Final Reminder: Register for Audubon’s Great Backyard Bird Count – SIB’s Activities This Weekend

Interested to  join for a bird walk on Sunday or Monday?  See below and sign up for one, some or all!  In fact, if you have children at home or visiting, consider bringing them to our walk at Palmetto Lake on Sunday February 17, at 1:00 pm!  Details and link to register below.

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 birdcount.org.  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.
  • Jenkin’s Point – 10:00 AM – 12:00 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.
  • 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.
  • Maintenance Area / Equestrian Center – 3:00 PM – 4:30 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.

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

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Learn to Identify Common Birds

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Northern Cardinal – Charles Moore

With the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) coming up this weekend, the National Audubon Society wrote a great article on the common bird species you are likely to see at your feeders and in your backyards. Of the 15 birds they describe, there are nine we are likely to see in your backyard on Seabrook Island with one additional bird’s “cousin” and one found at the horse pasture. The remaining can also be seen in South Carolina, but not generally on Seabrook Island.

Read the article here!

How many can you name? Where do you see them? We hope you will join us on Sunday and/or Monday for our annual GBBC! And we hope you will record your sightings for the GBBC this weekend (and every day!) using eBird.org.

Part II: Birding & Nature at the South Georgia Islands

Many of us love to travel, and when we do, we often enjoy the birds and wildlife of far away places.  We hope you saw and enjoyed Part I of Valerie and Mark Doane’s recent trip to the Southern Hemisphere, where it is spring during our fall.  Along with her narrative, she has included a blog site of many beautiful photos where you will see more examples of birds in love as we celebrate Valentine’s Day!

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!


King Penguins at Right Whale Bay – Valerie Doane

This is the second installment of photos from our October/November Antarctica trip.  These were taken in the South Georgia Islands at various bays and harbors.  Featured are: King Penguins, The Oakum Boys, South-Georgia Shags, Giant Petrels, Grey-headed Albatross, Light-Mantled Albatross, Brown Skuas, Elephant Seals, Fur Seals and a small number of other birds. The entire 14-day expedition we sighted 77 different bird species and 18 different mammal species.

Click this link to view but first read a few factoids below about the Kings and Elephant Seals.  https://valeriedoane.myportfolio.com/south-georgia

Continue reading “Part II: Birding & Nature at the South Georgia Islands”

Backyard Birding – Would you be willing to host one time in your backyard?

Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) offers its members a monthly opportunity to bird with other members in the comfort of someone’s backyard.  Almost every home on Seabrook has a good view of a variety of different birds. In 2018, we had 10 such activities, some in the morning, some in the evening.  Our members get a lot out of the relaxed activity and learn a lot from each other. The host(s) sometimes learns about birds they see every day but may not notice or know what they are.  Others enjoying sharing their little piece of paradise. No matter whether you are on the golf course, tennis area, lakes, lagoons, woods or ocean, there are birds in your backyard. If you are willing to host a Backyard Birding activity, please contact Melanie Jerome (melaniejerome@att.net) who coordinates these activities.

Just a few glimpses of prior Backyard Birding events:

Below are some frequently asked questions that may help you in your decision.  If you have more questions, contact Melanie and she can answer your questions without you having to make a commitment.

What do I need to do in preparation?

There is no preparation for this event, other than setting a date. You just have to let us into your backyard. You don’t even have to be there, but we hope you are. – only happened once

What if my house is not big enough?

We don’t care, we are not in your house. Many of the backyard birding is done at the villas also. We like to keep it at 12 for registration purposes, but average of 4-8 have been registering.

I haven’t seen many birds lately, what if there isn’t very many to view?

We don’t care if we only see one bird. We can find a lot to talk about and learn , even if we only see crows.  (nutt’in against the crows)

Do I have to provide food and beverage?

We don’t need food or beverage, we bring our own insulated mugs. BYOB

What if I don’t know very many bird names?

We don’t care. We love to teach others, and we sometimes are not sure either. What a great way to learn about the birds you see in your yard.

I have a pretty busy schedule….

We know and it’s only a 2 hour commitment. We will just sit on your back porch or mostly standing in the yard, looking up!!

Won’t I be embarrassed if there are no birds?

Birds can be uncooperative, when it comes time for viewing, but even the most common bird can surprise you. I sat with my binoculars one day, looking at a crow for about 20 min. It was amazing how he sat and groomed his partner. He kept pecking the branch and i watched as he landed there and took off when he was done. The shape of the crows wings are one of the most beautiful shaped wings i’ve see . The bird is so dark black that it looks almost blue in the sunlight. Appears to just caw for no reason, i could see. Interesting character.

Help! Volunteers are needed to host a Backyard Birding Activity for 2019. Please consider hosting a backyard birding activity in the new year. Just contact Melanie at melaniejerome@att.net, to set a date and get it on the calendar. She is currently working on March, April and May.

Volunteers Needed for the SI Bluebird Society

To all Seabrook Island Birders – The Seabrook Island Bluebird Society is looking for volunteers to assist with the inventory of Bluebird Nesting Boxes for the 2019 Season.  Please read the note below from coordinator Melanie Jerome and contact her if you are interested to support this initiative. There are still four team spots available.


Blue Birds-1 Moore
Eastern Bluebirds – Charley Moore

Dear Bluebirders,

A new season is about to begin for the Seabrook Island Bluebird Society. There are lots of Eastern Bluebirds flying around beginning to look for mates and nesting sites right now.

I had mentioned in prior emails, that I was working on getting baffles to deter our predators, and that is going along very well. I have attached a picture of #7 at the Lake house, I hope you can open it.

The Seabrook Island Birders agreed to help pay expenses for this project at the Lake House. And, the Seabrook Island Club has agreed to pay for all the baffles at the two golf courses. The Lake House is almost done. We are moving two of them to see if the Bluebirds might like it better and make a nest this year. The rest all will have baffles. The golf courses are being done by the Maintenance crew at the club. The last update from my contact, was that all the parts were ordered and they would have them on by March 1st. This will be close, because our bluebirds will be checking out their nest sites and moving in really soon in the month of March.

March 8th is the official start of bluebird box monitoring this year. It will end Aug 9.

(MARCH 8-AUGUST 9)

Team Slots are :

  • March 8- April 26- need 4 teams for Ocean Winds, Crooked 1, Crooked 2, and Lakehouse
  • May 3-June 21 Need 4 teams for Ocean Winds, Crooked 1, Crooked 2 and Lakehouse
  • June 28-August 09 4 teams for Ocean Winds, Crooked 1, Crooked 2 and Lakehouse

I am sending this email to official start our volunteers monitor spots schedule. There are 12 team spots. Are you coming back this year to help out? Let me know via email as soon as possible.

It will be first come first pick. 2 spots are already filled by Rob and I and  the Aisenhauers. I will try my best to get everyone where they want and the time they want.

Just a refresher:

  • commitment is once a week to check your route rain or shine. Try to stay on the same day, give or take a day.
  • document everything you see at the boxes, for example egg colors are important and predation, etc.
  • fill free to take pictures of issues you see when you’re reporting.
  • contact me with any issues via text  614-570-3951
  • Once the schedule is set, I will have buckets ready for monitoring. My front porch pickup and drop off worked really good last year for me.

Thanks everyone!

Melanie Jerome
Seabrook Island Bluebird Society
SeabrookBluebirds@gmail.com
614-570-3951

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.

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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!