Augusta-Aiken Audubon March, 2018<u> Newsletter


	March, 2018                       Gene Howard, Editor,
	Volume 47, No.2                   actor_882@hotmail.com
     

MARCH MEETING The Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society will meet on Thursday, March 8, 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. Tracy Tuberville, Research Scientist at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, will present Ecology of gopher tortoises and tools used to recover their populations. Dr. Tuberville studies the conservation and management of gopher tortoises and other reptiles and amphibians. Using translocation, reintroduction, and microsatellite markers as conservation tools, she follows the population ecology and individual behavior of the tortoises.

She has worked at the Savannah River Ecology Lab for 20 years. Tracy’s research interests are in applied conservation and management research for reptiles and amphibians. She has conducted field work in the southeastern US, Mojave Desert in California, southern Texas, Jamaica, and Tanzania.

SAVE THE DATE!
BIRDATHON TO BENEFIT SILVER BLUFF AUDUBON CENTER
APRIL 21, 2018

The Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society is sponsoring a Birdathon on Saturday, April 21, to raise money in support of the Silver Bluff Audubon Center and Sanctuary. Our goal is to see and record as many different species of birds as possible in Georgia and South Carolina over a 24-hour period (midnight to midnight).

We hope to see 180 to 200 species. In order to accomplish this, we need pledges and birders. Pledges can be made in either a set amount (for example, $25, $35, $50) or on a per species basis. For example, a pledge of ten cents per species will raise about $20 for Silver Bluff and motivate our counters. The amount pledged is up to the donor, but the more you pledge, the more money we can raise for conservation projects at Silver Bluff.

Everyone is welcome to participate. Teams or individuals are needed to count birds throughout Georgia and South Carolina. Possible birding hotspots might include:

	Coastal: Huntington Beach State Park/Cape Romaine National Wildlife Refuge 
	Interior:  ACE Basin, Santee NWR
	Coastal: Savannah NWR/Charleston area
	Midlands:  Congaree Swamp National Park/Francis Beidler Forest
	Mountains:  Jocassee Gorges/Caesar's Head State Park
	Local:  Silver Bluff Audubon Center, Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, and anywhere anyone
                wants to bird, including watching your backyard feeders.

Some of Georgia will be covered by the All Women's Birding Bust, an annual event carried out by several female good buddies and expert birders. However, anyone in the state is encouraged to count and report all the species they see that day.

If you are not an experienced birder, you might want to hook up with a team going to one of the hotspots mentioned above. If you would like to go on a group trip, please contact Alice Walker at 803-649-5929 (carolinawren211@yahoo.com). Note that some of the more distant areas will probably require an overnight trip.

The main goal of the Birdathon is to raise money for Silver Bluff, but the secondary objective is to have a great time being outside with fellow birders, enjoying the spring migration on a gorgeous Southern day!

Specifics can be found at: www.augustaaikenaudubon.org/

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.

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.

March 17, Saturday- Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. Meet at the Phinizy Swamp parking area at 8am to walk the property looking for wintering birds and early spring arrivals. Trip will last until about 11.

March 24, Saturday - Dilane WMA. Meet at the Phinizy Parking lot at 8am to carpool, bring lunch. Woodland birds of many habitats will be our targets. Trip will run into the afternoon.

April 7, Saturday - Phinizy Swamp NP. Meet at 8am in the Phinizy parking lot. Early migrants should be here and we will look, and listen, for them as well as lingering winter birds. We will walk the loop (approx.. 2.5 miles). Trip ends about noon.

April 14, Saturday - Jackson Landing. Meet at the Kathwood Ponds at Silver Bluff at 8am to carpool. Jackson Landing Rd can be one of the best places in the area for migration which should be well underway at this time. We will drive and walk checking the woods and swamps for migrants. Trip ends by noon.

April 21, SaturdayBirdathon. Details are posted on 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.

March 17, Saturday- Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. Meet at the Phinizy Swamp parking area at 8am to walk the property looking for wintering birds and early spring arrivals. Trip will last until about 11.

March 24, Saturday - Dilane WMA. Meet at the Phinizy Parking lot at 8am to carpool, bring lunch. Woodland birds of many habitats will be our targets. Trip will run into the afternoon.

