Another Successful Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)

 

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SIB invited children on Seabrook Island to join us to Bird at Palmetto Lake – Judy Morr

Each year the Audubon encourages everyone to be a citizen scientist and document the birds they see in their yards and travels during the Presidents Day weekend (this year Friday February 15 – Monday February 18).  For our third year in a row, SIB organized four walks on Sunday each at different habitats, including the beach, salt marsh, ponds, and woodlands.  A final birding trip using golf carts on Ocean Winds golf course was held on Monday. In total throughout the five trips, we had a record 85 bird species recorded for the GBBC with 28 people participating from age 11 through … well, we didn’t actually ask! Thank you to all our members who came out to bird and contribute to this annual bird count as a citizen scientist! A special thanks to David Green of Camp St. Christopher and part-time resident Bob Mercer who led some of the trips! We hope to see out at one of our upcoming bird walks or evening events. Please enjoy our photos from the events taken by some of our members.

Continue reading “Another Successful Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)”

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Final Reminder: Register for Audubon’s Great Backyard Bird Count – SIB’s Activities This Weekend

Interested to  join for a bird walk on Sunday or Monday?  See below and sign up for one, some or all!  In fact, if you have children at home or visiting, consider bringing them to our walk at Palmetto Lake on Sunday February 17, at 1:00 pm!  Details and link to register below.

screen shot 2019-01-25 at 7.25.32 amEach year, Audubon hosts The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC).  The GBBC is a fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at birdcount.org.  The 22nd annual GBBC will be held Friday, February 15, through Monday, February 18, 2019.

Seabrook Island Birders schedules numerous activities in conjunction with the GBBC.

On Sunday, February 17, four separate walks are scheduled.  You can register to participate in one or all four.

  • Sunrise Birding at North Beach – 6:30 AM – 9:30 AM
    It’s early but what can be greater than sunrise and birding on the beach. The group will meet at the Owners Beach Access Parking Lot at Boardwalk 1 then walk the 2 miles to Captain Sam’s Inlet. Those unable to walk the entire distance may turn around at any time. The group will work together to identify those hard to distinguish plovers and sandpipers. Red Knots may even be sighted. The walk is scheduled around the high tide when the birds will be consolidated on a narrower beach.
  • Jenkin’s Point – 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    We will be exploring the birds seen along Jenkins Point lagoons and streets, including ducks, wading birds and shorebirds. Since this event will be primarily by car, it is appropriate for members with mobility issues.
  • Palmetto Lake – 1:00 – 2:30 PM
    Join us to explore the birds around the Lake House and the walks of Palmetto Lake. This is less than one mile of flat, paved walk around the lake. We welcome our Seabrook Island parents to bring their children to this walk with no charge for parent or child.
  • Maintenance Area / Equestrian Center – 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
    We’ll start at the Garden Parking Lot and explore the retention ponds of the Water Treatment Facility and its borders where Hooded Mergansers, Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks and songbirds and sparrows can be seen. From there, we will walk along the horse trail (or drive) to the Equestrian Center to see Starlings and Cowbirds plus numerous other birds that can be expected there.

On Monday, February 18, 9:00 am – 11:00 am, we conclude our GBBC with a “walk” on Ocean Winds Golf courseRegister here.  Join us for a morning of birding by RIDING in golf carts for at least 9-holes on the golf course. 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. Maybe Hooded Mergansers, Northern Flickers, Eastern Phoebe’s or some of our winter residents may also be seen.

Submitted by: Judy Morr

Learn to Identify Common Birds

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Northern Cardinal – Charles Moore

With the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) coming up this weekend, the National Audubon Society wrote a great article on the common bird species you are likely to see at your feeders and in your backyards. Of the 15 birds they describe, there are nine we are likely to see in your backyard on Seabrook Island with one additional bird’s “cousin” and one found at the horse pasture. The remaining can also be seen in South Carolina, but not generally on Seabrook Island.

Read the article here!

How many can you name? Where do you see them? We hope you will join us on Sunday and/or Monday for our annual GBBC! And we hope you will record your sightings for the GBBC this weekend (and every day!) using eBird.org.

