Learning Together-Ocean Winds Golf Course

Monday January 31, 2022 8:30 am – 10:30 am
Birding on Ocean Winds Golf Course
Location: Meet at Island House (Golf Course Parking Lot next to Spinnaker Beach Houses) for ride along the golf course in golf carts
Max: 24 (If all seats in golf carts are used)
Cost: Free for members; $5 donation for guests – Priority will be given to prior waitlisted & members

The Seabrook Island Club closes one course a day each week and allows Seabrook Island Birders to use golf carts to travel the course with our members to bird. Join us for a morning of birding by RIDING in golf carts for at least 9-holes on Ocean Winds golf course. We expect to see a large variety of birds including Egrets, Herons and birds of prey. We will also see and hear some of the smaller birds like Tufted Titmice, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Cardinals, Carolina Wrens and some of the many warbler species.

Since it is fall/winter, we can also expect to see Eastern Phoebes, Northern Flickers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Belted Kingfishers, Double-crested Cormorants, Bald Eagles, and more!

As always, be sure to bring your binoculars/cameras, hats and sunscreen. Water will be provided. We ask that all participants wear a mask when unable to social distance if they are not vaccinated.

REGISTER

If you are not yet a 2022 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $10 by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/. You may bring the form and your dues to the event. Or you may pay the Guest Fee of $5.

View Bald Eagle and Great Horned Owl Bird Cams

Tired of watching reruns on Netflix? There are two live camera feeds in the area of birds on their nests. There is a Bald Eagle nest on Hilton Head Island and a Great Horned Owl nest in Savannah. Both are live feeds and anything can happen.

Hilton Head Island Land Trust has an Eagle cam on a nest located on private property in an undisclosed area since eagles can be quite sensitive to human activity while nesting.  The First Eaglet HH3 hatched on 12/26/2021 and Second Eaglet HH4 hatched on 12/27/2021. Watch the live action and read more about this nest in cooperation with the Hilton Head Island Land Trust

During the Fall of 2014, a pair of Great Horned Owls began frequenting an abandoned Bald Eagle nest adjacent to a protected, nutrient-rich salt marsh at The Landings, on Skidaway Island, near Savannah, Georgia. A pair of owls successfully fledged four owlets from the site in 2015 and 2016, but they did not return to breed in 2017. An Osprey pair has nested at this site since then, but change is afoot as the 2022 breeding season gets underway and the nest site returns to the owls! You can keep up with the Great Horned Owls all through nesting season on this live-streamed camera feed from Cornell Lab and Skidaway Audubon. Watch the live action here.

If this hasn’t given you enough bird cams. Cornell Lab has more cameras of nests and feeding stations for various birds. You can find a complete list with links at their All Camera site.

Beyond our Backyard – Pitt Street Causeway and Fort Moultrie

Register Today!

Google Map: Pitt St Causeway to Co-op and Fort Moultrie

Pitt Street Causeway in Mount Pleasant is a small park with limited parking and no facilities, but it is worth a visit at any season. Almost any species of shorebird occurring along the South Carolina coast might be present on the mud flats here (especially at low tide). The marshes and salt creeks on the north side of the causeway are good for any salt marsh species, including all of the marsh-loving sparrows. You also have a good view of Charleston Harbor.

When SIB visited this site in 2019, we observed 41 species. The causeway is accessible for those with mobility issues. Once we are done at Pitt Street, those who are interested will go for lunch at The Co-op at 2019 Middle Street.

After lunch, SIB will return to Fort Moultrie and the Sullivan’s Island Nature Trail. In September, we saw 62 species on our visit. The season will be different, offering a different variety of birds. This portion of the walk will include walks over uneven paths.

Participants may opt only the morning at Pitt Street or both. If you wish to only do Fort Moultrie, we ask you just let us know and provide your own transportation.

Be sure to bring binoculars, camera, hats, sunscreen, bug repellant, snacks and water.

Friday, January 28, 2022 8:30am – 4:00 pm (roundtrip from Seabrook Island)

  • Leave Seabrook Real Estate: 8:30 am
  • Bird Pitt Street Causeway: 9:30 am – 11:30 am
  • Lunch: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
  • Bird Fort Moultrie and Sullivan’s Island Nature Trail: 1:30 – 3:30pm

Location: Meet at Real Estate Parking lot at 8:30 am to carpool to Pitt St in Mount Pleasant with start there at 9:30am with of low tide being around 10:30.
Max: 12
Cost: None for members; $5 donation for guests

If you are not yet a 2022 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.

Once you are a member, please register no later than Wednesday January 26, 2022. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter the day prior the event. 

Up Close & Personal with Eastern Bluebirds

You may have read the recent article regarding the winter behaviors of Eastern Bluebirds. Today, I want to tell you about the nifty gift I gave my mom for Christmas.

