Recreation - By Interest - WAWSI-2014-Warbler

LeaRn more.Wildlife: As We See It...

Welcome to the Kiawah Island Nature Program’s wildlife sightings page. Here, you’ll find postings from our Naturalists and island biologists showing you what is currently in the field as well as an archive of observations from throughout the year. We hope this site will get you excited about the amazing and diverse wildlife found on Kiawah. Get outside and share your photos and stories with us at Kiawah_Recreation@KiawahResort.com.

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) photo by Pamela Cohen

November 4, 2014 ~ Scarlet Snake (Cemaphora coccinea)
scarlett snakeKICA Landscaping brought over this Scarlet Snake after they found him in the back of their truck coming from the Preserve. Scarlet Snakes are a rarity to see for they are burrowers and spend most of their lives underground. These snakes are most active at night when they are hunting for reptile eggs to feast upon. This snake is nonvenomous for if you follow the rhyme "red on yellow, kill a fellow; red on black, friend of Jack."
October 24, 2014 ~ Yellow Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta)
rat snake2The nature center's yellow rat snake is taking some time to stretch out in its exhibit.

Stop by the Nature Center in Night Heron Park to check out all the exhibits. Open Monday-Thursday, 8:30am-3:30pm | Friday-Sunday, 8:30am-4pm.
September 30, 2014 ~ Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
ruby-throated hummingbirdMany different species of birds are migrating south through Kiawah including this Ruby-throated Hummingbird. These quick little birds feed on bright tubular flowers as they head their way for Central America. Some cross the Gulf of Mexico in one flight!

Interested in learning more about the birds of Kiawah? Join our Naturalists for a Back Island Birding or Birding for Beginners Tour! Call the Nature Center for availability and reservations: 843.768.6001

Photo by Paula Feldman
August 30, 2014 ~ Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
bobcatFive bobcat kittens and their mom spotted on Salt House Lane over by the River Course.

Photo by Holly Centurino
July 15, 2014 ~ Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) First hatch of the season!
WE HAVE A HATCH! The first loggerhead nest of the season has hatched on Kiawah. Stay tuned for more updates and details of the nest.
July 10, 2014 ~ Dragonfly
DragonflyPhoto taken by Jamie Rood on her Nature Photography Tour.

Interested in joining Jamie on a Nature Photography tour? Call the Nature Center for availability and reservations: 843.768.6001
July 8, 2014 ~ American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
Alligator ScuteDuring our kayak trip on the Kiawah River, 5-year old Liam Fitzpatrick from New Jersey discovered an alligator scute along a stretch of duneside beach on Captain Sam's Spit! Alligator scutes, also known as osteoderms, are bony plates embedded in the skin. They provide defensive armor and support heat exchange for regulating body temperature. Although alligators very rarely visit saltwater, their remains may be carried along our tidal waterways, leaving traces for us to find.

Every day reveals a different wildlife story here on Kiawah Island...come out and see what you can discover! ~ Emily Cavell, Naturalist
July 4, 2014 ~ Field Report
dolphin encountersTour: Dolphin Encounters
Naturalist: Nick Boehm

This morning, the Kiawah River was great for dolphin activity and pelican watching. Six to eight dolphins were strand feeding and working the bank, together and individually, on the dunes side beach between Beachwalker Park and Captain Sam’s spit. One was quite young next to a larger (presumably) female, which appeared to be teaching it how to feed. On top of that, a couple large groups of bait fish caught the eyes of some hungry pelicans as they dramatically plunged into the water for a meal. All in all, a beautiful and eventful morning on the Kiawah River!

