SEABROOK ISLAND BIRDERS / “watching, learning, protecting”
Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) are residents, renters and guests of Seabrook Island, SC who have an interest in learning, protecting and providing for the well-being of the incredible variety of birds that inhabit Seabrook Island throughout the year.
On Saturday March 16, six SIB members met at sunrise (7:30am) to Bike the West Ashley Greenway! We spent less than an hour on our bikes while we traveled four miles in just three hours! Our primary goal was not exercise but rather to enjoy the cool spring morning and observe and listen to the birds! We saw or heard 52 species on our one-way trip before the group split with four returning to be sure to be on-time for the Chili Competition and the remaining two traveling another two miles down the path before returning.
Loggerhead Shrike along the West Ashley Greenway – Bob Mercer
Carolina Chickadee along the West Ashley Greenway – Bob Mercer
Brown Thrasher along the West Ashley Greenway – Bob Mercer
Little Blue Heron along the West Ashley Greenway – Bob Mercer
Spotted sandpiper along the West Ashley Greenway – Bob Mercer
Brown Pelican along the West Ashley Greenway – Bob Mercer
Song Sparrow along the West Ashley Greenway – Bob Mercer
Savannah Sparrow along the West Ashley Greenway – Bob Mercer
On Monday March 18, 25 SIB members met to take the golf carts out on Crooked Oaks in search of birds. With such a large number of participants, we split the group in half sending one group starting at hole 1 for a three-hour trip along all 18 holes, and the remaining starting on hole 18 for a two-hour tour and visiting only 9 holes.
One group recorded 43 Species and highlights included a pair of Red-tailed Hawks mating and a Yellow-throated Warbler possibly nesting. For the other group, there were a total of 41 species with highlights including viewing both the Blue-headed Vireo and the Northern Parula. In total, 50 unique species were seen during the day. Both groups enjoyed a variety of birds at the feeders of Lesley & Tony Gore near the green of Hole 17. (Click on the links above to see the detailed list of bird species seen by each group.)
Following the event, one of our SIB members wrote, “What a fabulous day yesterday! Probably one of the best I’ve participated in. The collection of ears and eyes coupled with collective knowledge made for a great learning experience. Love my SI Birders!”
Saturday , March 23rd at 8:00-10:00am – Bridle Trail Drive
Location: 4044 Bridle Trail Drive
Cost: None for 2019 members; $5 donation for guests
Come join us in Chuck and Bonnie’s backyard to view their bird feeders. Common species seen are Northern Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, Carolina Wren, Blue Jay, Red-winged Blackbird and Boat-tailed Grackles. Less common are House Finch, Painted Bunting, Wild Turkey, Vulture and various sparrows. They have occasionally seen Osprey and Pine Grosbeak.
As always, be sure to bring your water, binoculars, hats and sunscreen.
If you are not yet a 2019 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $10 by following the instructions on our website. If you were a 2018 member but have yet to renew for 2019, you may renew following the instructions above or renew the day of the walk. Otherwise you may pay the $5 Guest Fee.
Please complete the information below to register no later than Wednesday March 20 at 10am. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Friday , March 22 .
Ed and I spent last week catching up on some Low Country birding. We decided to check out Bear Island WMA and by coincidence ran into three other SIB members, Bob and Eileen Mercer and Cherrie Sneed! It was a great day with Mary’s House Pond drained to the point where you could have walked across! (Please don’t try that…LOL!!!)
Highlights of the day were 32 Roseate Spoonbills, thousands of peeps that were dizzying to count, including Western and Least Sandpipers, a few rare Stilt Sandpipers, Semipalmated and Black-bellied Plovers, hundreds of Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitchers and a few Long-billed Dowitchers.
Bear Island WMA – American Avocet – Ed Konrad
Bear Island WMA – Snowy Egret – Ed Konrad
Over 175 American Avocets were on Mary’s House Pond, with some beginning to get breeding color. Throughout the WMA we spotted 100s of Snowy and Great Egrets, along with Tricolored and Little Blue Herons. The first Black-necked Stilts of the season also made an appearance. A rare Common Goldeneye was swimming with several Buffleheads. And of course lots of gators, even the gigantic “Brutus” we’ve spotted many times through the years.
Bear Island WMA – Brutus – Ed Konrad
Bear Island WMA – Trumpeter & Tundra Swan – Ed Konrad
But the best bird was a rare Trumpeter Swan, a SC life bird for me and I believe one of the first recorded sightings in SC. The swan was with 3 Tundra Swans, for great comparisons. It was darker, larger and bulkier, but still a difficult ID at considerable distance. Thankfully at least 4 birders took pictures for documentation and we waited patiently for the Ebird reviewers to approve it, which they did! It will now go to the SC record’s committee. The swan was not found in subsequent days, but people are still looking for it.
