Join SIB for Learning Together at Kiawah River

Sunday, December 4, 2022 8:00am-11:00am
Learning Together at Kiawah River 
Location:  Meet at the “bridge” entering the property
Cost None for members; $10 donation for guests

Register Now

Another chance to check out birds that can be found on this varied habitat  property.  We expect to see a large variety of birds including Double-crested Cormorants, Egrets, Herons, Osprey and other birds of prey. If we are lucky, we will see an eagle and osprey duel over a fish. As we enter the property, we hope to catch a glimpse of the resident American Coots and Loggerhead Shrikes.  We should also see and hear some of the smaller birds like Tufted Titmice, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Cardinals.  We will drive to various locations on the property and then walk for better birding observations.  Of course ,this also gives us a chance to see this neighboring development.

As always, be sure to bring your binoculars, hats, water and sunscreen.  

If you are not yet a 2022 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $15 by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/. You may bring the form and your dues to the event. Or you may pay the Guest Fee of $10.  You can also use the link above to renew your membership for 2023.

Please register no later than Friday, December 2, 2022.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on the day prior to the event.

SIB “Bird of the Week” – American Goldfinch

American GoldfinchSpinus tristis
Length:  5″; Wingspan: 9″; Weight: 0.46 oz.

American Goldfinch - Charles J Moore
American Goldfinch – Charles J Moore

This small finch is commonly found in flocks on Seabrook Island during the winter months (November – March) on backyard feeders, along the golf courses or anywhere there are weed seeds.  It has a sharply pointed bill, a small head, long wings and a short, notched tail.

Those of you who are familiar with this bird during breeding season (when the male has a bright yellow body and black cap, wings and tail), may not recognize them in their winter plumage.  The winter male has olive-gray to olive-brown upper parts, paler underparts, yellow shoulder bar, white wing bar, dark conical bill and may show black on its forehead and yellow on its throat and face.  The winter female is duller with buff wing and shoulder bars and lacks yellow and black on the face and head.  This drastic change in plumage is a result of the American Goldfinch, the only member of its family, having two complete molts each year, one in the fall and one in the spring.

American Goldfinches are among the strictest vegetarians in the bird world only inadvertently swallowing an occasional insect.  It feeds primarily on seeds, including seeds from composite plants (sunflowers, thistle, asters, etc), grasses and trees.  At feeders they favor nyjer and sunflower seeds (hulled).  In both situations it prefers to hang onto seed heads or feeders rather than feeding on the ground.

American Goldfinches are often described as active and acrobatic.  They are also easily identified by their undulating flight pattern of several rapid wing beats and then a pause.  Listen for their flight song while they are flapping, which sounds like po-ta-to-chip.

A group of goldfinches has many collective nouns, including a “007”, “charm”, “rush”, “treasury” and “vein” of goldfinches.

Keep an eye out for the American Goldfinch, as they will be leaving soon to head north to breed and will return when the weather up north gets cold again next fall. (See the range map following the photographs below.)

If you would like to learn more about this bird visit The Cornell Lab of Ornithology – All About Birders: American Goldfinch and Birds of Seabrook Island: American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch in winter - Bob Hider
American Goldfinch in winter – Bob Hider

American Goldfinch spring molt - Bob Hider
American Goldfinch spring molt – Bob Hider

American Goldfinch spring molt- Bob Hider
American Goldfinch spring molt- Bob Hider

Range Map of American Goldfinch - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Range Map of American Goldfinch – Cornell Lab of Ornithology

SIB for Backyard Birding at Cat Tail Pond *correction*

December 1 st , 9am – 11am

Come join us in Paula and Bob’s Adamson’s back yard. They live right on the golf course and have 6 feeders plus a birdbath and 2 bluebird boxes. They even have 2 owl boxes. Many birds can be seen from the deck or the yard.  In addition to birds,  Paula says they have lots of  turkeys, squirrels, bunnies raccoons and possums.

As always, be sure to bring your water, binoculars, hats and sunscreen.  

If you are not yet a 2022 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $15 by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/.   or you may pay the Guest Fee of $10.

Please complete the information below to register no later than Monday November 29th  at 10am.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Wednesday, November 30.

