A Week in the Life of a Novice Birder

If anyone sees me riding my bike, walking my dogs, or walking on the beach they will notice that I am generally looking up to the skies, over the marsh, or out towards sandbars. I imagine it’s only a matter of time before I suffer some type of bird watching injury because I am never paying attention to where I am walking, only to the flashes of colors or sounds of bird calls. I have always been interested in birds, but my new home in the low country offers so many new species to watch.

I sign up for almost every activity that the Seabrook Island Birders offer. Being newly retired, I have been one of their most loyal groupies since the spring. And, now that I have a couple of the members’ phone numbers, I will readily text them to see if they think I might have heard a Clapper Rail at the crab dock or seen a Great Horned Owl at the beach. Hopefully, this is not too annoying for them. 

This week started on Sunday at 8 a.m.  A “Backyard Birding” event at the Hurd’s garden on Loblolly. It was the first cool morning for a while and, even though there were not many species seen, it was still an enjoyable fall morning talking to neighbors about what they had spotted in their yards.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Ed Konrad

The highlight for me was seeing what I had thought was a woodpecker and finding out that it was a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Now I have been spotting a pair in my yard all week. The rest of Sunday I spent agonizing over what type of bird feeders I should order from Amazon to start attracting more birds to my own yard. 

On Wednesday, I was out for a run. As I am heading down Marsh Haven Road towards SI Road, I look across the marsh towards the fire station. I think I see four ducks bobbing in the water, but cannot see them well enough to identify them. I am running and texting Judy Morr to let her know, just in case she may be interested, since ducks are just beginning to make their way back to the island for the winter. She gets to the marsh to check it out before I could even get back to my house, but missed seeing the ducks. No worries, I hop on my bike and meet her at the SI maintenance pond for an impromptu two and a half hour walk that netted Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills , White Ibis, Killdeer, a Red-tailed Hawk, and a Belted Kingfisher. This area is a hidden birding goldmine!

Bald Eagle @ Bear Island
Chris Correale

Finally, on Saturday, a group of six women met at 6 a.m. and set off to Bear Island for sunrise and a day of birding there and at Donnelly Wildlife Management Area not far from Edisto in the ACE Basin. I was expecting to see several species of ducks, but was totally unprepared for what we did see. So many and many types of ducks, and incredibly so many shore birds, Bald Eagles, Roseate Spoonbills, woodpeckers, warblers, and on and on. We saw hundreds and hundreds of birds at Bear Island and Donnelly WMA, with a total of 73 species for the day. I was asked if I saw any new bird species to add to my life list. Yes! Too many to count, but from the top of my head, the White Pelicans and American Avocet. I’ll be studying the E-Bird list that was compiled during our trip. And, I do realize this is a nerdy way to spend an evening. Being it was almost a nine hour round trip day, I was exhausted, but so euphoric from the experience. 

If you are a newcomer to Seabrook or even a long time resident looking for an enjoyable pastime, you might consider the Seabrook Island Birders. The group is always so welcoming and eager to educate new members and even Island visitors who want to participate in just one event. SIB offers so many types of activities, from lectures to short walks around Palmetto Lake to a slow sixteen mile bike ride on the West Ashley Greenway. If you decide to check out this group, I guarantee you, too, will start noticing your surroundings and experiencing the same thrill I do when I see that Pileated Woodpecker working the pine tree in my yard. 

Article submitted by Joleen Ardaiolo
Photo credits to Ed Konrad & Chris Correale

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Join us Sunday for Backyard Birding!

Backyard Birding Photographers 011418
Backyard Birding Photographers.

REGISTER NOW!

Date: Sunday November 4, 7am-9am
Activity: Backyard Birding
Location:3326 Wildcat Point, Seabrook Island
Max: 12-15
Cost: free for SIB Members, $5 fee for guests.

Daylight savings time begins this day. Those birds will be out earlier in the early light. Marty and Charley Moore are graciously opening their home again at 3326 Wildcat Point overlooking the marsh. Come try and identify some fall migration birds that may still be coming through. They have so many bird feeders, that I lost count.

Bring your binoculars, cameras, bug spray, etc.

Once you are a member, please REGISTER no later than Friday November 1, 2018. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter the day prior the event.

If you have additional questions about the program, please contact us by sending an email to: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com

If you are not yet a 2018 SIB member, you must first become a member by following the instructions on our website or we request a $5 donation to SIB.

FOS – Hooded Merganser

Hooded Mergansers – photo taken by Glen Cox

On Sunday morning, Glen Cox notified several members of SIB’s executive board of his “First of Season” (FOS) sighting of Hooded Mergansers.  He spotted them at the marsh on Captain Sams Road near the fire station on Seabrook Island. You can learn more about this beautiful bird by reading our blog from two years ago comparing the Hooded Merganser vs the Bufflehead.

Our winter birds are returning, so be sure to let us know when you see FOS birds on Seabrook Island so we can let our members know who is arriving and where they can be seen!

