Memorial Service for Bob Hider (1937 – 2021)

Memorial Service for Bob Hider, husband of Marcia Hider.
  Anyone who knew him is welcome!
  Friday June 25th at 11:00 in Atlantic Room at the Club

Bob was an Avid Armchair Birder and supported Marcia when she started SIB with Charley. Even before there was a Seabrook Island Birders, Bob helped with Christmas Bird Count. He also was an avid photographer who has contributed a number of bird photos to our articles and blogs. Although he didn’t participate in many bird walks, he was always willing to share the views and identifications from his back deck, overlooking the marsh. He will be missed by all.

You can read a copy of his obituary published in the The Post and Courier back in March, 2021.

Enormous flock of Whimbrel discovered on Deveaux Bank

Last night an announcement concerning Deveaux Bank was so special it was made at a special event held at the Charleston Museum to an audience filled with some of the state’s most notable naturalists. After years of monitoring and documentation, our backyard barrier island was found to be a stopover for tens of thousands of Whimbrels.

The largest-known flock of whimbrels was discovered roosting in coastal South Carolina. Andy Johnson/Cornell Lab of Ornithology/Provided

Read Post and Courier’s article about the announcement. The news release from SCDNR has even more information.

One question from the audience last night was “Where do the Whimbrel’s go during the day?” The answer was to neighboring beaches and marshes to hunt and eat. Seabrook Island Birders can attest to that. During the April 21 International Shorebird Survey on North Beach, Bob Mercer recorded 34 Whimbrel. That was considered a great number. Then on May 8, Aija Konrad reported 157 Whimbrel in the mudflats at the curve at Jenkins Point. During the May 31 International Shorebird Survey on North Beach, Mark Andrews reported 1 on the lagoon on North Beach. Most of the Whimbrels have now moved on to their breeding grounds in the Arctic.

YOU’RE INVITED: On Tuesday, June 22 at 6 p.m., join the team who made the discovery at Deveaux for a free virtual screening and panel discussion. Click here to learn more and register: As you watch the video, keep in mind the challenges the photographers, DNR personnel and ornithologists had to endure to capture the video and data.

You can learn more about Whimbrels here.

Deveaux Bank Seabird Sanctuary is closed year-round above the high-water line, apart from areas designated by signs for limited recreational use (beaches on the ends of the island, facing inland). From March 15 through October 15, some of the island’s beaches are closed for seasonal nesting of coastal birds and are demarcated by fencing. Dogs and camping are prohibited year-round. If you see violators to these rules, contact SCDNR at 1-800-922-5431.

Bob Hider (1937 – 2021)

Seabrook Island Birders is sad to share the news of the death of early member Bob Hider. Even before there was a Seabrook Island Birders, Bob helped with Christmas Bird Count. He also was an avid photographer who has contributed a number of bird photos to our articles and blogs. Although he didn’t participate in many bird walks, he was always willing to share the views and identifications from his back deck, overlooking the marsh. He will be missed by all.

You can read a copy of his obituary from The Post and Courier.

Carl Helms (1933 – 2020)

Dori Helms recently shared that her husband Carl passed away last week. Her comment to us was “I thought we had more time but it was quick—what he wanted. He was so frustrated at not being able to get out to watch the birds and do what he used to do as a younger man. Please let all the SIB people know- at least those who knew Carl. I will see you when I get back out to Seabrook—take care of the birds for Carl.”

Carl was a great birder and gave good input to Seabrook Island Birders. Even before SIB was an organization, he created and maintained a web page Birds of Seabrook Island. You can read a profile we published a few years ago about Dori and Carl here.

A full obituary was published in Greenville.

Dori & Carl Helms at their home at Creek Watch on Seabrook Island, SC

SCDNR shorebird leader named biologist of the year

Many members of Seabrook Island Birders have met Felicia Sanders. She has presented an evening program and leads the Red Knot banding program on the island. The press release below details the well deserved recognition Felicia recently received.

