Join SIB: Learning Together at Palmetto Lake

Wednesday, May 3, 2023 7:30am – 9:30am
Location:  Meet at Equestrian end of Lake House  parking lot
Max:  15
Cost: Free for 2023 members, $10 for guests

Description: Join the Seabrook Island Birders for a leisurely walk around Palmetto Lake. The path around Palmetto Lake is wheelchair navigable and for those walking it will be less than a half a mile. As we walk along the path going towards the equestrian center we hope to see Cat Birds and Brown Thrashers hiding in the thicket. In this area we always see the Mockingbirds, Northern Cardinals, Carolina and House Wrens, Bluebirds and perhaps recently seen Orchard Oriole.  Looking into Palmetto Lake we are likely to see Anhingas, Double-crested Cormorants, terns, gulls, Night Herons and possibly Green Herons that might be beginning to nest in the shrubs around the lake. At the back side of the path we hope to see and hear vireos, early arriving spring warblers like the Northern Parula, and year round resident warblers like the Black and White Warbler and Yellow-throated Warbler. If the “white birds” get the invitation, we can expect to see Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets and White Ibis before they leave for their day foraging. There’s also the possibility of a Roseate or raptor flyover. 

Dress in layers and bring your binoculars, hats, and a beverage of choice. 

If you are not yet a 2023 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 register no later than Monday May 1.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on the Wednesday, the day prior to the activity.  

Celebrate Shorebirds at the May 11-12 Sea Islands Shorebird Festival!!!

Register now for the Evening Programs & Breakfast – registration cut off is May 5!

American Oystercatcher


  • Birder’s Breakfast – Thursday, May 11, 9:00-10:00am – The Sandcastle, Kiawah Island
  • Red Knot Reception – Thursday, May 11, 5:30-7:30pm – The Sandcastle, Kiawah Island
  • *Feather Fest – Friday, May 12, 12:00-4:00pm – Kiawah Island Municipal Center
  • Birds of the Inlet – Friday, May 12, 7:00-9:00pm – Lake House, Seabrook Island


Note when registering, look for these 3 programs on the menu: Birder’s Breakfast, Red Knot Reception, Birds of the Inlet. There is space available to attend each. Bypass all the bird walks on the menu that say SOLD OUT.

*Feather Fest is open to all – no preregistration is required.

If registering from iPhone/smartphone click this link:


The first-ever Sea Islands Shorebird Festival will be held May 11 & 12, 2023, on Seabrook and Kiawah Islands. Join conservationists, researchers, and outdoor enthusiasts to celebrate our coastal birds and learn how we can make a difference in protecting their vulnerable populations. The Festival’s informative programs will highlight the amazing lives of Red Knots, and other migrating and nesting shorebirds, that depend on the critical habitat that our beaches provide.

The Festival kicks off Thursday with the Birder’s Breakfast, 9-10am at The Sandcastle on Kiawah Island. Participants will enjoy light refreshments and coffee, learn about the unique geography of Seabrook and Kiawah Islands, and our islands’ significance for the survival of shorebirds. While mingling with fellow conservationists, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the festival with exciting visuals of the area’s beautiful bird life – all from the comfort of a beach-front porch!

The Red Knot Reception, Thursday 5:30-7:30pm at The Sandcastle on Kiawah Island, will include wine, hors d’oeuvres, and learning more about Red Knots. The evening will provide in-depth knowledge through presentations, a new short-film documentary, and a panel discussion from coastal bird experts in the southeast. The audience will be able to participate in the panel discussion and socialize with these experts.

From noon to 4pm Friday, the family-friendly Feather Fest will continue the celebration with local artists, photographers, painters, authors, and crafters showcasing the magnificent beauty of these animals through various mediums. This event will be at the Kiawah Island Municipal Center. Enjoy food from the Smokin’ Gringo’s food truck, participate in outdoor kid’s activities and revel in the creativity of the vendors as you learn more about shorebird conservation.

