Corrected: Ask SIB: Nesting Brown Pelicans

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Brown Pelicans roosting in trees at Sanibel Island. Photo by Ron deAndrade

This is being republished to correct the issue with some of the photos.

 

Q: We recently (April) returned from Sanibel, Fl . We noticed most Pelicans were in pine trees, near the top. I never see our Pelicans in trees on Seabrook. Is this from lack of beach trees or something else?

Thanks, Ron deAndrade, Pelican Watch

 

A: Brown Pelicans preferred nest sites are in mangroves, usually 2-3 meters above the ground. They may reuse these nests in subsequent years. On Deveaux Bank, the largest pelican rookery in SC, many do nest in wax myrtles. However, myrtles are not abundant and hundreds also nest on the ground.

Cheers – enjoy our pelicans!

Carl Helms

Here are several pelicans on nests in the myrtles…
Here is a nest on the ground…
Here is another pelican in a mangrove in the Galapagos Islands. Not nesting but roosting and preening but in a tree.
And finally, here’s more pelicans in trees. Seabrook, winter 2010. 14th tee, Ocean Winds
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Ask SIB: House Finch

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House Finch
Question:  I’m reaching out to some birder friends so that I can better understand what’s happening on my back porch.  We had a pair of house finches build a nest in the corner of our porch this spring.  It was great fun watching them nurture their eggs, feed the chicks and nudge their young out of the nest.  Could hardly believe how fast those chicks grew!  It’s been about 3 weeks since they fledged and the house finches are now back tending the nest.  Are they having another set of young or is this another pair of house finches that has taken over the nest?  It’s possible to see the adults sitting in the nest and we catch them as they fly in and out.  But, even on a ladder, it’s really hard to see into the nest itself.  Can you offer any help or suggest a website that might help us?  Thanks so much.
Janet and Ray

Answer:  We don’t think you can know if it is the same pair or different.  This site says they will use another bird’s nest but will also have 1 – 6 broods in a year.

Shorebird research underscores importance of South Carolina beaches

This past spring, members of the Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) assisted the SC Department of Resources (DNR) to band the federally threatened Red Knots on Seabrook Island’s North Beach.  Felicia Sanders of SC DNR wrote to SIB, “Thanks for all the help with the Red Knot work. Please forward to others that I missed. Here is a press release about some of the findings. Thanks Ed Konrad for the photo! Felicia”

Here is an excerpt from the press release highlighting the importance of beaches like ours in South Carolina.

“Over the last few decades, red knots have declined by nearly 85%. This drastic decline led to the red knot receiving federal protection under the Endangered Species Act in 2015. Disturbance and food availability, especially during migration, are suspected reasons for the drop in numbers.

“Since 2010, SCDNR biologists have conducted research on red knots to understand the role that South Carolina plays in these birds’ journeys. Researchers and volunteers have captured hundreds of knots, measuring them them and placing field-readable engraved bands on their legs. These unique markers on each bird allow biologists to track individual birds if they are re-sighted anywhere in the hemisphere. Documenting how South Carolina’s resources are being utilized by red knots may help efforts to conserve this vulnerable species.”

This image, a collaborative effort between SCDNR, Ron Porter, Larry Niles, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, shows the one-year migration path of a red knot.
This image, a collaborative effort between SCDNR, Ron Porter, Larry Niles, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, shows the one-year migration path of a red knot. This bird was captured in South Carolina in 2016 on Deveaux Bank and a geolocator was affixed to its leg. During the life of its transmitter, the bird traveled 2x to its nesting grounds above the Arctic Circle and 2x to its wintering grounds in Tierra Del Fuego, Chile at the southern tip of South America. The bird was captured again in January 2018, and the geolocator was retrieved.

Remember: Our beaches are home for resident (including nesting) and migratory shorebirds.  Among them are endangered and threatened species such as Least Terns, Wilson’s Plovers, Piping Plovers and Red Knots. These birds do not read signs as far as we know, and thus may gather and feed outside protected habitat areas. Bird watching is great, but they need space. If they fly up, you are too close.

The brochure “Respect Seabrook Island Shorebirds and Habitat” is a recent joint venture of SIB, SIPOA, Town, SC DNR, and USFWS and is an excellent guide for those residents and visitors enjoying our beaches. Pick up a copy at the Lake House, Amenity Office, or SIPOA and Town offices.

Nursery on North Beach

We are excited to announce that several of our SIB members have detected both the Least Terns & Wilson’s Plovers have successfully nested this year on North Beach.