Bear Island WMA – Roseate Spoonbill – Ed Konrad
Bear Island WMA – Snowy & Great Egret – Ed Konrad
And on the photography side, Ed was in his glory patiently waiting for the Roseates to fly towards him in a channel with the sun to his back. He says the Roseate photo with wings spread is one of his best ever shots! Species counts were in the high 80’s for all of us! A great day at an always wonderful place.
Santee Coastal Reserve – Red Cockaded Woodpecker – Ed Konrad
Santee Coastal Reserve – Red-headed Woodpecker – Ed Konrad
A few days later we ventured north of Charleston to Santee Coastal Reserve. Our goals were the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker and the elusive Bachman’s Sparrow. We had to settle for a very fleeting “now you see it, now you don’t” look at the sparrow, but Ed finally got a “lifer” picture of the Red-cockaded. Both birds only inhabit very specific areas in SC and often are in the same habitat of open pine forest, with an open, park-like understory of grasses and a few dense shrubs.
Santee Coastal Reserve – Yellow-throated Warbler – Ed Konrad
Santee Coastal Reserve – Purple Martin – Ed Konrad
Red-headed Woodpeckers were also active on this beautiful day, and Yellow-throated Warblers singing everywhere! Near the maintenance area, the Purple Martins were very active in their gourd nests.
Feeding the birds is probably not as much for the birds survival as it is for human entertainment. I put a lot of thought and money into placing feeders and certain types of bird food in just the perfect locations to attract the most species. The more the merrier in my backyard.
I had noticed recently at that really nice wild bird supply store where I enjoy shopping way too much ($$$), a product called bark butter. It’s sort of like a spreadable suet that’s supposed to attract a record number of bird species. The store suggests that you can spread the butter on a tree, but they obviously live in a bird-only bubble without squirrels if they can get away with that. I toyed with the idea of purchasing the small tub of the bark butter and the hanging feeder there, but then I decided to do a little research.
Google to the rescue! Apparently people have been making bird butter for years and especially as a winter project. You may already have all but one of these ingredients and if you decide you want to try this, let me know. I have a pound tub of the lard, and despite the fact that I’m a southern girl, have no other use for lard and would love to share. If you have children or grandchildren close by, this is the perfect afternoon activity as you can get your hands really messy!
Ingredients (Purchase the least expensive products available)
1 Cup Crunchy Peanut Butter
1 Cup Lard
1 Cup Flour
4 Cup Corn Meal
Mixed bird seed – optional
Add all ingredients in large bowl. Blend together with a spoon or knead it in the bowl with your hands until the dry ingredients are completely blended into a dough. Store in an airtight container. All ingredients are shelf stable.
That’s it! Children can spread this into pine cones and hang it with a ribbon in a squirrel-proof area. Since I am not handy, I purchased the Kettle Moraine Peanut Butter Feeder with Perch. Another option would be to make or purchase a suet plug log feeder. My feeder has been up for several weeks and is frequented by Carolina Chickadees, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and Yellow-rumped Warblers, and occasionally a Downy Woodpecker.
Just another way to attract birds and entertain yourself! Enjoy!
Each Monday one of the Golf Courses is closed, so join us for a morning of birding by RIDING in golf carts for at least 9-holes on one of the two golf courses. We expect to see a large variety of birds including Double-crested Cormorants, Egrets, Herons, Bald Eagles and other birds of prey. We should also see and hear some of the smaller birds like Tufted Titmice, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Cardinals and some of the many warbler species.
Monday, March 18, 2019 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Location: Meet at Island House (Golf Course Parking Lot next to Spinnaker Beach Houses) for ride along the golf course in golf carts.
Cost: None for members; $5 donation for guests
As Learning Together on the Golf Course always, be sure to bring your binoculars, hats and sunscreen. Water will be provided.
Matt Johnson is the Director of Bird Conservation & Engagement for Audubon South Carolina. A native of South Carolina, Matt grew up in Columbia and attended Clemson University from 2003-2009. After receiving his graduate degree in Biological Sciences, Matt worked as a producer for the Emmy award-winning nature documentary entitled “Expeditions with Patrick McMillan.” In 2013, Matt left Clemson to begin working with Audubon as the Education Director at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest. In 2017, he transitioned to his current position, where he works on a variety of engagement projects across the state to promote bird conservation.
SIB will provide beverages including wine and coffee. We ask everyone to RSVP no later than March 25, 2019 so we will know how much wine to purchase and how many chairs to set up.
For only $10, you may join or renew your 2019 SIB membership the night of the event.
Don’t miss this chance to have another fun filled evening with our flock of Seabrook Island Birders!
SIB will be hosting another Birding Beyond our Backyard with a bike ride to bird the West Ashley Greenway on Saturday March 16th. We will meet at 7:30 am at the parking lot just off Main Road to bike the 8 mile path through marsh, woodlands and meadows. We plan to finish by noon so that those of us who want to attend the annual Chile Cook-off at the Bohicket Marina can make it back in time.