Interested in joining us for a Dolphin Encounters tour? Call the Nature Center for availability and reservations: 843.768.6001
June 30, 2014 ~ Black Racer (Coluber constrictor)
snake eggsA Kiawah property owner brought in 13 Black Racer snake eggs to the Heron Park Nature Center. The eggs are soft and leathery, with a distinctive grainy texture which allowed naturalists to identify them as Black Racer eggs. Adult females can lay up to 36 eggs in early summer, and hatching takes place in late summer or early fall. We await the hatching in the next few weeks! When hatched, the young snakes will be tan or gray, later developing the black coloration. Depending on size, they will eat insects, lizards, other snakes and birds and can be preyed on by birds, mammals and kingsnakes, as well as larger black racers. We encourage anyone who sees wildlife eggs to leave them in place. However, if you are concerned for the safety of the eggs, please call us at the Heron Park Nature Center.
June 27, 2014 ~ Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)
loggerheadLoggerhead Sea Turtle making its way to the dunes to nest!
June 22, 2014 ~ Black Racer (Coluber constrictor)
black racer courtneyToday, Naturalists Kristen Lococo and Courtney Hughes responded to a call of two snakes tangled in landscaping wires. The snakes turned out to be two Black Racers, one of the most common and fastest non-venomous snakes on the island, wrapped in netting around a bed of flowers. After about 20 minutes of cutting through wire, they were able to successfully remove the snakes and place them back in their natural habitat. Thanks to Mrs. MaryBeth for calling and reporting the snakes!
June 9, 2014 ~ Black Scoter (Melanitta americana)
Town Biologists have received a number of recent inquiries regarding a group of 12-14 "black" ducks that have been seen resting on the beach in the vicinity of Nicklaus Lane for the last 3-4 weeks. They are Black Scoters, a migratory species of waterfowl that winters in the nearshore ocean waters off of Kiawah in the thousands each year. Typically, they arrive in October and leave by early May to return north their Canadian breeding grounds. This group of scoters has skipped migration for this year and are currently molting their flight feathers and are not capable of flight. Typically, they would molt on their breeding grounds. Take this opportunity to get out on the beach and get an up close look at these birds.
June 3, 2014 ~ Black Racer (Coluber constrictor)
Black Racers MatingThanks to C. Dorrestien for sharing these wonderful photos of Black Racers mating in Ocean Park.
June 2, 2014 ~  American Eel (Anguilla rostrata)
Alligator eating American EelThanks to island guest Lizza Hazel for sharing her photos of an American Alligator feeing on a rather large American Eel.
June 1, 2014 ~  Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)
18 Loggerhead Sea Turtle nests on Kiawah
May 31, 2014 ~  West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) First of the Season
First manatee of the season! ... sighted today by Naturalist Matt Arnold in the Kiawah River.
May 29, 2014 ~  Eastern Sceech-Owl (Megascops asio)
Eastern Screech OwlSitting on the porch of their Windswept Villa, Sandy Yeatts and her husband, looked up and saw what they described as fur balls up in the tree. After a little closer look they realized they were small owls.  They notified the Nature Center and our Naturalists identified them as Eastern Screech Owls, 3 owlets and 2 adults.

If you are currently staying in the Windswept area listen for this owl's call at night, often described as a mysterious trill.  During the day, the screech-owl's remarkable camouflage makes them very difficult to find. Listening for a commotion from Blue Jays, chickadees, and titmice can often be helpful in locating these tiny owls.  These smaller birds may also be seen mobbing screech-owls swooping around them making load and consistent calls.
May 28, 2014 ~  Bobcat  (Lynx rufus) First of the Season
Baby BobcatToday our Town Biologists found the first bobcat den of the 2014 season. The den was that of a bobcat we are very familiar with, #350. This female has been photographed by our staff several times over the past year caring for last year's kitten and stalking squirrels at Night Heron Park.

Record breaking: With 5 bobcat kittens (3 male and 2 female), this is the largest den ever found on Kiawah. Born approximately 6 days ago, all were very healthy. Jim Jordon and Aaron Given, quickly pit tagged the kittens and placed them back in the den.
May 18, 2014 ~  Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus)
Horseshoe CrabOn today's Dolphin Encounters excursion Captain Brad Scholl and his group witnessed hundreds of Horseshoe Crabs mating in the Kiawah River.  Check out the video.
May 17, 2014 ~  Feather Report (Rare Bird Alert ~ Common Ground Drove)
Back Island Birding with Naturalist Matt Arnold species list: Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-heron, Glossy Ibis, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Cooper's Hawk, Clapper Rail, Wilson's Plover, Killdeer, Semipalmated Plover, Black-necked Stilt, Willet, Greater Yellowlegs, Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstone, Western/Least Sandpiper, Dunlin, Laughing Gull, Least Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Mourning Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Chimney Swift, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Blue Jay, Fish Crow, American Crow, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Northern Parula, Yellow-throated Warbler, Pine Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Painted Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Orchard Oriole, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Finch.

