SIB will publish this regular blog post to report interesting or unusual bird sightings on Seabrook Island. In the past week, we received these pictures and comments from one of our members and we’d like to share it with you. As you will notice, spring has arrived!
Name: Glen Cox Date & Time of Sighting: 3/23/2016 Name of Bird Species: Osprey Number of Birds Sighted: 2 Location of Sighting: “I captured these photos in my backyard earlier this evening. My home is on the 6th fairway of Crooked Oak. The nest is located in a large pine tree on the right side at about the 150′ marker.”
Yellow-rumped Warblers are one of the most common warblers in North America and abundant on Seabrook Island from fall through spring. The Yellow-rumped Warbler is sometimes referred to as “Butter Butt” due to its bright yellow rump. It was formally called Myrtle Warbler in the East because it is the only Warbler able to digest the wax-coated berries of the Wax Myrtles. On Seabrook, Butter Butts are our most obvious and widely distributed winter Warbler. They arrive in November and depart in April. You will see them in small flocks in open woodlands and brushy habitats. This bird constantly “chirps” which is a contact call that keeps the flock together.
The Yellow-rumped is medium-sized warbler with a long narrow tail and stout dark bill. In winter, the females, males and young are a paler streaked gray-brown, have bright yellow rumps and usually yellow side patches. In the spring before they leave Seabrook Island, the male is dark blue-gray upper parts; white throat, breast and belly are white and heavily streaked with black. Its rump, crown and small area at the sides of the breast are yellow. There are two broad white wing bars. The female is brownish with the similar patterns.
In winter, Yellow-rumped warblers can be found in open pine and pine-oak forests and dunes where bayberries are common. During this time they mainly eat berries and fruits, particularly wax-coated berries of bayberries and wax myrtles. This bird has unique gastrointestinal traits that allow it to subsist on this unusual food source. This makes them a very winter hardy bird allowing them to winter farther north than other warblers.
In the spring/summer these warblers are found in mature coniferous and mixed coniferous-deciduous woodlands feeding on insects including caterpillars, ants, leaf beetles, grasshoppers and spiders. You might see them acting like Flycatchers as they leap off perches flying up to catch a passing insect. They also eat wild seeds from beach grasses and goldenrod and may come to feeders to eat sunflower seeds, raisins, peanut butter and suet.
Yellow-rumped warblers are active and noisy birds. They constantly chatter as they forage. Their flight is agile and swift and the birds often call as they change direction. Their yellow rump and white tail patches are very noticeable while flying. Their song is a loose trill, but rising in pitch or dropping toward end and the call note is a loud “chek.”
A group of warblers has many collective nouns, including a “bouquet”, “confusion”, “fall”, and “wrench” of warblers.
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.
(click on a photo to view as a slide show)
Yellow-rumped Warbler – Bob Hider
Yellow-rumped Warbler – Charley Moore
Passerine E – Charley Moore
Yellow-rumped Warbler – Carl Helms
Range Map of Yellow-rumped Warbler – Cornell Lab of Ornithology
This blog post is the first in a new series SIB will publish on a regular basis to report unusual bird sightings on Seabrook Island. In the past week, we received two unusual sightings from a SIB member and a report of a number of shorebirds seen by five SIB members on North Beach.
Name: Melanie Jerome Date & Time of Sighting: 3/12/2016 -8am Name of Bird Species: Clapper Rail Number of Birds Sighted: 1 Location of Sighting: Horseshoe creek on the way to new cut, while kayaking
Name: Melanie Jerome Date & Time of Sighting: 3/6&7/2016 Name of Bird Species: Mockingbird with silver USGS tag (Watch for more info on finding and reporting birds with tags in an upcoming article) Number of Birds Sighted: 1 Location of Sighting: Near Melanie’s villa at Creek Watch
Additional Sightings (see pictures below)
Five members of SIB (Marcia Hider, Aija & Ed Konrad, Flo Foley & Nancy Brown) took an informal walk on North Beach on Sunday March 13 between 9am – noon. In total they saw 28 species. The following were of particular interest:
2 American Oyster Catchers
2 Wilson’s Plovers
40 Semipalmated Plovers
8 Black-bellied Plovers
9 Piping Plovers
900 Red Knots
2 Greater Yellowlegs
2 Least Sandpipers
2 Western Sandpipers
2 Short-billed Dowitchers
20 Black Skimmers
80 Tree Swallows
Please enjoy these photos taken by Ed Konrad!
