May, 2017 Gene Howard, Editor, Volume 46, No.3 firstname.lastname@example.org
MAY MEETING The Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society will meet on Thursday, May 11 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:: Gerald Stephens, Co-manager/operator of Nurseries Caroliniana in North Augusta, will present “Landscaping for Birds.” He is a South Carolina Certified Nurseryman with 43 years experience at Nurseries Caroliniana. He is also a past Board Member of the South Carolina Nursery Landscaping Association. He will tell us about native and non-native plants that you can use to attract birds to your yard.
Don’t forget the Birdathon for The Silver Bluff Audubon Center this Saturday, April 29! Details are on the Chapter website, www.augustaaikenaudubon.org
The Aiken Earth Day celebration was held on April 22, and the Augusta-Aiken Audubon Chapter had a booth manned by John and Nancy Demko and Alice and Doug Walker. The event started at 9:30, and we soon discovered that our table was exceptionally well-placed in the Alley, which is now a pedestrian mall. The foot traffic was very heavy, and children and children wannabes were lured in by hawking (no pun intended) from Auduboners to try their luck at the Skull Quiz. Silver Bluff Audubon Center had provided us with a collection of various animal skulls, and the game was to identify the critter behind the bones. Other than the general id of "dinosaur" by some of the youngsters, everyone did pretty well after some well-placed hints.
Our other attractions were some live macroinvertebrates gathered from Hollow Creek, a bucket full of whirligig beetles, some freshwater shrimp and a well-protected madtom catfish. We gave out all the brochures we had. People were particularly interested in Silver Bluff, and those fliers disappeared quickly. A-AAS has participated in this event for a number of years, and we get excellent exposure from it. We were asked to come back next year, and that is the plan.
John shows off the bugs
Conservation Lobby Day was held on March 21, at the State House in Columbia. This is an annual event sponsored by Conservation Voters of South Carolina, and the SC Conservation Coalition. A-AAS Conservation Chair, Alice Walker and her husband, Doug, have made the trek to Columbia for several years to lobby on conservation issues in the state.
Audubon South Carolina is a member of the Coalition, and it was represented by Sharon Richardson, Matt Johnson and several other Beidler employees. The Walkers focused on three issues: (1) a bill proposing to end the automatic stay on development and construction projects, (2) a bill seeking to limit the public's right to sue for ecological damage caused by industry and other entities, and (3) reminding our legislators that the state water plan needs continued funding and support.
The Walkers bent the ear of their senator, Tom Young, and representative, Bart Blackwell. Senator Young is particularly supportive of a conservation agenda, so it was very heartening to sit down with him to express the chapter's concerns.
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.
May 6, Saturday – Migration Count – We will count all of the birds we see or hear in Aiken County. If you do not have a previously assigned territory meet at Silver Bluff Kathwood Ponds at 7:30 to break into groups to bird the property. Bring a bag lunch and meet at the visitor center at 1pm for lunch and a countdown.
May 13, Saturday – Congaree National Park – We will meet at the gas station at exit 1 in North Augusta at 7:30 to drive to Congaree, alternatively, you can meet us at the park at 9am). Bring a lunch and we will walk the boardwalk and possibly other trails at the park. We will head back to North Augusta at approximately 4pm. Lois leads.
May 19-21 – Phinizy birding festival. See the Phinizy Website: Click/Tap here
May 27, Saturday – Crackerneck WMA. Meet at the Crackerneck sign in area at 8am to carpool through the property. Bring a lunch as we may go into the afternoon. This is a great place for birding that is only open to non-hunters a few times a year.
June 2 – FRIDAY – Lover’s Lane. Meet at 8am at Popeye’s at Walton Way and Gordon Highway to carpool to look for summer residents. Trip should end by noon.
June 24, Saturday – Dilane Wings and Things. Meet at Phinizy Swamp NP at 8am to carpool to Dilane WMA in Burke County for a Wings and Things trip. This is a great place for birds and butterflies especially. Bring a lunch and we will spend the day. We should head back by 4pm or so.
April 8, 2017. Phinizy Swamp Nature Park
What a fantastic day for birding! 7 of us started the day at the locked gate at the park listening to Eastern Meadowlarks sing at the airport. The person who was supposed to open the gate had not done so but Kim saved the day and unlocked it for us!
It was pretty cold to start but by the halfway point we were shedding layers. The birds didn't seem to mind though. We had 59 species for the day!!
We started in the brush along the parking lot with Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and White-eyed Vireos and those three species stayed with us all day.
We had at least 15 each of the gnatcatchers and kinglets. There was also a House Wren in that area and one lone Indigo Bunting male who never sang but posed several times for us. We walked through the woods and got good looks at multiple Northern Parulas and Yellow-throated Warblers. A few Yellow-rumps were getting breeding colors. At the bridge through the woods we had a big flock of Chimney Swifts, the first for the year. At the green trail we heard a Summer Tanager, another first.
There were a few ducks still in the equalization pond as well as Great, Snowy and Cattle Egrets and Little Blue Herons. There was a huge flock of swallows, at least Rough-winged, Barn and Tree. We had an uncooperative Marsh Wren along the 3 Ton Bridge singing his heart out and scurrying through the grass.
We walked around to the parking lot and ended the trip with 58 species, but as I was driving out I heard a Prairie Warbler and pulled over. Those people who came out behind me stopped too and we managed to get awesome looks at our 59th species of the day.
Interesting misses; no Red-shouldered nor Red-tailed Hawks and no Song, Swamp nor Savannah Sparrows. We did have 8 species of warblers. This is a great time to bird. Come out with us next time. Lois Stacey.
April 9, 2017. Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park.
Another beautiful day for a field trip. We had our first ever club field trip to Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park on Sunday. This is the premiere location for migration birding in Georgia. We were early for migration, peak is about two weeks away, but this weekend fit the schedule best.
Four people were there for the trip. It is approximately 1.4 miles to the top of the mountain along a paved road with trees all along it. We didn’t have a lot of species, only 26, and we only had one real migrant, a Black-throated Green Warbler, but we still had a good day.
We saw Blue-headed Vireos and heard Yellow-throated Vireos. There were Kinglets, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Robins everywhere. We saw quite a few yellow-rumped Warblers, at least one in near breeding plumage. The big surprise though was how many Turkeys we heard from below the path! They were gobbling all the way up the mountain.
Along the way, we also had a large Red-tailed Hawk sitting on a perch below the path. It then flew up into a tree literally at eye height right beside the road and sat for a few seconds, then to a perch over the path and then further up the mountain. You don’t get views like that very often.
We will be going back next year closer to peak migration. Come with us and see another great birding spot. Lois Stacey.
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