Winter Birding on North Beach

1 Learning Together in Search of Shorebirds
Learning Together in Search of Shorebirds – Ed Konrad

A group of seventeen hearty Seabrookers joined us last Friday morning, February 1st, for a bird walk on North Beach. Our part-time bird experts, Aija Konrad and Bob Mercer, led the group on a mile and half walk from the owners parking lot at Boardwalk #1 to the Kiawah River inlet on the 40-50’s partly sunny day. In total we saw 38 species of birds (see below), including the infamous American Oystercatcher U5 and mate who have made Seabrook Island their home for nearly five years, two Piping Plovers, four species of gulls which we were able to compare and contrast, and many others!

Thanks to all our members who came out for a fun and informative walk on the beach! We hope you will consider joining one of our upcoming events by viewing and signing up on our website .

1 Lesser Scaup
9 Bufflehead
6 Red-breasted Merganser
2 American Oystercatcher
3 Black-bellied Plover
22 Semipalmated Plover
2 Piping Plover
6 Ruddy Turnstone
25 Sanderling
40 Dunlin
1 Greater Yellowlegs
4 Willet
5 Bonaparte’s Gull
18 Ring-billed Gull
3 Herring Gull
1 Great Black-backed Gull
2 Caspian Tern
75 Forster’s Tern
65 Black Skimmer
8 Double-crested Cormorant
55 Brown Pelican
1 Great Blue Heron
2 Great Egret
1 Black Vulture
1 Turkey Vulture
1 Osprey
2 Red-shouldered Hawk
1 Belted Kingfisher
1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
4 Blue Jay
11 American Crow
1 Carolina Wren
1 Northern Mockingbird
2 Savannah Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
1 Pine Warbler
12 Yellow-rumped Warbler
3 Northern Cardinal


Tales of a Big Year…the Journey to 577

1 Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, CO
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, CO – Ed Konrad

On January 30, SIB members Aija and Ed Konrad amazed the 68 attendees for our first evening event of 2019 with their “Tales of a Big Year … the Journey to 577.” In 2018, Aija took the challenge to do a United States Big Year, finding 577 bird species for the year. She finished #14 in the lower 48 states among 77,000 US eBirders, and #25 in the US overall!

A Big Year is a personal challenge or an informal competition among birders, who attempt to identify as many species as possible by sight or sound, within a single calendar year, and within a specific geographic area. In doing the Big Year, Aija and Ed took 10 trips across the US, were away 110 days, traveled through 36 states, visited 35 National Parks and NWRs, drove 30,000 miles, flew 14,000 miles, walked countless 5 plus mile days, and used half a million hotel points.

Screen Shot 2019-02-03 at 9.36.35 AM
Here’s the map of Aija and Ed’s travel for Aija’s Big Year…

Not every birder has the luxury of their own personal photographer to document their Big Year, so the evening was filled with Ed’s great pictures of birds and the USA’s beautiful National Parks. The program kicked off with a fast-paced musical slide show displaying over 500 birds of Aija’s 577 year birds that Ed photographed.

Aija and Ed then shared stories through their photos of how they crisscrossed the US, their non-stop schedule of birding from dawn to dusk, favorite birds, hikes, experiences, and even some challenges and a disagreement or two! They led us through a colorful and animated tour though their travels to bird in Texas, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Chicago and Ohio, Arizona, California, Washington, Florida, South and North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, and Maine.

The SIB attendees enjoyed an interesting and fun evening. We all now know what it takes to do a US Big Year. We’re proud that a SIB member accomplished being in last year’s US Top 25 eBirders! Congratulations Aija and Ed!

Part I: Birding the Falkland Islands

Many of us love to travel, and when we do, we often enjoy the birds and wildlife of far away places. As you will learn below, Valerie and Mark Doane recently took a trip to a place where it is spring during our fall. Along with her narrative, she has included a blog site of many beautiful photos! We hope our SIB members enjoy taking the first part of the trip with Valerie to see “love is in the air”! Keep watch for Part II which will be published soon!

And if you have taken a trip and enjoyed doing a bit of bird watching, please send us an email as we’d love to share your story and photos!  Thanks!

Rockhopper Penguins at Settlement Rookery-Devil’s Nose Colony Falkland Islands – Valerie Doane

In October/November of last year, Mark and I traveled with National Geographic/Lindblad on yet another expedition to the Antarctica region.  This time our expedition led us to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Islands both of which are in the Antarctic convergence but not quite 60 degrees south.

It was another trip of a lifetime with many discoveries and memories to savor. We’d like to share some of our memories with you in this first installment of my photos taken in the Falkland Islands.

