Seabrook Island Birders participated in Great Backyard Bird Count

As mentioned in an earlier blog, Seabrook Island Birders scheduled five “walks” to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC).  And the group truly did participate!  Over the course of two days, 53 individuals participated in at least one of the walks.  80 different species were identified over the two days on Seabrook Island.  The great weather, great friends and great birding on these two days has many of us looking forward to our Learning Together on March 1 in the fields behind Freshfields.   We also have a Backyard Birding on March 14 on Deer Point.  Of course all scheduled activities can be seen the Activity Page of the Seabrook Island Birders web site (seabrookislandbirders.org).

Birders at Maintenance Area – Charley Moore

The GBBC walks started at 8:00 AM Sunday with 8 people looking for ducks and other birds at the SIPOA Maintenance area and then on to the Equestrian Center.  35 species were identified at the Maintenance area including the ponds at the Waste Management area.

Yellow-rumped Warbler – Charley Moore

Yellow-rumped Warblers were greeting us everywhere but the Bufflehead and Hooded Mergansers and Ruddy Duck also were there for us.  A Downy Woodpecker also presented itself.  As we went on to the Equestrian Center, 14 species were identified there.

 

Eastern Bluebird – Dean Morr

European Starlings and a Black Vulture were the only species added to the day’s list but the Eastern Bluebirds were abundant along with the expected European Starlings, American Robins and Killdeer.

The second walk of the day took us to North Beach were we expected to see a vastly different species of birds.  In the 41 species seen on North Beach, 28 were new for the day.  Red-breasted Mergansers, Forster’s Terns and Sanderlings may have been the most frequent bird sees, it was the Northern Gannets diving out at sea and the ability to idenitify a Great Black-backed Gull were probably the highlights of the walk.

Preparing for Children’s Bird Walk – Dean Morr

The third walk was so much fun, an entire blog will be devoted to describe the walk around Palmetto Lake where the children of Seabrook joined us to learn more about birding.  The group was large enough we split in to two groups and went in opposite directions around the lake.  Each group identified 24 species but combined, 27 species were seen.  A highlight, besides seeing the enthusiastic children, was as the two groups met at the back side of the lake, an Osprey flew in and landed on a branch above our head.  All were able to observe it through the spotting scope and see it still held a fish in its right talon.

Great Egret in Breeding Plumage – Dean Morr

Sunday’s activities were completed with a drive/walk along Jenkins Point where the Great Egrets were beginning to show their breeding plumage.  An amazing 11 Black-crowned Night Heron were also seen with the difference between a mature and immature easily able to be seen.  The most “unusual” sighting of this final activity was using the spotting scope from Nancy Island, Rock Pigeons could be seen over at Rockville.  A total of 24 species were seen on this segment with the Rock Pigeons, a Wild Turkey and a Fish Crow being “firsts” for the day.

Monday’s participation in GBBC took place on Ocean Winds Golf Course.  23 people split into 3 groups to traverse the golf course in different directions using golf carts.  46 species were identified between the 3 groups with the group that started on the back nine seeing 37 species.  That group was able to see a Northern Gannet from the 14th tee, next to the ocean.  From that location, they saw several other shore birds not normally considered “golf course” birds.  Only group saw the Wild Turkey and as the group going forward on the front nine met the group going backwards on the front nine, an Anhinga, Great Egrets in breeding plumage and a Cooper’s Hawk were seen.  Most of the group only had time to cover 9 holes of the course but a few from the front nine were able to continue on to the back where they also saw the Common Gallinule, the Bald Eagle perched on the tree near the practice facilities, and an Osprey checking out the nesting platform near the Oystercatcher bridge.  Earlier, the Bald Eagle was seen perched above the nest on Crooked Oaks 3rd hole although no reports of chicks have been reported.

Overall, it was a great weekend to contribute to citizen science.  Detail lists of the sightings are shown below.

