SIB Announces Fall Birding Activity Schedule

Once again, the Activity Committee of the Seabrook Island Birders has created an exciting selection of birding trips for the fall months, which include a great deal of diversity to appeal to a wide group of our members. We hope you will consider joining us during one or more of these activities this fall as it meets your needs and schedule. Click on an event to learn more details and register!

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Annual eBird Taxonomy Update

Do you use eBird to document your bird sightings?  If you don’t and want to learn more about how to use eBird, contact us!

If you already use eBird, you may be aware August is when the Cornell Lab of Ornithology updates “all eBird records with the latest scientific advances in bird taxonomy. New information on species limits can result in increases (splits) or decreases (lumps) in your list totals. Whenever possible, we change your records for you to match the expected species when a split occurs—this is one of the main services we provide at eBird. Expect 2018’s update in the second or third week of August.”

According to the article, about 31 species will be split (resulting in an increase of 36 species), six will be lumped, and five new species will be recognized, bringing the global species total to 10,585. Other changes include revisions to some scientific and common names, and some additions of some new taxa for data entry (e.g., new hybrids etc.).

So, for those of us who have a “life list” in eBird, notice if that number increases or decreases at the end of the month as this initiative would explain the change, and you to an “armchair lifer!”

 

 

Watch: Wild About Painted Buntings

Wild About is a monthly video series produced by the Town of Kiawah, where each episode will focus on a particular element of nature, wildlife or the environment from life on Kiawah Island. This month features one of the special birds of the Lowcountry, the Painted Bunting.  Learn how the biologists on Kiawah band these beautiful birds to track and monitor their population on Kiawah.

And remember, their favorite food is white millet, so fill your feeders and you may see them outside of your own window!

If you have a topic suggestion you would like to see as a part of their series – the Town of Kiawah wants to hear from you! Send suggestions to Stephanie at sbraswell@kiawahisland.org.

To view other Wild About videos, visit Wildlife on Kiawah Island.

The Image Hunter: On the Trail of John James Audubon

Hitnes Green Heron
“Green Heron (Skilled Fisherman), 2017,” by Hitnes. Watercolor and graphite on paper in wooden frame.
Some of you “bird nerds” are familiar with the “Carolina Bird List Serve,” a way birders in SC and NC share information about birding.  The information below was shared today by Carl Miller of Charleston, and it is such a great story we wanted to share it with you! For those who love birding AND art, you may want to visit the exhibit at Halsey Institute either this weekend, or at least before it leaves at the end of September.

“I was birding at the Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve (north end of Folly Beach, SC) Wednesday night and happened to meet a pleasant Italian fellow birder and his parents.  He never identified himself (apart from his first name), but did urge me to check out the birding exhibit at the Halsey Institute. When I got home and investigated said exhibit, I realized that I had met the exhibition artist, Hitnes, and his mom and dad (also birders) who are visiting from Rome.  The link below will give you a preview of the show.  There is also an opening reception on Friday, August 24, at 6:30 PM and an “artist’s talk” on Saturday, August 25, at 2:00 PM.  According to the article in the Post & Courier (August 11, link below), both of these events are free.  Cathy and I will definitely be going.
Carl Miller
Charleston, SC”

http://halsey.cofc.edu/main-exhibitions/the-image-hunter-on-the-trail-of-john-james-audubon/

Birding in Rochester, NY

Believe it or not, Rochester, NY and Seabrook Island, SC are similarly located ……….. from a birder’s viewpoint.

The Genesee River flows North through the center of the City west of us and extensive creek system feeds Irondequcit Bay — seen from our porch — immediately to the east. Both of these water bodies feed into Lake Ontario — the most easterly of the Great Lakes — and all of that water eventually flows, via the St Lawrence River, into the Atlantic Ocean. The land areas, swamps, and numerous ponds south of the Lake Ontario shoreline are important landing, feeding, and nesting areas for a myriad of bird species. This includes residents, summer residents, and those who are, in Spring and early Summer, preparing to fly the 30 miles or so across the Lake to Canada and beyond — Hudson Bay and the Arctic.  This is roughly similar to what surrounds Seabrook Island. The difference is the 800 to 900 miles difference in latitude.

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SIB Member Profile: Cat & Charles Russo

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Visitors to the Russo home are enthusiastically greeted by Tasha, a Cairn terrier. Her owners Cat and Charles moved to the lake district full-time two years ago. They had vacationed on Fripp and Jekyll Islands, but found them too remote for year-round living. Cat was acquainted with Johns Island, having visited Kiawah as a child, so they started coming to Seabrook, escaping the northern Virginia winters, for increasingly longer stays.

Walking Tasha during one such visit, Cat asked another dog walker about houses for sale in the neighborhood. Mrs. Phillips said she was thinking of selling the home her husband had designed and built thirty years ago. When Charles and Cat toured the house with a realtor, an eagle landed on the osprey platform in the middle of the lagoon behind the house, a sign that this was their future home.

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How to Select Binoculars for Birding

9594918-emoticon-looking-through-binoculars

A frequent question we are asked is how to select a pair of binoculars to use for birding. It can certainly be confusing!

  • What power (i.e. magnification) is best for birding?
  • What does the “objective diameter” mean?
  • Porro vs Roof Prism?
  • How important is the quality of the optics?
  • What brand should I purchase?

In doing some research, we found an excellent article that will explain and provide opinions on all of the above topics.  So if you are thinking of investing in a pair of binoculars, read this article.

We would definitely agree with the article, when it reports, “Without exception, every birding expert we spoke to said the same thing: Get the best pair of binoculars you can afford.” Binocular prices range from $100 – $2,500. Once you decide on your budget, read the article and to answer the questions above, and you are on your way to owning a pair of binoculars for your birding.