Augusta-Aiken Audubon November, 2017<u> Newsletter


	November, 2017                       Gene Howard, Editor,
	Volume 46, No.6                      actor_882@hotmail.com
     

NOVEMBER MEETING The Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society will meet on Thursday, November 9, 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: The speaker for the November meeting will be AAAS member Herb Fechter. The title of his talk is "Birds of Alaska". He will show slides from his birding trips to Alaska.

OUR FIRST BIG SIT

Sunday, October 8. This was our first Big Sit but not our last! We've had to watch the weather all week because Hurricane Nate was headed our way but we managed to get in most of a day before the rains started. One of the hoped-for dawn birds, Barred Owl, started calling before the circle was set up so I hurried to get that done and he called again when I was done. Bird #1, done!

Species were racked up as the sun came up but overall it was a very slow day. Many expected species that are regular at this location were neither seen nor heard but we had a great time socializing while watching and listening. It was a very different, and much laid back, birding experience. We ended the day with 43 species; much lower than we hoped for but next year will be better! Lois Stacey.

EDUCATION FUNDRAISER

Our fundraiser to support environmental education in local schools is well underway and so far, the results look promising. A small group of Audubon Chapter members got together on the evening of October 11 to get solicitation letters ready to mail to Audubon members across the C.S.R.A. By the end of the evening, this hard-working group had folded, stuffed, labeled, stamped, and hand-addressed almost 500 letters. It wasn't all work and no play; they did enjoy a meal of burgers and brats, sides, and dessert!

The Chapter Direct Mail Fundraising Campaign is off to a Great Start! As of October 27, nearly $2,100 has been raised, all of which will be directed toward Augusta-Aiken Audubon’s education program. Beth Eberhard chairs the education committee and will be matching the incoming gifts with schools that have shown an interest in using the Audubon Adventure kit of magazines, online features, and teacher resources.

You can learn more about this wonderful nature-based curriculum at www.audubonadventures.org If you’ve already contributed to this fundraising campaign, thank you so much! If not, please visit the chapter website (www.augustaaikenaudubon.org) where you can learn more about this effort and how to contribute. By putting these materials in the hands of our local students and teachers, classrooms in grades three through six will be engaged in nature study and environmental stewardship. What a wonderful legacy these donations will provide!

KROGER COMMUNITY REWARDS PROGRAM

Did you know you can help The Augusta Aiken Audubon Society get FREE MONEY by shopping at Kroger or Amazon Smile? Kroger has a program called Community Rewards set up to give back money to organizations of your choice.

You can set up or link your current Kroger card on the Kroger web site,www.kroger.com. Go to the tab labeled Explore and select Community Rewards. From there select Augusta Aiken Audubon Society. It should be shown as organization number 45756. Kroger will donate proceeds from your weekly shopping to Audubon.

On Amazon Smile you can select The Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society. You will see eligible products marked "Eligible for AmazonSmile donation" on their product detail pages on smile.amazon.com.

Remember every dollar counts when added up thru the year from many members, friends and family. We have already received proceeds from this so feel free to spread the word on an easy way to support our local Audubon Chapter.

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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.

November 4, SaturdayLover’s Lane. Meet at the Popeye’s at Walton Way and Gordon Highway to carpool at 8am. We will look for arriving winter residents such as sparrows and thrushes as well as any migrants that are still coming through. Trip should last until about noon.

November 10 – FRIDAY! - Meet at Phinizy Swamp NP at 8am to walk the loop and look for arriving winter waterfowl and other residents. The loop trail is approximately 2.5 miles. Trip will end about noon.

November 18, SaturdayMerry Brother’s paved road – Meet at Popeye’s at Gordon Highway and Walton Way at 8am to carpool. We will drive and walk the paved road looking for waterfowl and woodland birds. This can be a very productive route. If time allows (and road conditions are good) we will drive in and look for ducks in some of the other ponds. There is a $4 per person charge to enter the property. Trip will end about noon.

December 2,Saturday Phinizy Swamp NP – Meet in the parking lot at Phinizy 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 12 noon.

December 9, Saturday – Merry Brickyard Ponds Noon Trip – Meet at the Popeyes at Walton Way and Gordon Hwy at 12 noon to carpool. There is a $4 charge to enter the Merry property. We will drive the wetland cells if roads are passable, we will bird the paved road if they are not looking for ducks and geese. Trip should last until 4pm.