The finale to the Festival is the Birds of the Inlet Reception on Friday, 7-9pm at the Lake House on Seabrook Island. This program will feature four different speakers, each unveiling a different aspect of the importance of the local habitat for coastal birds. Along with a wealth of ornithological knowledge and the region’s best biologists, the evening will also include after-dinner bites and refreshments.

The lineup of expert speakers for the Festival and evening programs include:

  • Felicia Sanders – Coastal Bird Program Coordinator, SC Department of Natural Resources
  • Abby Sterling – Georgia Bight Shorebird Conservation Initiative Director, Manomet
  • Benjamin Clock – Multimedia Conservationist, Clock Conservation Multimedia
  • Aaron Given – Assistant Wildlife Biologist, Town of Kiawah
  • Janet Thibault – Wildlife Biologist, SC Department of Natural Resources
  • Melissa Chaplin – Endangered Species Biologist, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Maina Handmaker – PhD Candidate, University of Massachusetts- Amherst


Black Skimmer – All photos by Ed Konrad, Seabrook Island Birders

SIB “Bird of the Week” – Belted Kingfisher – King of the Lagoon

Belted Kingfisher – Megaceryle alcyon
Length:  13″; Wingspan: 20″; Weight: 5 oz.

Belted Kingfisher - C Moore
Belted Kingfisher – C Moore

Along any of Seabrook Island’s lagoons, ponds, lakes or other waterways you may hear a very distinctive loud rattling call, a flash of blue and a splash of water as a Belted kingfisher plunges head first into the water catching an un-expecting fish near the surface. Occasionally you may also spot this beautiful medium-sized, brightly colored bird with a very distinct shaggy topknot sitting on an isolated tree branch or dead tree limb over the water’s edge surveying its kingdom.

A very territorial and fearless bird the Belted kingfisher will aggressively protect its territory. I witnessed a female belted kingfisher dive-bomb and chase off a juvenile eagle that dared to sit on a tree branch too close to its lagoon. At the same time these birds are very leery of humans and are difficult to get close to.

Over 90 species of kingfishers occur word-wide but only the Belted kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon, is found throughout much of the United States and Canada. Here they breed and are year-round residents. It is even depicted on the Canadian $5 bill.

In winter they migrate south into Mexico, Central America and the West Indies. They occasionally travel great distances and frequent areas such as Colombia, Venezuela and have been recorded in Greenland, Ireland, Portugal, Hawaii and other Pacific Islands.

The Belted kingfisher is a stocky bird of about a foot in length with a wingspan of between 19 and 23 inches. It has a shaggy multi-pointed crest or topknot, a thick pointed bill and is one of the few birds where the female is more colorful than the male. Females are also slightly larger than males.

The head and body are slate blue. There is a white collar around its neck and a dark blue breast band on its white belly. Whereas all young birds have an orange or brownish-red band on the upper belly only the female keeps the band and as with all her plumage brightens as she matures.  Have you ever wondered why the female of this bird species has more coloration than the male?  Scientists have yet to answer the question, but here is one suggestion.

The Blue jay with its bright blue plumage is the only Seabrook Island bird somewhat similar in appearance. However, it is smaller, more slender, has a single pointed head crest, a smaller bill and a thin black collar around its neck.

Although primarily a fish eater the Belted kingfisher eats a wide variety of prey including insects, crustaceans, amphibians, reptiles., mollusks and even small birds and mammals.

They nest near inland waterbodies in the spring, digging and excavating a long nesting burrow in the mud or sand along the waters’ edge. The tunnel angles up so that should the water rise an air pocket would protect the eggs and young birds. The female lays five to eight oval, pure white eggs and both sexes incubate the eggs.

Keep your eye out for this very unique bird along Seabrook Islands many waterways but you may hear its loud piercing and rattling call as it streaks across its kingdom long before you can spot it.

