making this possible.

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Article Submitted by:  Judy Morr
Photos taken by:  Marie Wardell, Glen Cox and Charley Moore

Group starting on first hole:

1 Double-crested Cormorant
25 Brown Pelican
1 Great Egret
1 Tricolored Heron
4 Green Heron
3 Osprey
4 Mississippi Kite
2 Laughing Gull
1 Red-headed Woodpecker
2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
2 Great Crested Flycatcher
2 Blue Jay
3 American Crow
3 Fish Crow
1 Barn Swallow
3 Carolina Chickadee
2 Tufted Titmouse
2 Carolina Wren
4 Eastern Bluebird
1 Northern Mockingbird
2 Northern Cardinal

Group starting on eighteenth hole:

4 Wild Turkey
1 Anhinga
20 Brown Pelican
1 Great Blue Heron
2 Snowy Egret
3 Green Heron
2 Osprey
3 Mississippi Kite
1 Red-tailed Hawk
2 Laughing Gull
1 Belted Kingfisher
2 Red-headed Woodpecker
2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Pileated Woodpecker
10 American Crow
2 Fish Crow
3 Carolina Chickadee
3 Tufted Titmouse
4 Carolina Wren
11 Eastern Bluebird
6 Northern Mockingbird
7 Northern Cardinal
2 Red-winged Blackbird
2 House Finch

SIB Backyard Birding at Lee Hurd’s

Entrance Lee Hurd’s Garden at 2116 Loblolly Lane

Early Saturday Morning on July 8th, seven Seabrook Island Birders braved the heat and enjoyed a wonderful morning of birding. Lee Hurd’s home is on a double lot where she has created a beautiful garden sanctuary beside her home. Bird feeders and bird baths are spaced beautifully between her gorgeous landscaping.

We started the walk on her back deck, drinking coffee, munching on goodies, and enjoying the many birds at her feeder. We saw Blue Jays and Downy Woodpeckers, with a Painted Bunting making an appearance. Mr. Alligator swam in Lee’s lagoon to take a look at us. Twin fawns scampered by, taking a peek at us strange animals with big black things glued to our eyes. 

My favorite part was taking a walk through her gardens and listening to the many birds. We saw Mississippi Kites, Red-headed Woodpeckers, and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. A total of 23 different species were seen and heard during our two hours at Lee’s gardens.

Lee has asked us to extend an invitation to visit her garden to all the members of the Seabrook Island Birders. We can stop by her garden at 2116 Loblolly Lane anytime to sit and enjoy the nature; nothing would make her happier!

Thank you, Lee!

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Article Submitted by:  Melanie Jerome
Photos taken by:  Dean Morr

3 Brown Pelican
1 Great Blue Heron
1 Great Egret
1 Green Heron
3 Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
1 Turkey Vulture
5 Mississippi Kite
11 Laughing Gull
2 Mourning Dove
1 Red-headed Woodpecker
3 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Pileated Woodpecker
1 Great Crested Flycatcher
3 Blue Jay
3 American Crow
2 Carolina Chickadee
5 Tufted Titmouse
1 Carolina Wren
1 Eastern Bluebird
1 Yellow-throated Warbler
4 Northern Cardinal
1 Painted Bunting

Bird Sighting: Reddish Egrets are back for the Summer!

Reddish Egret North Beach – Ed Konrad

Name of Bird Species: Reddish Egret
Number of Birds Sighted: 2
Date & Time of Sighting: July 1, 2017, 9-10am
Location of Sighting: North Beach at low tide

The Reddish Egrets are here on North Beach! One was spotted by David Gardner on Friday, June 30. That night, Aija and I spotted two Reddish Egrets on Kiawah East Beach, an adult and an immature. On Saturday, July 1, Aija spotted an immature Reddish along the Ocean one half hour before low tide at the far end of North Beach. I photographed it for an hour as it did it’s beautiful fishing dance, moving through the tidal pools from near the ocean, across the wide low tide beach, and to the shore by the “no dogs allowed” sign.

Aija then spotted a second immature Reddish Egret in her scope at Beachwalker Park. This Reddish then flew across the channel to Seabrook, and was joined back out at the ocean by the one I had been photographing. So, there are at least three Reddish Egrets, these two immature birds, and the adult we saw at Kiawah East Beach.

The immature Reddish Egret is a paler ashy-gray color. An adult Reddish Egret is more distinctive in color, with clean gray body and shaggy reddish neck. There may be a Tricolored Heron also fishing in the tide pools, and it has a white stripe on the neck and white under wings and on body.

The Reddish has a wide variety of feeding behaviors: running through shallows with long strides, staggering sideways, leaping in air, raising one or both wings as a canopy to shade schools of small fish seeking shelter in the shade, and abruptly stabbing at fish.

We did not see a Reddish on Monday, July 3. But keep looking. It should be on North Beach possibly through September.

Article Submitted by Aija Konrad, Photos by Ed Konrad

What’s this about dead Great Shearwaters on our beach?

On June 27, residents of Seabrook Island began hearing about sick and dead Great Shearwaters being seen from Murrells Inlet to Miami, Florida. A first reaction was “What’s going on here?” Research showed that although the strandings are not a good thing, the knowledgeable people are not concerned as this occurs every couple years.

