Litchfield Beach, SC to Host Winter Meeting
Circle the dates of February 5th and 6th on your 2016 calendars and make plans to attend the new year's first CBC meeting at Litchfield Beach in Georgetown County, South Carolina. Registration is open, and like the early bird gets the worm, early registrants have the best selection of available field trips. This will be the first winter meeting in South Carolina since 2008, and will give us an opportunity to explore favorite sites as well as some new birding locations. In 2008 we enjoyed 169 species including 27 types of ducks and geese. During the first week of February in 2015, one of our main venues, Huntington Beach State Park, hosted Long-tailed Duck, Common Eider, Razorbill, Purple Sandpiper, and Eared Grebe. While there is no guarantee as to what might show up this go-round, the possibilities are exciting!
In addition to always-favorite Huntington Beach, we are offering a Long-billed Curlew trip out of McClellanville. This all-day boat trip will allow up to 40 birders to explore Cape Romain N.W.R. in hopes of finding one of the state's least common regularly wintering shorebirds. Perennially birdy Bulls Island should provide for excellent land and water birding, and joining the boat trip tailor-made for the CBC is one of the best ways to enjoy this wild, wonderful coastal site. We plan to offer all-day trips to Santee Coastal Reserve W.M.A. and Santee Delta W.M.A., both of which are normally restricted at this time of year. Also, thanks to SCDNR, we are being granted two birding trips to the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center. This preserve was left to the state by the late Tom Yawkey, owner of the Boston Red Sox. It is not open to the public as per Yawkey's restriction that limits use of the islands to the preservation of wildlife.
We are planning trips to new locations including Lewis Ocean Bay. This Carolina Bay offers the chance to spot endangered birds as well as plants. We also plan to visit Brookgreen Gardens, which will allow us to bird in one of the most important statuary gardens in the country. Not your cup of tea? How about an ocean watching trip to Cherry Grove Pier? Or a visit to Rocky Point Plantation where you will be among the first to bird the site and help start the Nature Conservancy property's new bird list? Rocky Point, along the Great Pee Dee River, is a new preserve that the CBC helped purchase through a substantial grant.
Another new field trip entitled “How to Tell the Gulls from the Buoys” led by Dr. Chris Hill talks to the finer points of gull identification and precedes an outing to apply newly-honed skills. This unique program is limited to 15 birders, so sign up early.
Our host for the meeting is the Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort, (map), which some may recall as the same location we enjoyed at the 2013 fall meeting. Special CBC meeting rates are $66 for rooms and $88 for suites. To make your reservation, call (888) 734-8228 or (843) 237-3000.
Plans are underway for a Friday evening reception, with cash bar, that features a program on young birders, their mentors, and the CBC's grants program. The main attraction of the evening might be a bird calling contest. If you think you have the best screech-owl call, phish, warbler chip, Black Rail whinny or other call, we invite you to participate! At least three former CBC presidents are going to compete, as seems appropriate for an election year!
On Saturday evening we again offer the popular banquet dinner. The price, inclusive of tax and gratuity, is $30 each, and a vegetarian option will be available. Our keynote speaker will be Julie Hovis, an endangered species biologist at Shaw Air Force Base who is also a devoted Purple Martin “landlady”. You won't want to miss her program entitled “Tracking South Carolina's Purple Martins to Brazil and Back”. Lake Murray, in the midlands of SC, hosted what was reported to be the largest Purple Martin roost in the country, but the birds essentially disappeared two years ago. Julie helped track down the missing birds and will enlighten us as to what she found.
So don't delay, register today!
We'll see you at Litchfield Beach!