“The Basics of Bird Photography” with Kenny McKeithan

The Seabrook Island Photography Club has invited any and all SIB members to join them at their first meeting of 2019 on Thursday March 21. We expect to have a joint outing sometime later where participants can practice what they learn. We hope to see you there!

Seabrook Island Photography Club
Meeting Announcement
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Speaker: Kenny Mckeithan from The Charleston Center for Photography
Location: Seabrook Island Lake House
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Program Begins at 7:00 p.m.
Open to all Seabrook Island residents and guests.

This meeting program, entitled “The Basics of Bird Photography” will cover most aspects of photographing birds from getting the correct exposure to proper composition, best equipment to use, and special techniques. Photographing stationary birds and birds in flight will be discussed.

Our Speaker will be Kenny McKeithan. Kenny’s interest in photography began when his parents bought him his first box camera while he was still a child. He taught himself photography in those early years, and when he was old enough, began working in local camera shops, learning all he could about the many different aspects of photography. After more than 20 years of experience, he possesses a wealth of knowledge that he is happy to share. Kenny is an award- winning photographer whose portfolio includes fashion and glamour images, portraits, and aviation images. His favorite work is wildlife and nature photography. Kenny is a member of the Carolina Nature Photographer’s Association, owner and operator of The Charleston Center for Photography, offering formal classes, tutoring, and outdoor shooting workshops throughout the southeast.


Join SIB for “Winged Migration”

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Tuesday March 12, 2019 4:15 pm – 6:00 pm
Location: Oyster Catcher Community Center
Max: 25
Cost: None for members; $5 donation for guests
For SIB’s second movie matinee, we will be presenting Winged Migration, the 2001 documentary on the migratory patterns of birds, shot over the course of three years on all seven continents.

As described on Amazon: “Rolling Stone raved that Winged Migration, the critically acclaimed, awe-inspiring documentary, is A movie miracle! It soars! You feel privileged! Witness as five film crews follow a rich variety of bird migrations through 40 countries and each of the seven continents. With teams totaling more than 450 people, 17 pilots and 14 cinematographers used planes, gliders, helicopters and balloons to fly alongside, above, below and in front of their subjects. The result is a film of staggering beauty that Entertainment Weekly hailed as Mesmerizing! and the Los Angeles Times applauded as Breathtaking! As lofty as it is exhilarating! Open your eyes to the wonders of the natural world as you fly along with the world’s most gorgeous birds through areas.”

Watch the Winged Migration trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc_qpk2d-ao

SIB will provide the popcorn and snacks! You can bring pillows to make the chairs more comfy and BYOB. Please sign up to join us for this fun afternoon where you will be amazed by the beauty and wonder of birds!

What a Strut!


Photo by Glen Cox

As many of you have noticed on social media lately our male Wild Turkeys, or toms, are being quite aggressive and putting on quite the show. Actually that’s right on cue for Wild Turkeys on Seabrook Island as breeding and nesting for Wild Turkeys begins in late February around this part of the east coast. Increasing day length and warmer weather determine the date when the breeding season begins. You might be interested in knowing some Wild Turkey facts.

A Wild Tom Turkey, with his brightly colored head, gives a loud gobbling call to attract females and then puffs up and fluffs his feathers, swells the wattle, and spreads, drops and drags his wings while strutting around in a mating dance. All of that plus some humming sounds entices the female. Once mating occurs, that female goes off to find her nesting site while the male can continue looking for other females. The male  might mate with three or four other females. 

Interestingly, after the female turkey, dully colored for camouflage, finds her ground nest site, will lay only one egg. She will cover the egg with ground debris, then leave to feed and roost elsewhere. The next day she will lay another egg in the same nest and then leave again. This continues until she has laid all her fertilized eggs, which usually number from nine to thirteen. Then she will sit on the nest for the next twenty eight days as the eggs incubate leaving briefly once a day to feed. Because the nest is on the ground the eggs are at risk from predators such as raccoons, bobcats, opossums, and even snakes. However, on Seabrook Island the turkey population seems to be growing so we must have more Wild Turkeys than predators. 

Apparently Wild Turkeys have a pecking order within their flock. During mating season the males become quite aggressive towards anything they perceive as a threat. I thought the tom was seeing his reflection on the car and was attacking what he thought was another male. And, this might have been the case. However, it was also suggested that turkeys have lost their fear of humans and assimilated to life in neighborhoods, and that this tom with his hormonal spike, might have seen the automobile as the threat and was trying to knock the car down the pecking order.

      • Don’t feed Wild Turkeys as this can cause them to act tame and may lead to bold or aggressive behavior.
      • Keep bird feed areas clean by using feeders designed to keep seed off the ground
      • You may threaten a bold or aggressive turkey by making loud noises, swatting it with a broom, or spraying water from a hose.
      • Turkeys can also respond aggressively to shiny objects like car windows, mirrors and polished car doors. It is recommended to cover the reflection if possible.

So maybe we should all keep a broom handy when we drive or walk around Seabrook Island so we aren’t knocked down the pecking order. Just keep in mind Wild Turkeys can run up to a speed of 25 mph and fly at a speed of 55 mph. Have fun, it’s only six more months until deer mating season!

