Did you miss the bird walk on North Beach last Saturday morning? It started with an email sent last Friday mid-day from Ed Konrad to “SeabrookIslandBirders@googlegroups.com” and resulted with 14 SIB members enjoying a great morning of birding the next day.
Would you like to communicate information about birding on Seabrook Island to others who may be interested? Would you like to receive these types of communications?
If so, you may want to join the other 45 members of SIB who are part of SIB’s “Google Group”. It’s easy! To sign up for SIB’s Google Groups – click here and then click on “Subscribe to this group”.
Once you are signed up, you will receive any notice sent to the SeabrookIslandBirders@googlegroups.com. This could include:
What birds are being seen in the area and where they are being seen
Spur-of-the-moment birding trips on and off island
Questions about wild birds, bird watching and other wildlife conservation issues
Date: Saturday January 18,2020 2:00-4:30 pm Title: Learning Together at the Maintenance Area Location: Meet at SIPOA Garden Plots parking lot Max: 30 Cost: Free members; $5 donation for guests (No guest fee required for Brew portion. Each person will pay for their own drink).
Description: By now the wintering birds have found their way back to Seabrook Island. We will tour around the ponds at the Water Treatment area, the gardens and possibly the horse pastures in search of wintering waterfowl, birds of prey and passerines.
Dress in layers, wear study shoes and bring sun block, bug spray, a hat, water and binoculars.
As parents raising children on Seabrook Island or grandparents whose grandchildren visit here often, you hopefully use our environment to spark an interest in nature. And, because we have access to the ocean, marsh, fresh water ponds, and woods our island is the perfect place to introduce your young ones to bird watching.
To enhance this experience, there are many wonderful books about birds and birding for children of all ages that you might like to have on hand at your Seabrook Island home or send as gifts. To get you started SIB has a few recommendations.
Little Book of Backyard Bird Songs by Andrea Pennington – This interactive book features recordings of twelve bird songs of some of the best known backyard birds across North America. The board pages are easy to turn and the song buttons are easy to activate. There is a beautiful drawing and basic details for each bird. Even though this is a board book, it would be interesting for children of all ages.
Noisy Bird Sing-Along by John Himmelman – This is a book similar to the above, but one that uses mnemonics instead of recordings of bird songs. A great book for preschoolers through age 8 or 9 and some adults like me who use mnemonics to remember bird sounds. The birds featured are found in many backyards and even though some of the birds are specific to either the east or west coast, there are birds found in other regions that are comparable. The illustrations of the birds and something from their environment are accurate and delightful.
Birds, Nests & Eggs by Mel Boring – This is a fun, informative take-along guide that will help children from around the ages of 5 to 10 to locate and identify 15 birds. There are also activities that will enhance learning about birds and their habitats. This is a great steppingstone to the more advanced bird guides.
National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America by Jonathan Alderfer – This is a more advanced bird guide than the previous book and, paired with a pair of binoculars, would be a wonderful gift for children age 8 and up. This book not only features detailed drawings by a top avian artist, Jonathan Alderfer, but also descriptions, fun facts, activities, and range maps. The guide includes comprehensive details of 50 of North America’s most popular birds as well as mini profiles of another 100 birds. This is a book that a child could take everywhere he or she goes.
The Big Book of Birds by Yuval Zommer – This large sized book features lots of beautiful and quirky illustrations and cool facts. The author and illustrator features flamboyant and whacky birds of the sky instead of the more common backyard birds. The large beautiful illustrations should hold the attention of children of all ages. This book also encourages young bird watchers to protect birds and to make their yards bird friendly. Also, check out one of his other books; The Big Book of Bugs! This book is equally, if not even more, impressive.
This is just a sampling of all the amazing books about nature available for children. You can also visit the Charleston County Public Library on Johns Island to load up on lots of books about birds and nature in preparation for their visit. And, after introducing your children and grandchildren to the wonderful world of birds you all can then join the Seabrook Island Birders on one of our birding activities to put their new skills into practice. Check out all our fun activities at seabrookislandbirders.org.
We had a fun week of December birding all around Seabrook! On Jenkins Point we were greeted by 2 Roseate Spoonbills, the number has since grown to 5. Nice to see a flash of pink in the winter landscape. Black-crowned Night Heron numbers are growing, at least 15 squawking their way between the 2 ponds on Jenkins Point Rd. Hooded Mergansers floated on the first pond, working in tandem with a Tricolored Heron and a Snowy Egret to stir up a meal on the far shore!
At the water treatment area, we found a rare (on EBird) Long-tailed Duck. The first night I saw two, but only one seems to remain. This is a rarity for the Charleston area, so very exciting to see! I have had one previous sighting on Seabrook for the CBC, out on the old inlet. Bufflehead numbers were increasing with about 35 one evening!
On North Beach, Marbled Godwits were seen every day, working the large tide pool near the bend, along with Black-bellied Plovers and Ruddy Turnstones. Semipalmated Plover and Dunlin numbers were in the hundreds. A nice surprise was 12 Red Knots, one with a band!
