Fall bird migration continues to bring a stream of southbound travelers into and through our area.
A nice variety of wading birds have been reported from Huntington Beach State Park recently, including wood stork, white ibis, great blue, little blue, tricolored and green herons, great, snowy and cattle egrets, and both black-crowned and yellow-crowned night-herons. Shorebirds include semipalmated, Western and least sandpipers, sanderling, ruddy turnstone, willet, greater yellowlegs, along with killdeer, black-bellied and semipalmated plovers. A few piping plovers were also noted near the base of the Murrells Inlet jetty. Caspian, royal, Forster’s and black terns along with laughing and ring-billed gulls have been observed. A female Baltimore oriole was seen and photographed on the hummingbird feeder at the Nature Center.
Osprey may still be seen plying their trade in Mullet Pond and the inlet. Tree and barn swallows continue to pass through on their way to more southern winter destinations. Common gallinule, pied-billed grebe, American coot and blue-winged teal have been observed in Mallard Pond adjacent to the south side of the Carriage Path.
Some interesting songbirds have been observed at Patriot’s Point in Mt. Pleasant, north of Charleston of late. Empidonax flycatchers, rose-breasted grosbeak, wood and Swainson’s thrushes along with painted and indigo buntings, and several warblers, including prairie, palm, common yellowthroat, Northern waterthrush, American redstart, ovenbird and worm-eating are among the species reported.
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Our tiniest feathered friends, the hummingbirds, continue to make their way into and through our area.
A number of folks from Brunswick County (NC) to Georgetown County have been happy to report these avian gems frequenting their backyard flowers and feeders. A reminder that maintaining a hummingbird feeder in fall will not prevent a hummingbird from migrating, as that behavior is under hormonal control influenced by the amount of light in a day. However, keeping a feeder up will provide a tiny traveler with a much needed resource along its migratory path, and as a number of these amazing Aves spend winter each year in our area, may attract one of these wintering birds to your backyard for the season.
In addition, a number of Baltimore orioles (and other species) spend winter in our area, and are often attracted to well-maintained hummingbird feeders. So keep your feeder clean and maintained with a solution of one part sugar to four parts water with no other additives, and let me know of the hummingbird activity in your backyard.