Seabrook Island — SIPOA/Club Maintenance Area – 33 species

Bufflehead 16
Hooded Merganser 3
Ruddy Duck 1
Wood Stork 1
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Killdeer 4
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Ring-billed Gull 6
Mourning Dove 3
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 2
Eastern Phoebe 1
Blue Jay 8
American Crow 3
Carolina Chickadee 5
Tufted Titmouse 7
House Wren 2
Carolina Wren 7
Eastern Bluebird 7
American Robin 6
Gray Catbird 3
Brown Thrasher 2
Cedar Waxwing 9
Palm Warbler 3
Pine Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 15
White-throated Sparrow 5
Song Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 6
Boat-tailed Grackle 13

Seabrook Island-Equestrian Center – 14 species

Black Vulture 1
Killdeer 15
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2
Downy Woodpecker 2
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 2
Carolina Chickadee 3
Carolina Wren 3
Eastern Bluebird 18
American Robin 12
European Starling 8
Palm Warbler 6
Chipping Sparrow 5
Red-winged Blackbird 2

Seabrook Island–North Beach – 41 species (+1 other taxa)

Bufflehead 35
Red-breasted Merganser 52
Red-throated Loon 1
Northern Gannet 4
Double-crested Cormorant 65
Brown Pelican 19
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 2
Osprey 1
Bald Eagle 2
American Oystercatcher 8
Black-bellied Plover 5
Ruddy Turnstone 3
Sanderling 50
Dunlin 120
Western Sandpiper 1
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Willet 18
Bonaparte’s Gull 5
Laughing Gull 83
Ring-billed Gull 10
Herring Gull 9
Great Black-backed Gull 3
Forster’s Tern 220
Royal Tern 4
Belted Kingfisher 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 3
American Crow 6
crow sp. 3
Tree Swallow 400
Carolina Chickadee 4
Tufted Titmouse 2
Carolina Wren 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
Eastern Bluebird 2
Northern Mockingbird 1
Pine Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 13
White-throated Sparrow 1
Eastern Towhee 2
Northern Cardinal 3

Seabrook Island — Palmetto Lake – 24 species

Double-crested Cormorant 2
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 3
Snowy Egret 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron 2
Black Vulture 10
Turkey Vulture 1
Osprey 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Blue Jay 2
Tufted Titmouse 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Eastern Bluebird 6
American Robin 75
Northern Mockingbird 1
Cedar Waxwing 8
Palm Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 13
Chipping Sparrow 4
White-throated Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 2

Seabrook Island — Palmetto Lake – 24 species

Double-crested Cormorant 2
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 5
Snowy Egret 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron 2
Black Vulture 2
Turkey Vulture 3
Osprey 1
Ring-billed Gull 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Eastern Phoebe 1
Blue Jay 4
American Crow 2
Carolina Wren 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3
Eastern Bluebird 10
American Robin 65
Northern Mockingbird 1
Palm Warbler 8
Yellow-rumped Warbler 35
Chipping Sparrow 6
White-throated Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 3

Seabrook Island — Jenkins Point Rd – 24 species

Hooded Merganser 35
Wild Turkey 1
Wood Stork 1
Double-crested Cormorant 6
Brown Pelican 1
Great Egret 14
Snowy Egret 5
Tricolored Heron 6
Black-crowned Night-Heron 11
Turkey Vulture 4
Bald Eagle 2
Laughing Gull 1
Ring-billed Gull 1
Forster’s Tern 2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 6
Belted Kingfisher 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2
American Crow 3
Fish Crow 1
Tufted Titmouse 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 4
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 3
Boat-tailed Grackle 2

Seabrook Island — Ocean Winds Golf Course – Front Nine – 31 species
15 Hooded Merganser
5 Double-crested Cormorant
2 Anhinga
1 Brown Pelican
2 Great Blue Heron
7 Great Egret
1 Little Blue Heron
1 Black Vulture
1 Cooper’s Hawk
2 Bald Eagle
1 Red-shouldered Hawk
1 Mourning Dove
2 Belted Kingfisher
9 Red-bellied Woodpecker
2 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
7 Northern Flicker
1 Eastern Phoebe
4 Blue Jay
5 American Crow
2 Fish Crow
4 Carolina Chickadee
6 Tufted Titmouse
2 Carolina Wren
2 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
11 Eastern Bluebird
6 Pine Warbler
8 Yellow-rumped Warbler
4 Northern Cardinal
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
20 Boat-tailed Grackle