Audubon’s Great Backyard Bird Count – SIB’s activities

screen shot 2019-01-25 at 7.25.32 amEach year, Audubon hosts The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC).  The GBBC is a fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at birdcount.org.  The 22nd annual GBBC will be held Friday, February 15, through Monday, February 18, 2019.

Seabrook Island Birders schedules numerous activities in conjunction with the GBBC.

On Sunday, February 17, four separate walks are scheduled.  You can register to participate in one or all four.

  • Sunrise Birding at North Beach – 6:30 AM – 9:30 AM
    It’s early but what can be greater than sunrise and birding on the beach. The group will meet at the Owners Beach Access Parking Lot at Boardwalk 1 then walk the 2 miles to Captain Sam’s Inlet. Those unable to walk the entire distance may turn around at any time. The group will work together to identify those hard to distinguish plovers and sandpipers. Red Knots may even be sighted. The walk is scheduled around the high tide when the birds will be consolidated on a narrower beach.
  • Maintenance Area / Equestrian Center – 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    We’ll start at the Garden Parking Lot and explore the retention ponds of the Water Treatment Facility and its borders where Hooded Mergansers, Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks and songbirds and sparrows can be seen. From there, we will walk along the horse trail (or drive) to the Equestrian Center to see Starlings and Cowbirds plus numerous other birds that can be expected there.
  • Palmetto Lake – 1:00 – 2:30 PM
    Join us to explore the birds around the Lake House and the walks of Palmetto Lake. This is less than one mile of flat, paved walk around the lake. We welcome our Seabrook Island parents to bring their children to this walk with no charge for parent or child.
  • Jenkin’s Point – 3:00 – 4:30 PM
    We will be exploring the birds seen along Jenkins Point lagoons and streets, including ducks, wading birds and shorebirds. Since this event will be primarily by car, it is appropriate for members with mobility issues.

On Monday, February 18, 9:00 am – 11:00 am, we conclude our GBBC with a “walk” on Ocean Winds Golf courseRegister here.  Join us for a morning of birding by RIDING in golf carts for at least 9-holes on the golf course. 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. Maybe Hooded Mergansers, Northern Flickers, Eastern Phoebe’s or some of our winter residents may also be seen.

Submitted by: Judy Morr

Seabrook Island Results of the Annual Christmas Bird Count

Birders of all ages participated in our event – Patricia & Page Schaefer’s grandchildren, Dallas & Page

On behalf of SIB, we would like to thank our 30 volunteers for taking time on Friday January 4, 2019, to contribute to the 2018-2019 Sea Island Christmas Bird Count (CBC)!  In total we had ten homes who submitted Backyard Birding forms and we had another ten groups who submitted the forms for all across Seabrook Island, including Camp St. Christopher, the beach, ponds, horse pastures and marshes.

Although the official counts for the CBC have not been finalized, our teams identified 99 species on our island.  This is less than the previous two years (112 & 116 respectively), I personally found it challenging due to the extremely foggy then rainy weather resulting in low number of birds seen. On that day, no one on Seabrook Island even saw a Wood Stork, Turkey or Black Vulture! I’m impressed that of the 20 locations, at least 14 of these reported a unique species!  Other interesting facts are we had 3 locations with a Baltimore Oriole and 6 locations with a Ruby-throated Hummingbird – all of which were seen in backyards, demonstrating the importance of our members participating from their home locations!

Several of our members captured great photos during the day including birds at the backyard feeders, birds through the fog at North Beach and some candids of our birders doing what they love!  Please enjoy the photos and we hope even more of our members will join us the first week of 2020 when we will again be counting birds on Seabrook Island for our annual Christmas Bird Count.

Continue reading “Seabrook Island Results of the Annual Christmas Bird Count”

Join us Saturday for October Big Day

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REGISTER NOW!

