July, 2017 Gene Howard, Editor, Volume 46, No.4 firstname.lastname@example.org
JULY MEETING The Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society will meet on Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 7:00 PM. The meeting location is the North Augusta Community Center, located at 495 Brookside Ave.in North Augusta, SC. The public is invited to all meetings, programs, and field trips sponsored by Augusta-Aiken Audubon.
PROGRAM:: Chuck Braun will present Birds of Ghana.
In 2013, Chuck traveled to Ghana to see a particular bird that would complete his personal goal of seeing a bird in every bird family. Although he saw the bird, the victory vis a vis all of the bird families, was short lived. Last year, 5 new families were recognized and Chuck has seen birds in only four of the five new families.
A chemist by education, Chuck has been birding for 60 years. He has been president of the chapter twice. His life list includes 6998 species acquired by traveling to 80 foreign countries and most of the United States.
The ancient and dysfunctional handicap ramp at the Silve Bluff Education Center has been replaced with a new one by Ben Sayers as his Service Project to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. He assembled a crew of fellow Scouts, friends and family members who managed to removed the old ramp and construct the new, improved one in two weekends. Ben is the Grandson of chapter Members Gene and Joan Howard who are very proud of him!
Ben is third from the left, front row.
Silver Bluff Audubon is looking for a few (more, actually) good men and women who can volunteer their time to staff the visitor center on Saturdays. We have only two paid staff members, so it is not always possible to provide a greeting, restroom, and other services for our visitors.
We hope to be open every Saturday with two shifts of volunteers: 9-1 and 1-5. If we can find 24 willing nature lovers, a volunteer would need to commit to only one 4-hour shift every 3 months. Donít worry, WE WILL TRAIN YOU, and provide a volunteer handbook! Wi-Fi is available, fridge/microwave, air conditioning, all the comforts of home! Weíll even furnish a rocker/recliner if that will seal the deal. If you think you might be interested, please call Brandon or Paul at Silver Bluff: 803-471-0291. We can provide more details and more will be posted on the chapter website. Thank you!
In the wee hours of April 29, twenty-six intrepid A-AAS birders began their day searching Georgia and South Carolina for as many avian species as they could see or hear in a 24-hour period. This was the onset of the 2017 Birdathon, which is held annually to raise money in support of the Silver Bluff Audubon Center and Sanctuary. Areas canvassed included, but were not limited to Jocassee Gorges and other areas in the SC mountains, Santee NWR, Savannah NWR, Bear Island WMA, Edisto Nature Trail, Silver Bluff, Aiken State Park (and other areas in the county), Long Cane, Beidler Forest, Phinizy Swamp, Augusta Canal, Merry Brothers, Yuchi WMA, and George C. Smith State Park. Birding was done by car, bicycle, canoe and on foot. Counters included individuals, couples, the All Womenís Birding Bust and the Wild Womenís Weekenders.
A total of 170 species were seen or heard, which was two short of the record. This was hardly a disappointment, since spring migration seemed to pass us by this year. We did break the most important record of allóthe chapter raised $3,700 for Silver Bluff!
The Aiken County spring migration count was held May 6. Fifteen birders covered different parts of the county, including Silver Bluff Audubon Sanctuary, Aiken State Park, Crackerneck Wildlife Mgmt. Area, SRS, Jackson boat landing, Horse Creek Water Treatment Plant, and more. 121 species (3,883 individual birds) were tallied, which is close to the average number for the spring count.
The most unusual find was a single Glossy Ibis found at the stork ponds at Silver Bluff. The most numerous species was Cattle Egret (312), followed by Northern Cardinal (192), Carolina Wren (145), Northern Parula (127), Tufted Titmouse (121), and Summer Tanager (103). Nineteen warbler species were tallied.
A description of Augusta- Aiken Audubonís initiative to construct a Wild Life Garden at Aiken Elementary School has been published in the American Birding Associationís Birders Guide magazine. To read the article CLICK/TAP HERE . It is on pages 14-15.