Continue reading “Part I: Birding the Falkland Islands”

Maine’s Great Black Hawk Euthanized

Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 3.04.19 PMAs some of you will recall, SIB member Karen O’Brien wrote an article back in December explaining how she was able to see a first time on record Great Black Hawk in her hometown of Portland, ME. This past week, Aija Konrad told a SIB audience at our evening program the Great Black Hawk was her Big Year bird # 575 on December 31, 2018. In early January, we learned the hawk had been found on the ground and taken to a bird rehabilitation center. We posted that story our SIB Facebook page and hoped it would recover.  Unfortunately, we have learned the great black hawk, native to Central and South America, could not be saved from frostbite damage to its feet and legs. Read more about this story here.


Seabrook Island Birders Starts New Year


A new year starts with a review of the prior year.  That presentation is now available on our web page.

On January 30, Ed and Aija Konrad amazed the 68 attendees of our first evening event of the year with their “Tales of a Big Year.”  A separate post will provide a more complete recap of that enjoyable evening.  Prior to the presentation, the organization approved the 2019 Executive Committee and Officers.

  • Seabrook Island Birders participated in the Christmas Bird Count on a foggy January 4.  More information can be found in our previous post or on our web page.
  • A “walk” down Jenkins Point on January 17 saw a dozen Roseate Spoonbills roosting over the lagoon.  The same area showed 22 Black-crowned Night-Heron.  29 additional species were also seen or heard.  A great start for the year
  • Also on January 17, a dozen SIB members learned more on how to use eBird to enter their sightings or find where to locate specific birds.
  • On January 22, a different type of activity was enjoyed…a movie matinee.  Thirteen members met at the Lakehouse to watch “The Big Year.”
  • The mist and drizzle on January 24 didn’t stop eight members from exploring the area around the club maintenance area and the water treatment facility.  A total of 41 species were observed that morning.

Check out our Activity Page to view and sign-up for our upcoming events.

Audubon’s Great Backyard Bird Count – SIB’s activities

screen shot 2019-01-25 at 7.25.32 amEach year, Audubon hosts The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC).  The GBBC is a fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at  The 22nd annual GBBC will be held Friday, February 15, through Monday, February 18, 2019.

Seabrook Island Birders schedules numerous activities in conjunction with the GBBC.

On Sunday, February 17, four separate walks are scheduled.  You can register to participate in one or all four.

  • Sunrise Birding at North Beach – 6:30 AM – 9:30 AM
    It’s early but what can be greater than sunrise and birding on the beach. The group will meet at the Owners Beach Access Parking Lot at Boardwalk 1 then walk the 2 miles to Captain Sam’s Inlet. Those unable to walk the entire distance may turn around at any time. The group will work together to identify those hard to distinguish plovers and sandpipers. Red Knots may even be sighted. The walk is scheduled around the high tide when the birds will be consolidated on a narrower beach.
  • Maintenance Area / Equestrian Center – 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    We’ll start at the Garden Parking Lot and explore the retention ponds of the Water Treatment Facility and its borders where Hooded Mergansers, Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks and songbirds and sparrows can be seen. From there, we will walk along the horse trail (or drive) to the Equestrian Center to see Starlings and Cowbirds plus numerous other birds that can be expected there.
  • Palmetto Lake – 1:00 – 2:30 PM
    Join us to explore the birds around the Lake House and the walks of Palmetto Lake. This is less than one mile of flat, paved walk around the lake. We welcome our Seabrook Island parents to bring their children to this walk with no charge for parent or child.
  • Jenkin’s Point – 3:00 – 4:30 PM
    We will be exploring the birds seen along Jenkins Point lagoons and streets, including ducks, wading birds and shorebirds. Since this event will be primarily by car, it is appropriate for members with mobility issues.

On Monday, February 18, 9:00 am – 11:00 am, we conclude our GBBC with a “walk” on Ocean Winds Golf courseRegister here.  Join us for a morning of birding by RIDING in golf carts for at least 9-holes on the 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 Hooded Mergansers, Northern Flickers, Eastern Phoebe’s or some of our winter residents may also be seen.

Submitted by: Judy Morr

Learning About Our Shorebirds On North Beach

5SIB North Beach bird walk
SIB North Beach bird walk – Ed Konrad


WHEN: Friday February 1, 2019 8:00 – 11:00 am (High tide is 5:56 am)
WHERE: North Beach – Park and meet our group at the Oystercatcher Community Center at Boardwalk 1
COST: Free for SIB members or $5 donation for guests

Our local shorebird expert, Aija Konrad, will lead us on this Learning Together experience. The walk will be 2+ miles on the beach to Capn Sam’s inlet. You may turn around at any time you wish based upon your personal abilities and time constraints.

We should see Sanderlings, Dunlins, Black Skimmers, American Oystercatchers, and hopefully several types of plovers. Luckily, Ruddy Turnstones and Red Knots have begun to arrive on their journey north, so we might find them at North Beach as well

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: JOIN SIB.

All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Thursday January 31st.