Great Shearwaters are a common seabird off our Atlantic Coast, seldom coming close to shore except during storms. They often forage in flocks, commonly feeding around fishing boats, fighting over scraps and offal, seemingly fearless of humans. It is a medium-sized seabird (L: 19 inches) that is smaller than most gulls. Long, narrow wings are held quite straight when flying as it flies on deep wing beats followed by long glide. It has scaled, gray-brown upperparts, white underparts, and brown markings on belly. A dark cap contrasts with its white face. Its tail is dark above with conspicuous white rump band and gray below. The bill is dark and hooked. Its legs and feet are pink.  Pictures from Audubon’s web site are shown below.

Shearwaters are among the most widespread, abundant seabirds on the world’s oceans but are rarely seen on beaches. Although Great Shearwaters are often very numerous in North American waters, they nest only on a few islands in the South Atlantic almost half way between Africa and South America. In April they leave their breeding grounds and move north rapidly, mostly along western side of Atlantic, becoming common off east coast of North America in June. They then spread eastward across North Atlantic during summer, and southward migration is on broad front during August. Non breeders remain in North Atlantic at least through November.

Seabirds, especially Great Shearwaters, are greatly affected by oceanic conditions such as fronts, currents, salinity and surface temperature that affect the distribution and abundance of plankton and phytoplankton. Juveniles especially are susceptible to these variations. Al Segars of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources indicates the stranding of Great Shearwaters on our beaches happens every couple of years at about this time. The birds appear to fall out during migration due to malnutrition and starvation. This occurs primarily during periods of onshore winds. Similarly, a 2009 article to the Carolina Bird Club says “Actually, spring migration die-offs of this species occur regularly and probably nearly annually. The magnitude of the die-offs, the degree of documentation, and the amount of media coverage are of course highly variable.”

Currently, the Center for Birds of Prey are interested in treating the sick Great Shearwaters and doing necropsy on the dead. Contact Glen Cox (703-201-8934) if you encounter a stranded Great Shearwater. The pictures below were provided by Glen. The first is of a Great Shearwater that died while being transported to the Center for Birds of Prey from Botany Bay and the second was seen at the inlet.

Article Submitted by:  Judy Morr

“You can observe a lot by just watching” – Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron “dance” on North Beach

Article and photos by Ed Konrad

If you were a baseball fan in the 1950s and 60s, you know about Yogi Berra, 18 time All Star catcher for the NY Yankees. Along with his baseball legacy, he was famous for his Yogi-isms…countless colloquial expressions that lacked logic, but after closer examination, could be quite meaningful. “When you come to a fork in the road, take it”, “It ain’t over till it’s over”, “It’s like déjà vu all over again” to name a few.

“You can observe a lot by just watching” is a favorite Yogi-ism of mine, and can be applied to many aspects in life, including birding and photography. On a North Beach walk last week, my first pass didn’t reveal any photo opportunities. Many shorebirds and seabirds are off breeding, either having migrated north or at local places like Deveaux Bank. But in the last tide pool, an hour before low tide, I came across a Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron doing their fascinating “dance”, one of my favorite bird behaviors to observe through the lens and photograph. I’ve included camera settings I use for bird photography later in article.

Continue reading ““You can observe a lot by just watching” – Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron “dance” on North Beach”

Protecting Seabrook Island’s Migrating Shorebirds

Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) hosted a program featuring Felicia Sanders from South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SC-DNR) on Wednesday evening June 28, for a group of 70 SIB members and guests.

Felicia Sanders, Shorebird Lead for SCDNR, holding a Red Knot she has banded.

Felicia captivated the audience as she narrated photos of the fabulous shorebirds that spend time on our beaches either in the winter (Piping Plovers, Semi-palmated Plovers, Sanderlings), spring nesting (Wilson’s Plovers), during migration (Red Knots, Dunlin, Whimbrel), and year round (American Oystercatchers, Willets). As an example, Red Knots, a Federally Threatened shorebird species, use our beach during spring migration as a stopping point on their 18,000 mile roundtrip journey from their winter home on the southern tip of South American to the Arctic Circle where they nest. This spring, the largest known flock with 4,000 Red Knots enjoyed our beautiful and bountiful beaches to rest and feed before their 3-day direct 1,400 mile flight to James Bay in Canada.  This is pretty amazing considering there are only an estimated 25,000 Red Knots remaining on the planet! Felicia emphasized the significance of our Seabrook flock, and the partnership with Seabrook Island Birders as we assisted SC DNR in April in tagging Red Knots and placing transmitters for important tracking on their journey. 

Felicia explained how we can all help in protecting the birds and other wildlife on our island and particularly the beaches! The sign below has been donated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife and was recently installed by SIPOA at the end of Boardwalk #1 on North Beach.  Human disturbance is one of the top threats to nesting, migrating, and wintering shorebirds. Please remember:

  • Let Birds Feed & Rest: Resting and feeding are key to the survival of migratory and wintering birds on our beaches. Give them plenty of space. If birds run or fly, you are too close!
  • New signs posted on North Beach protecting nesting areas of Least Terns and Wilson’s Plovers.

    Respect Posted Areas:  Keep out of posted areas. Disturbances to nesting birds can cause nests or entire colonies to fail. Never walk into the dune areas – Wilson’s Plovers are nesting on Seabrook Island in these areas!

  • Be a Bird Friendly Dog Owner:  Keep your dog on a leash when you see flocks of birds on the beach. Never allow your dog(s) or children to chase birds as it is extremely stressful to birds. And please abide by the “no dogs allowed” past the sign on North Beach. The Piping Plover winter migration will begin soon!

Please take time to learn and help educate your family, friends, and visitors to Seabrook Island on the importance of protecting and sharing our beach with our wildlife!

Share the Beach educational poster now located at the end of Boardwalk #1 on North Beach courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife and SCDNR
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