Augusta-Aiken Audubon July, 2018<u> Newsletter

	July, 2018                          Gene Howard, Editor,
	Volume 47, No.4         

JULY MEETING: The Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society will meet on Thursday, July 12, 2018 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: Dr. Joy O’Keefe will present Bat populations in Great Smoky Mountains National Park decimated by White-nose Syndrome.

White-nose syndrome, a devastating disease caused by a non-native fungus, has caused declines in cave-hibernating bats across eastern North America sinc e it was first discovered here in 2006. Since the fungus was first detected in the Great Smoky Mountains in 2009, it has caused the functional extirpation of 3-4 bat species that were once relatively common in this area. In this talk, Dr. O'Keefe will cover the ecological consequences of this loss in bat diversity.

Joy O'Keefe is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at Indiana State University and the Director of the Center for Bat Research, Outreach, and Conservation. She conducts applied research on the ecology of forest bats, but also direct research on a variety of topics related to bats. Her degrees in Zoology (B.S.), Biology (M.S.), and Wildlife and Fisheries Biology (Ph.D.) are from North Carolina State, Eastern Kentucky, and Clemson universities, respectively.

At the July 12 meeting, membership will be voting for officers for the 2018-19 term. Brandon Heitkamp will serve as President. He was elected to a two-year term last year and has been serving as President-elect this past year. The slate of officers is as follows:

Vice-President – Lois Stacey
Secretary – Mary Pallon
Treasurer – Gerald May


The chapter’s annual Birdathon was held early this year—April 21, 2018. It was hoped that we might increase the number of species seen/heard if we managed to catch the spring migration. We were amply rewarded for our efforts, since all previous records were broken by the final tally of 191! Twenty-four intrepid birders participated this year, with amazing coverage of South Carolina. Areas visited included but were not limited to: Jocassee Gorges and the Table Rock area, Silver Bluff, Edisto Nature trail, ACE Basin, Thurmond Lake, Santee Coastal Reserve, Santee Cooper WMA, Boyd Pond Park, Santee NWR, Orangeburg Sod Farms, Summerville, Daufuskie Island, and the Aiken Gopher Tortoise Preserve. Canvasses by the All Women’s Birding Bust in Georgia covered Phinizy Nature Park, Merry Brothers, Lover’s Lane, New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, and Yucci WMA. The Augusta Canal and some local backyards added to the count.

All of this effort was necessary to raise as much money as possible in support of the Silver Bluff Audubon Center and Sanctuary, and we’re happy to report that we collected $3,500! Thank you to all the birders and donors who made the 2018 Birdathon a roaring success.

Mark your calendars! Next year’s fundraiser will be a two-day event held on April 24 and 27, with different teams covering different areas over both days. This is to accommodate birders in popular areas such as the mountains and the coast, allowing them to count on a non-weekend without the hordes of other visitors.


Join us at Silver Bluff Audubon Center and Sanctuary from 6 pm until 9 pm Saturday, August 4th, for an evening of fine food, wine, and wood storks. The evening begins with a broad selection of wine and hor d'oeuvres while you browse the silent auction items. You will then journey out to the foraging ponds to observe up to 500 wood storks, shorebirds, and other wading birds as they feed for the evening. Upon your return to the visitor center you will enjoy a buffet style dinner with desserts. Dress is casual.

Tickets are $65 per person with all proceeds going to Silver Bluff Audubon Center and Sanctuary. Pre-registration is required:


All of us who knew, admired and enjoyed her company were deeply saddened by the passing of Anne Waters recently. She served as a public-school teacher for more than 20 years in Richmond County, Georgia at both Sego Middle School and Glenn Hills High School where she had an influence on many young lives.

As a lifelong member and enthusiastic supporter of the Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society, she was a field trip leader to local birding venues for many years. She was always enthusiastic about welcoming new people and stimulating their interest in birds. Anne was a long-time compiler of the Augusta CBC and co-founder of the Augusta NABA Butterfly count.

Anne was a world-class birder whose enthusiasm and expertise was shared with many of us. She had an impressive life list of birds due to her many birding trips in the United States and internationally. Sometimes she was accompanied by her late husband Vernon, also an active member of Augusta-Aiken Audubon, and sometimes with fellow birding friends. She will be missed!

