May 13 was a perfect day to go birding and be a part of Cornell’s Global Big Day. Cornell has indicated that over 150,000 checklists were submitted worldwide in eBird for that day identifying over 7,600 species. 76,482 of those checklists were in the Lower 48 of the US showing 664 species.
Seabrook Island Birders participated both individually and with organized bird walks. My personal favorite checklist submitted to SIBBig eBird list was by Jennifer Jerome. She reported 16 species at her home. Most impressive was an Osprey that landed in a tree in her backyard. The Osprey was still wet from his successful hunting. He brought a good size Large Mouth Bass and enjoyed his lunch in Jennifer’s tree.
Our organized bird walks on Seabrook Island resulted in 66 species reported on 5 bird walks. It would be hard to select a highlight from each walk. The family of Brown-headed Nuthatch visiting the suet feeder at the Crab Dock would be one of the highlights of the 28 species seen. Shortly after we started our walk around Palmetto Lake, a beautiful flock of White Ibis flew over with the sun glistening off their wings and bodies.
A total of 26 species were seen during this pleasant walk including a family of four Piliated Woodpeckers. After lunch, we reported only 18 species at Jenkins Point but they were special as we saw a nesting Glossy Ibis and then on Nancy’s Island had a glimpse of foraging Whimbrels. Unfortunately, no picture was obtained of the Glossy Ibis because we were afraid of the “little” alligators in the lagoon and the Whimbrels were obstructed by marsh grass.
Mark Andrews led us on an educating walk on North Beach where 28 species were seen. We saw more Whimbrels but it was good to see the variation of the Eastern Willet and the more common Western Willet. We also saw Dunlin, Semipalmated Plover, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers and Sanderling. But how can we not mention American Oyster Catchers, Ruddy Turnstones, courting Least Terns, Red Knots, Black-Bellied Plovers or Wilson’s Plovers. The counts may not have been huge but it was a great afternoon.
The day officially concluded with 6 ladies walking along Bobcat Trail and Six Ladies Trail. Painted Buntings were plentiful but were only one of the 19 species seen or heard. I ended the day with a sunset visit at Boardwalk 8. Laughing Gulls were swooping everywhere with a conservative estimate of 300 counted when the look towards Deveaux was included. The highlight for me was the low fly-over of a mature Bald Eagle…a good conclusion for a good day.
SIB members participated in Big Day in places other than Seabrook Island. In Pennsylvania, Bob Mercer visited 5 different locations and recorded 87 species. Now that is a BIG DAY! He saw several birds we don’t see on Seabrook Island including Mute Swans, Perigrin Falcons, and 16 different species of warblers. Most of these warblers were seen at his previous nature center where he started his day at 5:30am.
Don’t forget to share your eBird lists with SIBBig. You can still share for anytime this year….our list is getting impressive.
Submitted by: Judy Morr