You may remember the “Ask SIB” story published on June 14th with questions about the Nesting Anhingas on Jenkins Point Road. At that time, Valerie Doane, along with others, had observed a breeding pair of Anhingas bullying the Great Egret away from a nest. On July 3rd, Valerie sent Bob Mercer a follow-up question:
You had answered in a post on the SIB website the questions I had regarding the Anhinga/Egret squabble & nesting area at the Jenkins Point rookery. Thank you. I have a couple more questions if you don’t mind. I’ve sort of adopted the Anhinga mating pair and check on the nest daily. Every two days it seems the pair trades-off sitting on the nest. No chicks yet though. I’ve been watching the nest since May 30. Perhaps they were building the nest back then in prep for mama to lay the eggs, but it still seems like an awfully long incubation period. Is it possible the eggs won’t hatch, and if so at what point would the pair give up and abandon the nest? Thanks very much Bob.
Stuck in the house? Miss birding? Think there is nothing but what is at your feeder to watch? During the past month I have spent most of my time on our porch, but I am usually reading and/or glancing only at the feeder activity. Lately, I have started looking up rather than down and out at the feeders. Had I not changed my perspective I would have missed the Great Crested Flycatcher, the “Butterbutts” (Yellow-rumped Warblers), the Black-and-white Warbler, and the White-breasted Nuthatch. So, while you are quarantined change your perspective. Look up and around in more ways than one.
Read more of this article and see the photo gallery story by Jackie Brooks, click below:
Bald Eagles have been part of the Seabrook scene for dozen years or so. It has not been an easy gig for them. They first started a nest near the 5th tee of the Ocean Winds golf course. Local Ospreys took exception to the newcomers (sounds like humans with the ‘Not in my Backyard’ attitude) and destroyed it. A tall pine on the 3rd green of Ocean Winds was the next nesting location and it was successful. There were several annual raising of two chicks a year — even at least once after the pine had died. I suspect it has been the same original pair, but they have not said.
When that tree broke off and crashed in a storm, there was a bit of ‘turn about is fair play.’ The eagles took over a nesting site the Osprey had developed near the tee box of Cooked Oaks’ third hole. They remodeled it into a bigger pad and kept providing us entertainment and young eaglets. The last three years, there has been only one chick. Maybe two are too much effort for these now more senior adults. Remember, these chicks have to be fed enough so that in about 90 days after hatching they are ready to leave the nest. And, at that age, they weigh more than the adult. It takes humans about 18 to 30 years of food and what all to become ‘empty nesters’.
The latest chick spent several days edging out onto adjacent limbs in preparation for departure. Each night he/she decided it was not time to go (it is a long ways down and no way back if the wings don’t start flapping when you push off). There is daily retreat to the comfort of the pile of sticks — and having the adults supply the take-out dinner which they had harvested from the countryside. (Sounds like what we’ve been doing for several weeks now what with the dining establishments having to give up onsite seating.)
Along comes F-1. The tornado’s visit was much shorter than the COVID-19 virus in duration (about a mile) and time (minutes), but its path was maybe 25 yards from that likely 2,000 pound nest located is the crotch of a 120 foot pine tree. The three resident Bald Eagles had to be there because the youngster had not yet fledged (left the nesting area). What a ride! The tornado took out or damaged beyond saving about a dozen large trees in the area between the parallel third holes of our two golf courses as well as stripping leaves and needles. This damaged area is diagonally across from the eagles’ nest. The pine tree and the Bald Eagles all survived. Golf course superintendent, Sean Hardwick, has confirmed that at least 50 percent of the nest was dislodged from the tree.
The young eaglet has since fledged. On May first, I observed him three times. Once sitting in a tree and seeming to be eating, once flying overhead, and a third time when he landed (apparently with something in his talons) on the golf course in from of me. The wings did work. The bird is learning to find food. We have mid-wived another addition to the growing number of Bard Eagles in the world. That process has come a long ways since the scourge of DDT nearly rendered them extinct. On May 2nd, an adult eagle flew by me on the course, so they are still around.
Another bit of eagle news is about the discovery of a nesting pair of Bald Eagles in a large cactus tree in Arizona. This is the first known nesting of eagles in that state in many years. Now there is an example of of our newest catch phrase — ’social distancing’. COVID-19 will not lead us toward extinction as DDT did to the Bald Eagles (and Eastern Bluebirds), but it has created a hole in our social fabric. Stay safe. Only then can each of us continue to enjoy our feathered friends.