Seabrook Island — Ocean Winds Golf Course – Front Nine – 24 species

Hooded Merganser 23
Wild Turkey 1
Double-crested Cormorant 6
Anhinga 1
Brown Pelican 1
Great Blue Heron 2
Great Egret 5
Little Blue Heron 1
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Bald Eagle 1
Mourning Dove 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Downy Woodpecker 2
American Crow 5
Fish Crow 2
Carolina Chickadee 3
Tufted Titmouse 2
Carolina Wren 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Eastern Bluebird 6
American Robin 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
Northern Cardinal 3
Red-winged Blackbird 1

Seabrook Island — Ocean Winds Golf Course – Back Nine – 37 species

Hooded Merganser 5
Pied-billed Grebe 2
Wood Stork 2
Northern Gannet 3
Double-crested Cormorant 18
Brown Pelican 3
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 4
Snowy Egret 1
Tricolored Heron 1
Green Heron 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron 3
Osprey 2
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Common Gallinule 1
Forster’s Tern 1
Royal Tern 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 6
Fish Crow 13
Carolina Chickadee 11
Tufted Titmouse 7
Carolina Wren 5
Eastern Bluebird 11
Gray Catbird 2
Brown Thrasher 1
Northern Mockingbird 3
Pine Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 17
Northern Cardinal 11
Red-winged Blackbird 18
Boat-tailed Grackle 8
House Finch 3

Seabrook Island — Ocean Winds Golf Course – Back Nine – 24 species

Hooded Merganser 6
Double-crested Cormorant 19
Brown Pelican 1
Great Blue Heron 2
Great Egret 1
Tricolored Heron 1
Osprey 1
Bald Eagle 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Common Gallinule 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Eastern Phoebe 1
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 7
Carolina Chickadee 2
Tufted Titmouse 2
Carolina Wren 1
Eastern Bluebird 8
American Robin 25
Northern Mockingbird 3
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
Northern Cardinal 2
Red-winged Blackbird 4
House Finch 1

Submitted by: Judy Morr

Photos by: Charlie Moore and Dean Morr

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Bear Island is a big back yard

Audabon’s Great Backyard Birdcount didn’t officially begin until Friday February 16, but 10 Seabrook Island Birders started the long holiday weekend early with a visit to a very large ( 12,000 acre) backyard of the Bear Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and then Donnelly WMA (another 8,000 acre).  Both of these WMA are closed from the end of October through February 10 for duck hunting.  It was hoped that a lot of ducks would still be there when the group visited shortly after the season reopened.

The group met while still dark with hopes to reach Bear Island before the Tundra Swans left for the day.  The weather forecast was promising and the group had an indication it may be a good birding day when a gas stop in Jacksonboro was the first massive sighting of the day.  A conservative estimate of 25 Black Vultures and 15 Fish Crows were hovering in and around a tree behind the station.  On to Bear Island for some ducks!

Tundra Swan – Charley Moore
American Avocet – Charley Moore

David Gardner (our fearless leader) recommended we make our first stop at Bennetts Point, just outside the gate to Bear Island.  He had seen reports a Eurasion Wigeon was a recurring resident of that pond.  Shortly after setting up his spotting scope, he saw the red head of the Eurasion Wideon among the 540 American Wigeon.  While counting the ducks, a flock of Tundra Swans gracefully flew in from Bear Island and glided in to the same pond.  Not to be outdone, our first flock of American Avocets also flew in to the area.  In less than a half hour, 26 species were seen.  As we left the area to turn in to Bear Island, a Bald Eagle was seen perched in a tree, as if to assure us we’d only just begun a great day.

The rest of the morning was spent going from impoundment to impoundment of old rice fields along dirt roads.  Minimal walking was required to see the 68 species.  The number of ducks became almost overwhelming with over a dozen species being seen with many in high quantities.  Ducks obviously were not the only species seen with White Pelicans providing an arial show as well as Northern Harrier.  The beautiful American Avocets were seen again in greater numbers.

The final stop of the day was at Donnelly WMA which is between Bear Island and Highway 17.  A good view of Eastern Meadowlarks and Vesper Sparrows may have been the highlight of this stop after seeing so many ducks earlier.  Purple Martins surprised us by going in to their boxes (It’s breeding season already?).

Brown-headed Nuthatch – Charley Moore

A Rusty Blackbird, 4 White-breasted Nuthatch and 7 Brown-headed Nuthatch were also seen.

