Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Bird Count in Four Holes Swamp 2012

All the data sheets for the Monday's 2012 Four Holes Swamp Christmas Bird Count have not been returned to the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest.  However, with 95 species already tallied, we have bested last year's 90 species and are within striking distance of 2010's 100 species.  The species numbers for this year are surprising as the day's weather began with temperatures fluctuating noticeably between warm and cool, continued to cool and began to lightly rain by noon, and ended the birding shortly after 3:00 p.m. with the arrival of heavy rain.

Some bird highlights included 79 Sandhill Cranes flying near Beider Forest; a pair of Bald Eagles perched in a snag overlooking the Holcim Cement quarry; multiple Sharp-shinned Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, and Northern Harriers; Loggerhead Shrikes with prey; Wild Turkey; and over 200 American Pipits.

In addition to the many birds we spotted, we also spied an alligator in a pond deep in the inactive portion of the Holcim Cement quarry.  Although the morning weather could not be classified as wintery, we all agreed it was too cool for a swim.  A few hundred meters away in the swamp, we surprised an animal better suited to be swimming in the cold water.  A large beaver with insulating fur slipped off the bank and swam down the lake away from the Holcim dock.

Thank you to the 32 participants in this year's count and to Argos and Holcim cement companies for access to their properties!  We still had some groups counting more than one section of the count circle, so we could use your help next December for the 114th annual Christmas Bird Count.  The date is tentatively set for December 16, 2013.

Due to the wet weather, we do not have any bird images to show from this year's count, so we will leave you with an image taken two days ago by one of our game cameras.

White-tailed Deer  -  self-portrait
We hope Santa's can account for all of his deer.  We will see you in 2013!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas and Screech Owls

We probably will not see any Eastern Screech Owls (Otus asio) on our own during the Four Holes Swamp Christmas Bird Count on Monday, but there is a possibility we will hear one or discover one due to mobbing activity by other bird species.  Screech owls are strictly nocturnal and vary in color from bright rufous to plain gray.  Beyond being nocturnal, the intricate pattern of their feathers make screech owls difficult, if not impossible, to see against a backdrop of tree bark.

Recently, a motorist brought in a gray adult Eastern Screech Owl that was in the middle of the road.  Although they struck the owl, it may have been standing in the middle of road after having been previously struck by a vehicle.  Note the bird's coloration and size in the hand of Mike Dawson, center director.

Eastern Screech Owl - Mark Musselman

Eastern Screech Owl - Mark Musselman

Eastern Screech Owl - Mark Musselman
Mike Dawson with Eastern Screech Owl - Mark Musselman
Two years ago, we found a rufous adult Eastern Screech Owl in the middle of Beidler Forest Road.

Eastern Screech Owl - Mark Musselman
Six years ago, we took a picture of a Barred Owl (Strix varia) in the road.  Unfortunately, we see many vehicle-struck Barred Owls along the roads in and around the swamp.

Barred Owl - Mark Musselman
It is not only owls in danger of being hit by vehicles, but other avian predators like the Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) shown below.

Red-shouldered Hawk - Mark Musselman

Red-shouldered Hawk - Mark Musselman

Red-shouldered Hawk - Mark Musselman
All of these predators perch near open areas like power line corridors and roadways.  Humans throwing food items or trash out of the window of a vehicle attracts prey animals to the road's edge.  Avian predators fixated on their prey will glide from their perch and risk getting hit by a vehicle as they fly low across the road.

Please keep you trash in your vehicle, so we can count all the owls and hawks during Monday's Christmas Bird Count!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

GPS Units Coming to Ashley Ridge High School

Ashley Ridge High School has received a grant from Lowcountry Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) to purchase six or more global positioning system (GPS) units.  Students will be able to use the GPS units to capture latitude/longitude coordinates for points of interest along the nature trail, including the abundant wildlife they encounter, or habitat enhancement sites they create.  Bill Salisbury, representing Dorchester County, presented the check to the grant writers Amy Litz,  Jerry Kociuruba, and Natalie Tarpein after taking a quick tour of the nature trail to see the many possibilities for integrating the GPS technology into the biology and environmental sciences classes.