—- NEWS RELEASE —-For Immediate Releasednr logoRed Knot banding with Felicia Sanders 
SCDNR shorebird leader named biologist of the year COLUMBIA, S.C. (Oct. 29, 2020) — Felicia Sanders, who serves as the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Bird Conservation Project supervisor, has been named the Biologist of the Year by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.“We are so fortunate to have Felicia as our Shorebird Project leader at SCDNR,” said Emily Cope, SCDNR’s director of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. “She truly understands the importance of developing partnerships and building support for conservation. Her hard work, passion, and gentle nature are extremely evident in her everyday activities and set her apart as a true leader in her field.”Sanders, stationed at Santee Coastal Reserve in McClellanville, received the 2020 Biologist of the Year Award Oct. 27 during the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ virtual annual conference from Springfield, Missouri.She has spent 30 years on conservation efforts for a wide diversity of bird species and began her career at SCDNR in 2001. Sanders has worked extensively with sea, shore, and wading birds as well as red-cockaded woodpeckers, grassland birds and neotropical migrants. Since 2007, she has been a tireless champion for the conservation of South Carolina’s coastal birds.Sanders has led South Carolina’s coastal bird management and built a program recognized internationally. She has established partnerships with private, government and non-governmental partners and galvanized grassroots support to protect coastal bird habitat at about 30 sites. This has often included navigating conflict between multiple stakeholders to achieve these protections. Sanders is a dedicated biologist and her research activities have resulted in coauthoring 29 scientific publications and has highlighted the importance of South Carolina during red knot migration. She has mentored numerous wildlife professionals and served on 10 graduate committees.Her many conservation accomplishments include designation of five coastal island Seabird Sanctuaries allowing beach closures to increase nesting success, and the designation of the Cape Romain-Santee Delta Region as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Site of International Importance. Also, Sanders is an invited participant in the Artic Shorebird Demographics Network, an internationally coordinated effort with 17 partners working across Alaska, the Canadian Arctic and Russia. She is a founding member of the American Oystercatcher Working Group, a model for shorebird conservation, and coordinated the first statewide winter shorebird and Wilson’s plover breeding surveys in South Carolina.The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) is an organization whose members are the state agencies with primary responsibility for management and protection of the fish and wildlife resources in 15 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.For more information, visit SandersFelicia SandersSouth Carolina Department of Natural Resources – Rembert C. Dennis Building
1000 Assembly Street, Columbia, SC 29201

Global Big Day – Marathon Birding

Nine locations, 93 species, 2,082 individual birds, 11 hours and 20,000+ steps are the numbers I reported for my marathon day of birding.  Bob Mercer and I spent the long day doing social distancing while birding.  Six others joined us at varying locations to participate in the fun.  Let me tell you more about my day.

High water at the Slough – Nancy Brown

We started the day at 6:30 with a visit to Camp St. Christopher.  We were granted permission to bird in this closed facility.  (Our individual donations to the Camp were appreciated!)  Bob was able to identify the numerous birds we heard in the dawn chorus.  The day started with Painted Buntings and Summer Tanagers.  46 species were seen on our 2.7 mile walk.  (Mark Andrews admitted he didn’t realize such long trails could be hidden in the relatively small gem.)  At the slough (with very high water) we saw a flock of Cedar Waxwings that had yet to go north.  Near there, we also heard a Yellow-billed Cuckoo and two Black-throated Blue Warblers.  This was also the only location we reported a White-eyed Vireo, a Red-eyed Vireo or Eastern Kingbird.

Chilly morning birding North Beach – Nancy Brown

Our second location of the day was the always interesting North Beach.  The wind was chilly and brutal but we saw 45 species and almost 3 miles.  One Piping Plover, American Oystercatchers (including the infamous U5), a small number of Red Knots, Wilson Plovers, Black-bellied Plovers and Least Terns were seen.  In greater abundance were Semipalmated Plovers (700), Semipalmated Sandpipers (75), Dunlins (125), Sanderlings (100), and Royal Terns (75).  Of course, Brown Pelicans and Laughing Gulls were there as well.  On the return walk from the spit, a Savannah Sparrow was seen running along the dune.