Tour Highlight: In the dunes near the Ocean Course driving range, we observed a pair of Common Ground Doves foraging in dunes.
May 17, 2014 ~  Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) First of the Season
WE HAVE OUR FIRST NEST! Kiawah's first Loggerhead Sea Turtle nest of the 2014 season was found this morning.
May 12, 2014 ~ Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio)
Easter Screech OwletThe Nature Center received a phone call this morning that an owlet had been found on the ground on Otter Island. Naturalists responded, it was a young Eastern Screech Owl. Spotting one of the adults in a tree cavity, verified the nest's location. Unfortunately, the nest was located high off the ground in a live oak tree. Phillip Zellner from KIGR Landscaping was quick on the scene with a cherry-picker. Once at the nest, the second owlet was observed and our owlet was quickly returned. Love a happy ending!

Photo by Jamie Rood
May 11, 2014 ~ Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)
The first Loggerhead Sea Turtle nest of the 2014 season for South Carolina was laid today is on Seabrook Island!
May 10, 2014 ~ Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) Rare Bird Alert
Magnificent Frigatebird spotted today by Kiawah Naturalists while kayaking on the western end of the Kiawah River. To find this bird look high in the sky it is generally riding the thermals.
May 6, 2014 ~ Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis)
Easter Screech OwletYour next visit to Night Heron Park... look up! Haunting whistles, aerial acrobatics and aggressive courting displays,  the past few days have provided us some amazing sightings of multiple Mississippi Kites. On Kiawah, in general, it is not uncommon to spot Mississippi Kites during the summer months.  However, we cannot recall consistent observations at Night Heron Park in the past 20+ years.

The best sightings have been in the afternoon in the field near the volleyball court. We would love to see your photos.

Cell phone digiscoped photo by Nick Boehm 
May 5, 2014 ~ Common Nighthawks (Chordeiles minor) First of the Season
On yesterday's Sunset Cruise, Naturalist Matt Arnold reported Common Nighthawks seen and heard above Captain Sam's Spit around 7:30pm.

Check out our website for more information on our Motorboat Charters & Excursions and our Birding Tours, or by calling the Nature Center at 843.768.6001.
May 5, 2014 ~ Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens)
Black-throated Blue Warbler spotted this morning in Night Heron Park by Naturalist Brogan Von Skoik and his Birding for Begginers Tour.
May 3, 2014 ~ Yellow Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta)
Yellow Rat SnakeThis healthy 5+ foot Yellow Rat Snake was gently moved by Naturalist Mike Frees from the Turtle Point Club House to a slightly more secluded area. Yellow Rat Snakes, one of our most common snakes on Kiawah, are easily identified by the greenish coloring and four dark stripes running the length of their body.
April 17, 2014 ~ Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttata)
Corn SnakeMingo has been a hotspot lately with wildlife sightings.  Guests spotted a corn snake near the marsh feeding on a what appears to be a wood rat.
April 15, 2014 ~ Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
BobcatOn this cool and rainy day, Naturalist Kristin Lococo spotted a bobcat stalking a squirrel at Mingo Point. Thanks to the GPC collar, Town Biologists were able to confirm this is the same cat that Jamie Rood photographed 3 days earlier stalking a squirrel at Night Heron Park.
April 12, 2014 ~ Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
BobcatOur resident female bobcat was spotted in Night Heron Park stalking 2 squirrels. I had the pleasure of being able to watch and photograph her graceful predator ...skills for over 20 minutes. She had such patience and focus even knowing I was there she didn't seem to care. As she moved in closer under the shadows of the trees one of the squirrels finally noticed her and sounded out an alarm. She immediately knew she had been spotted and stood up while at the same time the crows swooped in to drive her away. Her steady walk became a trot and she disappeared into the coverage of the under brush. Photo by Jamie Rood
April 12, 2014 ~ Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) First of the Season
On Turtle Point, our first Orchard Oriole of the season was spotted by Naturalist, Juliana Smith, on her Back Island Birding Tour.

April 11, 2014 ~ Eastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum)
Eastern Mud TurtleThis adorable tiny Eastern Mud Turtle hatchling was brought into the Nature Center. Native to Kiawah, mud turtles nest during the spring and summer. The hatchlings emerge from their eggs in late summer, but remain buried underground until the following spring. 

Photo coming by Jamie Rood
April 11, 2014 ~ Bonnethead Shark (Sphyrna tiburo)
Bonnethead Shark

First Bonnethead of the season was causght today in the Kiawah River.

