Fall Into the Lowcountry!
By Craig Watson
September 26 through September 29, 2019
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 low-country 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 week-end of September 26-29. Registration begins the afternoon of the 26th and field trips will continue thru Sunday morning the 29th.
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), Edisto Beach hotspots, Botany Bay (led by Dr. Sidney Gauthreaux), Folly Beach area hotspots (including little known Ft. Lamar), state wildlife management areas north and south, Francis Marion National Forest, Francis Beidler Forest and Pine Bluff (new Audubon SC tract), 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 two butterfly walks, 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, a rarity chase on Sunday, and a possible pelagic/offshore birding trip. 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. Stay tuned for a comprehensive list of field trips in the next issue of the newsletter. 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 hotel reservation now!
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 Hotel 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, September 26th, may pick up their registration packets that afternoon. The hotel will be the location for our evening programs and other social events related to our meeting.
Our Friday night 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.
Join us on Saturday 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 they faced. They will lead a colorful and animated tour though 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.
A more in-depth program, agenda, and field trip descriptions will be provided in the September newsletter. We hope you will join us for an exciting weekend of birding and presentations!