December 16, SaturdayAugusta Christmas Bird Count. I will be contacting those who participated last year about assigned areas so look for my email in November. If you did not participate last year but would like to, please contact me at birdercroakie@gmail.com and I will get you onto a territory and connected to the team leader for that territory. There is no morning meeting – teams can set up their own meeting areas and times. If you would like to participate, please try and let me know by December 9. There will be a lunch meet-up and countdown at 1pm at the Popeye’s at Walton Way and Gordon Hwy. Lois Stacey.

December 23, SaturdayAiken Christmas Bird Count – Aiken’s CBC is December 23 this year because Christmas Eve is on a Sunday!! If you would like to participate, please contact Calvin Zippler by December 13, at zipplerc@bellsouth.net or at 803-508-0692. There is no morning meeting for this count, all assignments are organized before count day. We will meet for lunch at 1pm – location to be determined.

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.

FIELD TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

October 7, 2017 The Aiken County Fall Migration Count was held October 7, with a day that began in a light, misty rain, but which eventually brought clear skies and high of 89°.

Twelve participants birded Silver Bluff Audubon, Hitchcock Woods, Boyd Pond Park, parts of Aiken and North Augusta, Beech Island, Horse Creek water treatment facility, and elsewhere. A total of 2,754 individuals were tallied, representing 91 species. Twelve warbler species were found, and other notables included Merlin, Sora, American Bittern, and 763 Northern Rough-winged Swallows al l perched on power lines adjacent to the Wood Stork foraging ponds at Silver Bluff. All eight woodpecker species were tallied, but apparently all the hummingbirds had left the area.

October 21-22 2017, Jekyll Island

Three of us participated in the field trips at Jekyll Island and Gould's Inlet this weekend. We met at the Jekyll Island Visitor Center and spent a few minutes checking out the birds as the tide came in. We had three Red Knots and several Marbled Godwits, the only ones we saw all weekend. We also had good scope looks at Clapper Rails. We left there and went to JIBS, the Jekyll Island Banding Station, on the south end of the island. It was a quiet day for them but they did have a Gray Catbird to band while we were there. One of our participants got to release it while the other was helping on a net run. Then we headed to the beach but with high tide and the changes that the hurricanes have brought there was no beach. We did see several Roseate Spoonbills, Wood Storks and a Bald Eagle on Racoon Key across the water. We went further down the road and walked out onto the beach and headed south and came across the only flock of birds out there; Sanderlings, Royal, Caspian and Sandwhich Terns; Herring, Ring-billed and Laughing Gulls. We spent about 1/2 hour sitting and watching the feeders at the Jekyll Island Campground and had Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Ovenbird, male and female Black-throated Blue Warblers, Painted Buntings and the normal feeder birds. We made a stop at the Amphitheater but couldn't get to the pond easily so we just birded the parking lot and got Hooded Warbler and American Redstart.

We then headed back to the visitor's center for lunch and more bird watching. We had some of the same species as the morning but we also had two Whimbrels on the flats. These are great birds to see. After lunch we drove to Andrews Island Causeway to see what was out there. When we got to the end we could scope across the water to see American White Pelicans and 31 American Avocets. Nearer to us was a flat of shorebirds including several hundred Semipalmated Plovers, a number of peeps (a few identified as Least and Western) and some Black-bellied Plovers. This ended day one of our trips.

Sunday morning we met at the Coast Guard station on St. Simon's Island but since there were just two vehicles we drove over to 15th street and parked at the Gould's Inlet overlook. This area was drastically changed by the hurricanes. The boardwalk was destroyed and there is now a small dune where there wasn't one before. There is also a lot more sand and sandbars in the inlet according to one local we met. The birds mostly stayed out in the inlet as the tide came in but they were still well within scope range. We had most of the same gulls and terns as the day before but we also had a Lesser Black-backed Gull. Among the Semipalmated Plovers we saw two Piping Plovers too. And we saw Dunlin which we had been looking for all weekend. There were no Reddish Egrets hanging around the inland 'lake' caused by the dunes but we did finally see one way out in the inlet and then as the water rose it flew over us and into the marsh. We spent a couple of hours watching the birds and then headed home (or to more birding, depending). It was a great weekend with wonderful weather (if a bit windy) and we had 81 species. Lois Stacey.

                 (American Redstart}

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
A-AAS Web Site: http://augustaaikenaudubon.org/

AAAS Web Site: www.augustaaikenaudubon.org/

Webmaster: Gene Howard, actor_882@hotmail.com

WOOD DUCK REFLECTIONS

(Photos by Gene Howard)