Photo by Mike Waller

April 10, 2014 ~ Feather Report
Tour:  Back Island Birding
Time: 8:00am-11:30am
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Naturalist: Brogin Van Skoik

Species include:  Tufted Titmouse, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, Carolina Chickadee, Blue Jay, Common Grackle, Laughing Gull, Fish Crow, Black-necked Stilt, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Northern Parula, Yellow-throated Warbler, Red winged Blackbird, Carolina Wren, Eastern Bluebird, Black-and-white Warbler, Tricolored Heron, Double-crested Cormorant, Chipping Sparrow, Belted Kingfisher, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Willet, Eastern Meadowlark, Yellow- rumped Warbler, Blue-headed Vireo, Pine Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, Brown Pelican, Red-tailed Hawk.
April 10, 2014 ~ Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) First of the Season
First hummingbird of the season at our Mingo Point feeder.  It was a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird reported by Naturalist, Matt Arnold.
April 9, 2014 ~ Feather Report
Tour: Birding for Beginners
Location: Night Heron Park
Time: 8:30am -10:00am
Naturalist: Brogin Van Skoik
Species: Carolina Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Yellow-throated Warbler, Red winged Blackbird, Carolina Wren, Northern Mocking Bird, Eastern Bluebird, Black-and-white Warbler, American Crow, Tricolored Heron, Osprey, Double-crested Cormorant, Prothonotary Warbler*, Northern Parula, Chipping Sparrow, Pied Billed Grebe, Green Heron, Ruby- crowned Kinglet, Red -bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker.

*Occasional Species ~ only seen a few times a season.
April 5, 2014 ~ Spiny Jewelbox (Arcinella cornuta)
Spiny Jewelbox I was walking on Folly Beach with my Niece and she ran up to me with this beautiful shell. Usually I am able to identify what they find, but this one stumped me. After some research with a fellow naturalist we identified it as a Spiny Jewelbox. These awesome bivalves are found along the east coast from NC to Florida, but found farther offshore.

~Nicholas Boehm, Naturalist 
April 4, 2014 ~ American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)
AmericanBittern Typically well camouflaged and elusive, today, an American Bittern made a rare appearance on Willet Pond for Naturalist Brogan Van Skoik and his guests.
April 3, 2014 ~ Feather Report

Back Island Birding with Naturalist Matt Arnold species list: Wild Turkey, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Clapper Rail, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Willet, Laughing Gull, Forster's Tern, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, White-eyed Vireo, American Crow, Fish Crow, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Wood Thrush, Northern Parula, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Pine Warbler, Palm Warbler, Swamp Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Boat-tailed Grackle, House Finch, American Goldfinch.

April 2, 2014 ~ Florida Horse Conch (Triplofusus giganteus)
Horse Conch

These extremely low tides have allowed us to find some neat things in the marsh. While on a Family Kayak, we spotted a large Horse Conch on one of the exposed mud bars in the Kiawah River. This shell was huge! At least 16 inches in length with the snail still alive!

Kristen Lococo, Naturalist
Photo by Kobyra and Sowle families

April 2, 2014 ~ American Mink (Mustela vison)
Today on our Dolphin Encounters we had a rare treat pay us a visit. While slowly driving through the mudflats I spotted what appeared to be a mink or river otter swimming across the river. We waited patiently for it to cross and show itself, and low and behold it was my first mink spotting of the year. Even better, it ran up on a large mudflat and ran across the top giving us a couple minutes to watch. A wonderful treat on a beautiful day in the Salt Marsh.

~Nick Boehm, Naturalist
April 1, 2014 ~ American Mink (Mustela vison)

On my Twilight Paddle, we heard some noise in the marsh as we were winding around the creek. We turned the corner to find 2 American Mink pop out of the marsh and swim around us in the creek. My first I had ever seen in the marsh! Even crazier, the next day on my Family Kayak a guest pointed out a mink running along the edge of the marsh during low tide! A rareity!

Kristen Lococo, Naturalist

March 31, 2014 ~ Common Loon (Gavia immer)

Common LoonWhile fishing Kiawah's offshore artifical reefs, Captain John Ward was able to get this amazing photo of a Common Loon.


