The Travels of Red Knot “9CV”

What we now know about Red knot 9CV:

Felicia Sanders from South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SC-DNR) recently received updated information about Red Knot 9CV. This bird was recaptured Seabrook Island on April 29, 2017.

9CV Day Banded on Cape Romaine

Felicia is the Shorebird Lead for SC-DNR. On June 28, 2017, she presented to Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) a program of photos and narratives of the fabulous shorebirds that spend time on our beaches. That  program included a discussion on Red Knots. Red Knots, a Federally Threatened shorebird species, use our beach during spring migration as a stopping point on their 18,000 mile roundtrip journey from their winter home on the southern tip of South American to the Arctic Circle where they nest. She mentioned, this spring, the largest known flock with 4,000 Red Knots enjoyed our beautiful and bountiful beaches to rest and feed before their 3-day direct 1,400 mile flight to James Bay in Canada. This is pretty amazing considering there are only an estimated 25,000 Red Knots remaining on the planet! Felicia emphasized the significance of our Seabrook flock, and the partnership with Seabrook Island Birders as we assisted SC DNR in April in tagging Red Knots and placing transmitters for important tracking on their journey.  Red Knot 9CV was one of those birds on Seabrook Island.

9CV Travel Map 2015-2016

Here is a map of that Red Knot’s migration. SC-DNR captured it in Cape Romain NWR at Marsh Island on Oct 16, 2015. A picture, as seen below, was taken at that time and a geolocator was placed on the bird as well as the banding tag.  9CV spent the winter at Cape Romain NWR and then left SC on May 24, 2016 and flew directly to James Bay shore (at the N 50 on the map), arriving the next day! It then continued on to above the Arctic Circle where it stayed for 44 days but did not seem to nest.  On July 16, 2016 it returned to James Bay and was spotted by Canadian researchers! Then, on July 30, it arrived in New Jersey and stayed 55 days. On September 24, 2016 it returned to South Carolina until it was captured on Seabrook, SC on April 29, 2017.  At that time, the geolocator was removed so the data could be analyzed and the bird was released. Ed Konrad was able to take pictures of the bird as it was being released. Felicia wanted to thank Ron Porter who interpreted the geolocator data.  She also wanted to thank the many others, who worked on this project!!

The above photos were taken by Ed Konrad as the bird was being released on April 29th, 2017.

Although this bird spent the winters of 2015 and 2016 in South Carolina, similar information from other Red Knots confirms some birds travel from the tip of South America to the Arctic Circle each year. Their time on Seabrook Island is a time to rest and renourish. As Felicia reminded us in June, human disturbance is one of the top threats to nesting, migrating, and wintering shorebirds. Please remember:

Let Birds Feed & Rest: Resting and feeding are key to the survival of migratory and wintering birds on our beaches. Give them plenty of space. If birds run or fly, you are too close!

Respect Posted Areas: Keep out of posted areas. Disturbances to nesting birds can cause nests or entire colonies to fail. Never walk into the dune areas – Wilson’s Plovers are nesting on Seabrook Island in these areas!

Be a Bird Friendly Dog Owner: Keep your dog on a leash when you see flocks of birds on the beach. Never allow your dog(s) or children to chase birds as it is extremely stressful to birds. And please abide by the “no dogs allowed” past the sign on North Beach. The Piping Plover winter migration is ongoing now.

Please take time to learn and help educate your family, friends, and visitors to Seabrook Island on the importance of protecting and sharing our beach with our wildlife!

Article submitted by:  Judy Morr
Photos submitted by: Ed Konrad

Advertisements

Shorebirds of Kiawah Island: The Symposium

Thursday, October 12, 2017
4:00pm at The Sandcastle 

Members of SIB are invited to register for the Take flight with us at the Kiawah Conservancy’s annual symposium. Learn about some of Kiawah’s most cherished visitors from a variety of expert speakers and see our newest film… Taking Wing!  Speakers include: 

  • Mary Alice Monroe
  • Larry Niles
  • Aaron Given
  • Janet Thibault
  • Melissa Chaplin
  • Felicia Sanders

Thank you to the symposium and documentary sponsors: Town of Kiawah Island and AV Connections. 