Rookery – too many nests to count – Jackie Brooks

The last stop of the morning probably had the greatest concentration of birds.  We stopped to see the rookery on the golf course lagoon that backs to houses on The Haulover.  We had to guess at the numbers of birds as they were everywhere.  Some Great Egrets had penthouse nests on tops of palms.  Wood Storks were still constructing their nests.  Great Egrets and Snowy egrets were feeding their young.  Even Cattle Egret were in residence at this commune as were several pairs of Anhinga.  A total of 15 species were seen in this brief stop.

Orchard Oriole – Jackie Brooks

The afternoon started with a walk around Palmetto Lake.  A mature male Orchard Oriole, a female Orchard Oriole and a first-year male all gave us good views to get a good comparison of the varying plumage.  In one hour and about three quarters of a mile, 30 species were seen.

Mississippi Kite – Jackie Brooks

First seen at this location then seen again later in the day were Northern Rough-winged Swallows and a beautiful Mississippi Kite.   When a European Starling crossed our path, we could eliminate the Horse Pasture from our scheduled itinerary and make up for lost time.

The Maintenance Area was next on our stop.  The 29 species were all seen in less than .2 mile and a half hour.  By this time, our legs appreciated this.  Highlights were three Mississippi Kites circling along with two Red-shouldered Hawks.  A mama Killdeer was there with her chicks.

An elegant Black-necked Stilt was seen.  25 Least Sandpipers were near at hand.  When planning our day, this was the location we hoped to see the Spotted Sandpiper.  There were four here but we also saw them bobbing their tails at three other locations.

Green Heron – Jackie Brooks

Jenkins Point resulted in 33 species over 1.4 mile.  Although seen in five locations, the 10 Green Heron seen here were the peak.  One was building a nest and another posed nicely for a photo.  There were no species seen only at this location but 13 Black-crowned Night Herons were another highlight.  All participants admired but stayed clear of the numerous “baby” alligators.  It was agreed, those were probably either one or two years old.

Nesting Eurasian Collared-Dove – Nancy Brown

Nancy Brown joined Bob and I for our last stop at Bohicket Marina.  The Eurasian Collared-Dove was the goal for this stop.  It was an easy find since one is nesting on Nancy and Flo’s porch.  Other unique finds within the 21 species seen were Chimney Swifts and Black Skimmers (missed at North Beach).

After I was home and enjoying that glass of wine, I was able to add to my day’s list with a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a Wild Turkey, and a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak.  As night settled in, I heard the Chuck-will’s-Wwidow as my 93rd species of the day.

“Expected” but not seen were Eastern Towhee, White-breasted Nuthatch (Friday’s sighting didn’t count), any owls, and Black-and-white Warbler.  With these notable misses, I may have to try again next year with a  goal of 100 species.

Submitted by: Judy Morr

Seabrook Island Birders – March Activities

With March as the gateway month for spring here in the Low Country, the Seabrook Island Birders are looking forward to filling it with some exciting activities that are open to everyone. 

Check out what we have planned and register soon to secure your place.

51H3ihX3HgLTuesday, March 5, 2020
WHAT: SIB Movie Matinee Double Feature
WHERE: Oyster Catcher Community Center
WHEN:  4:30pm – 6:30pm Register Here

2 Piping Plover - CBC North Beach

Saturday, March 7, 2020
What: Shorebird Walk on North Beach
WHERE:  Meet at Property Owner’s Parking Lot at Boardwalk #1
WHEN:  3:00pm – 6:00pm Register Here


Saturday, March 14, 2020
WHAT:  Youth Birding at Palmetto Lake
WHERE: Meet at Lake House Parking Lot
WHEN:  4:00pm – 6:00pm  Register Here

1Red Knot SBI May 16 2010

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
WHAT:  Shorebird Walk on North Beach
WHERE: Meet at Property Owner’s Parking Lot at Boardwalk #1
WHEN: 9:00am – 11:30am Register Here

11 Santee Coastal Reserve - Yellow-throated Warbler

Sunday, March 22, 2020
WHAT:  Spring Migration @ Camp St Christopher
WHERE: Meet at Bus Parking Lot at Camp St. Christopher
WHEN: 9:00am – 11:00am   Register Here

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Monday, March 23, 2020
WHAT: Learning Together on Crooked Oaks Course
WHERE: Meet at Island House parking lot next to Spinnaker Beach Houses
WHEN: 8:30am – 11:00am  Register Here


Happy Holidays!