March 30, 2014 ~ Field Report

knobbed whelkDolphin activity on this afternoon's Dolphin Encounters was good.  Even with the extreme tides (-0.9"), two dolphins were present all day and were feeding by tail smacking.  We saw many wading birds feeding along the exposed banks of the marsh that included, Great Egrets,Tri-colored Herons, Willets, American Oystercatchers, Black Skimmers and many others.  At Captain Sam's Inlet, we watched a Bald Eagle carry a large flat object, it appeared to be a skate or maybe a stingray.  The most interesting marsh resident we were lucky to see was a very large whelk.  It measured nearly 12" long and was alive and seemed to be doing well.

~Brad Schmoll, Captain/Naturalist

March 28, 2014 ~ Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana) Rare Bird Alert

A very rare sighting on Kiawah.  Photo by Liz KingWestern Tanager

March 27, 2014 ~ Sea Cucumber (Holothuroidea)

striped sea cucumberTour: Family Kayak
Naturalist: Kristen Lococo

While on a Family Kayak, we stopped at a Pluff mud bar to feel the mud and found this strange creature. It first appeared to be a piece of a starfish but after a closer look, it turned out to be a Striped Sea Cucumber! These animals are a part of the phylum Echinodermata which includes sea stars and sea urchins. They are often found burrowed in shallow areas, shaped like a boomerang, feeding on tiny organisms such as plankton. When a sea cucumber becomes stressed, it will voluntarily expel their inside organs to distract or disgust any predator trying to eat it. They will grow their organs back in several weeks.

For more information on our Paddling Tours, visit our website or call the Nature Center at 843.768.6001.

March 27, 2014 ~ Painted Bunting  (Passerina ciris) First of the Season

First of the season Naturalist sighting of a Painted Bunting

Previous Painted Bunting first of Season Naturalist sightings:
2013: March 30th, Naturalist Matt Arnold
2012: April 1st, Naturalists Brad Schmoll, Brogin van Skoik, Mike Frees and Matt Arnold
2011: April 13th,Naturalist Sarah Ernst 
2010: April 14th, Naturalist Sarah Ernst
2009: March 29th

March 27, 2014 ~ Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)

 30+ Blue Winged Teal in Ibis Pond. Thank you Mr. Brenner for reporting his observations.

March 27, 2014 ~ Feather Report

 Back Island Birding with Naturalist Matt Arnold species list:  Blue-winged Teal, Wild Turkey, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Black-crowned Night-heron, White Ibis, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Willet, Laughing Gull, Forster's Tern, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Loggerhead Shrike, Blue Jay, American Crow, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Pine Warbler, Northern Parula, Seaside Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Painted Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Boat-tailed Grackle, House Finch.

March 26, 2014 ~ Black Racer (Coluber constrictor priapus)

black racerTour: Teen Adventures: Get Lost
Naturalist: Kristen Lococo

While searching for our next destination during Get Lost, we came across a Black Racer near the side of the road. This was the first one that I have come across of the year! This non-venomous snake is common around Kiawah and is faster than most other snakes, usually fleeing when approached. Racers are active during the daytime and eat a variety of prey including insects, lizards, rodents, and amphibians. Be on the lookout for more reptiles as the weather warms up!

For more information on our Youth & Teen Activities, visit our website or call the Nature Center at 843.768.6001.

March 23, 2014 ~ Red Knot (Calidris canutis)

While walking on Kiawah’s beach, 9 year old Olivia Davidson, her mom and grandmother came across the remains of a shorebird. Upon closer inspection, they could see that the bird was banded. They brought the bird into the Heron Park Nature Center, where it was identified as a Red Knot.

Town Biologists, Jim Jordan and Aaron Given, were able to input the bird’s band number into a database. It revealed that the bird was originally banded on October 24, 2006 in North Brigantine Natural Area, New Jersey. Amazingly, the next siting occurred on April 9, 2010 on Kiawah Island, (additional resightings are listed below). Based on the condition of the bird, our Town Biologists believe it was most likely attacked by another bird, such as a Peregrine Falcon. By reporting this bird band, Olivia and family are helping research scientists across the globe learn more about Red Knots and their amazing migration.

