Sign up to Learn Together at North Beach

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On Wednesday, April 24, Aija and Ed Konrad will lead a SIB Learning Together bird walk at North Beach. We’ll be looking for the Red Knots that are our guests in April, stopping at Seabrook Island to rest and refuel on their long migration from South America to the Arctic to breed. Flocks of 1000 knots have been seen to date, growing to 5000 or more as in past years. Wilson’s Plovers are being seen in the critical habitat getting ready to mate and nest. Overall, we hope to spot a nice variety of shorebirds as we work our way to the North Beach inlet.

We’ll meet in the Property Owners’ beach parking lot at 10:00am. This will get us to the beach a couple of hours before the rising tide which brings the Red Knots and other shorebirds closer to the shore. Be sure to bring binoculars, camera, hats, sunscreen, water, snacks, and maybe lunch if you plan to go the entire way to the inlet. Of course, you can head back at any time.

Wednesday, April 24 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (shorter or longer as you wish!)
Learning Together at North Beach
Location: Meet at Owners Parking Lot near entrance to Boardwalk 1
Max: 18
Cost None for members; $5 donation for guests

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Join SIB – Learning Together on Golf Course-Ocean Winds

The troops are lined up and ready to go – – Jackie Brooks

Monday April 22,2019 9:00 am – 11:00 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: 20
Cost: None for members; $5 donation for guests

Each Monday one of the Golf Courses is closed, so 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 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, Eastern Kingbirds or some of our other summer residents may also have arrived.

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

If you are not yet a 2019 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.

Register for Learning Together on Golf Course-Ocean Winds no later than April 20, 2019

Recap of SIB’s March Evening Program – Prothonotary Warbler & Project PROTHO

1 Matt Johnson, Francis Beidler Forest, photo by Marcie Daniels
Matt Johnson, Francis Beidler Forest, photo by Marcie Daniels

On March 27, Matt Johnson, Director of Bird Conservation & Engagement for SC Audubon, fascinated 63 SIB members and guests with a discussion of conserving the Prothonotary Warbler – “the Canary of the swamp.”

Prothonotary Warblers are migratory, spending April to September in southeast swamps like Francis Beidler Forest. In winter they travel thousands of miles to Central and South America. “Prothonotary” comes from official scribes in the Catholic Church who long ago wore bright yellow hoods, as this bird does.

 

2 Prothonotary Warbler, Beidler Forest, photo by Ed Konrad (2)
Prothonotary Warbler, Beidler Forest, photo by Ed Konrad

The Prothonotary Warbler is the eye-catching songbird of the Southeast bottomlands. It’s personable, not as apt to fly off as other species, and seems to be almost curious as people approach. They weigh about half an ounce and belt out a strong song in the forest of “tweet-tweet-tweet-tweet”. Population has declined by 40 percent since the 1960s, as preferred breeding habitats of swamps and forested wetlands have dwindled due to development. 20% of Prothonotary Warblers worldwide need SC habitat to survive.

The Francis Beidler Forest is an Audubon wildlife sanctuary in Four Holes Swamp, a blackwater creek and swamp system of over 16,000 acres. Its crown jewel is 1,700 acres of old growth Bald Cypress and Tupelo forest. A 1.75-mile boardwalk lets visitors see the cypress-tupelo trees up close, many of which are over 1,000 years old. This is one of SC’s most sacred landscapes, preserving a precious habitat for 160 species of birds, including the Prothonotary Warbler. They nest in holes in trees such as cypress “knees” at Beidler, rather than in the open, which is unique among eastern warblers.

 

 

 

Matt discussed Project PROTHO, that he leads at Francis Beidler, to band, track, and research Prothonotary Warblers. “PROTHO” is an acronym for “Protecting Resident Ornithologically Tantalizing Hole-Dwelling Occupants.” Matt said the name always brings a laugh, but the project has a serious mission: identify local birds, their habits and territories so they can be protected.

Prothonotary Warblers are banded with unique colors to identify individual birds, and to study habits and needs to better focus conservation efforts. Visitors at Beidler can participate in banding and are encouraged to help monitor the birds as they walk the 1.75-mile boardwalk. “We can learn a lot about prothos’ behavior from the visitor information,” said Matt. “It’s a good way to engage visitors as it’s such an iconic bird and they’re so easy to see and hear.”

Matt told the amazing story of “Longshot”, the first protho with a geolocator. The next spring, while leading a group of visitors through the forest, Matt spotted Longshot who had come home! From the data on Longshot’s geolocation device, SC Audubon learned that when this little guy left Beidler he flew 5,000 miles south to Colombia, before returning home to within 10 or 15 feet of where he lived the previous year! Migration is the most dangerous part of a bird’s life, so to think this same bird returned to the same spot the following year is nothing short of amazing! Hence the name Longshot!