My parents live on Johns Island just 25 minutes from our home on Seabrook Island. A couple years ago SIB member Carl Voelker was helping his grandson make bluebird nest houses and my mom, Susanne, was thrilled to have Carl install one in her backyard. In each of the past two years, she has watched while three broods of young were raised and fledged!

As the holidays approached, we came up with the perfect gift for her – a camera to watch the birds from the inside of the birdhouse. I searched the internet for possible options, and selected a product made by Green Backyard. This company has a number of different products including houses, feeders, and cameras for birds and other wildlife. The kit I chose included a cedar birdhouse with a 38mm (1.5″) opening along with a waterproof outdoor WiFi camera. I had decided to purchase their box as it is designed with an added “window” to allow for illumination and it is structured to easily install the camera to the “ceiling” of the box.

Before buying this camera, I verified two things:

  1. Strong WiFi signal at the site it would be placed to connect to my parent’s home WiFi router.
  2. Availability of power using the included 10 meter (~32.8 feet) long power cord, which I plugged into an outdoor extension cord, to reach the exterior GFCI outlet .

I ordered the kit directly from Green Backyard and it arrived within about 10 days. The camera and birdhouse were fairly easy to install. I placed the camera inside of the birdhouse as directed, then placed the box on the pole replacing my mom’s original birdhouse. I ran the power cable and extension to the GFCI outlet. Next, I installed the iCSee app on my phone to activate and configure the camera to the home WIFi router. I inserted the memory card (not included) into the SD card slot and sealed it with a sticker (provided).

(Photos: Top Left – equipment for camera installation; Middle Left – left side of birdhouse; Bottom Left – right side of birdhouse showing removable panel (translucent) for illumination; Right – birdhouse after final installation.)

Both video and audio is transmitted wirelessly via WiFi to your router, allowing you to watch live feeds from anywhere using a smartphone, tablet or PC.

I set the option to send each of us a notification when there is movement at the box (see example). This is triggered when a bird enters or even if there is a sudden change of lighting or significant movement with wind. When you open the app, you can view the live feed and take photos or video that are saved on your app and can be downloaded to your device.

The great news for my mom is that her Eastern Bluebirds entered the new box within a day! Almost every morning we are notified and watch a male and female enter and check out the box, just as Bob Mercer described in his article. We can’t wait for when the nest building begins in another 6-8 weeks, followed by the laying of eggs!

Watch and listen to this brief video of both the male and female as they enter and explore the birdhouse.

You can learn more about the product I purchased or buy it by clicking the links below. We are all very happy with it, but I encourage you to do your own research if you are interested to install a camera at your home. (I have no affiliation or relationship with the supplier of this product and did not receive any compensation for my review.)

Ask SIB: Eastern Bluebird Winter Behavior

On January 9, 2021, Andy wrote SIB, “Today we saw maybe half dozen blue birds and one was sitting on the entry hole.  Isn’t it early for them to be nesting?  Has the warm weather put them off schedule?”

Eastern Bluebird – photo by Bob Mercer

The questions are relatively easy to answer. Yes, it is too early for them to be nesting, so they are not “off schedule” due to the weather. As usual, the questions lead to another question; what are the birds doing?

Since Eastern Bluebirds are year-round residents in our area, one can watch the full range of behaviors. During the winter months, bluebirds can gather in flocks of up to 20 birds. These flocks consist of one or more family units. In really cold weather, a flock of bluebirds may all cram into a single cavity, presumably for shared body warmth. Pair bonding for bluebirds can happen anytime between November and March.

This photo of an Eastern Bluebird entering the box and the female watching perfectly captures some of the courtship behavior–wing droop tail spread. Photo by Nancy Brown

During the courtship and nesting period, the flocking behavior disappears. Once a pair settles on a territory, they work hard to drive away all competitors including their siblings. 

It is difficult to know exactly what Andy observed, but one can make an educated guess. Since he saw a half dozen birds, he observed a winter flock. The bird sitting at the nesting hole most likely was a male bird checking out the box for its potential. 

Once a male makes a choice, he will then attempt to attract a mate or to solidify his relationship with his current mate. According to the Cornel Lab of Ornithology website Birds of the World, the male goes through a very predictable pattern of behavior. The male institutes a nesting demonstration display where he perches at a hole holding nesting material with his wings drooping and his tail spread wide. He looks around, presumably to make sure his intended is paying attention, and then look in the hole. The next step is to rock back and forth into and out of the hole before going in the cavity. Once in the cavity, he will stick his head out still holding the nesting material. Leaving the material in the cavity, he then hops out near the hole and does a wing waving display. The female entering the box cements the pair bond. 

People with bluebird boxes they can view, or who have cameras trained on a box, may be lucky enough to watch this behavioral sequence. 

