SIB February Activities

There are two bird walks on North Beach this month. The timing is perfect for you to work on identifying and observing our many varied shorebirds – just in time for you to become a part of the Shorebird Stewardship Program. In addition to our popular golf course outing, we have the Great Backyard Bird Count and two off- island trips. 

Learning Together at North Beach

Sunday, February 6, 2022, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: Meet at Boardwalk # 1 parking lot
Max: none
Cost: Free for members; $5 donation for guests

Join SIB to bird at Seabrook Island’s North Beach. This three mile round trip walk travels from Board Walk #1 to the tip of North Beach along Captain Sams Inlet as high tide approaches. Birders from beginners to advanced birders will enjoy the variety of birds found on North Beach. At this time, many different species of shorebirds rest and feed near the point or along the beach ridge near the beach’s pond. Along the way, we will explore the many different species that can be found in this unique area.

As always, be sure to bring your binoculars/cameras, hats and sunscreen. Bring a spotting scope if you have one. Bring plenty to drink and a snack if desired. There are no facilities. We ask that all participants wear a mask when unable to social distance if you are not vaccinated.

Please register no later than February 4. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on the day prior to the trip. If you need to cancel, please let us know so we can invite people on the waitlist to attend.

Register here

Learning Together at North Beach

Sunday, February 13, 2022, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Location: Meet at Boardwalk # 1 parking lot
Max: none
Cost: Free for members; $5 donation for guests

Please register no later than February 11. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on the day prior to the trip. If you need to cancel, please let us know so we can invite people on the waitlist to attend.

Register here

February Movie  

David Attenborough: “Life on our Planet”
Tuesday, February 8, 2022, 4:00 pm – 5:45 pm
via Zoom

A broadcaster recounts his life, and the evolutionary history of life on earth, to grieve the loss of wild places and offer a vision for the future.

Watch the trailer here.  

Register here

Beyond Our Backyard – Santee Coastal-Wildlife Management Area

Saturday, February 12, 2022, 7:00 am – 4:00 pm
Birding at Santee Coastal Reserve Wildlife Management Area (WMA) at 220 Santee Gun Club Road, McClellanville, SC
Location: Meet at Seabrook Island Real Estate to carpool at 5:45 am
Meet at Sewee Outpost at 4853 Hwy 17, Awendaw, SC to buy breakfast, lunch and to use restrooms before proceeding to the Reserve
Dinner option after birding: Seewee Restaurant, 4808 N Hwy 17, Awendaw, SC
Max: 16 for the morning half-day portion; 8 for the whole-day afternoon option
Cost: Free for members; $5 donation for guests

Join SIB to bird at Santee Coastal Reserve Wildlife Management Area (WMA), a 24,000 acre tract, operated by the SC Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), rich in different habitats including long-leaf pine, bottomland swamp, upland hardwoods and former rice impoundments. The area was originally inhabited by the Sewee and the Winyah tribes. Then, several rice plantations were established here in the 1700s. Today, you can still see the brick ruins of the Eldorado plantation house on a hike through the upland hardwoods. In 1898, Captain Hugh Garden established the Santee Gun Club upon his acquisition of these rice plantations. Finally in 1974, the Santee Gun Club donated the property to TNC who then transferred most of it to the state of SC for management by DNR.

Of course, a variety of habitats translates to a variety of birdlife. On this trip, we will focus our efforts on two habitats primarily. First, in the morning, we will bird the long-leaf pine forest to find the federally-listed endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker (RCW) and, hopefully, Northern Bobwhite. In the afternoon, we will bird the impoundments to observe multiple duck species.

The long entrance road runs through the middle of the long-leaf pine forest in which we will find the RCWs. Our birding here will be roadside. In addition to the RCWs, we will listen for owls and Northern Bobwhite. Other species of at this time of year to see are the Blue-headed vireo, Brown-headed Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, raptors, Pine Warbler, Eastern Bluebird, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, and possibly all of the other seven species of woodpeckers in SC. Other possibilities include Yellow-throated Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Black-and-white Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Fox Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Cedar Waxwing, House Wren, Sedge Wren, Red-breasted Nuthatch, if we are lucky.