We will bird as a group and we will visit various hot spots around the island. On Sunday, October 22 we will walk around Altamaha WMA near Darien on the way home. There is a campground on the island plus many hotels on the island and in nearby Brunswick for anyone who would like to spend the night.
Augusta-Aiken Audubon is not planning nor providing food or lodging for these trips, we are only providing the field trip leader. Join us to visit some of Georgia's best birding locations. More details will be in the September newsletter.
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.
July 8, Saturday - NABA Butterfly Count. We will count butterflies and turn our counts in to the North American Butterfly Assoc. There will be two groups; one will meet at Silver Bluff Audubon Center in Jackson, SC at 9am. They will count butterflies around the property. The second group will meet at Phinizy Swamp NP in Augusta, GA at 8am. We will count butterflies at the park and along Lock and Dam Rd. Anyone with the Georgia group who would like to continue into the afternoon may. We will eat lunch at a nearby restaurant. We will then count along Lover's Lane and possibly part of Merry Brickyard Ponds.
July 29, Saturday - Wood Storks and more. We will meet at the Kathwood Ponds at Silver Bluff Audubon Center at 4pm. We will walk around the ponds looking for feeding Wood Storks, egrets and herons and shorebirds around the ponds. Field trip will end by sundown.
August 12, Saturday- Lover's Lane. Meet at the Popeye's at Gordon Hwy and Walton Way at 8am. We will carpool to Lover's Lane to look for post breeding birds. Field trip should end by noon.
August 19, Saturday - Phinizy Waders. Join us for Phinizy Swamp Nature Park's summer waders field trip. Meet at the parking lot at Phinizy at 8am. We will drive around the park looking for post-breeding disposal birds. We often get Tri-colored Heron during this trip and we never know what else might show up. This is a Phinizy Swamp trip and there is usually a small charge for non-members of Phinizy.
September 9, Saturday - Crackerneck. Meet at the sign in area at Crackerneck WMA (directions on our Birding Sites page) at 8am. We will drive along the powerline and possibly other areas looking for birds and bugs. Field trip should end by 1pm.
September 15, FRIDAY - Aiken Gopher Tortoise HP near Windsor. Meet at 9am on the at the Long Cane Rd parking area. This is a small parking area on Long Cane Rd near the intersection of Centerwood Rd. The approximate gps coordinates are 33.488456, -81.439512. Directions are from Highway 78 in Windsor turn onto Spring Branch Rd which will become Windsor Rd. Take Windsor to Centerwood Rd and turn right. Just past Spring Branch Baptist Church turn left onto Long Cane Rd. The parking area will be on the left.
NOTE: This is a change from the preciouly scheduled field trip to the YUCHI WMA in Burke county.
May 27, 2017. Crackerneck WMA
What a gorgeous Memorial Day Saturday! Six of us came out to Crackerneck WMA in Aiken County for a birds and butterflies trip. Part of our focus for this weekend was to count butterflies for the North American Butterfly Association Memorial Day Count. We did really well too! We stopped at the first food plot which is planted with corn this year, and along the edge we had 11 Checkered White butterflies which are not often seen in this area. They seem to be having an irruption year.
At that stop we also had good looks at a wonderful male Summer Tanager. Bluebirds were everywhere on the property too. At one point there was a Yellow-breasted Chat sitting in the top of a tree but about the time everyone got where they could see it a Great-crested Flycatcher flew in and chased it off, taking its perch.
Further along the road we got good looks at Northern Parula and Prothonotary Warbler and heard an Ovenbird. Unusual for us, we had no Anhingas at Skinface Pond, in fact it was pretty quiet in that area. We headed to one of my favorite parts of the property, the road along Three Runs Creek with Pine woodland on the other side. We usually get good birds here, but as we entered the area the cars were covered with scores of Deer Flies so we put the windows up and tried to drive out of them. They were very persisitent, but when we got to higher ground they finally went away.