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

Article submitted by:  Charles Moore
Photographs provided by:  Charles Moore

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 SIB: Birding at Beidler Forest

Prothonotary Warbler, Beidler Forest, photo by Ed Konrad

Date: Friday, April 28, 2023  7:30 am – 2:00 pm (Tour starts at Beidler at 9:30a)
Location:  Meet at SI Real Estate Office to Car Pool to Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary (Google maps says 1.5 hour drive)
Min: 12    Max: 15            
Cost: $15 per person, $10 Additional Guest Fee if not SIB member

* Payment to SIB at the event will reimburse SIB for prepayment already made 


If you have never been to Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, you won’t want to miss this opportunity – it’s well worth the 70-mile one-way trip!  Our last visit, 32 species of birds were observed including Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Swallow-tailed Kite, Barred Owl, and of course, Prothonotary Warbler!

As the walk ends between 12:00 and 12:30, participants may want to bring a lunch, snacks and beverages to “picnic” at the Center prior to their return to Seabrook Island as there are limited number of restaurants in the area.  Also be sure to bring sun block, bug spray, a hat, binoculars, camera and a scope if you have one.  

If you are not yet a 2023 SIB member, you must first become a member by following the instructions on our website: You may bring the form and your dues to the event. Otherwise you may pay an additional $10 Guest Fee.

Once you are a member, please register no later than Wednesday, April 26, 2023. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Thursday, April 27th.

Photo by Jackie Brooks

Watch: “The Importance of Native Plants” with Doug Tallamy

SIB’s April movie matinee, Bringing Nature Home: The Importance of Native Plants, is one of a 6-session webinar series focused on the ecological roles of native plants and some of the creatures that depend on them. On this webinar, Doug Tallamy,  author and professor, The University of Delaware will focus on the benefits of native plants to create a welcoming environment for the fauna it supports.  This series was sponsored by The Ohio State University Department of Entomology and The Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Gardens, and is funded in part by a USDA/NIFA Integrated Pest Management Pollinator Health grant.

If you missed the SIB presentation, the great news is you can watch it at your convenience on your own devices! The hour-long program is available on YouTube! You can watch the trailer, or jump right into the recorded event.

Watch the trailer

BirdNote: Recycle Your Eggshells

Have you heard of BirdNote Daily? It’s a two-minute radio show celebrating the amazing lives of birds. These mini-podcasts share fascinating information about the birds we love!

Start by listening to this one from April 15, 2023. You’ll learn about the importance of calcium to nesting birds’ diets and how you can support them!

Photo credit: Carol Sandra

While you are on their website, look around as they have many other interesting podcasts and articles.

Join SIB: Birding Beyond Our Backyard: Edisto Nature Trail

Tuesday, April 25, 2023  7:00 am – 12:00 pm (Walk starts at Edisto Nature Trail at 8:00a)

 An optional (weather permitting) drive down Hyde Park Road is planned for the return drive

Location:  Meet at SI Real Estate Office to Car Pool to Edisto Nature Trail
  (Google maps says 50 minute drive)
            Edisto Nature Trail:  17038 Ace Basin Pkwy Jacksonboro, South Carolina
Max: 15 
Cost:   Free to members, $10.00 for guests 


Come join us for spring migration, Beyond Our Backyard, at the Edisto Nature Trail.   This park, within the ACE Basin on Highway 17, is both a migrant hot spot and a known nesting area for a number of sought after bird species.  The park, adjacent to the Edisto River, has a variety of habitats along its one point five (1.5) mile looped trail.

Some of the bird species we hope to see, and have encountered in prior years, includes such Warbler Species as Prothonotary, Worm-Eating, Black and White, Swainson’s, Kentucky, and Hooded.  Other possible bird species include Veery, Scarlet Tanager, Blackburnian Warbler, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Blackpoll Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Blue-Winged Warbler, Warbling Vireos, and a variety of raptors.  

