The Red Knots and other migrating shorebirds have already started to arrive on our beaches! The article link below explains more than ever why we MUST give space and allow these fragile animals to rest and refuel after their long journey from South America while they prepare to travel to the Arctic Circle to breed.
“Aerial surveys in January 2018 of the rufa Red Knot (Calidris canutus) population wintering in Tierra del Fuego, South America, revealed a total of 9,840 birds. This is a 25% decrease on the number recorded in January 2017 (13,127), and marginally the lowest recorded since the surveys began (the previous low was 9,850 birds in 2011). “
We hope you will join us next Wednesday night March 28, 2018, when a panel of experts will discuss birds like the Red Knot and others on our beach, their status and how we can help protect them and their habitat.
David Gardner, Director of Environmental Education at St. Christopher and SIB Board member, has accepted a job in Washington state and will be leaving Seabrook effective this Friday March 23, 2018. David will be leading one last walk with SIB at Camp St. Christopher on Thursday morning and there is still room for a couple more people. The walk, one to two miles in distance, will be in search of spring migrants while exploring the lakes, lagoons, paths and slough.
Thursday March 22, 2018 8:00 – 11:00 am
Spring Migration @ St. Christopher Camp & Conference Center with David Gardner
Location: Meet at the Bus Parking Lot at St. Christopher
Cost $5 donation to St. Christopher Educational Outreach Program
David will truly be missed by all who have interacted with him, but especially those of us who have enjoyed birding with him since the creation of SIB less than three years ago. We will never be able to replace his special combination of enthusiasm, knowledge and his English accent that endeared him to us! Several of our members wanted to share a few stories about David so you too could learn what a special person he is and how we are sad to see him leave!
From Bob and Eileen Mercer:
David will be taking his talents to the North Cascade Institute (https://ncascades.org/) located in the North Cascades National Park in Washington State and is situated near the crest of the Cascade Mountains, a large lake and many square miles of wilderness. David’s enthusiasm and talents will serve him well. As a bonus, he will learn about a whole new ecology. He will need to get used to the higher altitudes and the exercise associated with a mountainous territory, as opposed to the coastal plain. One of the wonders of the area is that David will be able to get his coastal fix with a drive similar to going to Bear Island and will be able to visit the desert just by going over the ridge.
Unlike St. Christopher, the North Cascade Institute offers programming for children, a year-long graduate level study program, and a significant amount of adult programming. Anyone can sign up for any of the many adventures. Check out their offerings at https://ncascades.org/ and maybe plan a visit to see David (if nothing else, visit the website to see the stunning facility and views he will be forced to endure). Eileen and I spent 4 days there living in their luxurious dorms and enjoying the gourmet food provided by a professional chef and can highly recommend a visit. We wish David lots of wonderful experiences and a whole host of life birds!
From George Haskings:
One has to wonder a bit about the mind workings of a person who would voluntarily give up a seemingly good job (bird watching and working with kids in an outdoor environment) on Seabrook Island in order to take a position in the State of Washington where it likely rains many more days a year than the sun shines. When I inquired of him on that matter, his
reply was “I’m from England.”
As I contemplated that, I recollected that most of my ancestors came from England and Scotland; that I grew up in New England; and (when seeking employment) I went to Rochester, NY, which has recorded snow every month except August. You don’t have to shovel rain and we had snow in January.
David is an excellent birder – fabulous hearing and knowledge of bird calls. He has generously offered his talents to Seabrook Island Birders and his leadership on bird walks will be missed. Best wishes to him and his family.
From Marcia Hider
SIB was lucky that David is so in love with birding. He has led some wonderful birding trips and his enthusiasm is absolutely infectious. He has said he’ll use any excuse to take a group out. And the proof of that is what he leaves behind. I had to get something in his office once and I could hardly get the door open. There were piles of things everywhere awaiting his return. I just laughed.
But his birding knowledge benefits from the time he puts in. Once last spring, as we were walking on the St. Christopher boardwalk listening to and seeing numerous Green Herons, I heard a different call – kind of a squeaking sound. I asked David if maybe it was from Green Heron chicks. He smiled and said no, that he thought it was probably a frog being consumed by a snake. I was sure he was kidding until I focused in on the location, only to find a snake consuming a frog! Unbelievable.
He will definitely be missed.
From Lydia McDonald
One of my first birding adventures was with David at Bear Island . I remember riding with David in his car, and his vehicle hitting the branches and low plants and he didn’t care because he was doing something he loved. I was wowed by his knowledge and expertise. He was persistent in making sure I found the bird and taught me so much about the birds. David has a gift for finding the birds and teaching others about them. It is fun to be around David ; he truly enjoys his job.
From Aija Konrad
A memorable and very fun day I had with David was when we did a route on the Breeding Bird Survey last June. The survey is done nationally as a long term monitoring program of birds at the height of breeding season. I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into, but I accepted his invite to do it. I knew that we would cover 24.5 miles of country roads and stop a half mile apart for a total of 3 min in each spot to listen for and count all birds we could ID.
Our route was in Colleton County, near Walterboro, and we started before sunrise! It was a hoot…practically all of it is birding by ear, since in 3 minutes, you barely have time to get your bins up. I was the scribe and timer, David the driver and we both counted the birds. It was so much fun and I was amazed at what we could ID just by sound. After approximately 5 hours, I could barely get out of the car (50 stops, in and out…do the math…LOL!) We took our life in our hands at some stops, barely having a shoulder to pull off on, with cars whizzing by. I can’t remember how many species we got, but it sure was a great day and one I will always remember with David and his enthusiasm, sense of humor and most importantly, his infectious competitive spirit, always hoping for 1 more species!!! That’s David!
From Nancy Brown
It is hard to imagine SIB without David Gardner! David enthusiastically embraced leading many bird walks with our members in all corners of Seabrook Island and beyond. One of the best things we started as a result of David’s suggestion was our Seabrook Island Patch competition! After the 2016-17 Christmas Bird Count, David thought it would be fun to see who could find the most bird species on Seabrook Island in a calendar year. Four of us took on the challenge, but it’s pretty hard to beat someone who lives at St. Christopher, is outdoors most of the day and their job is to be a naturalist! But then, I can’t complain, as David would be the first person to text the three of us to say he’d seen a new species with the specifics of where it was so each of us had a chance to see it as well! I’ve spent several hours trompsing in the wood or beach looking for elusive birds, including an American Woodcock this past winter, which I never did see! In the end, he beat us all out for the 2017 Seabrook Island Patch win. Now that he is leaving, I told him I would finally have a chance to beat him! Although I sure wish he was sticking around, I want to wish he and his family the best of luck for the next chapter of their lives!
From all of us at SIB, thank you to David Gardner for his expertise and enthusiasm in finding and identifying birds! You will be missed!