In the afternoon, we will hike the Cape Trail to arrive at the impoundments where we will observe many species of duck. The impoundments in this area are closed to the public from November 1 to February 9 every year. Just after these areas reopen, the waterfowl begin to fly north to their nesting grounds. Thus, we are taking advantage of this narrow window of opportunity to see many species. Be prepared to hike about four to five miles. Since these ducks are very flighty, we need to keep a small group size for the afternoon portion. We will approach the impoundments stealthily, keeping our profiles low and speaking in hushed tones, in order to see the ducks before they flush. Likely species include Blue- and Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, American Wigeon (and possibly Eurasian Wigeon), Mottled Duck, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, and Hooded Merganser species. Some other possibilities include Redhead, Canvasback and American Black Duck as well as Snow Goose. In the Big Well impoundment area (an area open year-round), a large group of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks have over-wintered and we expect to see them. In all of the impoundments, we will see a large number of waders including Egrets, Herons, Ibis, and maybe American Bittern. Several different species of shorebirds and rails such as Clapper Rail, Sora, Black-bellied plover, Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitcher and American Avocet inhabit the impoundments in the winter.

For the end of our day, for those interested, we plan to make a dinner stop at the Sewee Restaurant for a lowcountry dinner.

As always, be sure to bring your binoculars/cameras, hats, sunscreen and bug spray. If you have a scope, you should definitely bring it for the afternoon hike to the impoundments. Bring plenty to drink and a picnic lunch to eat on the property and money for dinner if you decide to take that option. There are no facilities on the property, so be prepared for that. We ask that all participants wear a mask when unable to social distance if you are not vaccinated. Please do not use someone else’s scope without their permission.

Please register no later than February 10. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on the February 11, the day prior to the trip. If you need to cancel, please let us know so we can invite people on the waitlist to attend.

Register here

Virtual Evening Program, February 16, “Hemispheric Flights of Migratory Shorebirds”

Date: Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Program starts 7:00 pm via Zoom
Cost: Free
Attendance: 500

Each year, millions of shorebirds migrate to Arctic breeding grounds from wintering sites in South & Central America and southern North America. SC beaches are important sites for these long-distance migratory birds. Many know the Red Knot’s journey – Arctic tundra to nest, southern South America for winter, and a stop in SC to refuel. But what about Whimbrels, Dunlin, Sanderlings, and Semipalmated Plovers that also nest on the northern Arctic shores?

What are migration routes of Seabrook’s shorebirds? Where do the birds spend the rest of the year? How do banding, innovative tagging & tracking technology, and peoples’ reporting help identify birds’ exact movements and locations? Join us for Felicia Sanders’, SCDNR partner and SIB’s good friend, for a fascinating look at the diverse countries & habitats shorebirds encounter on their global journeys!

Felicia Sanders has been working 30 years on conservation efforts for a wide diversity of bird species. Felicia joined the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources in 2001, and leads South Carolina’s Seabird and Shorebird Projects. Her primary tasks are promoting conservation of important sites for nesting and migrating coastal birds, surveying seabirds and shorebirds, and partnering with universities to research life histories. She is a coauthor on numerous scientific publications, and has traveled to the Arctic five times to participate in shorebird research projects. Felicia went to graduate school at Clemson University, majoring in biology. Last year, she was awarded the Biologist of the Year by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, whose members include 15 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Register here

Beyond Our Backyard – Bear Island/Donnelly WMA

Thursday, Feb. 17, 5:30 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Meet at Seabrook Island Real Estate Office to Carpool at 5:30 am
(Meet at Mary’s Pond at 7:00 am) Max: 10 Cost: free for members, $5 per guest

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 a 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 9 each year, so this is an early chance to visit for spring. 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 (nor restrooms) in the area. Also be sure to bring sun block, bug spray, a hat, binoculars, camera and a scope if you have one.

Please register no later than February 15, 2022. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter the day prior to the event.

Register here

Great Backyard Bird Count

Connect to birds, to nature, and with each other! Birds are everywhere, all the time, doing fascinating things. Join Audubon and SIB, February 18–21, 2022, when the world comes together for the love of birds.

Check SeabrookIslandBirders.org/bird-walks/ to also register for:


– Shorebird Steward Training Seminar – Saturday, February 19, 2022
– Learning Together on Ocean Winds Golf Course – Monday, February 21, 2022

You can also do your own birding and submit your findings. This birding can be any time (and as many times) between 12:01 am, February 18 through 11:59 pm, February 21. Audubon provides the following steps:


Step 1 – Decide where you will watch birds.
Step 2 – Watch birds for 15 minutes or more, at least once over the four days, February 18-21, 2022.
Step 3 – Count all the birds you see or hear within your planned time/location and use the best tool for sharing your bird sightings (either Merlin or eBird). If you use eBird, “share” your eBird list with SIBeBird so we can compile a list for all of Seabrook. If you don’t use eBird, please answer the question below requesting a form you can write into, deliver to SIB and SIB will enter into eBird.

SIB’s organized GBBC activities are on Sunday:

Sunday, February 20, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location: Various locations around Seabrook Island
Max: 20 Cost: Free for members, $5 for non-members

Join us in participating in Audubon’s Great Backyard Bird Count. The day will involve walks at various locations throughout the day. The schedule below allows for individuals to sign up for a portion of the day if the whole day is not of interest to you. We request you register for all sections you will be attending so we know if we should wait for you at any individual location.

– Maintenance Area /Equestrian Center 8:00 am – 9:30 am
We’ll start at the Garden Parking Lot. We will walk through the Club Maintenance area and look over the fence to the retention ponds of the Water Treatment Facility. In this area we hope to see Hooded Mergansers, Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks and songbirds and sparrows. 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 10:00 am – 11:30 am
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.

– Bobcat Trail and Six Ladies Trail – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The group will meet at the owners beach access parking lot at Boardwalk 1, then walk along Boardwalk 1 to Bobcat Trail then on to Six Ladies Trail, then returning via the road to the parking lot. Six Ladies Trail is an uneven and at times, steep walk through the maritime forest. This is an inaugural walk at this time of year so it is unknown what to expect other than the typical winter residents of Yellow-rumped Warblers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and of course Northern Cardinals, Carolina Wrens, Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadees. While on the boardwalk we can expect to see Brown Pelicans, Ring-Billed Gulls and White Egrets. As we approach the marsh on Six Ladies Trail we also hope to see a Northern Harrier and hopefully see (or at least hear) a Clapper Rail.

– Jenkin’s Point 4:00 pm – 5:00 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.

For all events, bring sun block, bug spray, a hat, water, snacks and binoculars.

Please let us know which portions you plan to attend no later than Thursday, February 17, 2022. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Friday, February 18, 2022.

Register here

Learning Together on Ocean Winds Golf Course

When: Monday February 21, 8:30 am – 10:30 am
Location: Meet at Island House (golf course parking lot next to Spinnaker Beach Houses) for ride along the golf course in golf carts
Max: 24 (If all seats in golf carts are used)
Cost: Free for members; $5 donation for guests – Priority will be given to prior waitlisted & members

The Seabrook Island Club closes one course, one day each week and allows Seabrook Island Birders to use golf carts to travel the course with our members to bird. Join us for a morning of birding by riding in golf carts for at least 9-holes on Ocean Winds golf course. We expect to see a large variety of birds including Egrets, Herons and birds of prey. We will also see and hear some of the smaller birds like Tufted Titmice, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Cardinals, Carolina Wrens and some of the many warbler species.

Since it is fall/winter, we can also expect to see Eastern Phoebes, Northern Flickers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Belted Kingfishers, Double-crested Cormorants, Bald Eagles, and more!

As always, be sure to bring your binoculars/cameras, hats and sunscreen. Water will be provided. We ask that all participants wear a mask when unable to social distance if you are not vaccinated.

Please register no later than February 19. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Sunday, the day prior to the trip. If you need to cancel, please let us know so we can invite people on the waitlist to attend.

Register here

-Submitted by SIB

(Image credit: Youtube.com; SIB)

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