The final specie sighting of the day were Rock Pigeons on a wire along Highway 17, between CawCaw and the turn on Main Road.  The tired birders were pleased with their day and looking forward to participating in the Great Backyard BirdCount on the weekend.

 

Jacksonboro Gas Station – 2 species

Black Vulture 25
Fish Crow 15

Bennetts Point – 26 species

Tundra Swan 25
Gadwall 40
Eurasian Wigeon 1
American Wigeon 540
Mallard 4
American Black Duck
Mottled Duck 6
Pied-billed Grebe 6
Tricolored Heron 16
Bald Eagle 1
American Avocet 12
Greater/Lesser Yellowlegs 1
Mourning Dove 3
Downy Woodpecker 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 3
Tree Swallow 2
Carolina Chickadee 2
Carolina Wren 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Eastern Bluebird 2
Northern Mockingbird 1
Pine Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 11
Red-winged Blackbird 5
Common Grackle 2
Boat-tailed Grackle 1

Bear Island WMA – 68 species

Tundra Swan 31
Blue-winged Teal 4
Northern Shoveler 65
Gadwall 380
American Wigeon 180
Mallard 13
American Black Duck
Mottled Duck 8
Mallard/Mottled Duck 3
Northern Pintail 1
Green-winged Teal 136
Bufflehead 1
Hooded Merganser 7
Pied-billed Grebe 15
Wood Stork 2
Double-crested Cormorant 6
American White Pelican 3
Great Blue Heron 5
Great Egret 11
Snowy Egret 5
Little Blue Heron 5
Tricolored Heron 16
Black-crowned Night-Heron 1
White Ibis 3
Glossy Ibis 2
Black Vulture 6
Turkey Vulture 5
Northern Harrier 1
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Bald Eagle 3
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Common Gallinule 5
American Avocet
Killdeer 2
Wilson’s Snipe 6
Greater Yellowlegs 3
Lesser Yellowlegs 2
Caspian Tern 3
Forster’s Tern 1
Mourning Dove 4
Belted Kingfisher 3
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 2
American Kestrel 1
Eastern Phoebe 2
Blue Jay 10
American Crow 3
Tree Swallow 115
Carolina Chickadee 5
Tufted Titmouse 3
Carolina Wren 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
Eastern Bluebird 12
Gray Catbird 1
Brown Thrasher 2
Northern Mockingbird 2
Pine Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 7
Savannah Sparrow 5
Song Sparrow 5
Swamp Sparrow 2
Eastern Towhee 2
Northern Cardinal 7
Eastern Meadowlark 1
Red-winged Blackbird 120
Common Grackle 80

Donnelly WMA – 58 species

Blue-winged Teal 4
Gadwall 6
Ruddy Duck 1
Pied-billed Grebe 2
Double-crested Cormorant 3
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 2
Snowy Egret 3
Little Blue Heron 2
Tricolored Heron 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron 3
White Ibis 1
Black Vulture 2
Turkey Vulture 3
Osprey 1
Bald Eagle 2
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Clapper Rail 1
Sora 1
Common Gallinule 12
American Coot 1
Killdeer 25
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Mourning Dove 3
Belted Kingfisher 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 5
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 2
Pileated Woodpecker 2
American Kestrel 1
Eastern Phoebe 3
Blue Jay 12
American Crow 6
Purple Martin 2
Tree Swallow 10
Carolina Chickadee 7
Tufted Titmouse 3
White-breasted Nuthatch 4
Brown-headed Nuthatch 7
Marsh Wren 1
Carolina Wren 5
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3
Eastern Bluebird 22
American Robin 9
Northern Mockingbird 1
Pine Warbler 11
Yellow-rumped Warbler 7
Chipping Sparrow 28
White-throated Sparrow 1
Vesper Sparrow 30
Swamp Sparrow 4
Eastern Towhee 6
Northern Cardinal 8
Eastern Meadowlark 120
Red-winged Blackbird 47
Rusty Blackbird 1
Common Grackle 2

Submitted by: Judy Morr

Photos by: Charley Moore

SIB Member Profile: Melanie & Rob Jerome

Rob & Melanie Jerome

Before Match.com, eHarmony and okCupid there were blind dates, and that’s how Melanie and Bob Jerome met more than thirty years ago. Both are Buckeyes and raised their two sons in Ohio. Rob had a career in data processing and programming. Melanie’s nursing and business degrees coalesced into a fulfilling position as a case management supervisor which she still does remotely from home.

