Saturday, April 18, 2015

Parc Perlière Hosts Its 110th Yard Bird!

          Carl and I had quite an exciting morning here watching and attempting to photograph our 110th Life Bird for our yard, dubbed Parc Perlière.  "Perlière" is French for the oyster that bears the pearl.  Indeed, our yard sheltered a true gem today! 

           The excitement began when I was sitting on the deck cleaning out a bird feeder -- enjoying the birdsong serenades -- including the "Oh sweet Canada" tune by the White-throated Sparrow who has not yet migrated (no, not this one -- this species is here every winter).

Whtie-throated Sparrow -- Parc Perlière -- Charleston, SC -- April 18. 2015
 A lovely male Painted Bunting (not Number 110 -- we have hosted them before) lit beside me -- just 8 feet away!  Carl was just inside the door so I called to him so that he could see the bird.  We were thrilled as this was the first Painted Bunting that we have seen on James Island since last summer!  Carl was able to get the following wonderful photo of this bird on our feeder.  I also went indoors to retrieve my camera.

Painted Bunting at Parc Perlière -- Charleston, SC --  April 18, 2015 -- Photo by Carl Miller

              Then, we saw a Baltimore Oriole (also not Life bird no. 110 for the yard as we host a few all winter)!  We were surprised though because has had thought that all of our Baltimore Orioles had left.  So we assume this was a migrant.

Baltimore Oriole -- Parc Perlière -- Charleston, SC -- April 18, 2015

            Everything began to happen so quickly.  Next we noticed that Mama Wood Duck and family were feeding under our feeder that hangs out over the creek.  Now there's a story worth telling -- one I may save for a post tomorrow.  Hint:  It is about this year's Wood Ducks hatching and taking the grand leap from the box 2 days ago.  Check back soon to see that post!  In the meantime, here is a teaser photo. 

Mama Wood Duck and 3 chicks -- Parc Perlière -- Charleston, SC -- April 18, 2015
 And now for the big reveal -- Drum roll, please!  I must say, I was quite surprised when Carl called out that he saw a grosbeak!  I was thinking -- Oh cool!  A Blue Grosbeak!  I had noted from eBird reports that they had begun to show up in the Lowcountry.  I was pretty sure that a Blue Grosbeak would be a yard bird!  They do breed here in the Lowcountry.  Thinking Blue Grosbeak, I was not prepared for this delightful surprise -- A Rose-breasted Grosbeak!  Oh mon Dieu! 

Parc Perlière's 110th Life Bird (Yard Bird) -- The Rose-breasted Grosbeak -- Charleston, SC -- April 18, 2015

And What a Beauty!  He came to our feeder about 3 or 4 times this morning.  The Rose-breasted Grosbeak will only be seen in our area during migration so we have no idea how long he will stick around.  I am glad that I refilled the fairly empty feeders this morning!  This bird breeds in the Appalachian mountains --even as far south as North Carolina.  But generally his breeding range in further north.  You can learn more about this bird's habitat, breeding habits and range here on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds site.  We wonder if our bird is going to be  a one-day wonder or if he will stay awhile to fatten up on the feed we have to offer.  While our number 110 is deciding, we will continue to enjoy and admire him!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Come Celebrate! The Warblers Have Returned!

Prothonotary Warbler -- Magnolia Gardens -- April 5, 2014

Why yes!  The bedazzling jewels of the forest have returned!  And it is time to celebrate and to take a peak at some of these beautiful serenaders at the annual Francis Beidler Forest's Wine and Warblers event this Saturday, April 18!  Truly, if you have never experienced this wonderful event, I heartily recommend it!  You will be guided around the boardwalk by a trained naturalist who will intrigue you with his insights on the flora and fauna in the swamp.  He will also help you to see the hidden and not so hidden treasures.  Our personal favorite is of course the Prothonotary "Golden Boy" Warbler who belts out his song mere feet away in his efforts to attact a mate and to defend his territory.  Oh and the appetizers!  And the wine!  Hmmm -- delicious!  There really is no better way to spend an evening --  entrenched in beauty of the outdoors with your fellow nature lovers.  This is why Carl and I are there every year.  Guess what, I have heard that there are still spots available!  I promise -- you will not want to miss this opportunity! 

You can also feel good knowing that the grand majority of the price of your "ticket" will go to help preserve the habitat that brings back our warblers every year!  Most (if not all) of the wine and the food too have been donated.  Not only that, there's a silent auction of some fabulous items!

Oops!  I almost forgot to mention this. There is a celebrity bird in the forest by the name of "Longshot!" -- sporting a green geolocator (as of this publication date)!  We have a chance to see him.  Perhaps, by the time Saturday rolls around, the Beidler staff may be able to share with us more of his secrets.  You can read more about this celebrity bird here in this Audubon South Carolina blog post.   

Prothonotary Warbler -- Magnolia Gardens -- April 5, 2014