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March 2008:

No. 290

E cobon

March 2008: No. 290 E cobon Newsletter of the Hilton Head Island Audubon Society Audubon Refuge

Newsletter of the Hilton Head Island Audubon Society Audubon Refuge Keepers

MARcH PRogRAM ~

by Charlotte White

Tuesday, March 11, 2008, 7:30 pm at the Seabrook

Dr. Maria Whitehead of the Nature Conservancy will speak at the March program about a research project in South Carolina on Swallow-tailed Kites. This striking raptor returns to our area in March and can periodically be seen gracefully flying above 278, west of Sun City. Dr. Whitehead is the principle investigator for a grant that has initiated a citizen-science monitoring program for collecting information on numbers, behaviors and habitats of kites along the South Carolina Coastal Plain. The Swallow-tailed kite is an endangered species in our state, requiring more information about conservation goals. The project originates out of the Center for Birds of Prey, just north of Charleston and SC Audubon is one of the partners in this project. The project has set up a web site and hotline for reporting sightings. For more details about this awe-inspiring bird and how to participate in the monitoring program, come Tuesday, March 11 WITH A FRIEND to the 7:30 p.m. program at Seabrook.

P.S. Check out the following web site also: www.centerforbirdsofprey.org <http://www.centerforbirdsofprey.org/>

<http://www.centerforbirdsofprey.org/> FIELD TRIPS by Bill Nicol In April we will return to

FIELD TRIPS by Bill Nicol

In April we will return to Pinckney Island to view some of the birds returning for the summer. The trip is scheduled for Thursday, 24 April 2008. We will meet at Pinckney Island at 8:00 and the trip will last no later than noon and will be lead by Clem Dietze. The trip is limited to 5 cars or approximately 25 people. Bikers are welcome and will not count against the car limit. Please contact me at 671-4721 or pennst63@aol.com if you have any questions or wish to go.

MARcH FIELD TRIP

Wednesday, March 12 at 7:30 a.m

Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot

Just a reminder for those of you who signed up. Bring snacks or a sack lunch and some- thing to drink. We may bird until 1:30 p.m. Meet to carpool at the Moss Creek Village parking lot. The trip is filled. To be added to the waiting list please call Karen McGinty at 681-8498.

Creek Village parking lot. The trip is filled. To be added to the waiting list please

HHI Audubon

Board of Directors:

President Howard Costa Vice President Bill Nicol Treasurer Karen McGinty Fran Baer Recording Secretary Steve White Corresponding Secretary Polly Herron Members‑at‑Large Jim Currie Marianne Currie Clem Dietze Barry Lowes Nan Lloyd Betty Walter Joan Wilson

Committee Chairpersons:

842-9447

671-4721

681-8498

686-6348

837-4597

342-6129

681-8525

681-8525

837-2612

671-3537

363-2092

842-7147

837-2874

Adopt‑A‑Refuge (Pinckney) Clem Dietze

837-2612

Karen McGinty

681-8498

Audubon Newhall Preserve Joan Shulman

842-9246

Bird Walks/Field Trips Bill Nicol

671-4721

Bird House Construction Jim Collins

671-1240

Bird Seed Sale Ed Nash

681-5725

Christmas Bird Count Barry Lowes

671-3537

Education Betsy Pehrson

689-2243

Historian June Collins

671-1240

Hospitality Thea Luba

785-3214

Legislation Nicola Jordan

681-5664

Membership Thea Luba

785-3214

Newsletter Circulation Marianne Currie

681-8525

Pat Marks

689-6876

Newsletter Editor Joan Wilson

837-2874

Programs Charlotte White

837-4597

Publicity & Public Relations Clem Dietze

837-2612

Sales Table Dorothy Gibb

686-6406

Shorebirds/Conservation Howard Costa

842-9447

Special Projects Richard Shulman

842-9246

Sun City Representative Ken Neitzke Wetlands/Conservation

705-3970

H: 757-2973 O: 341-4690

Website: www.hiltonheadaudubon.org

Sally Krebs

O: 341-4690 Website: www.hiltonheadaudubon.org Sally Krebs The Ecobon is a monthly publication (Sep- tember through

The Ecobon is a monthly publication (Sep- tember through May) of the Hilton Head Island Audubon Society. Subscription is a benefit of membership. Direct inquiries to P.O. Box 6185, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 29938 or call one of the above officers or chairpersons.

OUR MISSION is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and
OUR MISSION
is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds,
other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity
and the earth's biological diversity.

Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges, Inc.

by Clem Dietze

As most of you know, Hilton Head Audubon has for years assumed a responsibility for Pinckney National Wildlife Refuge through our Adopt a Refuge committee chaired by Karen Mc Ginty and Clem Dietze who also volunteer for US Fish & Wildlife Service on the refuge. Ogeechee Audubon in Savannah does the same for Savannah NWR and Harris Neck NWR. Another group in Brunswick works with the southernmost of the 7 refuges managed by FWS in Savannah.

Most NWR’s in the country have a Friends group affiliated with the National Wild- life Refuge Association and a group of us have been meeting with FWS in Savannah to form a Friends group for our refuges. Clem, Karen, Bill Hamel, and Terry Putnam have been a part of this group. You can find out more about Friends Groups by going to www.refugenet.org/ on the internet. Our Audubon chapter is an affiliate. You can also Google Friends Groups on the internet and find websites for dozens of groups around the country to see what they are doing on their refuges.

We are now incorporated and will soon have our non-profit status confirmed. Our

Mission Statement is “The mission of the Friends of the Savannah Coastal Refuges, Inc.

is to support and advocate for the seven wildlife refuges within the Savannah Coastal

Refuges system and to promote public understanding of the need to protect and preserve wildlife habitat”.

We are still in the formative stages and are working on a website, suggested dues for members, and the opening of a Visitor’s Center near the Savannah NWR off of Hwy. 17. The center will hopefully be fully operational by spring of 2009 and will have interpretive exhibits, a gift shop, and auditorium. It will also be the new headquarters for FWS staff.

The purpose of this message is to ask you if you might be interested in becoming

a member of our Friends Group. If so, please send an e-mail or note to Clem Dietze

and you will be contacted as further details are finalized for the group. E-mail clemd@

hargray.com or mail to 277 Moss Creek Drive Hilton Head, SC 29926.

or mail to 277 Moss Creek Drive Hilton Head, SC 29926. Piping Plover Hermit Thrush seen

Piping Plover

to 277 Moss Creek Drive Hilton Head, SC 29926. Piping Plover Hermit Thrush seen on Christmas

Hermit Thrush seen on Christmas Bird Count Day

Photo compliments of Fran

noTES FRoM THE nEWHALL PRESERVE

by Joan Shulman

Our Spring Work Day will be on Saturday, March 15, starting at 9:00 A.M. We need all the help we can get. Bring gloves, in- sect spray, rakes, clippers, and energy. We start at 9:00 A.M. and continue until about 1:00 P.M. or until you have to leave. Any time that you can give us is appreciated. Water and cookies will be provided. We begin our Spring Walk Program on Saturday, March 29, at 10:00 A.M. in the Preserve. Joan Shulman will lead a walk on the theme of “Native Plants and Unique Habitats on a Sea Island.” For information, call 842-9246. Adults $7.00; Children under 12, Free; Maximum per family, $14.00. Additional walks will take place in April. Thanks to Mary Jane and Robert Major for monitoring the trails in March. Not long ago, as I checked the supply of Trail Guides in the Preserve, a visitor passed me and muttered the comment, “Now I can deal with my family.” She had dropped by to sit quietly on a bench near the pond and gaze at the tops of the pine trees sway- ing in the wind. Apparently the quiet time gave her the fortitude to face a disagreeable situation--or so it seemed. You never know how a visit to the Preserve will improve your mental health!

FROM THE NOMINATING COMMITTEE ~

The Nominating Committee is pleased to present the following slate of officers for this chapter for 2008 - 2009. President - Bill Nicol Vice-president - Ken Neitzke Treasurer - Karen McGinty and Fran Baer Recording Secretary - Steve White Corresponding Secretary - Sherman Barker Member-at-Large - Howard Costa

Respectfully submitted, Betty Walter, Chair, Howard Costa, Clem Dietze, Nan Lloyd.

Join Us! Saturday, March 15 10:00-3:00

Annual Hilton Head Audubon Membership Drive

at ‘Wild Birds Unlimited’

681-4461 ~ Festival Centre at Indigo Park (mile marker 3 & 4)

Please volunteer and add your name to the sign-up sheet at the March meeting. The Bird Seed Sale has been extended until March 15th! National Audubon has reduced their payments to all Chapters by 80-90%? No payment is received for continu- ing members. We need New Members! Please join us at WiId Birds Unlimited. Spend a few enjoyable hours with fellow bird- lovers and share your expertise!

