Posts Tagged ‘birding’
I saw a recent article in a Charleston newspaper proclaiming: “Wood Storks Stage Comeback.” Apparently there are now over 150 breeding pairs in the Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve about 10 miles south of Charleston. Now there are 40 pairs of Wood Storks that have established what may be the largest urban breeding colony in the region in Dill Sanctuary, on the Stono River on James Island, five miles from downtown Charleston. Here’s a snippet from the article (which is no longer available online):
Incongruously, up close on the ground, the stork’s wrinkly head might be uglier than the macabre vulture it’s related to.
“It’s not a handsome bird,” said Andy Harrison, a member of Charleston Audubon.
Like the bald eagle, the stork has become a bellwether of the potential of preserving coastal environment as the Lowcountry develops. Its success gives conservationists hope for the return of fabled wildlife such as the whooping crane lost more than a century ago.
A generation ago, the stork bird had all but disappeared. An estimated 40,000 breeding pairs in the Southeast in 1930 were decimated by the loss of their nesting habitat and shallow feeding waters. In 1981, only 11 pairs were counted in South Carolina.
But recent counts put the number of wood stork pairs in the state at more than 2,000, the largest colony in the United States.
I feel fortunate to have had several of these magnificent (but admittedly UGLY!) birds visit our back yard over the past year. Here is a picture I took from my office window of two of them that were having some “quality time” on the bank of the lagoon behind our house: (more…)
I took this video of a Marbled Godwit along the shore of Port Royal Sound during spring migration this year. We were at Mitchellville Beach Park on the north end of Hilton Head Island and saw a lot of migrating shorebirds that day – this is a real birding hotspot during spring and fall migration!
I was using a small hand-held digital camera and it was a windy day, so the audio has some wind noise and the picture is a bit unsteady at times since the wind was blowing me around. But I think it still provides a great closup look at a Marbled Godwit feeding along the shallows of the Port Royal Mud Flats.
The northeast end of Hilton Head Island where the Port Royal Sound empties into the Atlantic Ocean is a “hot spot” for shorebirds to gather, especially during spring and fall migration. The Town of Hilton Head Island has preserved a large area of land along Port Royal Sound as part of Fish Haul Creek Park, which includes a tidal creek, marshlands, maritime forests, and a stretch of sandy shoreline.
This video provides views of the area from the shoreline, looking first up into Fish Haul Creek and its marshland area, then going around the shoreline and the “Port Royal Flats” area where hundreds of gulls, terns, skimmers, sandpipers, pelicans, herons, and egrets gather to feed, rest, and “hang out” on the sandbars.
I took this video of a male Anhinga drying out its wings along the Laurel Hill Drive in the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge on Memorial Day weekend 2010. This road is now closed to all visitors from June 1 to January 2011 for repairs to the water management system that runs under the road in several places.
Anhinga drying out its wings at Savannah NWR
I wanted to get out to the refuge before the road was closed so I could get some good pictures and videos, and I was rewarded for my efforts!
I took a drive out to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on Sunday – I wanted to get in one last visit before the Laurel Hill Drive closed down today (June 1st). I got some interested videos, including this one of a Tri-colored Heron hunting for his lunch in a lagoon along with an alligator:
Tri-colored Heron and Alligator at Savannah NWR
The alligator was not all that big compared to some of the ones that I’ve seen at Savannah NWR – only about 6 feet long or so. But the Tri-colored Heron was definitely keeping an eye on him!