On Thursday, January 4, a day after Snowmageddon 2018, Ed and I went out for a walk around Palmetto Lake and nearby areas. It was a beautiful sunny morning and we found some interesting bird activity. We were surprised to find many birds feeding on the snowy ground. A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher hopped along the snow and fluttered close to the ground, obviously finding some goodies. Nearby a Ruby-crowned Kinglet did the same and a bit down the path, an Eastern Phoebe. In the palmettos, Eastern Bluebirds were beautiful against the icy branches. And in a nearby Wax Myrtle, Yellow-rumps chipped away, perching on an icy limb.
As we walked around the lake, Pied-billed Grebes and Hooded Mergansers frolicked in the water. A Tricolored Heron, Great Blue Heron and Snowy Egret sat along the bushy edges. Another nice surprise was a Little Blue Heron feeding along the icy shore. In the horse pasture across the street, six Killdeer hopped along in the snow.
Woodpeckers were bountiful everywhere…Red-bellied, Downy, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (making their kitten like “mew”), and Northern Flickers. Seeing them against an icy and snowy background with blue sky was beautiful.
In the afternoon, we returned to the lake and the first bird we saw was a rare Western Kingbird in a patch of grass where the snow had melted. It was hopping along on the ground looking for insects. This bird is considered “rare” for SC by Ebird and it was an exciting sighting, found two days prior by David Gardner near the playground. Obviously it stayed during the snowstorm.
We also spotted an Orange-crowned Warbler working the Wax Myrtle. This brought our winter warbler total to three, including the Palm and Yellow-rumped. In some thick brush we heard and saw White-throated Sparrows.
So, all in all, Snowmageddon 2018 brought some fab birds and a lovely walk. Our island is such a great place to birdwatch!
Article submitted by: Aija Konrad
Photographs by: Ed Konrad