REGISTER NOW 

Introducing: Ask SIB

SIB would like to introduce a new feature called “Ask SIB.” Please email us your bird related questions along with any photos. One of our experts, including our resident ornithologist Carl Helms, will research the question and provide an answer. We will also publish on our blog to educate all our members!  Below is our first “Ask SIB.”

Dear SIB,

We have had this bird at our feeder and wondering if it is a mutant or some other kind of chickadee. The white on his tail and breast and back is really white, it is not just blown out. He is a very fast flyer and gets chased by the other birds but comes to the feeder a lot. I don’t think we have seen him the last day or two but was there pre storm and during the storm. Not great pictures but I wanted you to see the white. What do you think? 

Patricia Schaefer

Hi Patricia

Thanks for your question and photos.  I suspect this is a leucistic Carolina Chickadee.  They can be nearly all white to patches of white.  It is the same type of situation as our piebald deer, but different from Albinism.  Below is a more detailed description of bird color variation from the Project Feederwatch website.

Thanks for sending your question!

Nancy

ALBINISM AND LEUCISM

Albinistic Rock Pigeon by Maria Corcacas, Middletown, New York

Albinism is a genetic mutation that prevents the production of melanin (but not other pigments). Some colors come from pigments other than melanin, such as carotenoids. Albinism only applies to an absence of melanin; consequently, it is possible for a bird to be albinistic and still have color, although most consider true albinism to be an absence of all pigment.

Leucistic Dark-eyed Junco, by Gary Mueller, Rolla, Missouri

Leucism is a genetic mutation that prevents melanin and other pigments from being deposited normally on feathers, resulting in pale or muted colors on the entire bird.

Albinistic birds have pink eyes because without melanin in the body, the only color in the eyes comes from the blood vessels behind the eyes. It is possible for a bird to be completely white and still have melanin in the body, as when a white bird has dark eyes. In this case the bird would be considered leucistic because the mutation only applies to depositing melanin in the feathers, not the absence of melanin in the body.

Pied Northern Cardinal by Anne Page, Broad Run, Virginia
A third type of mutation that results in pied birds–birds that have white patches–is called partial albinism by some and leucism by others. The white patches are caused by an absence of pigment in some feathers.

Carolina Chickadee with white tail feathers, probably from a close call with a predator. Feathers likely will be replaced with feathers of a normal color during next regular molt. Photo by Vincent Smith, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.
To further confuse things, occasionally a bird will lose feathers in a close call with a predator. When this happens the new feathers sometimes grow in white and then change back to the normal color at the next regular molt. This kind of white coloring looks like leucism but is not and most frequently happens in the tail, causing a bird that lost its tail feathers to a predator to have an all white tail.

Source:  Project Feederwatch – Color Variants (https://feederwatch.org/learn/unusual-birds/)

Gathering at a Salt Marsh

Attached is a shot I took on Monday of Roseate Spoonbills, White Ibis, and what appears to be a Snowy Egret, gathered together around a salt marsh pond near the Stono River just north of Johns Island.

Submitted by Shaun Sullivan

Spoonbills, White Ibis & a Snowy Egret enjoying the salt marsh near the Stono River – Shaun Sullivan

Backyard Birding at the Moore’s Home

Charley & Marty Moore hosted seven SIB members for a Backyard Birding event at their home on Saturday September 23, 2017.  Enjoy these photos, taken by Dean Morr during the event, of a few of the 15 species seen during the event.  If you are interested in hosting a SIB Backyard Birding event at your home please contact SeabrookIslandBIrders@gmail.com.  If you are interest to learn more about the birds in your backyard, invite a SIB Ambassador to your home by signing up here.

Have you seen this Great Egret?

While photographing wading birds in our beautiful marshes, I noticed a Great Egret with a transmitter about the size of a small TV remote on its back and a metal band with numbers on its left leg. Have you seen this bird?

