Long-billed Curlew Expedition

SIB wants to make you aware of an opportunity to take a boat trip to Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge through Coastal Expeditions, on Sunday February 4, 2018, 8:00 am – 12 noon.  As of now there are still 25 seats available and the cost is $45/person. SIB is not sponsoring this event, but there are several SIB members already signed up.  See description and website below for more information.

As the weather cools and the northerly winds start to blow, birding in the Lowcountry blossoms. Join Coastal Expeditions on a guided birding trip through the estuaries to the northern end of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge in search of migrating shorebirds, songbirds, and birds of prey.

We’ll take you to the hidden spots where long-billed curlew can be found for a chance to see this life list-worthy bird in its native habitat. While we are out, expect to see other extraordinary avian species like peregrine falcons, marbled godwits, whimbrels, marsh wrens and seaside sparrows.

Throughout the year, 293 bird species are classified within Cape Romain, and many of them are seen during the fall migration along the Atlantic Flyway.

This is going to be a very special opportunity for birding in Cape Romain. With close-up views of the historic lighthouses and unmatched scenery, this trip is perfect for photographers, birders, nature-lovers and history buffs. This excursion will take place on board Caretta (We will not be departing onto any islands). SPACE IS LIMITED

BOOK YOUR ADVENTURE

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Ask SIB: Project FeederWatch Q&A

Nearly a dozen SIB members are participating in the 2017-2018 Project FeederWatch program.  During a seminar held earlier this week, one of the members asked a great question:

Q:  My backyard is legally ended by a tidal creek that flows in to a marsh behind my neighbor’s house.  The neighbor has a dock.  I know I don’t count birds in flight but if there are birds perched on the dock or in the marsh, should I include them in my counts?  Also, if there are birds scavenging at low tide in the mud of the creek or swimming by on high tide, should they be included?

Since this is an important questions as many of us live on or near marsh, beach, rivers, etc, Judy Morr sent the question to Project Feeder.  Below is their answer:

A: It gets a little tricky counting near water. If any of the birds are attracted to something you provide (feeder, birdbath, plants, stocked fish in a pond etc…), please include them in the count. If you think the birds would be at that location regardless of anything you provide, please exclude them. For example, if a bird is foraging at the tide line or resting at the dock, I would exclude it. However, if ducks come up into your yard to forage, I would include them. I hope that helps.

 Thank you for FeederWatching,

Chelsea Benson
Project Assistant
Project FeederWatch
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850

If you are interested to learn more about Project FeederWatch, please read our BLOG or visit their website www.feederwatch.org  and join today!

Submitted by:  SIB Communication Team

Birding in the rain at Seabrook Island Maintenance Area

Left to right: Melodie Murphy, Charles Moore, Judy Morr, David Gardner. Photo by: Nancy Brown

It was a rainy and cold 45 degrees this past Thursday December 7th, but five SIB members trooped around the Seabrook Island Maintenance area in search of wintering ducks, shorebirds and passerines!  We were thrilled to see a female Common Goldeneye in the pond along with 14 Bufflehead.  In addition, we saw both the Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers, a group of six Killdeer and a single Spotted Sandpiper with its distinctive teeter, bobbing its tail up and down constantly as it walked along the shore.

In total we saw 36 species in just one-hour, including some new species for the year for some members!  Check out the list of birds and selection of photos below!

Please remember to check our website and sign-up for upcoming events, including any part of our Seabrook Island Big Day on Saturday December 16, 2017.

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  • 14 Bufflehead
  • 1 Common Goldeneye
  • 3 Hooded Merganser
  • 3 Wood Stork
  • 4 Double-crested Cormorant
  • 1 Great Egret
  • 1 Snowy Egret
  • 6 Killdeer
  • 18 Least Sandpiper
  • 1 Spotted Sandpiper
  • 4 Greater Yellowlegs
  • 2 Lesser Yellowlegs
  • 1 Bonaparte’s Gull
  • 2 Ring-billed Gull
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 3 Blue Jay
  • 3 American Crow
  • 2 Carolina Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 House Wren
  • 2 Carolina Wren
  • 4 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 2 Northern Mockingbird
  • 30 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Palm Warbler
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 35 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 1 White-throated Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 3 Northern Cardinal

Article submitted by Nancy Brown and photographs by Charles Moore

Kiawah Island Banding Station – 2017 Fall Migration Summary

As you may know, there is an active bird banding station on our neighboring island.  The following information is a summary of what Aaron Given, Wildlife Biologist, provided on his Kiawah Island Banding Station blog, where you can read the full report.