Northern Cardinal from Wingscapes 12 Birds of Christmas

Happy Holidays from Seabrook Island Birders!  May the season bring you many joys and maybe even a few wonderous feathered finds.

American Robin – Ed Konrad



Pictures of Northern Cardinals, American Robins, Canada Geese and ducks are often seen on holiday cards.  A little research shows how many different birds are in the popular song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.  (Information provided by sites noted below.)

A Partridge in a Pear tree – The “partridge in a pear tree” is probably the Red-legged Partridge, a rotund seed-eater native to continental Europe.

A red-legged partridge surveys the Midlands of England in winter. (Photo: Erni/Shutterstock)

It was introduced to England as a game bird in the 1770s, and it’s still common in the U.K. today. Another candidate might be the Grey Partridge.   This small, chicken-like bird, also known as the Hungarian partridge, is native to Eurasia but now makes its home in agricultural grasslands along the United States–Canadian border. Gray Partridge hens produce a clutch of up to 22 eggs—one of the largest clutches of any bird species—meaning you’ll usually find more than just one partridge in a pear tree.

Two Turtle Doves -Were probably originally European turtle doves, native birds that were widespread in the U.K. when “The 12 Days of Christmas” was introduced.   In the U.S. it would more likely be mourning doves.   Male and female mourning doves work together to feed their babies “crop milk” or “pigeon milk” that’s secreted by their crop lining. These adult pairs tend to mate for life, which may be why the song’s composer reserved this bird for the second slot in the holiday countdown.

Three French Hens – The “French hen” referenced in this Christmas classic could be any chicken breed (as chickens are native to France).  Unfortunately, if you spot a domesticated chicken, you can’t post in eBird as domesticated birds aren’t counted.

Four Calling Birds – Although recent renditions refer to them as “calling birds,” the original version uses “colly birds”—a colloquial British term that means “black as coal”—to describe this bird. Therefore, the common blackbird is widely considered the lover’s intended gift.

Five Golden Rings –  A birder’s interpretation of this gift could be Ring-Necked Pheasants.  The males’ bright copper and gold plumage makes it the perfect “gift”.  Another site suggest five gold rings could refer to five “gold spinks” or Goldfinches.

A greylag goose trudges through snow in central England. (Photo: Erni/Shutterstock)

Six Geese a laying – As a British Christmas carol, the reference is likely to the British bird, the Greylag goose.  We of course are more likely to think of a Canada Goose.

One mute swam goes a-swimming at Forfar Loch in Angus, Scotland. (Photo: Mark Caunt/Shutterstock)

Seven Swans a swimming – the seven swimming waterfowl are most likely mute swans. These large birds were long kept in semi-domesticity in England, where they were considered property of the Crown.


The remaining gifts are not as obvious birding gifts.

Eight Maids-a-milking – Two sites stretched it to be Magpies. They chose the black-billed magpie for its milky white belly.

Nine Ladies dancing – One site said the Parotia, “ballet dancing bird,” is the perfect choice to replace the Christmas carol’s “nine ladies dancing.” Male Parotias learn their unique dance moves from their fathers who use this display to attract a mate. Their decorative, six-quill plumes are dramatic and dazzling. These birds of paradise aren’t native to the song’s country of origin, but you can spot them in New Guinea, a former British territory.

Ten Lords-a-leaping – We sing the song with the ten lords a-leaping, but in  the earliest known variant found in North America, on the Tenth Day of Christmas, the true love sent ten Cocks A-Crowing.

Eleven Pipers piping – Sandpipers could be the easy bird interpretation.

Drummers drumming – The most common drumming bird is said to be the Snipe but another site suggested the Ruffed Grouse is the drumming bird. When displaying for females or defending its territory, the male Ruffed Grouse beats its wings in the air to create a drumming sound that scares off potential threats. Another interesting Ruffed Grouse fact: the bird’s toes grow projections that act as snowshoes in the winter months.

Sites used in submitting this article:

12 Birds of Christmas

The bird songs behind ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’

The 12 Birds of Christmas by John R. Henderson