REGISTER 

Join SIB for Backyard Birding at Cat Tail Pond

December 1 st , 9am – 11am

Come join us in Paula and Bob’s Adamson’s back yard. They live right on the golf course and have 6 feeders plus a birdbath and 2 bluebird boxes. They even have 2 owl boxes. Many birds can be seen from the deck or the yard.  In addition to birds,  Paula says they have lots of  turkeys, squirrels, bunnies raccoons and possums.

As always, be sure to bring your water, binoculars, hats and sunscreen.  

If you are not yet a 2022 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $15 by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/.   or you may pay the Guest Fee of $10.

Please complete the information below to register no later than Monday November 29th  at 10am.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Wednesday, November 30.

REGISTER 

Talk Turkey to me

I recently received an email from National Audubon that gave 10 fun facts about Wild Turkeys. An article that starts with “Super vision? Flowing beards? Spiral poo? Yeah, there’s plenty to talk about when it comes to this American icon” is too fun not to share.

Wild Turkey. Photo: Melissa James/Audubon Photography Awards

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Submitted by: Judy Morr

SIB Presents: Roseate Spoonbills, Wood Storks and Limpkins … are SC residents

Date: Wednesday December 7, 2022
Registration starts 7:00pm. Program starts 7:30pm
Location: Live Oak Hall, Lake House, Seabrook Island, SC
Program Fee: Members $0, Guests $10.00
Attendance: Limited to 100 members

If you are not a 2022 or 2023 SIB Member,
you can first join/renew for $15/year

Roseate Spoonbill, flamboyant with bright pink feathers, red eye staring from a partly bald head, giant spoon-shaped bill! Wood Stork, soaring on thermals with outstretched neck and legs, at 3 ft tall towering above other wetland birds! Limpkin, its long bill adapted for removing snails from shells, and unforgettable haunting cry! These fascinating birds, two that we enjoy seeing frequently on Seabrook, were once restricted to Florida. Now they all reside and nest in SC!


Craig Watson, bird guide and recent retiree from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service after 33 years of dedicated bird and habitat conservation, will be our guest. Craig will discuss these fascinating species’ decline and now subsequent increase in population, along with the reasons and implications of their range expansion to SC. Join us to hear Craig’s informative program, along with some enjoyable social time with Seabrook Island Birders’ members and guests!

 The program is limited to 100 SIB members. SIPOA COVID protocol will be followed.

Questions? Email us at: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com 

Craig Watson currently resides in Charleston County South Carolina where he previously worked as a full time migratory bird biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Now retired (September 2022), Craig moved to South Carolina 33 years ago and began his career with the U.S. Forest Service managing Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, particularly after Hurricane Hugo decimated the habitat and population of the woodpeckers. Craig transitioned into his most recent position with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 25 years ago, where his primary duties were securing funds for bird habitat conservation from North Carolina to Puerto Rico. His most recent collaborative effort is the newly released Black Rail Conservation Plan and working with partners on the Atlantic Coast for the conservation of Black Rail.

Craig currently serves as the Chair of the Grants Committee of the Carolina Bird Club, and he works part time for Ventures Bird Tours. He is also a volunteer for Audubon South Carolina, leading local trips, and he is a trip leader for various birding festivals in the US, including the North Shore Birding Festival in Lake Apopka area in Florida, and The Biggest Week in American Birding on the shores of Lake Erie. Craig participates in many Christmas Bird Counts, and leads other local birding activities including Seabrook Island Birders’ Learning Together bird walks. Craig spends most of his time exploring and birding, and spreading the word about birds!

Beyond our Backyard-Kiawah Preserve

Tuesday, November 29, 2021 8:00am-11:00am
Learning Together at Kiawah Preserve behind second gate
Location: Meet at the parking by The Station at Freshfields at 8am

There is a limit of only 12 people
Trying to keep to 3 cars, with 4 people in each car, passes for Kiawah will be obtained the night before

Cost None for members; $10 donation for guests

A well maintained trail through a variety of habitats. Wetlands, maritime forest, ponds and a waterway. There’s an observation tower for those who would like to do some climbing, and get a better view. Hopefully we will see some late migrants as well as those birds that are overwintering here.

As always, be sure to bring your binoculars, hats, water and sunscreen.

If you are not yet a 2022 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $15 by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/. You may bring the form and your dues to the event. Or you may pay the Guest Fee of $10.

Please complete the information below to register no later than Sunday, November 27, 2022. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Monday, November 28th..

SIB “Bird of the Week” – Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe – Podilymbus podiceps
Length:  13″; Wingspan: 16″; Weight: 16 oz.

