Thursday, July 14, 2011

First Post!: Charleston Audubon 2011 Spring Count - Dewees Island - May 1

Here it is, the first post!  And I am backtracking back to May 1, 2011 -- the Spring Count of the Charleston Audubon.  I have been the team leader for the group counting on Dewees Island now since January 2010.  Ah, such a beautiful, wild place!  Our goal is to count all the birds that we possibly can find on the island.  Could we improve over our previous Spring count?  Sadly not this time, we found 75 species this time whereas Spring 2010 we counted 79.  The raptors in particular seemed to be in short supply this time.  But we did achieve "Most species and individual birds counted!"  again over the other count teams.  This has to be due to this wonderful sea island with diverse habitats and maybe also due to the fact that we had a GREAT team: Pete Laurie, Cindy Floyd, Aaron Given, Lori Sheridan Wilson (Environmental Program Director of Dewees Island), Reggie and Judy Fairchild (Dewees Island residents), Bob and Connie Drew, Julia, Chuck and Garrett Mullins, Isabel Reddy, and the hubby Carl Miller.

The overall count total for the 2011 Charleston Spring Count was 141 species, also down approximately 5 species from the 5-year average, according to the Count compiler, Andy Harrison.

Our best birds (personal opinion):  In retrospect (and I say that because I just finished editing the photos and noticed the cracking shell), my personal best is the hatching Willet!  Aaron and I inadvertently flushed the Mama off her nest and found the egg.  Surprisingly, this was a very calm mother Willet, unlike many other ferocious Willets who have been willing to dive-bomb intruders.  My second best bird is the common nighthawk -- she was a beauty!  Isabel Reddy, of Raleigh, NC was thrilled to get her new life bird -- a Painted Bunting!  And many of us enjoyed watching a Glossy Ibis and some Black-necked Stilts fishing in the impoundment.  Other great finds included a nest of Carolina Wrens in Reggie and Judy's back-up battery box under their house and an out-of-season Eastern Phoebe (identified by Judy!) 

I want to thank again everyone on the team for helping to make it a strong count.  A very special thank you to the fabulous hosting team members: Judy (who served us a yummy brunch, AGAIN -- we are so spoiled), Reggie, and Lori!  And thanks also to the ferry boat crew who always transport us safely and graciously to and from the island! 

Willet egg hatching


Wilson's Plover - male

Tri-colored Heron

Common Nighthawk

Baby Killdeer

Adult Killdeer

Baby Carolina Wrens
Young white ibises
The large bird is a Glossy Ibis -- But what is that small bird on a nest in the lower left hand corner?
Black-necked Stilt
Purple Martins

Baby gator


  1. Great job, Cathy! I look forward to your posts.
    Pat Clarke

  2. Thanks Pat! I think it will be fun to communicate and share my photos and experiences this way.

  3. Kathy, What is that little bird on the nest?

    Nice blog. Lois and Don

  4. Good question! I was hoping one of the readers could help me to ID it. For those of you who have not seen it, the bird is in the lower left hand corner of the photo with the Glossy Ibis. Anyone know? It appears to have a short beak, like a nightjar.