(click on a photo to view as a slide show)
Forster’s Terns – Ed Konrad
Black-bellied Plover & Wilson’s Plover – Ed Konrad
This blog post is the first in a new 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.
American Goldfinch – Spinus tristis
Length: 5″; Wingspan: 9″; Weight: 0.46 oz.
This small finch is commonly found in flocks on Seabrook Island during the winter months (November – March) on backyard feeders, along the golf courses or anywhere there are weed seeds. It has a sharply pointed bill, a small head, long wings and a short, notched tail.
Those of you who are familiar with this bird during breeding season (when the male has a bright yellow body and black cap, wings and tail), may not recognize them in their winter plumage. The winter male has olive-gray to olive-brown upper parts, paler underparts, yellow shoulder bar, white wing bar, dark conical bill and may show black on its forehead and yellow on its throat and face. The winter female is duller with buff wing and shoulder bars and lacks yellow and black on the face and head. This drastic change in plumage is a result of the American Goldfinch, the only member of its family, having two complete molts each year, one in the fall and one in the spring.
American Goldfinches are among the strictest vegetarians in the bird world only inadvertently swallowing an occasional insect. It feeds primarily on seeds, including seeds from composite plants (sunflowers, thistle, asters, etc), grasses and trees. At feeders they favor nyjer and sunflower seeds (hulled). In both situations it prefers to hang onto seed heads or feeders rather than feeding on the ground.
American Goldfinches are often described as active and acrobatic. They are also easily identified by their undulating flight pattern of several rapid wing beats and then a pause. Listen for their flight song while they are flapping, which sounds like po-ta-to-chip.
A group of goldfinches has many collective nouns, including a “007”, “charm”, “rush”, “treasury” and “vein” of goldfinches.
Keep an eye out for the American Goldfinch, as they will be leaving soon to head north to breed and will return when the weather up north gets cold again next fall. (See the range map following the photographs below.)
On Thursday, March 24, 2016, SIB is sponsoring our second member activity by hosting a “Learning Together – Birding on the Beach,” a casual walk on North Beach of two miles (or more) for approximately 1 1/2 hours to view birds common to the beaches on Seabrook Island. The walk will leave the parking lot of North Beach Boardwalk #1 promptly at 8:30 am. Please bring water, sunscreen, bug repellent, hat and if you have them binoculars and/or a camera. Limit 20 people.
If you are not yet a SIB member, you must first become a member by following the instructions here.
Once you are a member, please click here to register no later than Tuesday March 22, 2016. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Wednesday March 23, 2016.
Speaker: Tim Grey, Professional Photographer, Author & Educator
Subject: “Photographing a Scene”
Thursday, March 3rd at 6:30 p.m.
Open to all residents and their guests without charge
Please join us for this opportunity to hear from Tim Grey, a well-known professional photographer.
Tim is regarded as one of the top educators in digital photography and imaging, offering clear guidance on complex subjects through his writing and speaking. He has written more than a dozen books on digital imaging for photographers, and has also had hundreds of articles published in magazines. Tim teaches through workshops, seminars, and appearances at major events worldwide. Visit his website at http://www.timgrey.com/.
A lot of thought can go into creating a photograph. Sometimes those thoughts are conscious, and sometimes we don’t even realize we’re thinking. In this presentation Tim Grey will share his approach to photographing a scene and to managing the resulting images. You’ll learn the stories behind some of Tim’s favorite photographs, how he makes decisions about where to position the camera, what equipment to use, and what settings to use. Along the way you’ll gain insights that may help you become a more thoughtful photographer, and that may help you be better able to locate favorite photos later.
Many thanks to the crazy birders who braved the cold temperatures (31 degrees and wind chill of 17) on Sunday, February 14, for our Great Backyard Bird Count. And thanks to several of you who were with us in spirit and those who birded from their homes. The fifteen of us split off into two groups and birded around the Lakehouse and Jenkins Point area. As cold as it was, we were fortunate to see 30 various types of birds. Below is our species count along with a couple of pictures from our excursion for you to view.
eBird Checklist Summary for: Feb 14, 2016
(1): Seabrook Island — Palmetto Lake
(2): Seabrook Island — Jenkins Point Rd
This was our first “Learning Together” bird walk and we plan to do more of these each month. The intent is to identify some birds, learn about behavior and/or habitat, meet others in our community who enjoy birds and have FUN!