Beyond Our Backyard-Botany Bay and Roxbury Park

Beyond our Backyard – Botany Bay and Roxbury Park

Saturday, March 12, 2022 7:30am – 4:00 pm (roundtrip from Seabrook Island)
Leave Seabrook Real Estate: 7:30 am
Botany Bay: 9:00 am – 12:00 am
Lunch: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Bird Roxbury Park: 1:00 – 3:00pm

Location: Meet at Real Estate Parking lot at 7:30 am to carpool to Botany Bay with start there at 9:00am with of low tide being around 9:30.
Max: 12
Cost: None for members; $5 donation for guests

Enjoy the diverse bird population of Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area (WMA). We will meet at the kiosk at the entrance to Botany Bay then caravan around the area. We will stop at various locations and walk to see birds not visible from the dirt roads. The event is timed to allow a walk along the raised path through the marsh then on to the boneyard beach near low tide. From the beach, shorebirds will be seen as well as looking across the river to Deveaux Bank and Seabrook Island. Scoters and loons may be seen in this location. The WMA also has woods, marshes and fields allowing for 106 species to be seen in March 2021. Please note that this is a very remote area as it is a WMA and there are no facilities such as restrooms.

You may pack a lunch to eat at either Botany Bay or Roxbury Park or you can join the group eating at Roxbury Mercantile (http://roxburymercantile.com/). This previous country story now has both inside and outside dining offering “Lowcountry cuisine”.

In the afternoon, we will make the short trip to from Roxbury Mercantile to Roxbury Park. Roxbury Park is owned and managed by the Town of Meggett, SC. What makes Roxbury Park such a special place is the diversity of it’s ecosystem. Visitors to the park can see and experience eight distinctively unique habitats that attract and support an amazing variety of wildlife. ​ The park is open year round but only on Saturday and Sunday. There is a portable restroom located in the parking area.

Participants may opt only the morning at Botany Bay or both. If you wish to only do Botany Bay, we ask you just let us know and provide your own transportation.

Be sure to bring binoculars, camera, hats, sunscreen, bug repellant, snacks and water.

If you are not yet a 2022 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.

Once you are a member, please complete the information below to REGISTER no later than Thursday March 10, 2022. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter the day prior the event.

Bird of the Week … The Night-Herons: Similar but Different

There are two species of night heron both of which are found on Seabrook Island and throughout much of the South Eastern United States; the Yellow-crowned and Black-crowned Night-Heron. A third species, the Bermuda Night-Heron, was endemic to Bermuda but became extinct about 100 years ago through human activity.

Similarities

Both Night-Heron species are medium sized birds and are one of the smallest herons at about 24 inches high and weighing approximately two pounds. Females are slightly smaller than males.

The adults are easy to distinguish. The Black-crownedNight-Heron has a black crown, black back, grey and white body, red eyes, and short yellow legs. The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron’s body and back are smooth grey-blue, it’s head is black and glossy with white cheeks and a pale-yellow crown that extends from the back of its head between the eyes to the bill. Long thin white feathers extend from the back of the crown of both species during mating  season

As their name implies they are both active primarily at dusk and during the night.

They are both found in vegetated areas associated with shallow waters. They seek out both saltwater and fresh water areas such as marshes, lagoons, swamps, streams, lake shores and areas that are regularly flooded.

Foraging mainly at dusk and during darkness, the primary diet of both Night-Heron are crabs, crayfish, other crustaceans, insects, worms and small fish.

They both spend daylight hours perched on tree limbs and bushes generally over the water hidden by foliage.

Both birds nest in trees when available, often in small colonies, with both parents participating in nest building, laying 2 to 6 eggs. The young stay close throughout the breeding season.

Differences

The Black-crowned Night-Heron occurs, breeds and is a year-round resident throughout most of the world. The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron is found exclusively in the Americas and is a year-round resident only in those areas warm enough to allow for an abundance of crabs, their primary food source.  The breeding range of the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron has recently (1925 – 1960) spread throughout much of the South Eastern United States.

Whereas the Black–crowned Night-Heron is easily disturbed by human activity, the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron does not mind living near humans and is frequently found in wooded neighborhoods. In flight the legs of the Black-crowned Night-Heron are hidden and cannot be seen but the Yellow-crown Night-Heron extends it bright yellow legs straight below the tail feathers in flight as with most other herons and can clearly be seen.

Juveniles

The juveniles of both Night-Heron look nothing like their parents, often appearing larger that the adults and are so similar in appearance it is very difficult to distinguish the two species. Juveniles take up to three years to obtain adult plumage.

Black-crowned Night-Heron juveniles often sit hunched over, appear thicker bodied, the wings are brown with large white dots and the bill is a slightly thicker and is dark on top and greenish yellow on the bottom. The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron juvenile appears slender, stands taller, has numerous small white dots on its wings and its bill is nearly black. However, as they are far more similar than different it is very difficult to distinguish the juveniles of these two night herons.

Article & Photographs Submitted by:  Charles Moore

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