Rob’s father was an outdoors man and imparted that avocation to him along with a familiarity of birds. Being the only boy in the family no doubt helped to build their bond. Melanie was self-taught when she wanted to learn more about the birds that visited the couple’s backyard in Ohio.

They share their love of nature and chose the best of Lowcountry living with their villa at Creek Watch. They look out over Sam’s Creek and the bountiful marsh leading up to the Atlantic; wildlife abounds. Continue reading “SIB Member Profile: Melanie & Rob Jerome”

Join SIB for a Global Bird Count for The Year of the Bird

The Great Backyard Bird Count takes place worldwide, February 16 to 19

New York, NY, Ithaca, NY, and Port Rowan, ON—The 21st Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will take place February 16 to 19—in backyards, parks, nature centers, on hiking trails, school grounds, balconies, and beaches. This global event provides an opportunity for bird enthusiasts to contribute important bird population data that help scientists see changes over the past 21 years. To participate, bird watchers count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, then enter their checklists at birdcount.org.
The Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) has scheduled five events over two of the days to support the GBBC efforts.  Please sign up to join us!  Free for SIB members and children 12 and under.
  •  Sunday February 18, 2018:  Great Backyard Bird Count
    – Equestrian Center / Maintenance Area – 8:00 AM
    – North Beach – (High Tide 9:46am) – 10:00 AM
    – Palmetto Lake – 2:00 PM * Plus a Special Kids Program *
    – Jenkin’s Point – 3:30 PM

  • Monday February 19, 2018:  Great Backyard Bird Count on the Golf Course
    – Ocean Winds Golf Course – 9:00 AM

“The 2018 GBBC again promises to provide an important snapshot of bird occurrence in February,” says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Marshall Iliff, a leader of the eBird program. “Some stories to watch in North America are mountain birds moving into lowland valleys and east to the Great Plains, crossbills on the move across much of the continent, and many eastern birds responding to extremes as the winter temperatures have oscillated between unseasonably warm and exceptionally cold.”

eBird collects bird observations globally every day of the year and is the online platform used by the GBBC.

“The Great Backyard Bird Count is a great way to introduce people to participation in community science,” says Dr. Gary Langham (@GaryLangham), vice president and chief scientist for the National Audubon Society. “No other program allows volunteers to take an instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations that can contribute to our understanding of how a changing climate is affecting birds.”

In 1998, during the first GBBC, bird watchers submitted about 13,500 checklists from the United States and Canada. Fast-forward to the most recent event in 2017. Over the four days of the count, an estimated 240,418 bird watchers from more than 100 countries submitted 181,606 bird checklists reporting 6,259 species–more than half the known bird species in the world.

To learn more about what scientists discovered the past 21 years and how to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, visit birdcount.org. The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada and is made possible in part by founding sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.The 21st GBBC is additionally notable because it is the February call-to-action for the Year of the Bird, a 12-month celebration of birds to raise awareness of how people can help birds by taking simple actions each month. The Year of the Bird is led by National Geographic, the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, BirdLife International, and more than 100 participating organizations. Learn more about Year of the Bird at www.birdyourworld.org.

Downy Woodpecker

Female Downy Woodpecker – Kathy Woolsey

The stillness of the morning is broken by the high pitched, yet soft whinny of what sounds like a miniature pony.  Our smallest woodpecker has an unmistakable vocalization. In my early days of bird watching, I had a difficulty telling the calls of one woodpecker from another. Most woodpeckers have a rapid series of calls which sound like laughter and so it is with the little Downy Woodpecker.  I remember watching a Downy Woodpecker with some other birders and one of them turned to me and said, “Doesn’t it sound like a miniature pony whinnying?” Ever since then I have had no problem recognizing the Downy’s whinny call. Downy Woodpeckers also have a soft single “peek” call note. Woodpeckers do not have songs like many other birds. Rather they are the percussion section of the garden sound track.