Nesting on Seabrook Island usually begins around the first of March. The Seabrook Island Birders sponsor a bluebird box monitoring program. Volunteers have a route where they check a series of boxes once a week to monitor if birds use the boxes and nesting success of failure. Anyone interested in helping is encouraged to contact the Seabrook Island Birders.

Be sure to read tomorrow’s article discussing the installation and monitoring of a birdhouse with an outside WIFI camera!

Gowaty, P. A. and J. H. Plissner (2020). Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.easblu.01

Join SIB for Workshop on Favorite Birding Apps

Register Today!

Do you have a smart phone or a tablet? Are you interested in learning more about birds or trying to identify a bird? Why carry a heavy paper guidebook into the field or even around the house when you probably have a smart phone or tablet nearby!?! Like with everything, there is an App for ANYTHING! And birding is no different. For many people, using a smart phone is the best way to easily identify birds and even track sightings.

Getting started using these various apps sometimes requires help. Or others may have “tricks” they have learned while using the apps. SIB will offer a workshop to share and learn from each other. If you don’t already have the desired app on your device, we’ll even help you get it loaded.

Bring your device, questions and tips to our workshop. If you want to load new apps, you will also need your account information for the App Store. If you want more information about possible apps, read prior blogs to give you ideas:

SIPOA rules for masks will be followed.

Tuesday January 25, 2022 from 4:00-6:00 pm
Location: Seabrook Island Lake House, Osprey 2
Max: 12
Cost: None for members; $5 donation for guests

Sign Up by January 23rd and you will receive a confirmation on January 24.

RESCHEDULED: SIB Presents: The Center for Birds of Prey

In Person Evening Program
rescheduled to March 22, 2022

If you have already purchased a ticket and can attend the event on the new date, no action is required!

If you have not yet signed up, register today! We have already sold 66 of the 100 tickets for this event.

Date: Wednesday March 22, 2022
Registration starts 7:00pm. Program starts 7:30pm
Location: Live Oak Hall, Lake House, Seabrook Island, SC
Program Fee: Members $5.00
Attendance: Limited to 100 members

If you are not a 2022 SIB Member, you can join/renew for $10/year

Stephen Schabel, Center for Birds of Prey Director of Education, once again brings the Center’s amazing raptors to the Lake House. We’ll witness the interesting and important world of raptors through this unique indoor program. Stephen’s engaging discussion, along with watching the birds in action, will give us a wonderful education of these majestic creatures and the significant role they play as apex avian predators. 

The program is limited to 100 SIB members. SIPOA COVID protocol will be followed – masks required in Live Oak Hall, masks and physical distancing recommended while traversing other indoor space. No refreshments will be served. If COVID conditions change prior to January 19 the program could be canceled.

Questions? Email us at: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com 

Meet the speaker: Stephen Schabel, Director of Education 

A native of South Carolina, Stephen joined the Center in 2003 after completing his M.S. degree in Environmental Policy at the College of Charleston. Prior to graduate school, he spent several years exploring various teaching opportunities outside the traditional classroom, as well as a career as an accomplished mandolin player and vocalist for a variety of groups in the Charleston area. Stephen’s background in education and environmental policy along with his lifelong passion for the outdoors -especially birds – offers a unique and relevant foundation for his role as Director of Education. Stephen oversees the care, husbandry, and training of the Center’s educational resident bird collection as well as the design and implementation of conservation education programs offered by the Center throughout South Carolina and beyond. Stephen particularly enjoys the aspects of “lure flying” falcons and conversing one on one with visitors about issues related to the conservation of birds and other wildlife.

Update: Favorite Apps for Birding

Do you have a smart phone or a tablet?  Are you interested in learning more about birds or trying to identify a bird?  Why carry a heavy paper guidebook into the field or even around the house when you probably have a smart phone or tablet nearby!?!  Like with everything, there is an App for ANYTHING!  And more for birding seem to be added all the time.   Therefore, we decided to republish information on some of favorites of today.  (Note: We use Apple products so our experience is with the iOS versions.)

In this blog, we will focus on four apps, providing a brief summary.   Please use the links to learn more about each and to download to your device(s).   Most have tutorials available either in the app or on YouTube.  After you check the apps out, if you want more help or to share your experience, register for our app workshop to be held Tuesday January 25 at 4:00.

Merlin Bird ID

The first one I recommend to everyone, especially people new to birding, is called Merlin Bird ID.  Just answer five simple questions about a bird or upload a photo of a bird you are trying to identify, and Merlin will come up with a list of possible matches. Merlin offers quick identification help for beginning and intermediate bird watchers to learn about 650 of North America’s most common birds!  Cornell Lab of Ornithology created it in partnership with Birds in the Hand, LLC.  And the best part is it is FREE! (On my phone I have downloaded Bird Pack for Continental US and Canada and it takes about 2.5 GB of space).  Merlin also has the option to use a photo to help you identify a bird or the most recent addition is “Sound ID” which allows you to record a bird and it identifies the bird by comparing to its library of recordings.  It has the option to interface with your eBird account for personalized information.

