Join SIB for our August Virtual Events

With the heat of the summer and the need to still social distance, Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) has scheduled two “Virtual Movie Matinees” and an Evening Program using Zoom during the month of August!  And the best part is you don’t even have to be on Seabrook Island to join!

Once you register, we will send you a link the day prior to each event to allow you to access our Zoom live video. We will open each event with introductions and a little social time, watch the  show together (generally an hour), and finish with a short discussion to get your feedback and answer questions.

Sign up for one, two or all three of our events, then plan to get comfy in your favorite chair with snacks and beverages of your choice to enjoy our gathering!

Movie Matinee: The Saga of the White Tailed Eagle on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 at 4:00 – 5:30 pm

The sea eagle was once widespread throughout almost all of Europe and graced the coats of arms of many different countries. During the 19th and 20th centuries it was driven to the brink of extinction by hunting, the increased use of pesticides and the destruction of its habitat. This touching animal drama recounts the true life story of one individual bird, observed over the course of a year. Beginning with its birth in a lowland forest in Central Europe the film team follows the eagle’s first outing with its brothers and sisters and subsequent distant migrations to places as far away as Scandinavia. Finally it chronicles its dramatic lead poisoning, recovery and resettlement in a nature reserve.

Evening Program: Seabrook Island Shorebirds on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Do you enjoy going to the beach to watch birds but then find yourself frustrated with trying to identify the small shorebirds that run along the edge of the surf? Join this special “virtual” program, with Naturalist Bob Mercer, to learn about the shorebirds that call our island home. He will provide you with simple clues to help you learn the very challenging sandpipers and plovers often seen on our beach, and then give you a chance to practice your new identification skills during our program.

Movie Matinee: Owl’s Odyssey on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 4:00 – 5:30 pm

A female barn-owl’s home is demolished and she seeks a new place to live. Flying through forests and grasslands, she meets common owl species in Central Europe, some she can co-exist with, others she must shun. This documentary is a beautiful display of what owls mean to humans; how they fly and hunt; why they’ve been associated with death. The owl finally finds a new home, as the guest of a barn owl family, in time to see the new clutch of young following their mother on their first majestic flight.

Watch the trailer here.

Birding is Back on the Golf Course

Birding on Ocean Winds Golf Course
Date: Sunday June 28, 2020 8:30 am – 10:30 am
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 members

SIB birding from Golf Carts – Jackie Brooks

Ocean Winds golf course is closed for major renovations, but Seabrook Island Birders has obtained permission from Seabrook Island Club and the Golf Club Operations to take a group of members out on the front 9 to bird and visit the rookery. We will RIDE in golf carts (1 4-person and 10 2-person carts) which can accommodate 13 – 24 people, based on the number of people who will share carts.

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 Great Crested Flycatchers, Mississippi Kites, and Eastern Kingbirds.

To keep everyone safe, we will ask people to social distance and wear a face mask. When you register, if you are not joined by a family member, please let us know if you are open to riding with a non-family participant or if you prefer to be in a cart alone.

As always, be sure to bring your binoculars, hats and sunscreen. Water will be provided.

If you are not yet a 2020 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $10 by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/. Or you may pay the Guest Fee of $5.

Please register no later than Friday June 26, 2020. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Saturday June 27, 2020. If you need to cancel, please let us know so we can invite people on the waitlist to attend.

Watch the Replay – Nesting Birds of Seabrook Island

On June 3, 2020, Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) held its first Virtual Evening Program, Nesting Birds, with Matt Johnson & Nolan Schillerstrom from Audubon South Carolina.  Nearly 100 people registered from 16 states, with about 55 joining the program live.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the topic and the great work done by Matt and Nolan to present information specific to Seabrook Island! The event was interactive, with participants posting questions live on the Zoom “chat” feature.

For those who missed the event, or want to watch it again, click on the link below:

To learn more about Audubon South Carolina, we encourage you to visit their FacebookTwitter, and Instagram as well as their website .

Watch for more “virtual” events coming soon! And if you want to give us feedback on our programs, take our brief survey using this link to let us know:
– When you think you will resume participation if available
– Ideas for activities
– Feedback on Zoom programs

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

Virtual Lecture with David Sibley

Join a Virtual Lecture on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 7:00 pm

From the renowned author and illustrator of the bestselling Sibley’s Guide to Birds comes What It’s Like to Be a Bird: From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing–What Birds Are Doing, and Why. This is the bird book for birders and non–birders alike that will excite and inspire by providing a new and deeper understanding of what common birds are doing–and why.

“Can birds smell?” “Is this the same cardinal that was at my feeder last year?” “Do robins ‘hear’ worms?” In What It’s Like to Be a Bird, David Sibley answers the most frequently asked questions about the birds we see most often. This special, large-format volume is geared to non–birders and the bird-obsessed, covering more than two hundred species with more than 330 illustrations. Sibley’s exacting artwork and wide-ranging expertise bring observed behaviors vividly to life. And while the text is aimed at adults–including fascinating research on the ways birds have adapted to environmental changes–it is nontechnical, making it perfect for parents and grandparents to share with young children, who will delight in David Sibley’s big, full-color illustrations.

To view the lecture, purchase a ticket for $40 + tax. The link to view the virtual lecture will be emailed to ticket holders on the afternoon of April 29th. The lecture will be available for two weeks. A copy of What It’s Like to Be a Bird will be mailed to your home from Mystery Lovers Bookshop. (This book is also available through Amazon as a hardcover or Kindle.)

Early Morning Birdwalks at Caw Caw – Cancelled through Saturday May 9

Please see the message below regarding birdwalks at Caw Caw:

Date: March 17, 2020 at 2:30:53 PM EDT

Charleston County Parks has cancelled all programs and events from now through May 10. There will be no birdwalks at Caw Caw during that time, even though the park may be open. It is possible that more will be cancelled into the future, and that the parks may close entirely during some or all of that time.

Please check charlestoncountyparks.com for additional cancellation information. Since we don’t require pre-registration for these birdwalks at Caw Caw, people may just show up expecting a program. Please spread the word that as of right now, our next birdwalk at Caw Caw will be Wednesday May 13.

Thanks for your help, and we hope to see you soon! Good birding to you! 

Best, 
Keith McCullough, C.I.T.
Natural History Interpretation Coordinator
Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission
5200 Savannah Hwy, Ravenel, SC 29470

Join SIB for Spring Migration at Camp St. Christopher

Register Now!

Green Heron by Michael Audette

Sunday March 22, 2020 9:00 – 11:00 am
Spring Migration @ St. Christopher Camp & Conference Center
Location: Meet at the Bus Parking Lot at St. Christopher
Max: 10 walkers, 3 in cart

Explore the property at St. Christopher with one of the Camp’s environmentalists providing a cart for 3 birders with mobility issues. This event will visit the feeders near Susannah’s House then continue along the roads with walking birders accompanying those in the Camp’s vehicle. Spring should have begun, so we should see all the usual suspects, but will also hopefully get looks at our some of our more elusive resident breeding songbirds…Yellow-throated Warbler, Pine Warbler, Northern Parula, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Painted Bunting.

Early April is the start of migration for a number of species, so we may be lucky to see a few migrant warblers (Louisiana Waterthrush, Prothonotary Warbler, Common Yellowthroat), Scarlet Tanagers and Blue Grosbeaks.

Bring sun block, bug spray, a hat, water and binoculars. 

If you are not yet a 2020 SIB member, you must first become a member by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/.

Once you are a member, please register no later than Friday March 20, 2020. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Saturday March 21st.