Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Birdwatching, Bingo and Billfish on The Front Porch

Bluebird eggs inside a nest box. Be watchful for baby birds in Spring. Photo by Jeff Dennis

Springtime in the Lowcountry is the absolute best time to be a birder, whether an amateur or a lifelong veteran. Taking up a position almost anywhere and watching for anything out of the ordinary can bring you a bird sighting worth sharing with others. As the doctrine of social distancing continues to settle in, when we are not at work or in search of essential supplies, sitting on the front porch remains a safe bet. With social events like the I Love Edisto auction going virtual in 2020, and Edisto Bingo and Edisto Billfish now canceled, the front porch Wifi connection is going to be vital.
The Marina at Edisto Beach announced on May 8 that the 2020 Edisto Billfish Tournament is now canceled. The reasons for cancellation are outlined on the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Series FaceBook page and includes issues with their usual labor force due to the coronavirus pandemic. The first shake-up for the 2020 Gov. Cup Series came on April 30 when the Georgetown tourney postponed their event from Memorial Day until August, due to similar concerns. Whenever the S.C. billfish events get underway, fishing enthusiasts will likely be able to stream daily weigh-ins at home to view the offshore action. The Big Rock tournament in North Carolina has been using the online format for years, and will do so again this year too.
The 2020 summer season of Edisto Bingo at the Lions Club is another casualty of social distancing. Their announcement on April 22 stating they are saddened to not be conducting Bingo, resonated with shock and awe, for both island residents and the summertime folks who cherish this family fun tradition. The Edisto Island Open Land Trust announced on May 9 that their annual I Love Edisto auction will now be held entirely online June 18 – 20. Since ticket sales usually raise funds, and no tickets are required in 2020, they are hopeful to have higher participation and bidding to fund their conservation work. Innovative contests like best decorated porch and the porch party with the greatest distance from Edisto should make this fun to watch.
Since we presently do not have live sports to enjoy, those with a love for the outdoors can rely on their competitive nature as it pertains to wildlife. The arrival of migratory birds in Spring, is the equivalent to the playoffs in sports. The birding action ramps up to a higher caliber, and the only thing that can top the bird you just saw, is the next surprise arrival. Many local reports of ruby-throated hummingbirds at the nectar feeders, and painted buntings in scrub shrub habitat, leave no doubt that the spring migration of birds is underway.
Gazing off the front porch for birds can be enhanced by something as simple as a water source, and of course a bird feeder. Bird migration largely occurs overnight, and birds need water when they set back down in the morning hours. A proper bird bath is a permanent structure that needs some maintenance over time, but a temporary water source in spring could be as simple as an old frying pan on the ground with clean water in it. The temporary water source can also be easily moved to better entice the birds to visit.
A beginner might want to invest in a bird feeder to attract more birds, but that doesn’t assure success. Bird seed is popular with our frequent Southern yard birds like the cardinal and blue jay, but that seed doesn’t appeal to neotropical birds like the summer tanager. While the birdseed may not attract the migratory birds, the activity of backyard birds flying down to a water source, is usually enough to attract migratory birds. Trees like live oaks and pine trees create the kind of branches that these birds prefer, as they race from perch to perch looking for bugs and other natural foods.
A top trick to attract migratory birds like the rose-breasted grosbeak, summer tanager and others is simply to put out some grape jelly in a small dish. The dimensions of that dish could be something like a shot glass, and placing it on an elevated surface like a table top is good. While the jelly is never a guarantee to attract the birds, it is likely to attract insects like ants unless it is hung up, and then it may draw the attention of bees. The jelly feeder needs more attention than a bird feeder, but it could make a difference if trying to attract the attention of a bird that is just passing through.
Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (394 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com