April 7, Saturday - Phinizy Swamp NP. Meet at 8am in the Phinizy parking lot. Early migrants should be here and we will look, and listen, for them as well as lingering winter birds. We will walk the loop (approx.. 2.5 miles). Trip ends about noon.

April 14, Saturday - Jackson Landing. Meet at the Kathwood Ponds at Silver Bluff at 8am to carpool. Jackson Landing Rd can be one of the best places in the area for migration which should be well underway at this time. We will drive and walk checking the woods and swamps for migrants. Trip ends by noon.

April 21, SaturdayBirdathon. Details are on the chapter website at www.augustaaikenaudubon.org/

April 28, SaturdayAudubon’s Beidler Swamp boardwalk. Beidler charges $8 per person. We will meet at exit 1 in North Augusta to carpool at 7am. It takes approximately 2.5 hours to get to the center (or you can meet us at Beidler at 9:30am). We will check out their visitor center and walk the boardwalk (1.75 miles) looking for migrants. This is also the location of Operation Protho and we will look for banded Prothonotary Warblers singing along the boardwalk. Bring a lunch and we will eat at the center.

May 5, SaturdayAiken County Migration Count. Come and help count all of the birds we can find in Aiken County! You can meet Paul at the Silver Bluff Kathwood Ponds at 7:30 to team up, or if you live in Aiken County you can count your feeders. If you have an area you would like to count please contact Paul Koehler at Silver Bluff to arrange it. Lunch (bring your own) is at 1pm at the Education building.

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FIELD TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

February 3, 2018 Jackson Boat Landing

Jackson Landing Road was a bit quiet for the 8 people who came on that field trip but we did have some highlights.

Along the route we had a few small flocks of birds, mostly chickadees, titmice and kinglets but we did have a Blue-headed Vireo in one flock. There were at least 4 Hermit Thrushes, very cooperative Hermit Thrushes, including one that didn’t mind us and bounced around on the ground at the edge of the parking area while we stood there and watched or took pictures.

When we got to the boatramp there were three Pileated Woodpeckers chasing each other around in the woods. We also had a Fox Sparrow hop up out of the brush along the top of the bluff. We only had 25 species for the trip but it was still never boring. Lois Stacey.

Februrary 10, 2018 Phinizy Waterfowl Trip

Phinizy’s annual Waterfowl Drive was attended by 9 people. It was a cloudy day that started with an almost complete fog-out but it did eventually clear enough for us to see the water. We drove around the complex onto some of the back roads looking for ducks and other wintering birds. Interestingly, there were actually a number of ducks in ponds that have not hosted such numbers in years.

One pond had quite a few Northern Shovelers, Blue-wing and Green-wing Teal. We of course went to the Equalization Pond where we got good looks at Lesser Scaup and Ring-necked Ducks. We heard several King Rails and a Sora as well. At one point we had Wilson’s Snipe flying around but when they landed they would disappear. They can be very cryptic! We ended the day back at the visitor’s center with 44 species. Lois Stacey.

February 17, 2018 Silver Bluff Great Backyard Bird Count

There were 9 of us for our annual Great Backyard Bird Count field trip at Silver Bluff’s Kathwood Ponds. We walked around the ponds and along the way we took a look into the Bald Eagle nest with a scope and saw one eagle sitting down in there.

There were Red-shouldered Hawks flying and calling around the pond and a few Wood Ducks took off and flew away. The big event of the day was 379 Ring-billed Gulls flying overhead in small and large groups over the course of an hour or so. They were all headed the same way, possible migrating back to the coast.

When we were through at the ponds we drove down to the office and walked the Nuthatch Trail. It was fairly quiet but we did have a lot of Eastern Towhees and Eastern Bluebirds. Several Pine Warblers, a few Brown-headed Nuthatches and woodpeckers were also about. All of our lists were submitted for the Great Backyard Bird Count. Lois Stacey.

Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society
4542 Silver Bluff Rd.
Jackson, SC 29831
Phone: 803-471-0291
Email: augustaaikenaudubon@gmail.com

President: Paul Koehler
Vice President: Lois Stacey
Secretary: Mary Pallon
Treasurer: Gerald May

AAAS Web Site: www.augustaaikenaudubon.org/

Webmaster: Gene Howard, actor_882@hotmail.com

VIRGINIA RAIL

(Lois Stacey)