Birding Beyond our Backyard – Bears Bluff Fish Hatchery

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Located on Wadmalaw Island, the Bears Bluff NFH has a self-guided tour our group will take around the perimeter of the 31 acre facility. We will not only see examples of the South Carolina Lowcountry’s natural habitat but also see work being accomplished by staff at BBNFH. SIB Leaders will take our participants across a previously impounded estuarine area which is naturally reverting back into coastal marshland as well as a freshwater pond where birds, turtles and alligators are often visible. Two boardwalks offer a unique perspective and will allow guests “to get in the marsh without getting dirty.” The self-guided tour offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the estuarine ecosystem while experiencing some of this area’s most breathtaking scenery. Opportunities abound for bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts, so bring your binoculars and pack a lunch!

Join SIB Executive Committee Member Nancy Brown for this walk in search of seabirds, wading birds, passerines and birds of prey. Be sure to bring binoculars, camera, hats, sunscreen bug repellant, snacks and water. Pack a lunch and stay longer to enjoy what the Bears Bluff NFH has to offer!

Friday, June 7, 2018 7:30 am – 12:00 pm
Beyond our Backyard – Bears Bluff Fish Hatchery
Location: Meet at SIRE parking lot and car pool (approximately a 45 minute drive)
Max: 20
Cost None for members; $5 donation for guests
Learn more about Bears Bluff NFH: https://www.fws.gov/bearsbluff/index.html

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/ or we request a $5 donation to SIB.

Once you are a member, please register no later than Wednesday June 5 , 2019. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter the day prior the event.

If you have additional questions about the program, please contact us by sending an email to: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com

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New Volunteer Orientation – July 14, 2019

Registration is Open
for New Volunteer Staff Orientation
at the Center for Birds of Prey / Avian Conservation Center
in Awendaw, SC.

Join us on Sunday, July 14, 1-4pm, for an introduction to our Volunteer Staff program. Learn about the variety of areas where we need support and meet some of our team. You’ll be able to ask questions, get to know a few of our current Volunteer Staff, and learn about the behind-the-scenes activities that make the Center function.

We invite those who are interested in supporting the Center through volunteer service on our campus to attend this orientation. Those interested in becoming a Transport Volunteer should wait until a Transport Training Workshop is scheduled.

Please note that we will have limited seating at this session. So we can provide the personal attention and time that each volunteer candidate deserves, we will only offer 50 seats at this session, so register early!

Thank you,
Staff of the Avian Conservation Center
Register Now!
843.971.7474 
info@thecenterforbirdsofprey.org

REMINDER: Painted Buntings – SIB’s Evening Program on May 29, 2019

SIGN UP TODAY

PowerPoint Presentation

SIB is pleased to announce our next evening program will feature Dr. James Rotenberg, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, at UNCW (University North Carolina at Wilmington), to speak on “The Conservation Status of the Atlantic Coast population of Painted Bunting”

Jamie is an environmental ecologist and ornithologist in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Jamie is known as the “bird guy” in his department. His main research interest focuses on using birds as environmental indicators of habitat change and condition. The Painted Bunting Observer Team Project, or “PBOT” is one of the main projects Jamie carries out here in North and South Carolina. He also works on research projects in the country of Belize in Central America. The project in Belize includes research on the bird community of southern Belize as well as Harpy Eagles, migratory Wood Thrush, and rainforest sustainability using cacao (chocolate) agroforestry.

Date: Wednesday May 29, 2019
Registration & Social: 7:00 pm
Program Starts:  7:30 pm
Location:  Live Oak Hall at the Lake House on Seabrook Island
Fee:  Members $5 and Guests $10

SIB will provide beverages including wine and coffee.  We ask everyone to RSVP no later than May 27, 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

Join SIB – Birding beyond our Backyard at Pitt Street Causeway

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.

Pitt-Street Causeway – Image from TripAdvisor

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.

SIB member Carl Miller lives in Mount Pleasant and will share his experience at this site with the group. The causeway is accessible for those with mobility issues. Be sure to bring binoculars, camera, hats, sunscreen, bug repellant, snacks and water.

Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 7:00am – 11:00 am (roundtrip from Seabrook Island)
Beyond our Backyard – Pitt Street Causeway
Location: Meet at Real Estate Parking lot at 7:00 am to carpool to Pitt St in Mount Pleasant with start there at 8:00am which is time of low tide.
Max: 12
Cost: None for members; $5 donation for guests

If you are not yet a 2018 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 Thursday May 9, 2019. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter the day prior the event.

If you have additional questions about the program, please contact us by sending an email to: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com

The Painted Bunting – America’s Most Beautiful Bird

Look up in the sky – it’s a jewel, a small parrot, no it’s SUPERBIRD!

Painted Bunting-1 CMoore
Male Painted Bunting – C Moore

Without a doubt one of the most beautiful and colorful birds on Seabrook Island or anywhere else is the Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris).  Look for this small to medium sized multi colored finch (about five inches long with an eight-inch wingspan) at your bird feeder and around the edges of dense brush (such as wax myrtles) and thick woodlands.

Painted Buntings nest and breed here from the middle of April through September. Some may stay throughout the winter but most of our birds go south to Florida and to the northwest Caribbean islands. These birds are part of the eastern population that occurs along the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Florida. A second western population breeds in northern Mexico to northern Texas and winters in south-west Mexico.

You will have no problem in identifying a mature male Painted Bunting with its vivid blues, greens, yellows and reds that make it look like a small parrot. The male’s head is iridescent blue, its throat and underside are bright red, its back is a brilliant green fading to lighter green on the wings. Females and one-year-old males are a uniform yellowish-green color with a slightly lighter eye ring.