(l to r) Natalie Tarpein, Bill Salisbury, Jerry Kociuruba, Amy Litz on nature trail
Over the last two years, students in the environmental science and AP biology classes have received GPS training (see Summerville Journal Scene article) as well as geographic information systems (GIS) training, which they used to create maps with the GPS data they had collected.  The training and GPS units used were provided by the education department at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest and had been purchased with a grant from the South Carolina Geographic Alliance.

As an organization, Lowcountry RC&D sells year-old seed to individuals who wish to plant feed plots for wildlife.  Any profits are distributed to projects aimed at teaching students about the environment.   Previous Lowcountry RC&D grants to the education department at Francis Beidler Forest have gone toward the purchase of iPod Touches and binoculars (see below), which also have been used with ARHS students during various on-campus visits.

Ms. Tarpein and class learning birding basics
Geography is everywhere!  Thanks to Lowcountry RC&D, students at Ashley Ridge High School have some new tools to help them explore, map, and understand their environment.

Friday, November 30, 2012

2012 Christmas Bird Count

Christmas Bird Counters!

On Monday the 17th of December 2012, we will be conducting the Four Holes Swamp Christmas Bird Count and participating in the 113th Christmas Bird Count!

Yellow-rumped Warbler - Mark Musselman
The general plan is as follows - teams will meet on the morning of the 17th at Audubon’s Francis Beidler Forest visitor center. We will meet at 8am and go out and count for 8 hours with our respective teams. Everyone will return to the visitor center by 4:30pm to turn in their lists. At that time, everyone is welcome to enjoy some hot beverages (coffee, tea, hot chocolate) and snacks (cookies, cake, etc), which we will provide at the center as a thank you for volunteering!

Please note that there is no longer a $5 per person participation fee, which was used to pay for the compilation of the data and for the CBC results summary book that was mailed out each year. The data summary will no longer be mailed to individuals, but all data will be available via the web site  Therefore, voluntary donations are now even more crucial to the Christmas Bird Count. You can donate online at the secure CBC link:

Count sections
There are still some open territories (#7, #8 and #10) and some territories light on participants, so please share this with anyone you think may be interested!

Mark Musselman
(843) 462-2150

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Audubon South Carolina Nature Photography Contest

If you love Nature and you love photography, then you just might be interested in this special event.
Audubon South Carolina, in conjunction with the Carolinas' Nature Photographers Association, is presenting our fifth Nature Photography Contest, which runs in 2012 from April 1st through November 13th (extended, see below). Wildlife, plant and landscape images can be submitted, and a wonderfully generous donor has provided CASH prizes.

A happy ending to this entry was that this cypress buttress taken by Mark Hoyle became an 8-foot promotional photo for Beidler Forest in the Summerville Visitor Center!


THE DEADLINE TO SUBMIT IMAGES FOR THE Audubon/CNPA Nature Photography Contest has been extended:  Taking into account the very busy and recent  holiday weekend and to allow more time for folks to get images in for the contest, we have decided to extend the deadline for submitting images for this contest. Images must arrive at Beidler Audubon Sanctuary by the closing of the sanctuary (at 5 PM) on Wednesday December 5th, 2012.

Please send or deliver images to:  The Audubon Beidler Sanctuary, 336 Sanctuary Road, Harleyville, SC 29448, Attn: Nancyjean Nettles.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Master Naturalists Visit

Yesterday, the master naturalist class from the Lowcountry Institute on Spring Island visited the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest.  What a difference a day makes!  A visit today, after the passing of the cold front, would not have produced the variety of wildlife sightings described below.

Upon entering the swamp, a Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis) greeted us with a call as it flew inches off the ground between its inspections of decaying logs.  With the water level remaining low due to the lack of rain, we concentrated our wildlife searches around the few shallow creek channels.  Either the wildlife lives in the water or it eats something in the water.  We had our first hit along the channel near #5.  As we pointed out a frequently used deer trail, free of leaves and with fresh tracks embedded in the mud, a member of the group spotted an Eastern Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus piscivorus) wedged low between two trees.