From left to right: Paul Carroll, Michael Gamble, Kristen Oliver, Brandon Connare, Hannah Conley, Aaron Given, Mattie VandenBoom

2017 Fall Migration Summary

The 2017 fall migration banding season at the Kiawah Island Banding Station (KIBS) ended on Thursday, November 20, 2017. We banded at two sites on Kiawah Island again this fall:  Captain Sam’s and Little Bear.  This was the 9th consecutive year of fall migration banding at the Captain Sam’s site with banding occurring daily during the last 6 years.  This was the 3rd season for the Little Bear site which we initiated during the fall of 2015.  The two sites are located at each end of island about 8 miles apart (Captain Sam’s on the west end, Little Bear on the east end).  Both sites are situated in coastal scrub/shrub and high marsh habitats, however, the Little Bear site is in an earlier stage of succession. Collectively, we banded 8,393 birds and had 1,845 recaptures of 93 different species at both sites.

Top 10 Species Banded at Captain Sam’s
1.  Common Yellowthroat (1,314)
2.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (704)
3.  Gray Catbird (685)
4.  Red-eyed Vireo (265)
5.  American Redstart (229)
6.  Palm Warbler (192)
7. Northern Waterthrush (146)
8.  Painted Bunting (128)
9.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (125)
10.  Prairie Warbler (121)
Top 10 Species Banded at Little Bear
 1.  Common Yellowthroat (948)
2.  Gray Catbird (624)
3.  Palm Warbler (326)
4.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (273)
5.  Northern Waterthush (132)
6.  Painted Bunting (119)
7.  Prairie Warbler (114)
8.  Red-eyed Vireo (113)
9.  American Redstart (108)
10.  House Wren (83)
Again, you can read the full report here.

Highlights from Productive Bird Walks

Recently, Seabrook Island Birders enjoyed a Bird Walk with a Kiawah Island Resorts Naturalist in the fields around Freshfields and then on another day, a “walk” on Ocean Winds golf course.  A recap of each is below.  More fun activities are scheduled for December.

Fields of Freshfields Village

On November 16, Seabrook Island Birders were honored to have a walk led by two naturalists from Kiawah Island Resorts.  The walk took us to places we usually are unable to bird….the fields behind Freshfields Village.  In the three hours together, an amazing 60 species were identified.  The day started in “Field 14” which is across the Kiawah Island Parkway from Freshfields Village.  We had to wait to enter the field for 9 Wild Turkeys to clear the drive.  Watching them run and fly over the fence in to the plowed field was a treat.

Pond with Great Egrets, Snowy Egret, Little Blue and White Ibis – Ed Konrad

The day only got better when we reached the pond where there were Great Egrets, White Ibis and Wood Storks.   Hooded Mergansers and Buffleheads had also arrived for the winter.    Greater Yellowlegs, Lessor Yellowlegs and Willets shared a pond to allow easy comparison.

Loggerhead Shrike – Ed Konrad

When we crossed back to the “tomato fields” behind the car wash, my highlight of the day was seeing the Loggerhead Shrike perched atop a tree.  The day was not over, however, as we continued on to the brush piles behind Andell Inn where the House Wren and Carolina Wren shared a pile, again allowing comparison.  The final stop of the day was the fields behind the pond at Andell Inn.  From the fields, we looked in to the pond where a Common Gallimule was seen.

Our guide tagging Monarch Butterflies – Ed Konrad

The day ended as we observed Jake and Juliana capture Monarch Butterflies which they would tag for migration studies.  The number of butterflies was amazing and only expanded our love of beautiful area we call home.

 

Ocean Winds Golf Course

On November 27, Seabrook Island Birders were once again hosted by the Seabrook Island Club at the Ocean Winds golf course.  During this “walk” in golf carts, 32 species were identified.  The day started positively by the observation of numerous Double-crested Cormorants on the pond by the first tee.

Eastern Bluebird – Charlie Moore

The Eastern Bluebirds were not to let their larger friends outdo them so volumes greeted us further down the path.  As the day continued, many of the “normal” species were spotted.  A Green Heron missed the memo to migrate south so was seen on the sixth hole (and another was seen on the thirteenth).  On the back nine, a Pied-billed Grebe was seen and then the highlight of the day was the pond on the thirteenth hole.

This one pond had the Green Heron, a Common Gallinule, a Pied-billed Grebe and the highlight of an American Bittern.  As we headed back to the club house, a Northern Harrier soared overhead as well as a Bald Eagle.  The Eastern Phoebe, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons and lowly Carolina Chickadees didn’t stand a chance in winning our hearts.