Volunteer CPA needed to help the HHI Audubon Society with non-profit taxes. Please contact either
Volunteer CPA needed to help the HHI Audubon Society with non-profit taxes. Please contact either
Volunteer CPA needed to help the HHI Audubon Society with non-profit taxes. Please contact either

Volunteer CPA needed

Volunteer CPA needed to help the HHI Audubon Society with non-profit taxes. Please contact either Fran
Volunteer CPA needed to help the HHI Audubon Society with non-profit taxes. Please contact either Fran

to help the HHI Audubon Society with non-profit taxes. Please contact either Fran Baer or Karen McGinty.

CPA needed to help the HHI Audubon Society with non-profit taxes. Please contact either Fran Baer
CPA needed to help the HHI Audubon Society with non-profit taxes. Please contact either Fran Baer
CPA needed to help the HHI Audubon Society with non-profit taxes. Please contact either Fran Baer

REcEnT AREA bIRD SIgHTIngS

by Jack Colcolough

We are nearing the end of a mild winter with hints of spring in the air. It’s a great time to get out birding to see the last of our winter birds and look for early arrivals of our migrating/summer birds. An unusual American Bittern was found on several occasions at Whooping Crane Conservancy and rare Sandhill Cranes continue to be sighted at Knowles Island. An unusual Peregrine Falcon was spotted at Fish Haul Creek. Some 15-17 endangered Piping Plovers are being routinely reported along our HHI coast by our local Piping Plover Survey team. A female Baltimore Oriole and Mottled Ducks were seen at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and an out-of-season Orchard Oriole was reported on our island. Red Knots and Pip- ing and Wilson’s Plovers were found on off-coast Pritchard’s Island. Nearby reports of rare birds include: Vermilion Flycatcher at Edisto Island, Western Tanager at Skidaway Island, Calliope Hummingbird at James Island, immature Brant at Tybee Island, Tundra Swan at Bear Island and Common Eider at Hunting Island. Good FOTY birds reported with the coming of our new year were: Bald Eagle, Black & White Warbler, House Wren, Marbled Godwit, American Oystercatcher and Black Skimmer as well as many other winter ducks, shorebirds, sparrows and songbirds. A Purple Finch and Dark-eyed Junco were reported by birders enrolled in the national Project Feeder Watch program which continues through early April. Many thanks to those contributing to our recent sightings:

Fran Baer, Howard Costa, Karen McGinty, Peter Zachmann, Doris McCullough, Miriam Waterhouse, Doris Stoner, Allan McLaughlin, et al. To report a rare, unusual or FOTS bird sighting e-mail: jack- colcolough@aol.com, call 689-3455 or send a blank e-mail to:

BirdingFriends-subscribe@yahoogroups.com to join the group and report the bird. Good Birding To All

the bird. G o o d B i r d i n g T o A

~ Photo above courtesy of Bob Gibson

SPRIngTIME bIRDIng AnYWHERE YoU cAn

by Karen McGinty

Have you decided where you want to spend some time this spring welcoming returning migrants? Each year I spend a great deal of time deciding between the many possible loca- tions where you can watch warblers along the migration route from their wintering to their breeding grounds. This year my husband and I will again spend a few days along the Alabama coast at Fort Morgan and Dauphin Island. The banding sta- tion at Fort Morgan manned by Bob and Martha Sargent and their wonderful group of banders from the Hummer Bird Study Group (www.hummingbirdsplus.org) should be on everyone’s short list as a place to go from March 29 to April 11. Mist nets are placed in strategic locations in the woods. The birds are gently taken from the nets, weighed, sexed, aged and examined for body fat. Not only do you get to see warblers, humming- birds, etc. up close and personal, but you may be lucky to be asked to hold one in your hand and release it. If it is a hum- mingbird, they will place it in your open hand, talk about the bird, and then gently rock the bird back on its legs so it can fly away. Yes, they band ruby throated hummingbirds too. Other places to think about are High Island in Texas, the Dry Tortugas in Florida, the New River Gorge in West Virginia, Point Pelee in Canada or maybe here close to home. Wherever, just remember to get out there and find the returning migrants in their beautiful colors and song.

the returning migrants in their beautiful colors and song. Bluebird ~ taken at Whooping Crane Conservatory

Bluebird ~ taken at Whooping Crane Conservatory

Photo courtesy of Bob Gibson

bIRD oF THE MonTH AMERIcAn goLDFIncH

by Clem Dietze

While Spring Migration is spectacular for all of us, winter is not totally boring by any means. There is also joy in the arrival of our winter residents such as Hooded Mergansers, Buffleheads, and Robins.