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Wilson’s Plover parents and chicks on North Beach.  Photo by Ed Konrad
Aija Konrad wrote, “Yesterday (Friday June 15, 2018), was a very exciting day on our beach….Ed and I found both Least Tern and Wilson’s Plover chicks! We saw 3 baby plovers with parents and we saw about 3 Least Tern chicks in various stages of maturity. Some of the terns even buzzed our heads, warning us we were too close. We were very careful not to go anywhere near the new residents, staying below the high tide line. Least Tern and Wilson’s Plover are SC threatened species. This is the first time Ed and I have seen chicks on our beach in the 10 years that we have been birding here. Hooray!!!

Continue reading “Nursery on North Beach”

SIB Events in June

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SIB members and family visitors enjoyed learning about the birds that we see and hear on our golf courses – Andy Brown

SIB has three birding events planned for June and we hope you will consider joining us! Each one has minimal walking as we have two “Backyard Birding” events held at the home of a member and one birding event on the golf course using golf carts.

To learn more about each activity and to register, click on the links below:

June 2018

Also, join our SIB Google Group to receive an email about short-notice bird walks and interesting bird sightings! Last week a few of us took a bike ride to bird the West Ashley Greenway and saw 52 bird species!

Travel: Birds of Chilean Patagonia

In late February, six Seabrookers (Jack and Donna Miller, Ted and Janet Fine, Jerry and Diana Cohen) toured across Patagonia, Chile for two weeks, from Puerto Veras in the North to Punta Arenas in the South. We thought the Seabrook Island Birders might be interested in seeing pictures of some species we observed which are not seen in North America. The best birding took place on an excursion to the island of Chiloe, in the Pacific Ocean, and in and around Torres del Paine National Park in the South.

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This picture of the Upland or Magellan Goose was taken by our tour guide, Laura Pomilio.

 

 

My favorites were the Imperial Cormorants, also called Imperial Shags, on the beach in Punta Arenas (see photos below). They look and waddle like miniature penguins, grouped in large colonies on the beach, but are much larger and more active than the cormorants we see on Seabrook. Some of their colonies can be quite large, as seen on the pier below.

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These Black-Necked Swans were photographed by Janet Fine on the island of Chiloe, but we also saw quite a few of them on the southern part of Patagonia around Puerto Natales. They are the largest waterfowl in South America, averaging 8-15 lbs.

 

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This Black-faced Ibis was taken by Diana on a sheep ranch near Punta Arenas. They reside in flocks in the grasslands of the sheep ranch we visited.

 

We had an opportunity to take a small boat on the Island of Chiloe to observe both Humboldt and Magellan Penguins sunning and feeding on the rocks on the islands. These rock islands are the only place where both Humboldt and Magellan Penguins cohabit-ate, which is a big deal considering that Humboldt Penguins are endangered.  An interesting aside is that the penguins actually roost in the hills above the rocks, and then waddle down paths to the rocks to fish and sun. We caught glimpses of them coming down from the hills, but photos were a challenge, as we were on a small boat rocking around in the waves. Here are some photos which Diana took. Notice how well the penguins blend into the rocks – great camouflage!

There were several species of water birds on Chiloe, including these below. How about some help from all you birders out there to identify them?

 

Article submitted by Jerry Cohen
Photo credit to Diana Cohen, Janet Fine and Laura Pomilio

If you have taken a trip and enjoyed doing a bit of bird watching, please send us an email as we’d love to share your story and photos!  Thanks!

Have You Heard about BirdNote?

Carl Voelker, a SIB board member, took the photos above from his deck overlooking the marsh and wanted to know what bird these were.  The answer: they are Whimbrel.  A common shorebird found wintering in tidal flats and shorelines and occasionally visiting inland habitats. On Seabrook Island, they’ve been seen on North Beach, the mudflats on Jenkins Point Road, the mudflats across from Bohicket Marina, and like Carl, maybe even your backyard.

While we’re talking about Whimbrels, we wanted to share a great website called BirdNote.org.  BirdNote is a daily two-minute radio show that combines rich sounds with engaging stories, to illustrate the amazing lives of birds and give listeners a momentary respite from the news of the day. It even has the transcript available if you are hearing impaired or prefer to read text.  Here is an example of their show on Whimbrels.

You can access these podcasts through iTunes, a podcast feed or by downloading. If you need a reminder like me, you may want to sign up for the weekly BirdNote Newsletter which is a preview – including photos – of the following week’s shows. Or simply explore their website:  https://www.birdnote.org/

Article Submitted by:  Nancy Brown
Photo Credit:  Carl Voelker