Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
The diet of the Yellow-throated Warbler is not well-known though it does include spiders. In fact, bird mortality has been reported due to entanglement in spider webs. The Yellow-throated Warbler bathes more than most warblers and has the longest bill of the wood warblers. They can be seen feeding upside down on the trunk of a tree similar to the feeding style of a nuthatch.
Even in yesterday’s heavy rains and between the claps of thunder, the song of the male Yellow-throated Warbler could be heard proclaiming its territory and availability. In the next few weeks, additional species will return and begin their breeding cycle. It’s about to get loud and colorful in the swamp!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Yesterday's Post and Courier ran an article, including images by Audubon South Carolina's Jeff Mollenhauer, on a group of White Pelicans that have taken up winter residence in the Lowcountry.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Although South Carolina?s commercial shellfish harvest has remained stable over the past three decades, the closing of oyster canneries and most shucking houses during this period has resulted in a shortage of shucked oyster shell needed to cultivate oyster beds. The increasing popularity of backyard oyster roasts and by-the-bushel retail sales have contributed to this shortage in that, contrary to the shucking houses and canneries, shells remaining from individual oyster roasts are not usually returned to the estuary to provide a suitable surface to attract juvenile oysters. More often than not, the shell ends up in driveways and landfills.
During the summer months, oysters spawn and release free-swimming larvae, called spat, into the water column. The spat are carried by tide and current and after spending about two weeks moving in the water column, seek a suitable surface upon which to attach and begin building their shells of calcium carbonate. Unless disturbed, they will spend the remainder of their life cycle where they have attached. Centuries of oyster cultivation experience have proven oyster shell to be one of most desirable materials (called cultch) for attachment and subsequent growth of young oysters. Other cultch materials, such as shucked whelk shell and wooden stakes have been very successful in attracting and supporting oyster spat.
Each year, oyster shell used for planting public shellfish grounds has become increasingly expensive and hard to find. A SCDNR project, funded by the revenue generated by Saltwater Recreational Fishing License sales, makes it possible to recycle oyster shell and reclaim this valuable resource to enhance shellfish habitat. As this conservation initiative gains public awareness and participation, it is hoped that increased volumes of oyster shell will be made available for planting Public Shellfish Grounds by SCDNR personnel and equipment and by contract with private companies to improve recreational shellfish harvesting opportunities for the public.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
(300) Laughing Gulls
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The Great Backyard Bird Count is almost here! Get your family and friends together and help ornithologists understand what the birds are doing in North America this year. You don't need to be an expert and you can spend as little as 15 minutes observing nature.
Parents and teachers can find bird-related lessons and activities here.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Sunday's drive was the second consecutive year that the club held its Valentine Drive at Silver Bluff. This year’s event featured 26 carriages pulled by teams of horses as well as miniature ponies. Clear blue skies and temperatures in the 60F’s helped to create a perfect day for the 7.5-mile drive, which offered views of the winding Savannah River, travel through open fields and majestic pine and hardwood forests, and ended with a phenomenal hot gumbo lunch made with shrimp, sausage, and chicken! Everyone returned home happy to have spent the day outdoors and having contributed to Audubon’s efforts toward bird conservation!
Friday, February 08, 2008
Meet us at the Nickelodeon Theatre in Columbia at 11:00 am. Lobby Teams typically last until 3:00 pm. The Nickelodeon Theatre is located at 937 Main Street, on the corner of South Main and Pendleton streets behind the State House. (Parking is available on the street at green two-hour meters, or in one of two parking garages located at Lady and Assembly streets or Gervais and Sumter streets.)
Please RSVP to Jeff Mollenhauer at firstname.lastname@example.org or843-462-2150 if you plan to attend. (Business attire.)
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Previously, this blog has noted the unique mircohabitat referred to as a seep. Today's Post and Courier provides coverage of Dr. Dan Tufford and SCDNR's Steve Bennett and their continuing research into these poorly-understood wetlands. "There's something about the plumbing of these things that's going to be interesting to understand," Tufford said.
Brad Nettles/The Post and Courier
Tufford checks to see the kinds of wildlife that inhabit a Beidler Forest seep.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Monday, February 04, 2008
Friday, February 01, 2008
It is time once again for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)! Audubon South Carolina will be counting again this year, including leading bird walks at the Francis Beidler Forest. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it is a terrific family activity. Although the beautiful Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) (Photo credit: Don Wuori) will not yet have returned from its southern vacation, there are plenty of interesting birds that often go unnoticed by the casual observer.
As a lead up to the GBBC, Audubon South Carolina has put together some lessons and activities that will help teachers, students and families learn about birds while addressing South Carolina curriculum standards (K-8) in science, language arts and mathematics. This information can be found on our website at http://sc.audubon.org/Centers_FBF_Educators_Curriculum_GBBC.html. Unfortunately, many school districts have aggressive firewall and internet blocking software, so our attempts to share this information do not get through or interested individuals are blocked from accessing our site from school. You can help the birds and environmental education by sharing this information and by participating in the count!
The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event (Feb. 15-18, 2008) that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate in this hands-on science, from beginning bird watchers to experts.
Did you know that birding is the number one sport in America? According to US Fish and Wildlife Service, there are currently 51.3 million birders in the United States alone, and this number continues to grow! You can join in the science and fun!
Observers do NOT need to be expert birders. Observation time can be as little as 15 minutes and can occur in any setting (school, living room, backyard, neighborhood, beach, forest, or sites listed below). Observers only report the birds that they can identify, which can be as few as one individual bird. However, the cumulative data collected across North America is valuable to ornithologists and the data collection itself allows students to participate in real-world science.
List of bird viewing spots in Lowcountry:
Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest for owls, woodpeckers, songbirds
Pitt Street Bridge (in Mt. Pleasant) for shorebirds, rails, loons, grebes.
Huntington Beach State Park for shorebirds, sea ducks, gannets, songbirds
Santee National Wildlife Refuge for waterfowl, geese, bald eagles, songbirds
Folly Beach County Park for shorebirds, sea ducks, gannets
Bear Island & Donnelley WMA for waterfowl, bald eagles, egrets/herons, wood storks, white pelicans
Congaree National Park for owls, woodpeckers, songbirds
Let us know if you counted birds in our great backyard!