Article Submitted by:  Joleen Ardaiolo
Photo & Video Submitted by: Glen Cox & Tracy Thorne

Birding Bear Island & Donnelly WMA

Roseate Spoonbill, Bear Island – Bob Mercer

What an incredible day of birding!  Twelve SIB member left Seabrook Island at 6:00 am on Saturday, February 23 to drive the 60 mile each way trip to Bear Island and Donnelly WMAs in the Ace Basin. We arrived at our first birding area just after sunrise and were thrilled to see about 100 Tundra Swans, a common winter resident at Bear Island.  Using three cars, we traveled the loop road of the wildlife management area and continued to see hundreds of shorebirds, Roseate Spoonbills, and ducks.  Fortunately we had people with great eyes and ears to identify birds both visually and auditorily.  Although we didn’t see him, we were thrilled to hear the Virginia Rail in one of the marsh areas.  In fact, we didn’t even hear the more common Clapper Rail all day! We even got a decent look at a bobcat as he climbed down a tree nearly a quarter mile away.

In Donnelly, we were able to sit at picnic tables to enjoy our brown-bag lunch and use the restroom facility.  The highlight at this WMA were the alligators, of which there were many!  Oh, and we did have a situation with a car getting stuck in the deep mud on the way leaving the park.  Fortunately, after a long wait, the car was removed with the help of AAA and no damage was done.  It made for a very long day!

In total, we identified 89 birds during the daylong trip to Bear Island and Donnelly WMA.  If you click on the “read more now” link, you can enjoy some of the birds we saw during the day. If you are interested to learn more about our bird walks and trips, visit our Activities page on our website.

Photos by: Jackie Brooks, Chris Correale, Bob Mercer & Nancy Brown
(click below to see the slideshow of photos)

Continue reading “Birding Bear Island & Donnelly WMA”

Birding the World with SIB Members: South Pacific to New Zealand & Australia

Many of us love to travel, and when we do, we often enjoy the birds and wildlife of far away places.  Flo Foley and Nancy Brown spent six weeks traveling from Tahiti to New Zealand and Australia.  In this blog, they will share some of their photos and experiences traveling the world “down under.”

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!

Laughing Kookaburra

We left the U.S on November 13, 2018 for a 41 day adventure to the Southern Hemisphere. Besides learning about the natural and cultural histories and experiencing new foods, we looked forward to the new birds we would hear and see along the journey! We started with a world bird life list of 718 birds, mostly North American with some European and African birds from our previous trips to those continents. The question would be, how many species could we see while traveling two weeks on a cruise followed by a three week land tour?

In preparation, I did some research using ebird.org to match up the locations we’d be visiting to hot spots and bird sightings in those areas. Next, I temporarily upgraded an app I use called BirdsEye to the World Edition ($4.99/mo) so our phones would have a world bird identification guide and access to live data from eBird. Finally, I reviewed our daily itinerary to find free time when we could hire private bird guides to best use our time to see the most birds. I picked five locations and through the wonderful world of Google, was able to find and hire experienced bird guides.

When you start to observe birds anywhere in the world, you will start to notice there are similarities. Having even just basic knowledge of birds, the novice birder can begin to recognize the different families of birds: shorebirds, wading birds, birds of prey, kingfishers, parrots, hummingbirds, etc. At this point, you can start to make more specific observations and use the tools to determine which species are found in the location you are in.  We find taking a photograph of the bird is often the best answer when we are in the field and don’t know what it is. Then we can take the time to do the research without having to rely on our memory!

Continue reading “Birding the World with SIB Members: South Pacific to New Zealand & Australia”

Another Successful Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)


SIB invited children on Seabrook Island to join us to Bird at Palmetto Lake – Judy Morr

Each year the Audubon encourages everyone to be a citizen scientist and document the birds they see in their yards and travels during the Presidents Day weekend (this year Friday February 15 – Monday February 18).  For our third year in a row, SIB organized four walks on Sunday each at different habitats, including the beach, salt marsh, ponds, and woodlands.  A final birding trip using golf carts on Ocean Winds golf course was held on Monday. In total throughout the five trips, we had a record 85 bird species recorded for the GBBC with 28 people participating from age 11 through … well, we didn’t actually ask! Thank you to all our members who came out to bird and contribute to this annual bird count as a citizen scientist! A special thanks to David Green of Camp St. Christopher and part-time resident Bob Mercer who led some of the trips! We hope to see out at one of our upcoming bird walks or evening events. Please enjoy our photos from the events taken by some of our members.

Continue reading “Another Successful Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)”

Join us Saturday to Bird “Beyond our Backyard” at Bear Island/Donnelly WMA


Saturday, February 23, 2019 6:00 am – 6:00 pm
Location: Meet at SI Real Estate Office to Car Pool to Bear Island and Donnelly Wildlife Management Area
Max: 10 Cost: Free to members, $5 Guest Fee

If you have never been to Bear Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA) or to Donnelly WMA, you won’t want to miss this opportunity – it’s well worth the 60-mile one-way trip! Part of the ACE Basin, this area is perfect habitat for birds with ponds, rivers, salt marsh, freshwater marsh, mudflats mixed pine-hardwood forest and farmland. Most of the birding is done by car with stops to get out and take short walks for viewing. Bear Island closes for hunting from November 1 – February 1 each year. We hope the winter waterfowl will still be present including the Tundra Swan. Each person should bring their own lunch, snacks and beverages, as there are no restaurants in the area. Also be sure to bring sun block, bug spray, a hat, binoculars, camera and a scope if you have one.

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/. Otherwise you may pay a $5 Guest Fee.

Once you are a member, please complete the information below to register no later than Thursday, February 21, 2019. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Friday, February 22, 2019.