The Downy Woodpecker is our smallest woodpecker. It is a common visitor to bird feeders and like all woodpeckers loves eating suet and peanut butter. In the winter, they are often found foraging with other small garden birds such as Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatches and Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Male Downy Woodpecker – Ed Konrad

The Downy Woodpecker has a reputation as a diligent forager. They often start at the top of a tree on the smaller branches and work their way around the limb slowly moving down the tree. Sometime they start on the trunk and move out slowly to very small branches. They check every loose piece of bark and every crevasse for insects. Their diet is 75% tree eating insect such as borers, carpenter ants, caterpillars and beetles. They thrive in young forests and orchards where other large woodpeckers do not venture. They have a very long barbed tongue to reach deep in borer holes to pluck out insects. They are considered the friend of the orchardist and tree farmer because they consume so many tree damaging insects. With their small pointed bill, they do very little damage to trees.

Downy Woodpeckers can be found in any type of forest from Miami to Fairbanks in 49 states. They forage in trees, shrubs, and tall weeds. Nest cavities are usually made in limbs with dead or diseased wood. Nest holes are 1 ½ inches wide and round. Where trees are few and far between, they will nest in old fence posts and bluebird boxes.

Early last spring, I noticed the opening of the bluebird box had been enlarged. I set up a wildlife camera on a tripod a few feet away and soon discovered a female Downy was the guilty party. She did not stay long and moved to another nest site. I do not know if my presence made her leave the box or maybe she found some fault with the old Bluebird box.

Keep an eye on trees in your garden this winter; with no leaves it should be easy to spot some of our common woodpeckers.   

They enjoy suet/peanut butter cakes along with sunflower seeds and other seeds in the winter.

Article submitted by Kathy Woolsey
Photographs by Kathy Woolsey & Ed Konrad

Adaptability of “SIBlings”

The “SIBlings”

Any student of nature understands the concept of adaptation. So, when the scheduled Long-billed Curlew trip scheduled for a cool, rainy Sunday was changed to a cold, cloudy Saturday (February 3, 2018), the group of a dozen or more SIBlings (my name for this group of fun and dedicated people) rolled with it. Carpools were arranged and early in the morning, the groups set off for McClellanville, about an hour and a half north of Seabrook Island. We never saw the rising sun, but the clouds spread out in a tremendous display of flame orange, the warmest thing we would see all day, made up for it. A pontoon boat awaited us at the docks. Our guides and Captains for the day were Olivia and Gates, employees of South Carolina Coastal Expeditions.

The schedule included a leisurely motor around some of the 66,000+ acres of islands, barrier beach, and salt marsh called the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. Unique to the eastern US, the refuge contains 29,000 acres of class 1 wilderness (defined as areas over 5,000 acres which receive the most stringent level of protection). Our target bird, the bird from which the trips received its name: Long-billed Curlew.

With temperatures barely above freezing Continue reading “Adaptability of “SIBlings””

Winter Backyard Birding on Loblolly

SIB’s Backyard Birding at Lee Hurd’s Home on Loblolly Lane.

This past Saturday, seven SIB members braved a brisk morning with temperature hovering around 40 degrees for our second Backyard Birding event at the home of Lee Hurd on Loblolly Lane.  Our first visit was in the heat of July, so it was interesting to view the different species found during our cold winter!

What bird has the nickname “Butter-butt?”

On Saturday, the group observed the 18 species listed below, ten of which were not seen last summer.  Can you identify twelve of those birds in the slide show below? (Answers are below)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thank you Lee for hosting us again! Thank you Dean for the great photos!  Thank you Russ, Dean and Christina for “leading” this SIB learning together event!

Be sure to visit our website to view our upcoming birding activities and sign up to let us know you will join us!

  • Hooded Merganser  1 (C)
  • Anhinga  2 (G)
  • Brown Pelican  1 (B) *
  • Black Vulture  1
  • Bald Eagle  1
  • Mourning Dove  3 *
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker  1 *
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1 (A)
  • Blue Jay  3 (I) *
  • Carolina Chickadee  4 (K) *
  • Tufted Titmouse  5 (E) *
  • Carolina Wren  1 (H) *
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2 (F)
  • Northern Mockingbird  2
  • Pine Warbler  2 (D)
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler  18 (J) – Also known as a “Butter Butt”
  • Northern Cardinal  2 (L) *
  • House Finch  1 

* Designates species seen at this location July 2017