Use this link to Report a Bird Sighting and if possible, send a photo to our email:  seabrookislandbirders@gmail.com.

Join us to Celebrate SIB’s 3rd Anniversary!

2018 Bird Bingo & Game Night

Register Now!

Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) invites members and guests to join us to celebrate our 3rd Anniversary at our “Bird Bingo & Game Night.” We will socialize as we eat, drink and be merry playing Bingo and trivia games during a fun-for-all evening! We even have a silent auction item that one of our lucky participants will take home!

Date: Friday November 9, 2018
Registration & Social: 5:30 pm
Program Starts:  6:00 pm
Location:  Live Oak Hall at the Lake House on Seabrook Island
Maximum Attendees:  80

SIB will provide the beverages including wine, water and coffee. Otherwise you can BYOB and we’ll provide ice and cups. Just sign up to bring a heavy hors d’oeuvre or dessert. We ask everyone to RSVP no later than November 6 so we know how much wine to purchase and tables to set.

You may renew your 2019 SIB membership for $10 at the door.  Not a member of SIB yet?  Join that evening and your $10 membership will not expire until the end of 2019.  Guests are welcome for a $5 donation.

Don’t miss this chance to have a fun filled evening and win some prizes with our flock of Seabrook Island Birders! Space is limited to sign up today!

Join us Saturday to Bird “Beyond our Backyard” at Bear Island/Donnelly WMA

REGISTER NOW!

Date: Saturday October 27, 2018 6:00 am– 2:00 pm (sunrise 7:30am)
Activity: Trip to Bear Island & Donnelly WMA
Location: Meet at SI Real Estate Office to Car Pool
Max: 12
Cost: free to members, $5 per guest

If you have never been to Bear Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA) or to Donnelly WMA, you won’t want to miss this opportunity – it’s well worth the 60-mile one-way trip! Part of the ACE Basin, this area is perfect habitat for birds with ponds, rivers, salt marsh, freshwater marsh, mudflats mixed pine-hardwood forest and farmland. Most of the birding is done by car with stops to get out and take short walks for viewing. Bear Island closes for hunting from November 1 – February 9 each year, so this is the last chance to visit before spring. We hope the winter waterfowl will have returned including the Tundra Swan. Each person should bring their own lunch, snacks and beverages, as there are no restaurants in the area. Also be sure to bring sun block, bug spray, a hat, binoculars, camera and a scope if you have one.

Please register no later than Thursday October 25, 2018. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter the day prior the event.

If you have additional questions about the program, please contact us by sending an email to: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com

If you are not yet a 2018 SIB member, you must first become a member by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/ or we request a $5 donation to SIB.

Join us Sunday for Backyard Birding!

Backyard Birding Photographers 011418
Backyard Birding Photographers.

REGISTER NOW!

Date: Sunday October 21 8am-10am
Activity: Backyard Birding
Location:2116 Loblolly Lane, Seabrook Island
Max: 12-15
Cost: free for SIB Members, $5 fee for guests.

Join Lee Hurd at her home and garden at 2116 Loblolly Lane. She regularly sees various types of birds and looks forward to our group helping her identify more of them. Many of us have admired her garden from the street and are sure the birds admire it as well. The entrance is next to the water. Please meet in her back yard on the deck to start.

Once you are a member, please REGISTER no later than Thursday October 20 , 2018. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter the day prior the event.

If you have additional questions about the program, please contact us by sending an email to: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com

If you are not yet a 2018 SIB member, you must first become a member by following the instructions on our website or we request a $5 donation to SIB.

Join us Monday to Bird on Crooked Oaks Golf Course

REGISTER NOW!

IMG_5035
Stopped along the 17th hole of Crooked Oaks to observe Eastern Bluebirds at a nesting box.

Date: Monday October 15, 2018 9:00 am – 11:30 am
Activity: Learning Together at Crooked Oaks Golf Course
Location: Meet at Island House (Golf Course Parking Lot next to Spinnaker Beach Houses) for “walk” along Ocean Winds Golf Course in golf carts.
Max: 16
Cost: None for members; $5 donation for guest

Crooked Oaks will be closed to golfers, so join us for a morning of birding by riding in golf carts for at least 9-holes on Crooked Oaks Golf Course. We expect to see a large variety of birds including Double-crested Cormorants, Egrets, Herons, Osprey and other birds of prey. We should also see and hear some of the smaller birds like Tufted Titmice, Eastern Bluebirds, and Northern Cardinals. Fall migration will be well underway so we may even see a few that only pass by on their way south.

As always, be sure to bring your binoculars, hats and sunscreen. Water will be provided.

Please register no later than Saturday October 13, 2018. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter the day prior the event.

If you have additional questions about the program, please contact us by sending an email to: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com

If you are not yet a 2018 SIB member, you must first become a member by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/ or we request a $5 donation to SIB.