Eastern Cottonmouth - Mark Musselman
As photos were being taken, another member of the group spotted a second cottonmouth nearly obscured by a log off the other side of the boardwalk.  A brief walk to #8 and another cottonmouth was discovered basking on a log.

All was relatively quiet at Goodson Lake and around to #14, which is halfway back on the return loop.  Beyond #14, a Barred Owl (Strix varia) was spotted low on a branch a few meters left of the boardwalk.  For several minutes, the owl tolerated the group of twenty-five adults along with the "aahs" and clicking camera shutters.  Eventually, it flew to a slightly more distant perch and gave a brief hoot to let us know it was time to move along.

Barred Owl - Mark Musselman
As we turned, we spotted the owl's mate ahead of us on the hand rail.  The second owl attempted to catch something on the ground to the left of the boardwalk and then flew to a low perch next to the hand rail.  Again, the cameras came up as the model posed patiently for the art gallery shots.

Barred Owl - Mark Musselman

Barred Owl - Mark Musselman
Having not yet finishing discussing the fortuitous close encounters with the owls, we came upon a large Banded Water Snake (Nerodia fasciata fasciata) that appears to have sensed the cooling weather and has established a den near the fallen water hickory.
Collis Boyd repairing boardwalk - Mark Musselman
We continued on to the nature center for lunch and then made the short drive to the marl bluff along the southern edge of Mallard Lake.  The Six-lined Racerunners (Cnemidophorus sexlineatus) were absent this trip, but we did capture a young Southern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus undulatus) in the dry, sandy upland habitat.  A short walk down the steep slope, approximately 20' change in elevation, brought us to a seep.  Seeps form when rain peculates vertically through the soil until it reaches the impermeable layer of marl.  Water then travels laterally until emerging from the base of the slope in a narrow (5'-6') and short (20'-25') wetland.  The cool, permanent and fish-free water is prime amphibian, especially salamander, habitat.  We quickly located a Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus) and a Southern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea cirrigera) before being distracted by a small, beautifully colored Eastern Cottonmouth.  The snake quickly retreated to its likely den in an exposed root mass and we moved away from the bluff to explore the dry swamp.

An immediate and somewhat satisfying find was the skull of a wild pig (Sus scrofa), a scourge we have discussed previously in this blog.  Note the gnawing by other wildlife, mainly rodents, as they seek to meet their calcium needs.  Stirring leaves and rolling a few logs produced a variety of frogs, including a Southern Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus), a Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) , and a Pine Woods Treefrog (Hyla femoralis) as well as a beautiful Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum)!

Wild pig skull - Mark Musselman

Marbled Salamander - Mark Musselman

Marbled Salamander - Mark Musselman

Pine Woods Treefrog - Mark Musselman
Finally, before heading back up the bluff to the vehicles, Kelley Luikey snapped a photo of a richly colored Marbled Orbweaver (Araneus marmoreus).  With today's cool, breezy weather portending overnight freezes, these spiders will not be around much longer.

Marbled Orbweaver - Kelley Luikey

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Beginning to Feel Like Winter

It is beginning to feel like winter at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest!  The nights have become cold and the days crisp.  The trees have responded with various shades of red, orange, yellow and brown.  Along the boardwalk, most of the trees have lost their leaves during one of the breezy days in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  Although this time of year finds fewer birds in the swamp and reptiles tend to remain hidden, the lack of leaves allows one to actually see the swamp both in depth from the boardwalk and from ground to the crown of the old-growth bald cypress trees.

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are avoiding nearby hunters and are frequently seen as they vacate their resting spots in the dwarf palmetto covered high spots in the swamp.

White-tailed Deer - Mark Musselman
White-tailed Deer - Mark Musselman
This morning, we arrived to find a pair of 8-point bucks in the parking area.  Although not combative at the time, rutting season is not the time for virile males to mingle politely.  Later in the morning, we flushed one of the bucks from a bedding site between the driveways.  Ten minutes later, we did it again.  Instead of returning to the building, we waited behind a parked vehicle to see if the buck would return again to the same spot.  In less than two minutes, the buck moved right back and bedded down.  After retrieving a camera, we returned for a shot, but got only close enough to see the buck leave out the opposite side of the thick vegetation.  This time, however, a doe followed the buck.  No wonder he kept going back!