My personal backyard favorite is the American Gold- finch. As soon as I see the first arrival out comes the thistle seed feeder and soon I am mobbed. On arrival both sexes are olive drab in plumage but darting out of the hedgerow to the feeder and then back with their undulating flight makes for great company. In winter they tend to group together in rather large flocks.

As the season drifts into March the males begin to take on their brilliant yellow color accented by black and white wing bars. By mid April all are in full vivid breeding plumage and have moved on to their northern breeding grounds. Some do breed in northern Georgia and South Carolina but not in our area.

The good news is that this is one species that is thriving and increasing in numbers. It is also one of the latest nesting songbirds in the country due mainly to its wait for seeds to be available for feeding their young. Here again thistle is the pre- ferred food of choice. The American Goldfinch is the only finch that molts both in the fall and in the spring and fortunately the eye disease that affects its House Finch cousin has not spread to the species. Enjoy them while they are here and delight in watching the males molt into their summer plumage.

in watching the males molt into their summer plumage. • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
PlEAsE NOtE: Current members are encouraged to use this membership form to sign up friends, relatives, and neighbors as new
members. Our Chapter benefits significantly from a “return of dues” from National if our local form is used for new memberships
NatioNal auDuBoN SoCiety Chapter
MEMbERSHIP FoRM
nEW MEMbERS onLY
new
Senior
1 YR. - $20
1 YR. - $15
Junior
1 YR. - $15
 2 YRS. - $30
 2 YRS. - $30
 2 YRS. - $30
Name
Address
City
Phone
Full Year Resident
State
Zip
Preferred First Name(s)
Part Year Resident
I/We first joined Audubon in
Mail a check payable to NAtIoNAl AuDuboN SocIety
National Audubon Society, Chapter Membership Data Center, P.O. Box 51001, Boulder, CO 80322-1001
U50
7XCH

bIRD SEED SALE WRAPPIng UP Soon by Ed Nash

the annual Bird seed sale as of Early-February is off to a good start. We have many new buyers and sales exceed 160 bags (mostly in January) with a fine potential of more sales than last years good total. We thank everyone for their purchases to date and remind all that this effort is very important for funding our local environmental and education objectives. Please use the order blank that came with your January ECOBON or see Virginia & lyle at Wild Birds for another copy. We are now down to the last 2 weeks of our sales period, and will surely appreciate a strong response by as many members and friends as possible. If you haven’t bought a bag or two (or more) yet please do so by March 15!

• Binoculars & Spotting Scopes • Field Guides • Nature Books • Nature Gifts Festival

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843-681-4461

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Ecobonitle:t

2008MarchDate:Issue

Sept.-MayMonthlyFrequency:

SocietyAudubonIslandHeadHiltonOrganization:

Ecobon

6185oxb.o.P

29938arolinacSouthIsland,HeadHilton

FEbRUARY ~ MARcH 2008 calendar

MARcH

 

Thurs. Mar. 6

board Meeting at the Seabrook

2:00 pm

Tues. Mar. 11

Monthly Meeting at The Seabrook

7:30 pm

Weds. Mar. 12

field trip to Parris Island

7:30 am

Sat.

Mar.

15

Spring Work Day at Newhall Preserve

7:30 am

Sat.

Mar.

15

Membership Drive at Wild Birds Unlimited

10-3:00

pm

Sat.

Mar. 29

Newhall Walk "Native Plants and Unique

10:00 am

 

"Native Plants and Unique Habitats on a Sea Island"

APRIL

Thurs. Apr. 3

board Meeting at the Seabrook

2:00 pm

Tues. Apr. 8

Monthly Meeting at The Seabrook

7:30 pm

Tues. Apr. 8 Monthly Meeting at The Seabrook 7:30 pm Monthly meetings of the Hilton Head

Monthly meetings of the Hilton Head Island Audubon Society are regularly scheduled at 7:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month, September through May, in the Auditorium at the Seabrook, 300 Woodhaven Drive. Members and guests welcome!

0

b E Q U E S T S

If you wish to honor a family member or friend with a memorial gift, or remember the Audubon Ne- whall Preserve or the Hilton Head Island Audubon Society in your will, your gift may be in the form of secu- rities, cash, life insurance, real estate, or other property.

Contact your own estate planner or our Audubon Chapter at P.O. Box 6185, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 29938.

Sharing your estate withAudubon not only reduces the taxes on your estate but will help protect birds, wildlife, and their habitat in the years to come.