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: 

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: 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.

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