Dead White-tailed Deer - Mark Musselman
For whatever reason, one deer will not be making it through the winter.  Last week, we saw vultures at the upper end of Goodson Lake and detected the faint odor of death.  We could not see what the birds had found, but they appeared to be unable to open the meal.  Vulture bills work well at pulling flesh from a carcass, but they are not suitable for tearing through a tough hide.  Yesterday, we hopped off the boardwalk to identify the animals attracting the vultures' attention.  Unable to find an opening beyond the eye sockests and the anus, the vultures, Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) and Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura), appear to be waiting for the deer to pop.  Based on yesterday's odor, it should not be long.

Turkey Vulture - Mark Musselman
Black Vulture - Mark Musselman
Other birds spotted along the boardwalk include year-round residents, winter residents, and a what-the-heck-are-you-doing-here? Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus).  Like the cuckoo, most of the birds did not present us with photographic opportunities, so you will need to click on their names to link to images.  We saw the Yellow-billed Cuckoo fly from a high perch and would have dismissed it as an optical illusion, if we had not had the chance to watch it for five minutes when it landed high in a bald cypress.  Looking over its shoulder, the yellow bill, clean white underparts, bright rufous primaries and long tail were all evident and unmistakably cuckoo.

A winter resident that is seldom seen due to its fantastic camouflage is the American Woodcock (Scolopax minor), which we flushed near #112.  Had it not exploded into flight, we would never had known it had arrived.  Although eBird continues to question the presence and number of Winter Wrens (Troglodytes hiemalis) we see along the boardwalk, the old-growth swamp appears to be desirable for this energetic bird that never appears to break an elevation of two feet above the ground.  Look for it flying full speed into hollow logs or knees.

Hermit Thrushes (Catharus guttatus), Ruby-crowned Kinglets (Regulus calendula), Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe), Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus) and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus varius) round out the list of frequently seen winter residents.  Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers drill shallow holes in something of a line and eat the sap that oozes from the wells or insects attracted to the same sap.  Near #104, we observed a pair of males engaged in noisy aerial combat.  Based on the determination of one male pursuing the other, it appears one was defending his territory and hard work of well drilling from an interloper.

Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) and Belted Kingfishers (Ceryle alcyon) continue to enjoy the dam work done by the beavers.  Whereas most of the swamp is dry, having missed any contributions from Hurricane Sandy, the water remains knee-deep on the upstream side of the dam.  Perfect for paddling around and calling or diving for fish.

Yesterday, we encountered nine Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) moving north along the edge of the swamp by #115 with only their colorful heads peeking above the dwarf palmettos.  With leaves off of most of the trees, Barred Owls (Strix varia), especially at the #7 rest stop, appear to prefer resting in evergreen trees.  Out in the swamp, it is the oaks that are "evergreen," which is a technicality as they do drop their leaves, just not all at once.  Therefore, if you visit during the winter, look up at #7 and you will likely see an owl or two looking back.

Barred Owls - Mark Musselman
Finally, the edge of the swamp near #152 and the vulture convention, a large hawk wheeled in to check out the action.  Sounding like the whap-whap-whap of an approaching helicopter, a pair of Black Vultures launched from their roost high in a bald cypress as a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) landed.  The lighting was horrible and the landing brief, so the pictures below are not high quality.  Even so, the youngster is an impressive bird!

Red-tailed Hawk - Mark Musselman

Red-tailed Hawk - Mark Musselman

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Unusual Wildlife on Migration

At this time of year, a walk around the 1.75-mile boardwalk in the old-growth swamp at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest will produce wildlife sightings that include White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), a host of woodpeckers, River Otters (Lutra canadensis), Red-shouldered Hawks (Buteo lineatus), Ruby-crowned Kinglets (Regulus calendula), etc.  Birds like the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius), Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis) and Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) have migrated here for the winter.  What you will not see is a Great White Shark, but they are closer than you might expect!

