Adaptability of “SIBlings”

The “SIBlings”

Any student of nature understands the concept of adaptation. So, when the scheduled Long-billed Curlew trip scheduled for a cool, rainy Sunday was changed to a cold, cloudy Saturday (February 3, 2018), the group of a dozen or more SIBlings (my name for this group of fun and dedicated people) rolled with it. Carpools were arranged and early in the morning, the groups set off for McClellanville, about an hour and a half north of Seabrook Island. We never saw the rising sun, but the clouds spread out in a tremendous display of flame orange, the warmest thing we would see all day, made up for it. A pontoon boat awaited us at the docks. Our guides and Captains for the day were Olivia and Gates, employees of South Carolina Coastal Expeditions.

The schedule included a leisurely motor around some of the 66,000+ acres of islands, barrier beach, and salt marsh called the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. Unique to the eastern US, the refuge contains 29,000 acres of class 1 wilderness (defined as areas over 5,000 acres which receive the most stringent level of protection). Our target bird, the bird from which the trips received its name: Long-billed Curlew.

With temperatures barely above freezing Continue reading “Adaptability of “SIBlings””

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It was a cold and windy morning …

I believe Snoopy (apologies to Charles Shultz) would likely start this story “It was a cold and windy morning.”

It was indeed a cold — 28 degrees — and windy morning when we ventured outside to join David Gardner on a Learning Together birding walk. The initial site was the Island’s gardens and maintenance areas. Ten had signed up to accompany David; six showed up; and four finished.  Fortunately we enjoyed bright sunshine and much of the time we were sheltered from the chilly wind.  

Continue reading “It was a cold and windy morning …”

Local Residents! Count your Backyard Birds on Thursday January 4th

It’s a cold week on Seabrook Island, and what better way to spend Thursday January 4th than by staying inside with a warm beverage and watching your bird feeders to track birds for the annual Sea Islands Christmas Bird Count (CBC). This area encompasses Johns, Wadmalaw, Kiawah and Seabrook Islands.

If you plan to be on the island on Thursday, let us know you want to participate by filling out the form below. We will email you a form that you will use on the day of the count and answer any other questions you may have about the event.

The process  for the day is easy, just follow these steps:

  1. Identify and count all individuals of all species that visit your feeder/yard on the day of the count.  Record only the highest number seen for each species at any one time for any one count period.  For example, if from 7:00 – 7:30 am a single Northern Cardinal visits your feeder, then later two visit, and even later three show up at your feeder, your count for Northern Cardinals will be three – the highest number to visit at one time for that count period.  Repeat this process for each count period.
  2. Record the time spent bird watching under each count period.  It is not necessary to be at your feeders for the entire day, or even continuously.  Record just the time spent watching.  In the example about it would be 30 minutes.
  3. Record the highest number of individuals for each species from all count periods and the total number of minutes spent observing.
  4. At the end of the day, forward (scan or take a photo) your form to SIB at:  SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com.  We will collect all the responses and forward to Aaron Givens, CBC Coordinator for Sea Islands.

We hope you will participate in this great event!

Birding in the rain at Seabrook Island Maintenance Area

Left to right: Melodie Murphy, Charles Moore, Judy Morr, David Gardner. Photo by: Nancy Brown

It was a rainy and cold 45 degrees this past Thursday December 7th, but five SIB members trooped around the Seabrook Island Maintenance area in search of wintering ducks, shorebirds and passerines!  We were thrilled to see a female Common Goldeneye in the pond along with 14 Bufflehead.  In addition, we saw both the Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers, a group of six Killdeer and a single Spotted Sandpiper with its distinctive teeter, bobbing its tail up and down constantly as it walked along the shore.

In total we saw 36 species in just one-hour, including some new species for the year for some members!  Check out the list of birds and selection of photos below!

Please remember to check our website and sign-up for upcoming events, including any part of our Seabrook Island Big Day on Saturday December 16, 2017.

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  • 14 Bufflehead
  • 1 Common Goldeneye
  • 3 Hooded Merganser
  • 3 Wood Stork
  • 4 Double-crested Cormorant
  • 1 Great Egret
  • 1 Snowy Egret
  • 6 Killdeer
  • 18 Least Sandpiper
  • 1 Spotted Sandpiper
  • 4 Greater Yellowlegs
  • 2 Lesser Yellowlegs
  • 1 Bonaparte’s Gull
  • 2 Ring-billed Gull
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 3 Blue Jay
  • 3 American Crow
  • 2 Carolina Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 House Wren
  • 2 Carolina Wren
  • 4 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 2 Northern Mockingbird
  • 30 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Palm Warbler
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 35 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 1 White-throated Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 3 Northern Cardinal

Article submitted by Nancy Brown and photographs by Charles Moore

Highlights from Productive Bird Walks

Recently, Seabrook Island Birders enjoyed a Bird Walk with a Kiawah Island Resorts Naturalist in the fields around Freshfields and then on another day, a “walk” on Ocean Winds golf course.  A recap of each is below.  More fun activities are scheduled for December.

Fields of Freshfields Village

On November 16, Seabrook Island Birders were honored to have a walk led by two naturalists from Kiawah Island Resorts.  The walk took us to places we usually are unable to bird….the fields behind Freshfields Village.  In the three hours together, an amazing 60 species were identified.  The day started in “Field 14” which is across the Kiawah Island Parkway from Freshfields Village.  We had to wait to enter the field for 9 Wild Turkeys to clear the drive.  Watching them run and fly over the fence in to the plowed field was a treat.

