Bird of the Week … Who am I???

As you may know, every Sunday we publish a weekly “Bird of the Week” blog.  Today we’d like to test your knowledge by asking if you can guess what bird I will grow up to be?

Who am I?
Who am I?

Leave us a comment if you want to make a guess – and watch for the full article on Sunday morning!

 

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You’re invited to Zugunruhefest!

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Reminder!

The Center for Birds of Prey has an exciting program scheduled for Thursday – Saturday September 15 – 17 at their location at 4719 North Highway 17, Awendaw, SC 29429.  Zugunruhefest is the Southeast’s most comprehensive migration-focused birding festival.  Events during this three day festival include:
  • Bird Walks
  • Boat Excursions
  • Bird of Prey Tour & Flight Demonstration
  • Photography Sessions
  • Behind-the-Scenes Clinic Tours
  • Hawk Watch
  • Educational Sessions
Please click here to see the complete schedule of activities for this exciting opportunity and sign up!  Space is limited.
 
(** Note:  Members of The Center for Birds of Prey will receive a 20% discount – see details below)

SIB “Bird of the Week” – Piping Plover

Piping Plover –  Charadrius melodus
Length:  7.25″; Wingspan: 19″; Weight: 1.9 oz.

Piping Plover - North Beach, Seabrook Island - Ed Konrad
Piping Plover – North Beach, Seabrook Island – Ed Konrad

The Piping Plover is a small shorebird that has gotten a lot of attention at Seabrook. It doesn’t nest here, but Seabrook is an important stop for it in migration to feed. It’s feeding habitat has seriously declined since many coastal beaches have been lost to commercial, residential and recreational activities. This is one of the main reasons that the end of North Beach is protected from dogs. On our beach, it feeds on insects, spiders, crustaceans and mollusks. If you watch it carefully for a while, you will see it do a funny tapping with its foot as it looks for food. This is an interesting feeding ploy…tapping it’s foot against the sand to get prey to come to the surface so it is easier to see and capture. The Northern Great Plains plovers are classified as endangered and the Atlantic coast Piping Plovers are threatened by USFWS.

The Piping Plover is a small, stocky (6-7″ long) shorebird that nests and feeds along coastal sand and gravel beaches in North America. It is named for it’s melodic mating call. It is pale, sand colored on it’s upper parts, with white underparts and a black or brown band around it’s neck. It’s legs are yellowish orange and in breeding, the adults have a black forehead, black breast band and orange bill. The female lays 4 eggs in a nest lined with pebbles and broken shells. Both male and female care for the eggs, and chicks can run around and feed themselves in hours. These birds never nest on Seabrook, they only stop here in migration.

When you see the Piping Plovers, they are usually in small numbers, often mixed in with a large group of Semipalmated Plovers. They stand out because they are very white. This past spring, we saw a high count of 9 Piping Plovers on Seabrook, which was very exciting and somewhat rare! And recently we had the first banded Piping Plovers from the Bahamas (where they winter), seen in SC. So keep your eyes out for our small visitor, often wearing a lot of “bling” (multi-colored bands)!

If you would like to learn more about this bird visit:

Article submitted by:  Aija Konrad
Photographs provided by:  Ed Konrad

This blog post is part of a series SIB will publish on a regular basis to feature birds seen in the area, both migratory and permanent residents.  When possible we will use photographs taken by our members.    Please let us know if you have any special requests of birds you would like to learn more about.

Bird of the Week … Who am I???

As you may know, every Sunday we publish a weekly “Bird of the Week” blog.  Today we’d like to test your knowledge by asking if you can guess what bird we will feature this week based on these two questions:

1.) What bird can be seen on the beaches of Seabrook Island starting in the late summer during its fall migration with some staying through winter and its face looks like this during the non-breeding season?

What Bird Am I?
What Bird Am I?

2.)  It often wears a lot of “bling” on his legs which help the scientists know where it has been.

What Bird Am I?
What Bird Am I?

Leave us a comment if you want to make a guess – and watch for the full article on Sunday morning!

 

SIB Announces Fall Birding Activities – Sign-up Today!

Learning together birders trying to identify bird in marsh - Dean Morr
Learning together birders trying to identify bird in marsh – Dean Morr

Meet new and “old” friends while learning about the birds of our island and South Carolina by joining us on a bird walk, volunteering for the Hawk Watch or taking a field trip to a SC birding “hotspot”.  To learn more about each activity and to register, click on the links below.  Space is limited – sign-up today!

Fall 2016

Keep watch on the Birding Activities page and our Calendar as we continue to add events for our members!

If you are not yet a SIB member, you must first become a member by following the instructions here.

Thanks!

Website: SeabrookIslandBirders.org
E-Mail: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com
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SIB “Bird of the Week” – Reddish Egret

Reddish Egret – Egretta rufescens
Length:  30″; Wingspan: 46″; Weight: 16 oz.

Reddish Egret - North Beach, Seabrook Island - Ed Konrad
Reddish Egret – North Beach, Seabrook Island – Ed Konrad

If you are walking on North Beach between late July and October, and you see a dark blue, medium sized heron like bird at the edge of the ocean or in a tide pool, acting like a drunken sailor, it’s probably a Reddish Egret. This bird does a fascinating dance as it fishes in shallow salt water and stalks the fish by running, jumping, staggering and flapping it’s wings. It spreads it’s wings to reduce the glare on the water so it can better see to spear the fish. Sometimes small fish even seek shelter in the shade of the egret’s spread wings, making it even easier for him to find prey. It’s always a very good birding day when you see a Reddish Egret on North Beach!

The Reddish Egret has a slate blue body with a distinct rusty head and shaggy-plumed neck. It is about 30″ long and has a wing span of 46″. It’s legs are bluish-black and it’s bill is pinkish with black at the end. There is also an all white morph, which is seldom seen and quite a rarity in SC. Similar birds, and easily confused with it, are the Little Blue Heron (too small) and the Tricolored Heron (white down the front of the neck and underparts). The Tricolored Heron even fishes in the same style, so look carefully at the bird if you think you have a Reddish. It has no white on it. You will seldom see more than one at a time, although last year for the very first time in 10 years of birding here, we had a pair at North Beach. And it will only be on the ocean, not in the marsh. We have seen it in the area of the old cut, too.

This egret does not breed here in SC. It is here in what is called a “post breeding dispersal.” It breeds in mostly Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. The only places it breeds in the US are Texas and Florida. It lays 3-4 eggs and both parents care for the birds. It’s numbers were decimated when it’s plumes were used for hats from 1927-37, but now there are approximately 2,000 nesting pairs in the US.

If you would like to learn more about this bird visit:

Article submitted by:  Aija Konrad
Photographs provided by:  Ed Konrad

This blog post is part of a series SIB will publish on a regular basis to feature birds seen in the area, both migratory and permanent residents.  When possible we will use photographs taken by our members.    Please let us know if you have any special requests of birds you would like to learn more about.