Two days ago, a 16-foot, 3456-pound female Great White Shark named Mary Lee paid a visit to the Charleston Harbor!  You can see her track and follow her progress south by visiting Ocearch Global Shark Tracker.

Like snakes in the swamp, sharks are predators in the ocean that pose little threat to humans and serve an important role in their ecosystem.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

American Hover Fly

Yesterday, an American Hover Fly (Metasyrphus americanus) came into our office at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest.

The American Hover Fly is a very good wasp mimic (note only one pair of wings versus a wasp's two pairs).  If you doubt this is true, watch the histrionics of anyone along the boardwalk or picnic area when one of these insects makes its noisy appearance.  It's only a fly, but you would have an impossible time convincing anyone of that fact.

You can learn more about hover flies (specifically, in Europe) here.  In the meantime, you need to worry about something other than these aphid-eaters.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

It's not a Wilson Pickett song, but there are plenty of people along the East Coast who would like to see Sandy slow down (at least in wind speed).

National Weather Service and Google Earth
For the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest, it looks like the hurricane will stay well east of South Carolina and north of us should it turn northwest as shown by the National Weather Service's cone of uncertainty in the above image.  However, the swamp is fairly dry and we would not mind some rain.  Based on the NWS graphic below, we will be at the outer edge of the rainfall generated by the storm.

Although rain would be welcomed in the swamp, it will not be welcomed by those who have signed up for tomorrow evening's nightwalk.  Like many on the East Coast, we will be watching the weather for the next day or two!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Busy Beavers Expand Operation

The beavers (Castor canadensis) at Audubon's Francis Beidler Forest have been busy again!  Previously, none of the beaver construction (shown in orange) could be easily seen from the boardwalk.

However, beavers have recently constructed a 20+-foot section damming the creek channel that runs under the boardwalk at #5.

The image below shows the view back toward the boardwalk (look closely).

Only a portion of this short dam can be seen from the boardwalk, but it slows water that has found its way through or under the main dam, which is another 50 meters north at the power line right-of-way/tree line interface.  A few meters behind the main dam and hidden by a thick screen of cattails, is the beaver's lodge.

Although some trees may not survive the gnawing of the beavers or the near-permanent presence of water behind the dam, other species are benefiting from the beavers' work.  As noted above, cattails are growing in a dense block from tree line to tree line in the sunny, pond-like conditions in the power line right-of-way.  A small Banded Water Snake (Nerodia fasciata fasciata) sought refuge the dam shown above and an Eastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum) was foraging in the shallow water on the downstream side.  Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) and Belted Kingfishers (Ceryle alcyon) can be heard calling behind the dam and big fish can be heard pursuing smaller prey through the deeper water.

While beavers may be providing improved habitat and a bounty for other species, they may have improved the habitat sufficiently to entice an American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) to take up residence in the deeper water and sunshine within the power line corridor.  If that occurs, beavers will likely become meals and the maintenance-intensive dam system will fall into disrepair.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bird Friendly Coffee Growing

With yesterday's focus on songbird wintering habitat, it is appropriate to think about how we can help make a difference.  "Shade grown" coffee does not necessarily mean "bird friendly" grown coffee.  The Cornell Lab of Ornithology explains in their blog.  However, whatever the reason for deforestation, the loss of habitat has an effect.
Stutchbury recapped recent research on Wood Thrushes, sweet-singing birds of Eastern forests whose numbers have dropped by half since the 1960s. Yet, with regenerating forests in the Northeast, Wood Thrushes now have more breeding habitat than they did decades ago. “What does that tell you?” Stutchbury asked her audience. “Must be a problem on their wintering grounds.” (Although some researchers point out that the quality rather than quantity of forest in North America might still be limiting this species.)
And indeed, when Stutchbury tracked individual Wood Thrushes from the U.S. to Nicaragua and back, she found that regional Wood Thrush population declines matched deforestation trends in Nicaragua, where forest cover has dropped 30 percent in just the past two decades.
This deforestation likely affects other wintering songbirds, too, such as Baltimore Orioles and Chestnut-sided and Kentucky warblers, which have also declined in the last half-century, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey.