Since the success of Longshot, several Prothonotary Warblers have been fitted each year with geolocators as a part of Project PROTHO. In addition to providing vital nesting habitat in Beidler Forest’s sanctuary, SC Audubon continues their tracking to learn more about these beautiful yellow songbirds. From the data recovered to date, Matt has discovered that each bird traveled to Colombia, like Longshot, before returning to Beidler Forest, often to the exact same spot, the next year!

A follow-up SIB bird walk with Matt at Francis Beidler Forest was held on April 11 to observe and experience this amazing Prothonotary Warbler story. Watch for this article and photos later this week. Thank you Matt, for sharing this story, critical project, and your passion with SIB members!

Article and Prothonotary Warbler photos submitted by Ed Konrad

Join SIB for Learning Together at Kiawah River Development – Thursday April 18

Thursday April 18,2019 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Learning Together at Kiawah River Development
Location: Meet at Kiawah River Development Real Estate office to car pool and walk the Development
Max: 12
Cost None for members; $5 donation for guests

Another chance to meet with Jeff Snyder, biologist at the Kiawah River development property, and check out birds that can be found on this varied habitat property. We expect to see a large variety of birds including Double-crested Cormorants, Egrets, Herons, Osprey and other birds of prey. If we are lucky, we will see an eagle and osprey duel over a fish.

Yellow-throated Warbler – David Etler

We should also see and hear some of the smaller birds like Tufted Titmice, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Cardinals. Hopefully, we will be in the midst of Warbler migration. We will drive to various locations on the property and then walk for better birding observations. Of course ,this also gives us a chance to see this neighboring development.

As always, be sure to bring your binoculars, hats, water and sunscreen.

If you are not yet a 2019 SIB member, you must first become a member by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/. Alternatively, you could pay a $5 guest fee.

Please  register no later than Tuesday April 16, 2019. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on the day prior the event.

Join SIB for Spring Migration Birding at Camp St. Christopher

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Saturday, April 6, 2019 9am-11am
Spring Migration @ St. Christopher Camp & Conference Center 
Location: Meet at the Bus Parking Lot at St. Christopher
Max: 10
Cost : No fee for members; Non-members=$5

5 Northern Parula
Northern Parula – Ed Konrad

Explore the lakes, lagoons, paths and slough at St. Christopher . This event will have 1 – 2 miles of walking over uneven terrain. Spring should be in full swing, 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 also 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 2019 SIB member, you must first become a member by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/. You may bring your membership fee to the event.  Or, if you prefer, you can attend as a guest for $5.

Use this link to register  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeQd58s2oSsqsRO-iiwvtd-CgkRW7PO7bB-e1RKpdKprYKbHA/viewform

Join SIB for Backyard Birding on Cat Tail Pond

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Thursday , April 4 at 9:00am – Cat Tail Pond
Location: 2500 Cat Tail Pond
Max: 12
Cost: None for 2019 members; $5 donation for guests

Come join us in Paula and Bob’s Adamson’s back yard. They live right on the golf course and have 6 feeders plus a birdbath and 2 bluebird boxes. They even have 2 owl boxes. (bees have moved into one of them). Many birds can be seen from the deck or the yard. It will be spring migration time and we may see many of those passing through. In addition to birds, Paula says they have lots of turkeys, squirrels, bunnies raccoons and possums.

As always, be sure to bring your water, binoculars, hats and sunscreen.

If you are not yet a 2019 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $10 by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/. If you were a 2018 member but have yet to renew for 2019, you may renew following the instructions above or renew the day of the walk. Or you may pay the Guest Fee of $5.

Please complete the information here to register ASAP. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Wednesday, April 3 .

Prothonotary Warbler & Project PROTHO – SIB’s Evening Program on March 27, 2019

FINAL REMINDER!!!

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PowerPoint Presentation

Matt Johnson is the Director of Bird Conservation & Engagement for Audubon South Carolina. A native of South Carolina, Matt grew up in Columbia and attended Clemson University from 2003-2009. After receiving his graduate degree in Biological Sciences, Matt worked as a producer for the Emmy award-winning nature documentary entitled “Expeditions with Patrick McMillan.” In 2013, Matt left Clemson to begin working with Audubon as the Education Director at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest. In 2017, he transitioned to his current position, where he works on a variety of engagement projects across the state to promote bird conservation.

SIB will provide beverages including wine and coffee.  We ask everyone to RSVP no later than March 25, 2019 so we will know how much wine to purchase and how many chairs to set up.

For only $10, you may join or renew your 2019 SIB membership the night of the event.

Don’t miss this chance to have another fun filled evening with our flock of Seabrook Island Birders!

Learn how to join SIB 

Contact us if you have questions:   SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com