These magnificent birds spend most of their time in thick brush and are often seen along woodland edges. They forage on the ground and in shrubs and are primarily seed eaters. They are frequent visitors to Seabrook Island bird feeders and seem to prefer white millet. Although they are basically seed eaters while nesting, they catch, eat and feed insects to their young.

They are fast flyers, darting here and there and are difficult to follow. Males are extremely aggressive and territorial toward other males and often fight over a spot at bird feeders. Their song is a very distinctive continuous series of short high-pitched notes lasting about 2 seconds. Males may sing 9 to 10 songs a minute establishing their territory during spring.

Male Painted buntings may have several mates and females may raise 2 to 4 broods throughout the summer. The nest is built in a bush or tree and is a deep cup of grass, weeds and leaves with a lining of finer grass or hair. Females lay 3 to 5 eggs, incubate them for 11 to 12 days and the young leave the nest in another 12 to 14 days. Males do little in raising the young and frequently are out looking for another mate. A Florida tagging study documented one Painted bunting living in the wild for more than 12 years. 

Male birds, because of their bright plumage, are caught and sold as caged birds in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. In the late 1800s, John Audubon reported that thousands of Painted Buntings were being shipped to Europe from the United States. Breeding bird surveys by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service estimate that the Painted Bunting population has declined by 55% over the past 30 years.

Seabrook Island residents and their guests are fortunate to have one of America’s most beautiful birds. Keep in mind that males only develop their brilliant multi colored plumage in their second year. Most of the Painted Buntings you will see will be the rather nondescript uniform greenish females and first-year males. The best way of spotting a Painted Bunting is to become familiar with their distinctive song, and once you have identified where they are, watch for a flash of red, blue, yellow and green and have your camera ready.

Should you be lucky enough to find a painted bunting nest I would love to know about it. I have never seen the nest although 2 to 4 pairs nest in by backyard each year. What fun it would be to follow and photograph these beautiful birds raising their young.

We hope you will join the Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) for an evening program focused on our special bird on Wednesday May 29, 2019 in the Live Oak Room at the Lake House.  Dr. James Rotenberg will present: “The Conservation Status of the Atlantic Coast population of Painted Bunting,” with the social (wine and snacks) beginning at 7:00 pm and the lecture starting at 7:30 pm.  Sign up to attend here: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/sib-evening-programs/

Article & Photos Submitted by: Charley Moore                                                                                                                                         

Painted Buntings – SIB’s Evening Program on May 29, 2019

SIGN UP TODAY

PowerPoint Presentation

SIB is pleased to announce our next evening program will feature Dr. James Rotenberg, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, at UNCW (University North Carolina at Wilmington), to speak on “The Conservation Status of the Atlantic Coast population of Painted Bunting”

Jamie is an environmental ecologist and ornithologist in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Jamie is known as the “bird guy” in his department. His main research interest focuses on using birds as environmental indicators of habitat change and condition. The Painted Bunting Observer Team Project, or “PBOT” is one of the main projects Jamie carries out here in North and South Carolina. He also works on research projects in the country of Belize in Central America. The project in Belize includes research on the bird community of southern Belize as well as Harpy Eagles, migratory Wood Thrush, and rainforest sustainability using cacao (chocolate) agroforestry.

Date: Wednesday May 29, 2019
Registration & Social: 7:00 pm
Program Starts:  7:30 pm
Location:  Live Oak Hall at the Lake House on Seabrook Island
Fee:  Members $5 and Guests $10

SIB will provide beverages including wine and coffee.  We ask everyone to RSVP no later than May 27, 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

Join SIB for Global Big Day – May 4

2019 Global Big DayOn May 4, Cornell Lab and eBird sponsor Global Big Day. Will you join more than 30,000 others and become a part of Global Big Day? You don’t have to commit to birding for 24 hours—an hour or even 10 minutes of watching birds makes you part of the team. Visit your favorite spot or search out someplace new; enjoy a solo walk or get some friends to join in the Global Big Day fun. As part of this day, Seabrook Island Birders will conduct two Learning Together plus offer you an opportunity to request someone to bird with you at your favorite location..

The morning will start at 7:00 am with a Learning Together at the newly renovated Bob Cat Trail with an extension to Six Ladies Trail. Along this trail we should see our local favorite Painted Bunting who likes to hang out at the end of Bob Cat Trail. Great Crested Flycatchers, Eastern Towhee and Gulls and Egrets should also be seen. I’m still hoping to see some migratory warblers.  Register for Learning Together on Bob Cat Trail here.

This form can also be used to suggest another location and time you would like to have a friend (old or new) to join you to bird. SIB will send an email to the Google Group of all these suggested times and places for people to gather.

Saturday, May 4 7:00 am – 8:30 am
Global Big Day – Learning Together at Bob Cat Trail
Location: Meet at Owners Parking Lot near entrance to Boardwalk 1
Max: 18
Cost None for members; $5 donation for guests

Also, on this day, SIB member Arch McCullum will lead a SIB Learning Together bird walk at North Beach. Arch was a professor of Ornithology at College of Charleston and also leads bird walks for Audubon of South Carolina. He’s never birded Seabrook’s beaches so it will be a learning experience for all. We’ll again be looking for the Red Knots that are our guests in April and May, 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.  Register for Learning Together at North Beach here

Saturday, May 4 8:30 am – 11:00 am (shorter or longer as you wish!)
Global Big Day – 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

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/ or we request a $5 donation to SIB.

Once you are a member, please complete registration(s) no later than Thursday May 2 , 2019. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Friday May 3.

If you have additional questions about the program, please contact us by sending an email to: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com