Ed and I did our usual beach prowls for wintering Piping Plovers. On a very foggy day we spotted 4 plovers. But Ed’s usually great photos were a foggy mess. One PIPL had an orange band, with maybe a gray band too? We sent photos to our friend, Alice Van Zoeren, Great Lakes PIPL Conservation Team in MI. Alice replied, “could the band be purple, is there a number?” And if yes, it could be “very exciting!” Purple? Exciting? We’ve never seen a PIPL with a purple band in all our years of looking! We were back out the next day, a beautiful morning, and spotted 8 PIPL. Then there it was in the middle of the beach – our banded “purple” with the number 31!
Here is Alice’s info on this PIPL: “You’ve proved it! This is the chick, we named “Little V”, from our Point Betsie MI nest. It’s the only one that fledged from this new 2019 nesting area. It’s a very busy and narrow beach just south of the Point Betsie Lighthouse. You can see us banding it on this Chicago Tribune video! https://www.chicagotribune.com/ed257930-fef2-4c7f-8e72-3450…
“Some of this video is of us catching and banding another brood, but this chick is the one in my hand, and running off while Steph chants “survive, survive”. Guess it worked.”
Be sure to watch the above video link from Alice – highlight the link and copy to your browser, turn on the audio when video loads. What a special story about our endangered little winter guests, and the challenges they face! What a special visitor to Seabrook Island!
Other banded Piping Plovers we’ve seen are returning winter guests at Seabrook. Black Flag 2K from Prince Edward Island, Canada, has been spotted now Sep and Dec 2019, and Nov 2018. SCDNR also spotted 2K on Devaux Bank in October. And last month we resighted this Great Lakes banded PIPL for the fourth time – Oct, Sep and Mar 2019, and Nov 2018.
These sightings and stories highlight the struggle these tiny Piping Plovers face to survive. Remember, PIPL that breed in Atlantic US and Canada regions are Federally Threatened, Great Lakes region are Federally Endangered with only 71 breeding pairs remaining. They’re with us for nine months a year, as wintering guests, or stopping by as they head to/return from beaches farther south. Our critical habitat is thriving, and we’ve been regularly seeing four to eight PIPL on any given day. Usually around the large tidal pool in the critical habitat – along the shore or resting on the beach. But they can be anywhere along the shore, so please give them space to feed and rest!
Article by Aija and Ed Konrad, Photos by Ed Konrad
On Friday, November 22, 2019, 17 members (including three new members!) joined us for a morning of birding at Kiawah River development. It was a beautiful morning and the birds were plentiful in the various rivers, ponds, marshes and forests.
Kiawah River is truly a special place with 2,000 acres of land in the early stages of development.
We saw 36 species during our travels, including 120 Hood Mergansers! Thanks to our photographers of the day, Patti Romano & Mary Van Deusen.
120 Hooded Merganser — Saw in 3 locations on the property. 100 seen and counted in North Pond 3 Wild Turkey 4 Pied-billed Grebe 13 Common Gallinule 25 Dunlin 8 Willet 4 Laughing Gull 17 Wood Stork 9 Anhinga 82 Double-crested Cormorant 7 Brown Pelican 11 Great Blue Heron 25 Great Egret 4 Snowy Egret 4 Little Blue Heron 3 Tricolored Heron 5 White Ibis 8 Roseate Spoonbill 4 Black Vulture 6 Turkey Vulture 1 Osprey 1 Northern Harrier 1 Cooper’s Hawk 3 Bald Eagle 1 Red-shouldered Hawk 5 Belted Kingfisher 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker 2 American Kestrel 5 American Crow 11 Tree Swallow 1 Carolina Wren 1 Northern Mockingbird 5 Eastern Bluebird 1 Chipping Sparrow 1 Palm Warbler 2 Pine Warbler
A new season of the Project FeederWatch citizen-science project has just launched and you can still get in on the counting action to help scientists understand trends at feeders across the continent. FeederWatch participants count their feeder birds on two days per week that they choose (or as often as they can) between November and early April. Thousands of participants in the U.S. and Canada have been doing the count for 33 years and have amassed a tremendous database of observations that scientists use to track changes in bird populations over time. It’s one of the simple things you can do to help birds–count them!
During the recent Seabrook Island Birder’s Game Night, we shared three games that we thought all of you might enjoy to test your bird knowledge!
In the first game called “Bill Me,” you have to combine two words to make the name of a bird. Next, you have to match each of the birds with the appropriate bill shape.
The second handout has two games, the first is called “Fake Names,” and it lists fifteen bird names, of which eight are not real birds. The final game is a list of five statements, and you need to determine if they are True or False.
As the holiday season approaches, we hope you will print out these games and test your friends and family’s knowledge! To view the answers, visit SIB’s “Bird Games & Puzzles” page where you will find not only the two puzzles and answers discussed above, but an additional two puzzles. Don’t cheat and look at the answers before you try each of the puzzles!