Date: Saturday October 6, 2018, various times between 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Activity: October Big Day on Seabrook Island
Location: Various locations around Seabrook Island
Max: 10
Cost: No cost to members, $5 to non-members

Join us in participating in eBird’s first ever October Big Day. The event will involve walks at various locations throughout the day. The schedule below allows for individuals to sign up for a portion of the day if the whole day is not of interest. We request you register for all sections you will be attending so we know if we should wait for you at any individual location.

North Beach – (High Tide 6:20 am; Sunrise 7:16 am) – 7:00 AM – 10:00 AM
The group will walk the 2 miles to Captain Sam’s Inlet. Those unable to walk the entire distance may turn around at any time. The group will work together to identify those hard to distinguish plovers and sandpipers. Red Knots may even be sited. The walk is scheduled around the high tide when the birds will be consolidated on a narrower beach. Meet at the Owners Beach Access Parking Lot at Boardwalk .

Camp St. Christopher (10:00 AM – 12:00 PM)
At this site we plan an active walk in search of migrating warblers and others through the various habitats on the property. Expect to walk at least 2 miles on wooded paths. Meet in the bus parking area.

Equestrian Center / Maintenance Area – 1:30 – 3:00 PM
Starlings and Cowbirds plus numerous other birds can be expected. A large number of birds will likely be seen near the parking area but then a walk along the horse trail to the maintenance and garden area may be added to see a different variety of birds.

Palmetto Lake – 3:00 – 4:30 PM
Join us to explore the birds around the Lake House and the walks of Palmetto Lake. This is less than one mile of flat, paved walk around the lake. Meet at the Lake House parking lot.

Jenkin’s Point – 4:30 – 6:00 PM (Sunset 7:00 pm)
We will be exploring the birds seen along Jenkins Point lagoons and streets, including ducks, wading birds and shorebirds. Since this event will be primarily by car, it is appropriate for members with mobility issues. Meet at Jenkins Point Ct, the street after the first pond on the left.

For all events, bring sun block, bug spray, a hat, water, snacks and binoculars.

Learn more about October Big Day: https://ebird.org/news/october-big-day-6-october-2018

Please register no later than Wednesday October 4, 2018. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter the day prior the event.

If you have additional questions about the program, please contact us by sending an email to: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com

If you are not yet a 2018 SIB member, you must first become a member by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/ or we request a $5 donation to SIB.

Snowy & Cold “Christmas Bird Count” a Success!

CBC – Nancy, Aija, Judy, SI Water Treatment Facility – Ed Konrad

On Friday, January 5, 2018, Seabrook Island Birders participated in Audubon’s 118th Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) on the Sea Islands as we counted birds on our frozen, snow-covered island. We sent people to the beach, Camp St. Christopher’s, Palmetto Lake, Jenkins Point, Bohicket Marina, the water treatment and maintenance areas, and backyards!  For a day that started at 21 degrees with ice and snow, more than 20 people participated and saw 112 unique bird species, just missing last years record of 116 species. We hope even more people will join us a year from now for the 2018 Christmas Bird Count on our quest to beat the Seabrook Island record of unique bird species. And possibly beat the record for Kiawah Island too!

Read below about our adventures and enjoy our photos!

The Backyard Birders

A record 11 families took part in the backyard birding for a total of 20 hours, recording 44 unique species, including five not seen elsewhere on the island. These included the Baltimore Oriole, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Black-and-White Warbler, Common Yellowthroat and a Swamp Sparrow.  Special thanks to our Backyard Birding participants:

  • Jackie Brooks
  • Paul Giardino
  • Lucy Hoover
  • Melanie & Rob Jerome
  • Christina McHenry
  • Charley Moore
  • Dean Morr
  • Patricia Schaefer
  • Carl Voelker
  • Marie Wardell

North Beach
(Aija & Ed Konrad, David Gardner)

CBC Aija and David, North Beach – Ed Konrad

What a crazy experience, birding on our beach in frozen solid sand and snow!!! That was the start of our morning on the North Beach CBC. David Gardner, Ed and I headed out on a beautiful wintry day after our big snowfall for a most unusual CBC that would yield 59 species. 