Continue reading “Update: Favorite Apps for Birding”

SIB participates in Christmas Bird Count

On Tuesday, January 4, 17 SIB members once again participated in the fantastic annual tradition that is the Christmas Bird Count! Every year, birdwatchers all over North America (and elsewhere) head out bird counting in an attempt to gather a scientific snapshot of the bird population in our area.

Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is conducted every year with 2022 being the 122nd year. This year, they projected 603 circles to submit data. Each circle is a defined area with no overlaps and remains constant from year to year so data comparisons may be made. Each circle does their count on one specified day between December 14 and January 5.

Seabrook Island is part of the Sea Islands CBC circle which is coordinated by Aaron Givens. Nancy Brown coordinated the activities on Seabrook Island for SIB and submitted our results to Aaron for consolidation. We had 10 teams of birders hitting Seabrook Island “hotspots” of Jenkins Point, Palmetto Lake, North Beach, the Lake District, Camp St Christopher, SIPOA/Club horse pasture and maintenance area, Crooked Oaks and Ocean Winds golf courses, and Bobcat/Six Ladies Trail. These teams saw 98 species and 1914 individual birds. We walked 27 miles, drove 3.4 miles and rode in golf carts 9.8 miles for 34 people hours of effort! Amazing!

Female Western Tanager – Jackie Brooks

In addition our team consisted of nine feeder watch homes sighting 39 species and 275 individual birds during 22.5 people hours of watching. Our feeder watch observers saw 7 species missed by the field team so the total species on Seabrook Island was 105. One of those 7 species was a “rare” Western Tanager at Joleen Ardaiolo’s great feeders. This bird normally a summer resident in the Rockies, going slightly eastward during migration. Rarely it is seen east of the Mississippi but this female has been a regular visitor to Joleen’s feeders for about a week. When Aaron confirmed her identification, he stated he hoped it stayed for CBC….and it did!

SIB member, Kathy Woosley, took the initiative to create a new CBC circle centered on James Island which this year was considered a practice CBC. She’s not the only one involved in other CBC circles. Just some of SIB member CBC participation off of Seabrook Island:

  • Mark Andrews: Sea Islands on Wadmalaw in addition to his 2.5 miles on North Beach
  • Mike Harhold: Four Holes Swamp, Charleston and the new James Island.
  • Bob Mercer: Southern Bucks County, PA and Cape May
  • Carl and Cathy Miller: Congaree, Four Holes Swamp, Sea Islands (Kiawah side of Capn Sam, coordinating with Mark Andrews to avoid duplicate counts), Charleston and the new James Island. They are schedule to participate in another “practice” CBC this weekend: Edisto Island CBC.
  • Craig Watson: new James Island,  Winyah Bay,  McClellanville, Charleston, and ACE Basin
  • Kathy and Bill Woosley: Four Holes Swamp, Charleston (1/5), Sea Island (not on Seabrook Island and new James Island.   Kathy commented that doing Sea Island and Charleston back to back was tough on them . Her first Christmas Count was in 1974 in Lynchburg Va.

Submitted by: Judy Morr

SIB January Movie Matinee

Movie Matinee | The Spinal ColumnSeabrook Island Birders (SIB) schedules a Movie Matinee on the second Tuesday at 4pm each month. 

With the increased number of Covid-19 cases, Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) will continue to show movies virtually via Zoom until further notice.

Please register for each event you would like to attend and you will receive confirmation with the appropriate instructions the day prior.

January Movie – Register Here

Bird Brain Tuesday January 11, 2022 from 4:00-5:00 pm Location: Zoom

Front Standard. NOVA: Bird Brain [DVD] [2017].Watch astonishing tests of avian aptitude: parrots that can plan for the future, jackdaws that can “read” human faces, and crows that can solve multi-step puzzles with tools like pebbles, sticks, and hooks. Could these just be clever tricks, based on instinct or triggered by subtle cues from their human handlers? Watch the Trailer: https://www.pbs.org/video/bird-brain-preview-vnp Please sign up to join us for an afternoon at the movies! Sign Up by January 10th and you will receive an automatic confirmation with your link for Zoom.  It will be resent to you on the day of the program. *********************************************************** Keep watch on this page and our Calendar as we continue to add activities for our members! Also, join our SIB Google Group to receive an email about short-notice bird walks and interesting bird sightings! If you are not yet a SIB member, you may become a member by following the instructions here. Thanks! Website: SeabrookIslandBirders.org E-Mail: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com Facebook: seabrookislandbirders Instagram: seabrookislandbirders Twitter: SIBirders
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