The species identified in the Fields of Freshfields included:

Bufflehead 2
Hooded Merganser 7
Wild Turkey 9
Wood Stork 15
Double-crested Cormorant 13
Anhinga 3
Brown Pelican 2
Great Blue Heron 2
Great Egret 45
Snowy Egret 13
Little Blue Heron 5
Tricolored Heron 4
White Ibis 1
Black Vulture 15
Turkey Vulture 8
Osprey 2
Cooper’s Hawk 2
Bald Eagle 3
Clapper Rail 3
Common Gallinule 1
American Oystercatcher 3
Killdeer 2
Dunlin 1
Greater Yellowlegs 6
Willet 2
Lesser Yellowlegs 3
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 2
Loggerhead Shrike 1
White-eyed Vireo 1
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 6
Fish Crow 2
crow sp. 10
Tree Swallow 8
Carolina Chickadee 4
Tufted Titmouse 1
House Wren 2
Carolina Wren 7
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4
Eastern Bluebird 3
Hermit Thrush 1
Gray Catbird 2
Northern Mockingbird 3
European Starling 1
Palm Warbler (Western) 4
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 45
Chipping Sparrow 20
Song Sparrow 6
Swamp Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 2
Red-winged Blackbird 12
Boat-tailed Grackle 3
House Finch 2
American Goldfinch 3

The species identified on Ocean Winds golf course included:

Pied-billed Grebe 2
Double-crested Cormorant 25
Anhinga 2
American Bittern 1
Great Blue Heron 2
Great Egret 3
Snowy Egret 1
Tricolored Heron 1
Green Heron 2
Turkey Vulture 2
Osprey 1
Northern Harrier 1
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Bald Eagle 1
Clapper Rail 2
Common Gallinule 1
Belted Kingfisher 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 2
Eastern Phoebe 2
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 6
Tree Swallow 2
Carolina Chickadee 5
Tufted Titmouse 6
Carolina Wren 1
Eastern Bluebird 50
Northern Mockingbird 2
Palm Warbler 15
Northern Cardinal 2

Submitted by: Judy Morr

Photoes by: Ed Konrad, Charley Moore, Valerie Doane

A Late Afternoon at North Beach

North Beach November 16 – Ed Konrad

As the days grow shorter, Ed and I had a spectacular day just before sunset at North Beach on November 16. We had to go to the very end of the inlet for our rewards, but it was worth it. We were greeted by a spectacular Merlin, sitting on the washed up snaggy bush. This is the second time we have seen this bird on this perch in the past year. He posed for beautiful pictures.

On the very tip of the inlet were 95 American Oystercatchers! This is a Seabrook high count for us. The tide was rising, which is our favorite time to go to the beach, when the birds are pushed in close. And for Ed, it was the “Golden Hour” of beautiful light for photography. With the oystercatchers were at least 85 Black Skimmers, and a resting group 46 Willets, 8 Marbled Godwits, and 11 Short-billed Dowitchers. 

In the inlet frolicked four dolphins, surrounded by three Double-crested Cormorants looking for the fish the dolphins were chasing. What a beautiful sight! Nearby a Snowy Egret fished in the foamy surf. And always an important discovery, we spotted a banded Piping Plover. Our contact with the VA Tech Piping Plover team advised that this one was banded during winter migration at Kiawah Island in November 2012, and breeds along the NJ coast. The Atlantic Region Piping Plovers have green flags, with additional bands.

As we returned to the boardwalk, we were treated to a group of oystercatchers at water’s edge in the fading light. We walked back in a beautiful sunset. Another wonderful day at our gorgeous beach.

Ed’s Flickr site is updated with fall Seabrook photos, along with photos from our other recent birding travels. On the Flickr homepage you can click on “Albums” for the Seabrook Album to view the many we’ve birds seen and photographed through the years, along with Albums of our birding trips and various bird species. The URL is:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/edkon/

Article by Aija Konrad, photos by Ed Konrad

Another Traveling Red Knot

Red Knot seen in Florida and banded on Seabrook Island, SC

SIB recently received the note below from SCDNR Wildlife Biologist Felicia Sanders.

Pat Leary photographed this Red Knot, which we tagged at Seabrook Island on April 29, 2017, at Corrigan’s Reef, Cedar Key Florida on November 18, 2017. This bird probably went to the arctic to nest and now is wintering in Florida or headed farther south and just stopping a while in Florida. He saw another knot we tagged at Seabrook and one we tagged at Deveaux Bank in April 2012. 

Thanks again to everyone for helping with Red Knot trapping, which is helping us figure out their migration patterns!

Felicia

If you are interested to learn more about protecting birds on the beaches of Seabrook Island, please contact us:  seabrookislandbirders@gmail.com.