Wood Thrush - Mark Musselman

Wood Thrush - Mark Musselman
 As a consumer, you have the power of choice and your spending decisions affect the market.  If you are interested in protecting bird friendly habitat, spend your dollars in support of coffee growers whose efforts will help ensure songbirds return to your yard in the spring.  Look for the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center certification:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mangrove Swamps

The latest edition of the National Geographic Magazine contains an article regarding the Mesoamerican Reef.  Mangrove swamps are a critical component of the reef ecosystem as they prevent sediment and other pollutants from reaching the coral reef, break wave energy thereby protecting sea grass pastures, and provide shelter and nursery space for a variety of marine organisms.

From the article:
Mangroves are not just a convenience for [parrotfish] Scarus guacamaia. They are a necessity. When mangroves are carved away, to make room for tourist venues, for example, the species tends to go locally extinct, with repercussions in all directions. Coevolution has brought the coral reef and its parrotfish into balance; when the horny-beaked herbivores are fished out or otherwise eliminated, the reef declines, its corals overgrown by carpets of the algae the parrotfish normally eat.

John Muir told us what we can expect when humans with their habits begin to unravel a sound ecosystem. “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe,” he wrote. The parrotfish are a case in point. The Mesoamerican Reef is one section of the universe where the hitches are particularly tight.
Prothonotary Warbler - Mark Musselman

You may have been wondering why this blog's subject is a reef system thousands of miles away from Four Holes Swamp.  Note the John Muir wrote "universe."  Depending on when one starts to pick, those hitched to an ecosystem may not even be present.  Prothonotary Warblers (Protonotaria citrea) breed at the Francis Beidler Forest and the eastern United States, but they spend the winter in mangrove swamps in Central America and the northern coast of South America.  Therefore, the clearing of mangrove swamp for development and tourism is not simply a local issue affecting the reef ecosystem, but it is a hemispheric issue affecting birds we expect to return north in the spring.

Picking at the mangrove swamps reduces the number of Prothonotary Warblers surviving their winter, which in turn means few birds eating insects or feeding insects to their chicks on their breeding territories in the United States, which means fewer eggs or chicks to feed raccoons or rat snakes, which...leads us to discover that it's "hitched to everything in the universe."

Friday, September 28, 2012

Around #104

You do not need to walk far out the back door of the nature center at Audubon's Francis Beidler Forest to see migration in action as there is plenty happening around #104.

Although only the male Hooded Warbler (Setophaga citrina) below stayed close enough for a picture, he was joined by a Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens), a Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorus), a Veery (Catharus fuscescens), both sexes of American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla), a Northern Parula (Setophaga americana), and a Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia).

Hooded Warbler - Mark Musselman

Hooded Warbler - Mark Musselman

Nearby some color was added by a Purple Lobelia (Lobelia elongata)...

Purple Lobelia - Mark Musselman

and a fruiting Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum).

Jack-in-the-Pulpit - Mark Musselman

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

River Sweep 2012

On Saturday, September 15th, staff from the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest and eight volunteers participated in the annual Beach Sweep/River Sweep and cleaned 0.6 miles of US Hwy 78 east of Bridge Lake where the road crosses Four Holes Swamp.

Google Earth - River Sweep 2012

That mileage again was 0.6, not 6.0 or 60.0.  We concentrated on the litter at the base of the highway embankment as that is the trash most likely to be picked up by high water and delivered downstream to the Edisto River.  Therefore, the 122 bags of collected trash shown in the image below does not account for all of the trash along the 0.6 miles of highway.  Additionally, there were items too bulky to handle (a log from a passing truck complete with red flag and reflector) or not permissible for disposal at the landfill (multiple tires).

Collected trash - Mike Dawson
The overwhelming majority of litter collected consisted of beverage containers (plastic, foam, aluminum, or glass).  It was obvious, due to the weight of the beverage containers alone or the weight of the partially-filled containers, that the items had been consciously ejected from passing vehicles and had not blown away from an absent-minded driver.

As the guys on ESPN's NFL show are fond of saying, "C'mon man!"