Resightings: 10/27/2011 – Avalon, New Jersey; 10/31/2011 – Avalon, New Jersey; 11/6/2011 – Avalon, New Jersey  11/7/2011 – Avalon, New Jersey; 11/8/2011 – Avalon, New Jersey; 11/8/2011 – Avalon, New Jersey; 11/9/2011 – Avalon, New Jersey; 11/14/2011; Avalon, New Jersey; 11/15/2011 – Avalon, New Jersey; 11/17/2011 – Avalon – North End, New Jersey; 11/22/2011 – Avalon, New Jersey; 10/18/2012 – Stone Harbor Point, New Jersey   10/25/2012 – Avalon, New Jersey; 10/26/2012 – Avalon, New Jersey; 11/5/2012 – Avalon, New Jersey  11/6/2012 – Avalon, New Jersey; 10/16/2013 – Sea Isle City – North end of town, New Jersey

March 22, 2014 ~ Chuck-will's-widow (Antrostomus carolinensis)  First of the Season

Naturalist, Matt Arnold, heard his first Chuck-will's-widow tonight at Mingo Point!

March 22, 2014 ~ Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

dolphinLook closely at this dolphin’s dorsal fin. Can you see the number? While exploring Captain Sam’s Inlet, Island Guest Janice Barbiaux was able to capture a few photos of this tagged dolphin. Through NOAA Marine Biologists we now know this is a female that was captured and freeze branded in 2003. She was 6 years old at the time, making her 17 years old today.

If you spot any animal that is tagged while exploring Kiawah, please record the species, location, date and time, and if possible take a photograph. Send us the information through Facebook or Kiawah_Recreation@KiawahResort.com. We will forward the information to the proper authorities and hopefully we will be able to share some background information about this individual with you.

March 20, 2014 ~ Northern Parula (Setophaga americana)

Tour: Teen Adventures: Get Lost
Naturalist: Juliana Smith

Juliana reports that while on her morning Teen Adventures tour, she heard a Northern Parula in the Night Heron Park. This bird should be just returning from winter migration, but these birds can be found nesting in the Spanish Moss of Kiawah during the warmer months.

For more information on teen activities, please visit our Website, or call the Nature Center at 843.768.6001.

March 13, 2014 ~ Feather Report  (First of the Season ~ Black-necked Stilt)

Naturalists’ first of the season sighting:  Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) at Blue Heron Pond.

Back Island Birding species list: Hooded Merganser, Wild Turkey, Pied-billed Grebe, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Wood Stork, White Ibis, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, American Coot, Killdeer, Black-necked Stilt, Laughing Gull, Forster's Tern, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Eastern Bluebird, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Pine Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Song Sparrow, Sharp-tailed Sparrow Spp., Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Finch.

Matt Arnold, Naturalist

March 8, 2014 ~ Feather Report

An impressive species list on Naturalist Matt Arnold's Back Island Birding:  Blue-winged Teal, Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Pied-billed Grebe, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Black-crowned Night-heron, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, Clapper Rail, Common Gallinule, American Coot, Loggerhead Shrike, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Tree Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird (photo by Pam Cohen), Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Caspian Tern, Forster's Tern, Ring-billed Gull, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Eastern Phoebe, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Yellow-throated Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Seaside Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Boat-tailed Grackle, House Finch.

March 3, 2014 ~ Field Report

It was a gorgeous morning filled with sunshine, warmth, and bird chirps! We started our Birding for Beginners walking through the park where we heard Tufted Titmice and Carolina Chickadees singing. Just beyond the soccer field, we looked through our binoculars to find a Northern Flicker searching in the grass for ants and insects to snack on. We continued our walk and heard a “murder” of crows cawing like crazy. We followed the sounds to watch a Barred Owl fly out from a tree branch with dozens of crows nipping at its heels. Our final habitat to look for birds was the beach where we saw Ring-billed Gulls and unidentified sea ducks bobbing up and down in the large swell. The sun and warm weather brought out lots of birds, and even a few alligators!

Notable Species: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Osprey, Barred Owl, Ring-billed Gull, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Flicker, Northern Cardinal (photo by Pam Cohen), American Alligator.

Kristen Lococo, Naturalist

March 2, 2014 ~ Field Report

It was a BEAUTIFUL day with no cloud in sight and temperatures in the low 70s, the perfect day to go Marsh Kayaking. We started down the river at a high tide, coasting towards Captain Sam’s Spit where we saw pelicans bomb diving for fish. As we winded through the creeks, we saw 2 adult Bald Eagles and a juvenile in a nest! It was an amazing sight. Today’s trip has me excited for Spring!