This nature trail has a number of board walk cross overs to assist in traversing potentially wet areas.  Appropriate foot ware is recommended, even during dry spells. Participants should also consider these other items to maximize their comfort and enjoyment: binoculars, bug spray, sunscreen, hats, layered clothing to adjust to the mornings weather, field guides if print is your preference, eyeglass – lens cleaner, water, snacks, camera, and a pack or shoulder bag for your needs.    

Weather permitting, for those looking to extend their day, we will drive Hyde Park Rd on our return home.  Hyde is a productive corridor for spring migrants that parallels Savannah Highway.  

If you are not yet a 2023 SIB member, you must first become a member 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.

Once you are a member, please register no later than Sunday, April 23, 2023. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter the day prior to the event.


Monday, April 24, 2023, 5:00-6:30 The Haul Over
Location: 2445 The Haul Over
Max:  20
Cost: None for 2023 members; $10 donation for guests


We are going back! Our visit last May to Annalee Regenburg’s back yard was a witness of a bumper crop of Egret and Heron nests. We lost count at 100 nests.  Annalee’s house backs up to the Great White Egret Rookery. The females sit on their nests all day and the males come into the nests in the evenings. We plan on observing this wonderful, sometimes noisy event. I’m sure we will see some snowy egrets and green herons, plus some night herons and Wood Storks too. They are all tucked in there too. One year we even saw Cattle Egrets.  Walk around back when you arrive.

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

If you are not yet a 2023 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $15 by following the instructions on our website:  Or you may pay the Guest Fee of $10 at the time of the activity.

Please complete the information below to register no later than Tuesday April 21st. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Sunday, April 23rd.  

Ask SIB – Dancing Cowbird

Question: This cowbird comes to the pole that the hummingbird feeder is on several times a day. It faces the window and fans its wings out flapping, a courtship display, maybe? I am a little concerned that it will keep the hummers away. Any thoughts? – Patricia Schaefer

Brown-headed Cowbird – Photo courtesy of Patricia Schaefer

Answer: This is a Brown-headed Cowbird doing a territorial display. Brown-headed Cowbirds are promiscuous, but they also fight for the right to mate. It is not uncommon for a group of males to do a performance directed at the other male. The performance usually consists of a back feather ruffle, a head bow with a wing lift. It often ends with a bill wipe.

Since your bird is facing the window, it is seeing its reflection and thinks it is another bird. In a normal situation, one of the birds would back down, giving a submissive display. Since your window is acting like a mirror, the “second” bird never backs down. It is possible this display will lead to this bird “attacking” your window in an effort to drive away the intruder.

Undoubtedly, the hummingbirds will avoid the area during the display period. They will come back when the cowbird moves on. To discourage the cowbird, putting something in the window that breaks up the reflection might help.

Answer by: Robert Mercer

Join SIB: Learning Together on North Beach

Saturday, April 22, 2023, 8:00 am – 10:00 am
Birding at North Beach
Location:  Meet at Boardwalk # 1 Parking lot
Max:  none    
Cost: Free for members; $10 donation for guests

Join SIB to bird at Seabrook Island’s North Beach. This three-mile round trip walk travels from Board Walk #1 to the tip of North Beach along Captain Sams Inlet as high tide approaches.  Birders from beginners to advanced birders will enjoy the variety of birds found on North Beach. At this time, many different species of shorebirds rest and feed near the point or along the beach ridge near the beach’s pond. Along the way, we will explore the many different species that can be found in this unique area.

As always, be sure to bring your binoculars/cameras, hats and sunscreen. Bring a spotting scope if you have one. There should be spotting scopes available for viewing. Bring plenty to drink and a snack if desired. There are no facilities.  We ask that all participants wear a mask when unable to social distance if they are not vaccinated.

If you are not yet a 2023 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 register no later than April 20th.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on April 21st, the day prior to the trip. 

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