Pied-bill Grebe - Ed Konrad
Pied-bill Grebe – Ed Konrad

There are seven species of Grebes, but only four are mapped in Sibley’s as possible visitors to Seabrook Island.  However, only one of the four seems to be common to the Island.  That is the Pied-billed Grebe which may be seen bobbing around in our lagoons and lakes from October to March.  They will not likely to ever be seen on land.  This bird is compact, but shows a long neck.  Their coloration is largely a camouflage mix of brown shades with the darkest feathers being on the upper side of the wings.  While the stout beak is generally a yellowish brown, the male, in breeding plumage, has a silvery bill with a black ring around it.  This multi-colored bill provides the basis for the name Pied-billed Grebe.   These supurb swimmers and divers sit slightly low in the water and have lobed (as compared to webbed) feet.  Because they are more at home under the water’s surface, they are of the now-you-see-em-now-you-don’t sort.   Grebes slip underwater with little or no splash and can stay submerged for significant periods of time.   They don’t usually pop up near where they dove.  In contrast, Loons and Cormorants (both being long-necked swimmers and divers) are much larger and splashier birds.

Our lagoons and lakes, with the vegetated edges, provide favorite habitat.  The diet consists of aquatic insects, small fish, amphibians, and crustaceans.   On the other hand, they do not appear to be on the menu for the local alligator population.  While I have not knowingly heard a Pied-billed Grebe call, the literature says they make a ‘gulping kuk-kuk-kuk‘ sound.  Their summer nesting area extends northward from the Mason-Dixon line and into Canada.

Check out this short video of the Pied-billed Grebe

If you would like to learn more about this bird visit:

Article submitted by:  George Haskins
Photographs provided by:  Ed Konrad

This blog post is part of a series SIB will publish on a regular basis to feature birds seen in the area, both migratory and permanent residents.  When possible we will use photographs taken by our members.    Please let us know if you have any special requests of birds you would like to learn more about.

Join or Renew Your SIB Membership for 2023

We are pleased the implementation of online payment using Credit Card / PayPal was well received this past year. The Seabrook Island Birders Executive Committee (SIB EC) met recently to review the budget for the coming year. In our first seven years of operation, we were able to maintain membership dues at $10/person. In order to cover increased expenses, offer quality programs, support the Shorebird Steward and the Bluebird Trail programs, the SIB EC has voted to increase dues to $15/person/year

We hope you will renew your membership today and it is valid through December 31, 2023. SIB membership is open to anyone interested in birds; residents, renters and guests to Seabrook Island.  Benefits of SIB membership include the opportunity to go on bird walks, participate in bird counts and learn about the many birds that frequent our island each season of the year.  In addition, SIB members will receive a discount on bird food purchased at Wild Birds Unlimited in West Ashley, SC.This past year, more than 290 members enjoyed the various in-person and virtual SIB events.  We encourage you to renew your 2023 membership today! These funds will help us offer great programs in the next year!

We have a two step process to renew by credit card.  

Step 1: Tell us Who You Are 

Step 2: Pay Your Membership to Us

OR

If you prefer to pay by check or cash, place a check made out to Seabrook Island Birders for $15/person in an envelope and include the name, email, and phone number of each member and bring to an event or drop off/mail to:  Seabrook Island Birders (SIB), 1202 Landfall Way, Seabrook Island, SC 29455

Thank you for your support! We look forward to seeing you soon.

Join SIB for Learning Together at Camp St. Christopher

Friday, November 25, 2022 8:00 am-11:00 am
Birding at Camp St. Christopher
Meet at bus parking lot at St. Christopher
Max:  10
Cost: Voluntary donation to Camp St.Christopher

Register Now

Come walk off the  bird by doing some birding!!! Explore the lakes, lagoons, paths and slough at St. Christopher.  This event will have 1 – 2 miles of walking over uneven terrain.  We  should see all the usual suspects, but will also hopefully get looks at our some of our winter friends-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, Yellow-rumped Warbler and sparrows.

Bring sun block, bug spray, a hat, water and binoculars.   We are asking our attendees to make a voluntary contribution to Camp St. Christopher to help support their efforts after a few trying years.

Please register no later than Wednesday, November 23, 2021.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Thursday, November 24, 2022.  If you need to cancel, please let us know so we can invite people on the waitlist to attend.

%d bloggers like this: