SIB November Activities

Fall migration, arrival of winter residents and much more to be thankful for.  Join SIB for activities on Seabrook or beyond our backyard.

Beyond Our Backyard: Santee Coastal WMA

When: Sunday, November 5, 2023, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Meet at Seabrook Island Real Estate to carpool at 6:30 am or
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: Location TBD 
Max: 16 for the morning half-day portion, eight for the whole-day afternoon option  
Cost:  Free for members, $10 per guest

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 1700’s.  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. In the morning, we will bird the long-leaf pine forest to find the federally-listed endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker (RCW) and, hopefully, Bachman’s Sparrow and then, in the afternoon, we will bird the entrance to the impoundments to observe multiple early arriving 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. Other species we may see this time of year 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, , House Wren, Sedge Wren, Red-breasted Nuthatch, if we are lucky.  

The Cape Trail impoundments are closed to the public from November 1 to February 9 every year. When a group visited in May, we were able to see a number of species as we walked the entrance to this area. The mosquitoes should not be a problem this time of year making for pleasant birding. In May, when all the ducks were gone, we were still able to report 53 species.

As always, be sure to bring your binoculars/cameras, hats, sunscreen and bug spray. Bring plenty to drink and a picnic lunch to eat on the property. There are no facilities on the property.

Please register no later than November 3, 2023.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on November 4, the day prior to the trip

Register here.

Evening Program: Learn How to Catch a Kiwi and so Much More

Speaker: Dr. Kristina Ramstad, Associate Professor, Vertebrate Biology, University of South Carolina Aiken

When: November 10, 2023, 7:00 pm
Location:  The Lake House, Live Oak Hall
Cost: Free for members, $10 for guests 

  • 7:00 pm, Registration and refreshments
  • 7:30 pm, Program
  • 8:45 pm, Program ends

Program Description:

The geologic history of New Zealand has given rise to a myriad of unusual species that are found nowhere else on Earth. In this talk, Dr Ramstad will tell you about the historical and current ecology of New Zealand and the flightless endemic kiwi. She will present her research into inbreeding and sex-biased dispersal in the two rarest kiwi species and answer the age old question….How do you catch a kiwi?

Speaker Biography:

Dr Ramstad is a conservation geneticist. Her work draws on genomic techniques and field based ecological studies to improve our understanding and management of at-risk species.

After studying sockeye salmon in Alaska for both her MSc (University of Washington) and PhD (University of Montana) research, Dr Ramstad moved to New Zealand and spent eight years studying conservation genetics of kiwi. She took up her current role at USCA in 2015 and will tell you that her current research obsession is with the wood storks of the steamy and mysterious swamps of the US South.

Register here.

November Movie, “Wild America – Season Two – Bird Watching ”

(Episodes 5 and 6)

When: Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at 4:00 pm 
Location:  In person at Oyster Catcher Community Center (if there are at least five people) and virtually via Zoom

Wild America | S2 E3 Birds of Prey | Full Episode HD - YouTube

Birdwatching is one very popular way in which many people enjoy the wonder and fascination of our great American outdoors. More so than any other creatures, birds have captured the imagination of humans as they float on the wind, soar to great heights and make the world a more wonderful place.

Episode 5: Feathered Jewels – The fifteen species of hummingbirds that nest north of Mexico are exquisitely beautiful in their multi-colored iridescence. All are unique to the New World. European explorers were astounded by these tiny, glittering birds that zipped up and down, backwards and sideways, with wings humming and blurred. Here they are seen as never before, and we savor every last little wingbeat.

Episode 6: A Nest is Best – A bird does not need a house to make itself a happy home. They can be cup-shaped, or long and hollow, like gourds. They can be coarsely made of sticks and mud, or exquisitely woven of spider web and down. They can be found anywhere, deftly hidden or dangerously exposed. Even the eggs that fill them are not always egg-shaped. This program shows that birds do not need a house to make a home.”

Register here.

Learning Together on Ocean Winds Golf Course

When: Monday, November 13, 2023, 8:30 am – 10:30 am
Location: Meet at The 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; $10 donation for guests – Priority will be given to prior waitlisted and members

The Seabrook Island Club closes one course a day, each week and allows SIB to use golf carts to travel the course 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.  

Please register no later than Friday prior to the trip.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on the 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.

Learning Together – Walk to Freshfields 

When: Monday, November 20, 2023,  3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Location: Meet at The Lake House parking lot close to the lake
Max: 20         
Cost: Free for members; $10 donation for guests 

Join SIB for birding and a walk to Freshfields. Everyone may have not noticed yet, but the path to Freshfields has been spruced up a bit. There are new benches and flowers planted along the way. There are plenty of trees and birding opportunities. Birders from beginners to advanced will enjoy the variety of birds found along the way. You never know what bird will show up. We will look for our winter residents. We could see the ruby-crowned kinglet, yellow-bellied sapsucker and more. 

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 is a possibility that we may hit the construction going on at Freshfields, so we will just turn around and walk on the other side of the road. 

Please register no later than November 15, 2023. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter the day prior to the event.  

Register here.

Learning Together: Walk off the Bird at Camp St. Christopher

When: Friday, November 24, 2023, 8:00 am-11:00 am
Location:  Meet at the bus parking lot at St. Christopher
Max:  10
Cost: Voluntary donation to Camp St.Christopher

Come walk off the  bird by doing some birding!!! Explore the lakes, lagoons, paths and slough at St. Christopher. This event will have one to two miles of walking over uneven terrain. We  should see all the usual suspects but will also hopefully see some of our winter friends-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, Yellow-rumped Warbler and sparrows.

Bring sun block, bug spray, a hat, water and binoculars.  We are asking our attendees to make a voluntary contribution to Camp St. Christopher to help support their efforts after a few trying years.

Please register no later than Wednesday, November 22, 2023.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Thursday, November 23, 2023.  If you need to cancel, please let us know.

Register here.

-Submitted by SIB

(Image credit: SIB, Wild America)