Notable Species: Bald Eagle, Eastern Brown Pelican (photo), Sea Pickle, Sea Lettuce, Eastern Oyster, Great Egret, Bufflehead, Wood Stork.

Naturalist: Kristen Lococo
Photographer: Pam Cohen

February 20, 2014 ~ Field Report

Dolphin activity was good from the mudflats to Captain Sam's Inlet. Our Dolphin Encounters began at 1pm during a mid-tide with the water falling. Bird activity in the mudflats was moderate. We saw Osprey, Eastern Brown Pelicans, Willets, Forster's Terns, Tri-colored Herons, cormorants, Belted Kingfishers, egrets, American Oystercatchers, and a host of various small wading birds in the distance. Our dolphin sighting did not happen until we reached Long Island on Seabrook. We briefly observed two dolphins, a mother and "baby", cruising from the inlet toward Oyster Creek.

The weather was very pleasant with temperatures in the low 60's. The whole trip was very comfortable for all of us on the boat. We had guests from Michigan, Maryland- and a couple from Austria on the boat. The clear sky, warm afternoon and abundant wildlife made the memory of all of that ice and snow from a just few days before.. As we made our way from the dock back to the outpost, a juvenile bald eagle soared about 150 ft above us from the northeast and towards Andell Island. Perfect.

February 20, 2014 ~ Field Report

Dolphin activity was good from the mudflats to Captain Sam's Inlet. Our Dolphin Encounters began at 1pm during a mid-tide with the water falling. Bird activity in the mudflats was moderate. We saw Osprey, Eastern Brown Pelicans, Willets, Forster's Terns, Tri-colored Herons, cormorants, Belted Kingfishers, egrets, American Oystercatchers, and a host of various small wading birds in the distance. Our dolphin sighting did not happen until we reached Long Island on Seabrook. We briefly observed two dolphins, a mother and "baby", cruising from the inlet toward Oyster Creek.

The weather was very pleasant with temperatures in the low 60's. The whole trip was very comfortable for all of us on the boat. We had guests from Michigan, Maryland- and a couple from Austria on the boat. The clear sky, warm afternoon and abundant wildlife made the memory of all of that ice and snow from a just few days before.. As we made our way from the dock back to the outpost, a juvenile bald eagle soared about 150 ft above us from the northeast and towards Andell Island. Perfect.

February 9, 2014 ~ Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

Today, our recreation staff Kristen Lococo and Sarah Chilton watched a Bobcat kitten who was “hanging out” in the brush by the nature center pounce on some breakfast!  Although we cannot confirm, chances are this is Bobcat 350 “Hollywood’s” daughter. (see February 4th bobcat post).

February 7, 2014 ~ Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata)
Wilson’s Snipe was spotted at the Enclave at Turtle Point. Although present on Kiawah seasonally, these birds are often overlooked given their amazing camouflage and secretive nature.


February 6, 2014 ~ Feather Report  (Rare Bird Alert ~ Red-necked Grebe)

Tour: Back Island Birding
Naturalist: Matt Arnold

On today's birding trip, I digiscoped this Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) with my phone. An additional highlight from the tour may be that we got good looks of a River Otter from the dock at Mingo.

Species List: Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Red-necked Grebe (rare), Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Common Gallinule, American Coot, Killdeer, Western Sandpiper, Ring-billed Gull, Forster's Tern, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Blue Jay, American Crow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Pine Warbler, White-throated Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Boat-tailed Grackle, House Finch, American Goldfinch

Interested in joining us for a Birding Tour? Call the Nature Center for more information and to make your reservation. 843.768.6001.

February 6, 2014 ~ Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)

Nature Program Manager, Nick Boehm, just reported two Northern Harriers soaring over the Night Heron Park Soccer Field.

February 4, 2014 ~ Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

Town Biologists caught their first 2 bobcats of 2014 as part of Kiawah's ongoing Bobcat GPS Study.  The first bobcat captured was a familar friend, Bobcat 700 from 2013.  Her 2014 Collar is 350.  Jim Jordan (lead Town Biologist) has affectionately named her, "Hollywood".  She has been featured on the local news, in magazine articles, on the Deadly 60 TV show, and will be featured in an upcoming National Geographic show this year.  She is a fairly approachable cat and can frequently be seen at Night Heron Park and surrounding villas.