Pond with Great Egrets, Snowy Egret, Little Blue and White Ibis – Ed Konrad

The day only got better when we reached the pond where there were Great Egrets, White Ibis and Wood Storks.   Hooded Mergansers and Buffleheads had also arrived for the winter.    Greater Yellowlegs, Lessor Yellowlegs and Willets shared a pond to allow easy comparison.

Loggerhead Shrike – Ed Konrad

When we crossed back to the “tomato fields” behind the car wash, my highlight of the day was seeing the Loggerhead Shrike perched atop a tree.  The day was not over, however, as we continued on to the brush piles behind Andell Inn where the House Wren and Carolina Wren shared a pile, again allowing comparison.  The final stop of the day was the fields behind the pond at Andell Inn.  From the fields, we looked in to the pond where a Common Gallimule was seen.

Our guide tagging Monarch Butterflies – Ed Konrad

The day ended as we observed Jake and Juliana capture Monarch Butterflies which they would tag for migration studies.  The number of butterflies was amazing and only expanded our love of beautiful area we call home.

 

Ocean Winds Golf Course

On November 27, Seabrook Island Birders were once again hosted by the Seabrook Island Club at the Ocean Winds golf course.  During this “walk” in golf carts, 32 species were identified.  The day started positively by the observation of numerous Double-crested Cormorants on the pond by the first tee.

Eastern Bluebird – Charlie Moore

The Eastern Bluebirds were not to let their larger friends outdo them so volumes greeted us further down the path.  As the day continued, many of the “normal” species were spotted.  A Green Heron missed the memo to migrate south so was seen on the sixth hole (and another was seen on the thirteenth).  On the back nine, a Pied-billed Grebe was seen and then the highlight of the day was the pond on the thirteenth hole.

This one pond had the Green Heron, a Common Gallinule, a Pied-billed Grebe and the highlight of an American Bittern.  As we headed back to the club house, a Northern Harrier soared overhead as well as a Bald Eagle.  The Eastern Phoebe, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons and lowly Carolina Chickadees didn’t stand a chance in winning our hearts.

The species identified in the Fields of Freshfields included:

Bufflehead 2
Hooded Merganser 7
Wild Turkey 9
Wood Stork 15
Double-crested Cormorant 13
Anhinga 3
Brown Pelican 2
Great Blue Heron 2
Great Egret 45
Snowy Egret 13
Little Blue Heron 5
Tricolored Heron 4
White Ibis 1
Black Vulture 15
Turkey Vulture 8
Osprey 2
Cooper’s Hawk 2
Bald Eagle 3
Clapper Rail 3
Common Gallinule 1
American Oystercatcher 3
Killdeer 2
Dunlin 1
Greater Yellowlegs 6
Willet 2
Lesser Yellowlegs 3
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 2
Loggerhead Shrike 1
White-eyed Vireo 1
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 6
Fish Crow 2
crow sp. 10
Tree Swallow 8
Carolina Chickadee 4
Tufted Titmouse 1
House Wren 2
Carolina Wren 7
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4
Eastern Bluebird 3
Hermit Thrush 1
Gray Catbird 2
Northern Mockingbird 3
European Starling 1
Palm Warbler (Western) 4
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 45
Chipping Sparrow 20
Song Sparrow 6
Swamp Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 2
Red-winged Blackbird 12
Boat-tailed Grackle 3
House Finch 2
American Goldfinch 3

The species identified on Ocean Winds golf course included:

Pied-billed Grebe 2
Double-crested Cormorant 25
Anhinga 2
American Bittern 1
Great Blue Heron 2
Great Egret 3
Snowy Egret 1
Tricolored Heron 1
Green Heron 2
Turkey Vulture 2
Osprey 1
Northern Harrier 1
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Bald Eagle 1
Clapper Rail 2
Common Gallinule 1
Belted Kingfisher 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 2
Eastern Phoebe 2
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 6
Tree Swallow 2
Carolina Chickadee 5
Tufted Titmouse 6
Carolina Wren 1
Eastern Bluebird 50
Northern Mockingbird 2
Palm Warbler 15
Northern Cardinal 2

Submitted by: Judy Morr

Photoes by: Ed Konrad, Charley Moore, Valerie Doane

Attend SIB’s First Afternoon Seminar to Learn About Project FeederWatch

 

Do you enjoy watching the birds in your backyard?  Whether you have feeders or not, you should consider becoming a citizen scientist by joining Project FeederWatch this winter. If you would like to learn more about the program, SIB is hosting a seminar to explain Project FeederWatch and provide support to our members on Monday, December 4, from 4:00 – 5:00 pm.  The seminar will be held at the Lake House in the Eagle’s Nest room.

Sign up to attend now!

Continue reading “Attend SIB’s First Afternoon Seminar to Learn About Project FeederWatch”

Shorebirds of Kiawah Island: The Symposium

Thursday, October 12, 2017
4:00pm at The Sandcastle 

Members of SIB are invited to register for the Take flight with us at the Kiawah Conservancy’s annual symposium. Learn about some of Kiawah’s most cherished visitors from a variety of expert speakers and see our newest film… Taking Wing!  Speakers include: 

  • Mary Alice Monroe
  • Larry Niles
  • Aaron Given
  • Janet Thibault
  • Melissa Chaplin
  • Felicia Sanders

Thank you to the symposium and documentary sponsors: Town of Kiawah Island and AV Connections. 

REGISTER NOW