Article Submitted by: George Haskins Photos by: Robert Mercer
As the days grow shorter, Ed and I had a spectacular day just before sunset at North Beach on November 16. We had to go to the very end of the inlet for our rewards, but it was worth it. We were greeted by a spectacular Merlin, sitting on the washed up snaggy bush. This is the second time we have seen this bird on this perch in the past year. He posed for beautiful pictures.
Merlin North Beach – Ed Konrad
Merlin – Ed Konrad
On the very tip of the inlet were 95 American Oystercatchers! This is a Seabrook high count for us. The tide was rising, which is our favorite time to go to the beach, when the birds are pushed in close. And for Ed, it was the “Golden Hour” of beautiful light for photography. With the oystercatchers were at least 85 Black Skimmers, and a resting group 46 Willets, 8 Marbled Godwits, and 11 Short-billed Dowitchers.
American Osytercatcher, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant – Ed Konrad
Black Skimmer – Ed Konrad
Marbled Godwit, Short-billed Dowitcher, Willet – Ed Konrad
In the inlet frolicked four dolphins, surrounded by three Double-crested Cormorants looking for the fish the dolphins were chasing. What a beautiful sight! Nearby a Snowy Egret fished in the foamy surf. And always an important discovery, we spotted a banded Piping Plover. Our contact with the VA Tech Piping Plover team advised that this one was banded during winter migration at Kiawah Island in November 2012, and breeds along the NJ coast. The Atlantic Region Piping Plovers have green flags, with additional bands.
Double-crested Cormorant, Bottlenose Dolphin – Ed Konrad
Snowy Egret in surf – Ed Konrad
Piping Plover, banded at Kiawah Nov 2012, breeds NJ coast – Ed Konrad
As we returned to the boardwalk, we were treated to a group of oystercatchers at water’s edge in the fading light. We walked back in a beautiful sunset. Another wonderful day at our gorgeous beach.
American Oystercatcher at sunset – Ed Konrad
Sunset North Beach – Ed Konrad
End of a great birding afternoon – Ed Konrad
Ed’s Flickr site is updated with fall Seabrook photos, along with photos from our other recent birding travels. On the Flickr homepage you can click on “Albums” for the Seabrook Album to view the many we’ve birds seen and photographed through the years, along with Albums of our birding trips and various bird species. The URL is: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edkon/
It’s been a wonderful spring and summer for birding and photography on Seabrook Island! My Birding Flickr site is updated with Aija’s sightings and my photos from around Seabrook Island over the past few months. You may enjoy seeing the many species and action on North Beach, and in our ponds and marshes…the Piping Plover returning, Black-bellied Plover and Ruddy Turnstone in breeding plumage, Wilson’s Plover and Least Tern courting in the protected nesting area, hundreds of Whimbrel, our pair of American Oystercatcher along with a large group sighting, our many diverse Terns, a rare Glossy Ibis sighting, and the Great Egret rookery. Just click here. On the “Photostream” home page you can move your pointer over the photo to reveal the bird species name. And on the home page banner, click on “Albums” and go to the Seabrook Island Album. Here you’ll find the many and diverse birding and wildlife sightings that Aija and I have experienced through the years. Enjoy!
Marie Wardell submitted this photo she took of an Osprey at the tip at Privateer Creek back on July 7, 2014.
Marie said, “It felt like 100 degrees that day in July 2014. I had biked to the tip of Privateer Creek along Pelicans Watch beach. When I arrived I sat under the shade provided by a massive live oak. As I gulped my water, I looked up and noticed an osprey staring down at me. I kid you not, he was panting! At one point he looked as though he was damning me with his eyes! I imagined him saying, ‘If you don’t share that water, there is no telling what I might do!’ I fired off a few shots and sat back watching him in amazement.
“Taken with my trusty Nikon D40 mounted with Sigma 120-400 mm lens. Focal length 150mm F/6.3 1/640/second.”
Robert Korski submitted this photograph of two Brown Pelicans taken at the bridge that crosses Seabrook Island Road between Oyster Catcher Court and High Hammock Road.
Robert said, “It was a clear blue sky and no wind in January 2015 when this picture was taken. I used a Canon 7D with Tamron lens. Focal length of shot was 270 mm (maximum for this lens) with aperture setting at 6.3 with a speed of 1/500. No post-processing (such as Photoshop).”
Thanks Robert for sharing this beautiful photograph!