As we entered the afternoon the birds got more and more quiet, but almost to the exit we heard another Ovenbird and it came out for great looks and then wandered around on the ground for a while. We stopped at a patch of Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Weed, on the way out and saw a Black Tiger Swallowtail butterfly as well as a Black Swallowtail. We had one gorgeous Coral Hairstreak, which I have most often found on this plant.
For the count we had 23 species of butterflies, not bad! We also had 48 species of birds for the day. Lois Stacey.
June 2, 2017. Lover's Lane, Levee
Four of us spent a lovely morning having birding adventures on Lover's Lane/Augusta Levee. We are fully into breeding season now so birds are busy feeding babies and are not singing as much but we had some really good interactions with some of these busy parents. We had 39 species today which isn't bad for this time of year.
We started the day at Popeye's and watched a very irate Eastern Kingbird attacking a Fish Crow. Every time that crow came through the parking lot to get to the dumpsters the kingbird would come out and attack it. At one point they were claw to claw. It was awesome to watch just feet over our heads.
We drove over to Lover's Lane and had the Loggerhead Shrike on territory but we've still only seen one, I don't know if they are breeding there or not. At the Y we heard an Orchard Oriole singing. Over the course of the day we saw several, and heard more, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, several carrying food. One was near the area where we had a pair last year. Further down the road we heard a baby bird and had another cuckoo coming out of the area the sound seemed to be coming from but we were unable to find a nest.
As we walked down Lover's Lane we had a very, very unconcerned Prothonotary Warbler working the roadside bushes, apparently looking for food, possibly for babies. The bird continued in the open for 10 or more minutes just feet from us before heading deeper into the brush.
Near the swamp we kept hearing a strange call in the bushes and finally we saw them...one very young fledgling White-eyed Vireo calling and begging ts parent who also flew into the bush and was interacting with the baby.
It was getting hot and the birds were settling down but we did have one kettle flying over that contained two Turkey Vultures, two Black Vultures, Two Anhingas and a Mississippi Kite all soaring high overhead. Quite a mixed group!
Come out with us next time and see what kind of adventures we can have. Lois Stacey.
June 24, 2017. Dilane WMA "Wings and Things."
To paraphrase a famous movie..."The woods were alive with the sound of bird song..." Three of us went on the summer Dilane WMA trip today and we had a great day! Dilane is managed for Bobwhite Quail and they are doing an awesome job. By managing for quail, they are also providing habitat for many other species including Field Sparrows and we had plenty of both today! We heard multiple birds at several stops, some quite close to us but we never did see any.
There were also Field Sparrows everywhere we went and we did finally get to see some of them. We also saw a probable young Bachman's Sparrow. At one point Mark saw a bird soaring over the trees and disappear only to come over the trees a little further down to provide fantastic looks at a Swallow-tailed Kite!
Eastern Kingbirds, Summer Tanagers, Towhees and the other regular denizens of Pine Woodlands were everywhere. We even had a pair of Common Ground-doves that just did not want to get out of the road, and when they finally did get out of the road perched nicely in a little dead tree. We had a total for the trip of 55 species, not bad at all for June!
This was a wings-and-things trip and so we looked at a few other things. We had a number of summer butterflies including the first Gulf Fritillaries I've had this year but numbers of species and individuals were not nearly as high as I have had out there before. We also had a few species of dragonflies including two new county records (Spot-winged Glider and Roseate Skimmer).
Come out with us and see what we can find next time. Lois Stacey North Augusta, SC
Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society
4542 Silver Bluff Rd.
Jackson, SC 29831
President: Paul Koehler
Vice President: Lois Stacey
Secretary: Mary Pallon
Treasurer: Gerald May
A-AAS Web Site: http://augustaaikenaudubon.org/
AAAS Web Site: www.augustaaikenaudubon.org/
Webmaster: Gene Howard, email@example.com
PURPLE GALLINULES IN NORTH AUAGUSTA