CBC Fall Birding Weekend in the South Carolina Lowcountry
September 26 through September 29, 2019
Meeting Planners: Jill Midgett and Craig Watson
By Craig Watson
The Fall Seasonal meeting of the Carolina Bird Club will be held in the South Carolina lowcountry, headquartered in Summerville. This affords quick and easy access to some of the best birding spots in the lowcountry and is a short drive to historic downtown Charleston. A city rich in history and nationally acclaimed for its beautiful landscapes and well-preserved architecture, we will gather for our meeting the weekend of September 26-29. Registration begins the afternoon of the 26th and field trips will continue Friday through Sunday.
Charleston's proximity to some of South Carolina's finest and most treasured natural coastal resources allows us to offer trips to habitats ranging from wild, scenic beaches to longleaf pine savannas. We expect excellent birding, and our field trips are being designed to offer participants the opportunity to enjoy the best this region has to offer. We will offer birding trips south to the ACE Basin, north to the Santee Delta, and inland to the Orangeburg Sod Farm. Destinations include the Sea Islands (Kiawah and Seabrook), Charleston Harbor (Pitt St., Patriot's Point, Ft. Moultrie), Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, Dewees Island (NEW), Folly Beach area hotspots (including little known Ft. Lamar), state wildlife management areas north and south, Francis Beidler Forest and Pine Bluff (new Audubon SC tract), Black River Cypress Preserve (NEW), and Caw Caw Interpretive Center.
Shorebird migration should be going strong, and we will seek out these southbound migrants as well as many of the other marsh and seabirds associated with rich coastal environments. Fall along the coast can also be particularly exciting for Neotropical songbird migration, and we will explore some of the area's “migrant traps” in search of these species. Wading birds will be abundant, with Roseate Spoonbills now occurring year-round in South Carolina.
We will also offer a butterfly walk, a Young Birder's Workshop, a photography workshop (how to use your point and shoot camera, and SLR), assisting banding efforts at the Kiawah Island Banding Station, and a rarity chase on Sunday. If you want to see Baltimore Orioles and a possible Western Tanager, we have arranged access to a few homes in the area that attract these birds. In addition to our exciting slate of field trips led by knowledgeable local birders, participants have an opportunity to enjoy excellent evening presentations on bird-related topics. So make your plans and register soon!
Our meeting headquarters is the Wyndham Garden Inn, north of Charleston in Summerville. It is conveniently located near I-26 and I-526, providing quick access to birding hotspots in all directions, and only 25 minutes away from downtown Charleston. Special room rates are being offered to CBC members for $119/night (not including taxes). To reserve a room contact the Wyndham Garden Inn directly at 1-843-875-3300, and be sure to identify yourself as a Carolina Bird Club participant. Any requests for special room arrangements may be made at the time of your reservation. The reservation cut-off date for these rates is September 12, 2019 so please don't delay. Check-in time is 3:00 PM, Check-out time is 11:00 AM.
The hotel has a restaurant that serves breakfast but not lunch or dinner. Restaurants including Cracker Barrel, Ruby Tuesday, and Carolina Ale House are within walking distance, and many more are within a quick drive from the hotel. Each room has a microwave, mini-fridge, coffee maker, and Wi-Fi is complimentary. Registrants arriving on Thursday evening, September 26th, may pick up their registration packets that evening. The hotel will be the location for our evening programs and other social events related to our meeting.
Join us on Friday evening to experience the riveting journeys of Aija and Ed Konrad as Aija challenged herself to a United States Big Year in 2018! Titled "Tales of a Big Year ... the Journey to 577”, Aija and Ed will take you through a year of travels and adventure through a photographic essay of the quest for her Big Year! Aija and Ed will share stories through their photos of how they crisscrossed the US, their non-stop schedule of birding from dawn to dusk, favorite birds, hikes, experiences, and even some challenges and a disagreement or two! They will lead a colorful and animated tour through their travels to bird in Texas, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Chicago and Ohio, Arizona, California, Washington, Florida, South and North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, and Maine.
Our Saturday evening speaker is Arch McCallum. Arch will present a unique program titled “Empids Demystified!” A native of South Carolina and a member of the CBC since 1959, Arch has been fascinated by birds all his life, and has been recording and analyzing their sounds since 1981. He's especially interested in the evolution of vocal repertoires in large genera, particularly chickadees and Empidonax flycatchers. He has studied all 15 species of empids on their breeding grounds, from Alaska to Costa Rica and from the Sierra Madre to the Appalachians. After retiring from teaching ornithology, ecology, and other wonderful subjects at the College of Charleston, Arch now leads the occasional birding tour in the Southwest and works on web-presentations of his research on bird sounds.
The Saturday evening dinner will be a catered Lowcountry Boil (shrimp, sausage, red potatoes, corn on the cob), along with a variety of vegetables and salad. A batch of potatoes and corn will be cooked separately from the shrimp and sausage. Chicken is alsoavaila-ble as a main dish. Plenty of vegetables and salad will be available for a vegetarian diet.There will be an assortment of lowcountry desserts available (banana pudding, Huguenot tortes, Blondies), iced tea and water—low price of $20!
A more in depth program agenda will be provided to registrants at check-in. We hope you will join us for an exciting weekend of birding and presentations!