Field trip descriptions. Post-meeting report

CBC Travels to Charleston, SC
September 30 - October 2

By Marcia Watkins

The fall meeting of the CBC will be held in Charleston, SC, where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers join to create the Atlantic Ocean. Charleston, one of the country's top tourist attractions, offers much to birders and non-birding spouses alike. The cooler weather makes sightseeing and shopping in the Historic District even more enjoyable. For birders, the habitat within a 25-mile radius of the downtown area consists of beaches, marshes, barrier islands, the ocean, estuaries, and maritime forests. Bob Wood and Nathan Dias have planned a full weekend of field trips to all of these places-and more. We will have choices such as Bull Island, Bear Island and Donnelly WMA, Magnolia Gardens, Folly Beach, Dill Plantation, I'On Swamp, East Cooper, and a special trip to Kiawah Island. Bob has also planned a Charleston County Big Day Competition for all of us obsessive competitive types.

Our hotel is the Holiday Inn Patriot's Point on Highway 17, 250 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., in Mt. Pleasant at the foot of the new Ravenel Bridge over the Cooper River. When making reservations, ask for the group block, CBC. The rate of $89 per room plus tax (breakfast not included) will be available until August 29. You may reserve rooms online ( by using the group code or by calling the toll-free number 800-290-4004, ext.110, or the hotel at 843-884-6000. Other hotels nearby are the Hampton Inn at Patriot's Point, 255 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., 843-881- 3300; Best Western Patriot's Point, 259 McGrath-Darby Blvd., 843-971-7070; and the Sleep Inn Mt.Pleasant, 299 Wingo Way, 843-856-5000.

Thursday night registration will be from 7 until 9 pm and resume on Friday at 6:00 am. We'll have several tables with T-shirts, hats, and other Club items for sale. Simon Thompson of Ventures and perhaps some local artists will have a display. A book sale will also be added this year and will include some of the many new nonfiction bird books published in the past 18 months. The Happy Bookseller of Columbia will provide the books and will donate a percentage of the profits to the CBC. We will also have a table displaying the door prizes to be awarded to some lucky birders with the right ticket numbers.

Since many of you said you wanted to experience Charleston's many fine restaurants, we have decided to forego the Saturday night banquet so you can choose from a variety of eating establishments on Shem Creek, Sullivan's Island, Isle of Palms, and Mt. Pleasant. Of course, you can have your pick of restaurants in downtown Charleston, too. Your registration packet will contain material on these restaurants.

The Friday and Saturday night programs will begin at 8:00 pm. Web update: The speakers have switched nights since the newsletter was published. Nathan Dias will be our speaker on Saturday night and will give a talk on the history of ornithology in South Carolina. A native Charlestonian, Nathan has been an avid birder and conservationist since the late 1980s. One of his claims to fame is his SC Big Year Record in 2003 with 326 species. In 2004 he founded the Cape Romain Observatory to study birds and to be an advocate for the native birds of the SC coastal region. Our Friday night speaker will be Jim Elliott, Executive Director of the International Center for Birds of Prey in Charleston. The Center is a merger of Jim's SC Center for Birds of Prey (which he founded in 1991) and Jemima Parry- Jones's National Birds of Prey Centre in Gloucestershire, England. The new facility (in Awendaw on Highway 17) will be one of the world's largest and most diverse collections of hawks, eagles, falcons, vultures, and other birds of prey. Jim has studied and consulted extensively with the leading raptor centers both in the United States and abroad and has won many awards for his work.

With speakers and field trips of such high caliber, you will not want to miss this fall meeting in Charleston. We expect a large turnout, so get your reservations in early. The "Holy City" is awaiting you.