Great Egret with GPS transmitter on Seabrook Island – Glen Cox

I posted a couple pictures of the bird on NextDoor and received a response suggesting this was the Great Egret named Edward who I learned is tagged and being monitored by the New Jersey Audubon Society.

This began a search for the origin of this bird. I contacted the NJ Audubon folks and learned their bird “Edward” was hanging out at Staten Island and had been in the area for a couple of weeks during the time period I spotted the egret. They did say he winters in the Hilton Head area so maybe we’ll see him this fall.

My research took me to organizations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland and Florida. All of the personnel I spoke with were more than generous with their time in helping to track down who might have tagged and banded this egret. 

I was referred to Dr Kenneth Myer, Executive Director of Avian Research and Conservation Institute, Gainesville Florida. I provided him with the pictures and the partial band number. Dr Meyer responded and stated the bird is possibly one of the 80 Great Egrets banded and tagged in Louisiana and South Carolina from 2 September 2010 to 23 February 2011.  The birds were banded and tagged to gauge effects of the Deep Water Horizon Oil Rig spill that occurred on 20 April 2010.  The partial band number I provided matched the lot numbers of bands used for this group of egrets.  Dr Myer stated the GPS-enabled satellite transmitter appears to be the same model used for the study. In order to gain more information about this individual egret, Dr Meyer will need the complete band number.  

I last saw the egret just this week in the marsh nearest Deer Pointe and Marsh Gate Drive. The challenge now is to get the remaining numbers of the band so we can learn more information from this bird. 

If anyone else has photographs of this bird, please contact me or let SIB know so we can close the loop!

And if you are interested to learn more about migrating birds and how scientists are tracking them to learn more, we hope you will attend our SIB Evening Program with Dr. Sidney Gauthreaux this Wednesday night at 7:00 pm at the Lake House on Seabrook Island.  Click here to learn more and register!

Article & Photo Submitted by:  Glen Cox

Meet Dr. Sidney Gauthreaux at SIB’s Evening Program on Wednesday September 27

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 –Sidney Gauthreaux: New Ways of Studying Bird Migration

Registration & Social:  7:00 pm
Program Starts:  7:30 pm
Location:  Live Oak Hall at the Lake House
Members FREE and Guests $5 Donation to SIB
Purchase Raffle tickets to win a new Bird Feeder for your home!
To help us plan for the number of chairs, snacks and wine, please register now!
(see below for additional information)

 

“New Technology for Studying Bird Migration”

Satellite tracking of large migratory birds has been around for a few decades, but within the last decade new technological advancements have enabled the tracking of small migratory birds. In this presentation I will review results of migration studies using the new technology to track individual birds (miniature GIS devices, light measuring geolocators, Avian NanoTags and the MOTUS network) as well as the detection of large scale movements of migrating birds with recent technological upgrades to Doppler weather surveillance radar.

About Dr. Gauthreaux …

Dr. Gauthreaux retired from Clemson University where he was a faculty member from 1970-2006 and taught ornithology, animal behavior, and behavioral ecology in the Department of Biological Sciences. He still maintains a research presence at Clemson. He was a part-time employee of GeoMarine, Inc. (Plano, Texas) as Senior Scientist in the area of Remote Sensing and Technology from 2006-2012, and currently works as an independent consultant. He is also a part-time faculty member in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where he works on the assessment of avian radars with Dr. Edwin E. Herricks’s group.

Research emphasis on bird migration throughout the United States and particularly across the Gulf of Mexico using combinations of radar and direct visual techniques to study the characteristics and geographical patterns. Research in applied ornithology includes

1) studies to reduce instances of aircraft colliding with migrating birds
2) assessing the risks of migrating birds colliding with man-made structures such as transmission lines, towers, and wind turbines
3) the attraction of migrating birds at night to different types of lighting on towers and other structures (e.g., tall buildings and offshore platforms).

Below is a YouTube production with Dr. Gauthreaux speaking about our neighboring ACE Basin.