The second cat caught was surprisingly "Hollywood's" daughter from this past spring.  She was PIT tagged as a 10-day old kitten on April 3, 2013 near Windswept Villas and was captured this week near Parkside Villas. Unfortunately, she was too young to be collared.

February 4, 2014 ~ Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena)  Rare Bird Alert

The weather may be lousy (for Kiawah) but it certainly has made for some phenomenal birding! This evening a Red-necked Grebe was spotted in Ibis Pond.  This is the first recording of a Red-necked Grebe on Kiawah. The sighting made the S.C. Rare Bird Alert.

Photo: Digiscoped (with a cell phone) by Naturalist Matt Arnold.

February 4, 2014 ~ White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi)  Rare Bird Alert
Mid-afternoon Naturalist Matt Arnold digiscoped with his cell phone, this White-winged Scoter at the Kiawah Island Bridge. White-winged Scoters are a rare sighting on Kiawah. Typically an ocean species, on Kiawah this is the first record of a White-winged Scoter in the salt marsh.
January 30, 2014 ~ Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

Heard a new bird call in the park lately?  If so, keep an eye out for we have Killdeer visiting right now!  A very unsual sighting for Night Heron Park,  they are most likley here in response to this week's ice storm.

Photo by Jamie Rood

January 29, 2014 ~ Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

Bobcat in the snow, an amazingly rare photo for Kiawah. Photo by Island guest Dr Joel Freeman.

January 25, 2014 ~ Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)

Kiawah Island Recreation employees, Marcie Palm and Sarah Chilton, spotted this Cooper's Hawk feasting on a Tri-Colored Heron (Egretta tricolor) right outside the Nature Center at Night Heron Park.

 

January 19, 2014 ~ Field Report: Shelling Expedition

Tour: Shelling Expedition
Naturalist: Kristen Lococo

Species: Bald Eagle, Bottlenose Dolphin, Knobbed Whelk, Lettered Olive, Pen shell, Baby’s Ear, Giant Cockle Clam, Horseshoe Crab, Brown Pelican, Common Loon, Double-crested Cormorant, White-winged Scoter.

It was a blustery day on the motorboat, but the bright sunshine warmed us up. A flush of Buffleheads flew past our boat as we headed out to Botany Island. We paused our trip when a mother and calf dolphin surfaced the water for a breath of air. Once we landed on Botany, our eyes were glued to sand. We found plenty of South Carolina’s state seashell, the Lettered Olive, and an array of Baby’s Ears. After selecting a few unique seashells, we continued our boat ride to a Bald Eagle’s nest in search of hatchlings. At first there was no white head to be seen in the nest, until an adult flew over and perched picture perfect in a nearby tree. You never know what will pop up at Botany!

Interested in one of our Motorboat Excursions? Call the Nature Center at 843.768.6001 for more information and to make your reservation.

January 16, 2014 ~ Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Tour: Back Island Birding
Naturalist: Juliana Smith

On a Back Island Birding tour this morning, Naturalist Juliana Smith spotted this juvenile bald eagle. Bald Eagles are common here in the winter and will head north as warm spring temperatures approach.

Interested in a Back Island Birding tour? Call the Nature Center at 843.768.6001 for more information.

January 12, 2014 ~ Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

Photo By: Terra, Jody and Elle Graham

Kiawah Island guests Terra, Jody and Elle Graham spotted this bobcat today near the Sanctuary. Check out the Wildlife at Kiawah page for more information about the bobcats residing on our island.

January 3, 2014 ~ Feather Report

Fifty-one participants braved the cold and windy conditions to count birds for the Sea Islands CBC. Across 15 different territories covering Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island, Wadmalaw Island, and John’s Island, we recorded 24,067 individuals of 154 different species (6 more species than last year). Species highlights included Long-tailed Duck, American White Pelican, Peregrine Falcon, Wilson’s Plover, American Woodcock, Winter Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Vesper Sparrow, Painted Bunting, Purple Finch, and Rusty Blackbird. Some notable misses included Blue-winged Teal, Marsh Wren, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and House Sparrow. Click here to check out the full list.

Interested in learning more about the birds of Kiawah? Join our Naturalists on one of our birding tours, such as Back Island Birding or Birding for Beginners. Call the Nature Center at 843.768.6001 for more information and to book your trip.