Augusta-Aiken Audubon January, 2018<u> Newsletter

	January, 2018                       Gene Howard, Editor,
	Volume 47, No.1            

JANUARY MEETING The Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society will meet on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 7:00 PM. The meeting location is the North Augusta Community Center, located at 495 Brookside North Augusta, SC. The public is invited to all meetings, programs, and field trips sponsored by Augusta-Aiken Audubon.

PROGRAM Once Again our January meeting will be 'SHOW AND TELL' where you can show off your nature photography skills. You do not have to be an Augusta-Aiken Audubon member to participate, however I am encouraging you to become a member (we have chapter memberships for those who do not want to join National Audubon).

At this meeting, you must be present to tell us about your pictures. Please submit up to 12 photos or PowerPoint slides (no videos) to John Demko at or via Dropbox by January 4 along with your name as you would like it to be displayed. Number your photos so that they will be in the order you would like to present them. If they are not numbered, John will put them in random order. If you use Dropbox, use your name in the file name to prevent confusion. John will send a confirming e-mail within a day or so back to you when he receives your photos. If you do not get a confirming e-mail after two days, send him an e-mail requesting confirmation.

This is our most heavily attended meeting so we ask that everyone coming bring a finger food (whether presenting or not). Drinks are provided."

John Demko


The fundraiser to provide Audubon Adventure kits to local classrooms continues to be a success. So far, 66 donors have contributed almost $3200, and orders have been placed for kits for 28 classrooms around the CSRA. Each kit will contain three sets of magazines (32 copies per set), teacher's guides, and other materials to enhance environmental education. Teachers have chosen kits with themes such as "Exploring Ecosystems," "Birds, Bees, Flowers & Trees," "Wild About Birds," and "Feathers, Fur, Fins and You." Mini-grants for these kits are still available; if you know of a teacher in grades 3-6 who would like an Audubon Adventure kit, have them contact Beth Eberhard at Audubon Adventures: what a great way to grow our next generation of nature-lovers!

Water Quality Monitoring

National Audubon, through its collaborative funding program, has awarded the Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society a grant for $681 to continue our water quality monitoring program. The grant will provide chemicals and supplies for all of 2018. The monitoring team tracks changes in chemical components and macroinvertebrate animal diversity in Hollow Creek near the Silver Bluff Sanctuary and in the Edisto River near Montmorenci, SC. Carol and Larry Eldridge started the program in 2006, so we are entering our twelfth year. We continue to find new insects during our macroinvertebrate counts. In November, we found our first snipe fly larva. The stream and river almost always show excellent water quality, although a spike in E. coli bacteria in the Edisto was found recently. SC DHEC was notified and responded, but the high count was transitory and the source was not determined.

If your are interested in participating in this program, contact Alice or Doug Walker We monitor chemicals and frogs once a month and count macroinvertebrates once a quarter. You get free cookies and lunch at the macro counts.

John Demko and Gary Smith collecting a bug sample from Hollow Creek.


Augusta-Aiken Audubon's field trips are open at no charge to all chapter members and the public. We encourage everyone to come out and join us! Some tips to make the trips more comfortable: bring a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and drinking water. Sturdy walking shoes are recommended as is having raingear nearby. Morning trips during the winter usually begin at 9 a.m. and end around noon; warmer weather trips generally begin at 8 a.m. and end around 11 a.m. If you have questions about a field trip, please contact the listed field trip leader.

January 13, 2018, SaturdayPhinizy Swamp NP – meet in the parking lot at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park at 8am. We will walk around the wetland cells looking for ducks and other winter birds. Besides ducks we may see American Bittern, Northern Harrier and sparrows. Field trip should last until about noon.

January 20, Saturday Savannah NWR – We will meet at 8:30 am at the Visitor Center on Hwy 17 instead of at the wildlife drive. We will drive around the wildlife drive looking for ducks and other winter birds. We may also walk along some of the dikes along the drive. Bring a lunch and we will eat somewhere around the refuge. If we have time, we will walk a bit of the trails across the road from the wildlife drive. THERE IS NO TYBEE VISIT ON THIS TRIP! Trip will last until late afternoon.