On the way out to the point, we got all the “salty” sparrows near the old inlet. Seaside, Nelson’s and Saltmarsh were out in good numbers on an almost high tide. A surprise was flushing 5 Clapper Rails from the grasses, some almost underfoot! Looking toward the cove, that is the old inlet, we saw excellent numbers of ducks. A surprise was a group of 8 Northern Shovelers, not commonly seen at Seabrook. Buffleheads won in numbers with Redheads and Lesser Scaup next. But the prize duck was a first time for Seabrook Island, a Long-tailed Duck! This is a great duck for our island.

Shorebirds were plentiful down on the point, with the most exciting find, a group of 5 Piping Plovers huddling in the snow on the beach. There were over 250 Dunlin and a large group of 56 Black-bellied Plovers. Oystercatchers, Marbled Godwits, a lone Whimbrel and Ruddy Turnstones were among the highlights. We finished the day with 59 species on North Beach…a CBC in the snow, one to remember!

Camp St. Christopher
(David Gardner, Justin Johnson, Lauryn Gilmer, Nathaniel Hernandez)

A team of four staff on Camp St. Christopher observed 42 species over a period of four and half hours and through four miles of beach, woods and ponds.  Highlights included:   230 Red-winged Blackbirds, 405 American Robins, once again, all three marsh sparrows (Saltmarsh, Seaside and Nelson’s), 42 Scaup seen from the beach and a Barred owl that flew past the window while Justin Johnson ate his breakfast.

The Rest of Seabrook Island
(Judy Morr, Aija Konrad, George Haskins,
Nancy Brown)

CBC Mtce Area – Painted Bunting – Nancy Brown
CBC – Mtce Area – Red-shouldered Hawk – Ed Konrad

The sun was shining nicely off of the snow but it was a brisk 20 degrees when we began our search in the SIPOA / Club Maintenance Area and the Water Treatment Facility.  33 species were seen in this area including four Ruddy Duck, 13 Bufflehead and one Ring-necked Duck.  The surprise of this stop was seeing two olive green birds with a yellow chest.  Who would think on a snowy January morning we would see Painted Bunting?  The day also ended with a brief return to this area where 13 species were observed including the expected Hooded Merganser which had joined the other ducks. This time, the surprise was an American Woodcock in the tree line between the SIPOA / Club Maintenance Area and the Community Garden.  Both visits included Brown Thrasher and Eastern Towhee scratching under a bush looking for bugs among the leaves and snow.

CBC Palmetto Lake – Western Kingbird – Nancy Brown

It had warmed to the mid-30s as we got to Palmetto Lake where 30 species were seen.  Although a sighting of Killdeer is not unusual, it was unusual that we observed numerous Killdeer at each stop throughout the day.  Also at Palmetto Lake we saw the expected various Heron and Egrets.  The prize “find” at this stop was seeing the Western Kingbird that was first observed on Tuesday and continued at various locations around the lake through Friday.  During CBC, it was walking the path near the tennis courts side of the lake.  We returned to Palmetto Lake later in the day and spent more time near the playground and on the nature trail.  There the 24 species seen included seeing a Golden-Crowned Kinglet and a Blue-headed Vireo.

A drive down the various streets off of Jenkins Point resulted in 22 species being seen with three Tricolor Heron being the first of this species seen for the day.  Since the golf courses were closed, the survey of that usually prolific site was done looking at the cart path and ponds near the Sealoft Villas.  This brief stop resulted in nine species including a Belted Kingfisher, a good view of two Wood Storks and as we were leaving, a Coopers Hawk cooperated and landed on a nearby chimney.  While making the drive back to Palmetto Lake, the trip was delayed while waiting for 17 Wild Turkeys to complete their crossing of Seabrook Island Road near Fox Lair.  Surprisingly, this was the only siting of Turkeys during the our various birding sites.

Once again, thank you to all the participants of this years Christmas Bird Count!  Even with the delay of a day due to snow and ice, the team did a fabulous job in searching out some great birds!

Article submitted by:  Aija Konrad, Judy Morr, Nancy Brown
Photographs by:  Ed Konrad, Charley Moore, Dean Morr, Nancy Brown