Think Spring!—Clemson, SC to Host Spring Meeting—May 1–2, 2015
Spring birding in the South Carolina Upstate is among the best the Carolinas has to offer. The diverse landscape and habitats include open-country agricultural areas, the rugged extremes of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, rolling foothills with rich cove hardwood forests, lush mountain rivers, marshes and wetlands, and vistas of Lakes Hartwell, Keowee, and beautiful Jocassee, nestled in the mountains along the escarpment. This variety of habitats brings with it a great diversity of migrant and resident bird life. Some of the most sought-after residents include Swainson's, Prothonotary, Kentucky, and Worm-eating Warblers, and migrants should include Blackpoll, Cape May, Blackburnian, and many other warblers.
We'll visit well established birding hot spots such as the Townville area, Lake Conestee Nature Park, Sassafras Mountain, and the Walhalla Fish Hatchery, but will also visit up-and-coming locations known best to only the local birding community. Spots such as the South Carolina Botanical Gardens, the Clemson University Aquaculture Facility, the Nine Times Preserve, and the Eastatoe Valley are quickly developing reputations for attracting a great variety of migrants. Our list of warblers and other passerines should be quite impressive by the end of the weekend, and the mountains should give us a chance to find Common Ravens, Broad-winged Hawks, and Peregrine Falcons.
Our host hotel for the weekend will be the Courtyard Clemson, located at 201 Canoy Lane. This is just off Highway 93, north of US-123 in Clemson, and is convenient to local dining and a good departure point for our field trips. The hotel features a Starbucks, a bistro, and a bar in the lobby, and serves prepared breakfast for an additional cost. Breakfast starts at 6:00 AM on Friday and 6:30 AM on Saturday. The CBC rate for double or king rooms is $99 per night. To book your room, use this special link, or call (864) 654-8833, and be sure to mention the Carolina Bird Club to get the group rate and be placed in the CBC block.
Events on Friday and Saturday evening will be held at the auditorium at the Madren Center on the campus of Clemson University. A social gathering is planned before our Friday evening presentation. Our speaker on Friday night will be Dr. Maria Whitehead of the South Carolina Nature Conservancy. Dr. Whitehead will speak about The Nature Conservancy's Winyah Area Initiative, part of their land-protection efforts along the South Carolina coast, and in particular about how the Rocky Point Plantation property, which the Carolina Bird Club is helping to protect, fits in. To read more about the CBC's donation to The Nature Conservancy for this property, refer to Page 9 of the February CBC Newsletter.
On Saturday night (after dinner on your own), our speaker will be Dr. Drew Lanham, professor of wildlife ecology in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences at Clemson University, and a certified wildlife biologist. His research interests include songbird ecology and conservation, integration of game and nongame wildlife management and the African-American land ethic and its role in natural resources conservation. He has received numerous awards for his teaching style. Dr. Lanham will give a presentation titled Evolution of the Birder Conservationist—How to Make Each Bird Count.
We hope that you will be able to come out to the Clemson meeting and enjoy the top-notch spring birding and camaraderie that we have arranged for the weekend. It should be a great one!