January 27, SaturdaySilver Bluff Audubon Center – Lower Silver Bluff Road and the sparrow field. Meet at the education building at 8am and we will carpool. We will bird on our way to the sparrow field and then we will walk the mowed trails looking for birds. If we’re really lucky we may flush an American Woodcock. Hopefully there will be sparrows and other grassland birds as well as woodland birds around the edges. Trip should last until about noon.

February 3, Saturday - Jackson Boat Landing Rd. Meet at the Kathwood Ponds at Silver Bluff at 8 am to carpool. We will look for winter residents including woodpeckers, kinglets and Brown Creepers. Trip should last until noon.

Februqry 10, Saturday - Phinizy Waterfowl trip. (This is a Phinizy Center trip). Meet at Phinizy Park parking lot at 9am to drive around the wetland cells looking for ducks and other wintering birds. There may be a charge if you are not a member of Phinizy. Trip should end about noon.

February 17, Saturday - Great Backyard Bird Count -Silver Bluff. Meet at the Kathwood Ponds at 8am to bird the area looking for winter residents. Our results will be turned in for the Great Backyard Bird Count. Trip should end by noon.

February 24, Saturday - Merry Ponds. Meet at Popeye’s at Gordon Hwy and Walton Way at 8am to carpool. We will look for ducks, geese and other birds. If roads are impassable we will bird the paved road. There is a $4 charge to enter the property. Trip will last until noon.

March 3, Saturday - Clark’s Hill. Meet at the South Carolina Visitor’s Center (lower parking lot overlooking the dam) to carpool. We will check out several areas for wintering birds including loons. If birding is good we may go into the afternoon so bring a snack just in case.


December 2, 2017. Phinizy Swamp Nature Park

Best field trip of the year!! 15 people (!) showed up for today's Phinizy field trip and it was a fantastic trip too. Before we got out of the parking lot we had a small flock of birds that included a Black and White Warbler, a Blue Headed Vireo, Yellow-rumps, RC Kinglets and a Golden-crowned Kinglet that gave us great views of its head stripes. We went across the Cattail Trail and to the Rain Garden Pond. There wasn't a whole lot in there, a Mallard, a few Ring-necked Ducks, Coots and Grebes but there was a Gadwall that was less than 10 ft away from us. You almost never get that close to a Gadwall.

We walked into the Constructed Wetlands and scoped cell 5 for Snipe but none were there so we walked on to the T junction. Paydirt!! In Cell 3 there were at least 50 Snipe, 2 Least Sandpipers, a Dunlin and an American Pipit as well as the usual Killdeer, Coots and Gallinules. Then we heard a King Rail call down the cell and another immediately answered from behind us. Then a little later they called again and were answered by a third calling from our feet. Then the one down cell was seen so everyone got their scopes on it and were trying to get pics when the one at our feet suddenly walked partly out into sight. Then it flew down the edge of the dike and disappeared so we started looking at the one farther away again when someone noticed the flier appear at the edge of the trail about 100' or so down from us. It just stood there like it was trying to decide if it was safe to cross and just kept standing there. I think it was at least 5 minutes so everyone got fantastic looks and good pictures of it before it ducked back into the grass. As soon as we looked away it took the plunge and ran across the dike into cell 5. What an absolutely amazing experience. You rarely get looks at a King Rail, and for all of us to see it so well and so long is just unheard of. You should have been there!

While we were standing there, only 3/4 miles and 90 minutes from the start of the walk we passed 50 species! We walked around to the Equalization Pond and through the woods and ended the day with 57 species. It was a great fall/winter morning of birding.

Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society
4542 Silver Bluff Rd.
Jackson, SC 29831
Phone: 803-471-0291

President: Paul Koehler
Vice President: Lois Stacey
Secretary: Mary Pallon
Treasurer: Gerald May
A-AAS Web Site:

AAAS Web Site:

Webmaster: Gene Howard,

First Year Female Snowy Owl

(Gene Howard)