Field Trips

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 7, SaturdayAugusta-Aiken NABA Butterfly Count. – We will have two teams, one in Augusta and one at Silver Bluff. The teams will meet 9am; the Augusta team will meet at Phinizy Swamp NP, the Silver Bluff team will meet at the center. The Augusta team will count at Phinizy, Lock and Dam Rd, Lover’s Lane and possibly part of Merry. This team usually goes into the afternoon and we will eat lunch at a nearby restaurant. The Silver Bluff team will count on several areas of the center including the Sparrow Field and is usually done by noon.

July 21, Saturday Merry Exploratory – We will meet at Popeye’s at Walton Way and Gordon Highway at 8am. No one ever birds Merry Ponds in the summer but we are going to explore and see what we can find. Come with me on a mission of rediscovery! Trip will end around noon.

August 4, SaturdayPhinizy Waders – Meet at Phinizy at 9am. We will drive around the park looking for post-breeding dispersal birds. This is the time of year to find Tricolored Herons, Glossy Ibis and Roseate Spoonbills, if we’re lucky. Trip will end around noon.

August 11, SaturdaySilver Bluff Storks and More – meet at the Kathwood Ponds at 8am. We will walk the ponds looking for Wood Storks and shorebirds, and anything else that might have come in. Post-breeding dispersal birds should be around and we never know what we might find. Trip will end by noon.


CrackerneckMay 26, 2018

There were 4 of us for the May Crackerneck trip. We drove and walked different areas around the property. As usual for May, the deerflies were out in force but didn’t seem to be doing a lot of biting. The birds however were calling like crazy! We started the day with a Blue Grosbeak sitting up pretty in the top of a large bush. Further down the road we saw Indigo Buntings, a male Painted Bunting and heard Northern Bobwhite calling from close by.

As we were driving further down the road we saw some Turkeys in a field and crossing the road in front of us. While the rest of us were trying to find a calling Yellow-breasted Chat John found some really good butterflies for the area; Twin-spot Skippers! We heard Bachman’s Sparrows and Yellow-throated Warblers, Northern Parulas and the usual denizens of lowland swamp forests. We even had a couple of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds!

We ended the day around noon with 43 species. Lois Stacey.

Lover’s LaneJune 9, 2018

Four of us birded Lover’s Lane looking for nesting birds. There were a lot of Common Grackles around, but there always are in this location. The Shrike that usually nests near Laney Walker was not there, but the local business has removed all of the trees there. We stopped and walked a bit along Lover’s Lane just at the Y, there were Cuckoos nesting here last year but no sign of them this time. We did have an adult Bald Eagle fly over, maybe they’re nesting somewhere in the area?

There were a few egrets in the pond but the foliage in the area has grown up again and seeing in is hard. Further down the road we had Ospreys in the cell tower nest, nearly grown young looking out. The lower end of the road was pretty quiet but it was already starting to get hot. We did hear a Louisiana Waterthrush singing in the creek bottom along the levee. While it seemed pretty quiet we did end up with 41 species for the day. Lois Stacey.

Aiken Gopher Tortoise HPJune 16, 2018

Four of us started this really hot day in a really hot location with a fifth person joining us a little later. We walked the trail down the hill and along Spring Branch looking for birds and dragonflies. We were greeted at the parking area by a couple of Common Nighthawks flying and calling around us. Indigo Buntings and Brown-headed Nuthatches were also around.

Halfway down the trail we had a singing Bachman’s Sparrow. Right after that we had a flyover Anhinga. It’s not every day you get those two species on the same list! There weren’t a whole lot of dragonflies around but we did find 3 species of pennants; Ornate, Amanda’s and Banded plus Golden-winged Skimmers, Eastern Pondhawks, Little Blue Dragonlets and Blue Dashers. We only found one spreadwing, a female. We also had Variable Dancers and Ebony Jewelwings near each other to make it easy to see the differences.

After walking back to the cars, we drove over to the other side and parked near the end of the trail to the RCWs. It was already getting hot so we didn’t want to have to walk the whole loop. We walked up to the colony site but it was very quiet, we had almost no birds or dragonflies at all! We also did not see or hear the Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. It was very hot by this point so we decided to call it a day. Lois Stacey.

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

AAAS Web Site:

Webmaster: Gene Howard,


(Gene Howard)