Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Shorebird Symposium held by Kiawah Conservancy

When Kiawah Island was purchased by the Kuwait Investment Company for the purpose of development and growth, an extensive environmental inventory of the island was recorded in 1975. Eventually Kiawah became locally owned again, and with the barrier island’s ecosystem already identified as extraordinary, the local residents embraced a long-term vision regarding habitat protection. Today the Kiawah Conservancy conducts outreach programs about wildlife found on the island from alligators to bobcats, and their recent shorebird symposium salutes the little brown birds that briefly stopover on their beach to rest and recover during migration.
Attending the Oct. 12 Shorebird Symposium at the Sandcastle Community Center on Kiawah Island did not involve going outside and looking for shorebirds. Rather it featured a full house of birding enthusiasts who are keen on sharing the good news that even though shorebird habitat is declining globally, the beach at Kiawah is in very good shape and is being utilized by a wide array of coastal birds. The ambitious three-hour program included lectures, a question and answer session with a panel of experts, and even the premiere of a new film titled ‘Taking Wing.’

Other facts about the Kiawah Conservancy include that 2017 marks the 20th anniversary since their founding in 1997. And their land procurement goals are getting more serious, achieving national accreditation by the Land Trust Alliance in 2017. During its 20-year history, the Kiawah Conservancy has preserved 36 properties that total over 348-acres of pristine barrier island habitat. A map of their protected properties on the Internet at shows that some properties are literally single home lots, and others are swaths of marsh and coastal zones that are precious to wildlife.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

2017 Tall Timbers Field Day / Little Hobcaw Plantation

Theron Terhune and Reggie Thackston 
address landowners in the field
Hot and sunny conditions!
Right now the primary focus for quail recovery is on large acreage habitats like found at the 3,680-acre Little Hobcaw Plantation. Field Day attendees were able to learn about the rich hunting heritage of the property that was once owned by Bernard Baruch. This turn key quail hunting property is currently for sale by Southern Pine Plantations company out of Georgia. Tall Timbers Research Station out of Florida is bringing its expertise to bear in the Carolinas, and the Oct. 6 trip gave attendees a chance to see the blueprint for a large-scale quail landscape.

The battle to bring back the whistle of bobwhite quail to woodlands isn’t all about money though, and Tall Timber’s Bill Palmer spoke about new emphasis on the practice of prescribed fire. “We are planning to add 100,000-acres of quail habitat in the Southeast over the next ten years, and will rely on the commitment of private landowners to do so,” said Palmer. “So Tall Timbers is recommitting to the culture of prescribed fire, because it’s a practice that we don’t need to let go, and in fact it is a part of our Southern culture.” Tall Timbers just signed a Memorandum Of Agreement with SCDNR to bolster bobwhite funding.

Hayride transportation for all
The Big House at Little Hobcaw
A large property like Little Hobcaw allows adjacent properties to better manage for quail, in what is called the hub and spoke model. If a smaller property is too isolated from large scale quail woods then quail management is less realistic. But with enough hubs across the S.C. landscape, then meaningful quail recovery becomes more possible. Tall Timber’s Theron Terhune spoke about the importance of creating multiple hub and spoke habitat projects just to keep up with threats from predation or even something as unpredictable as a harsh winter. When it comes to quail populations, the more the better, and that ties directly to habitat acreage.

To read the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries from the Tall Timbers Field Day click  2013 2011 - 2010 or Independent Quail Workshop 2014

To view past blog entries from the Savannah River Turkey Invitational click 2013 - 2012 - 2011 

To view past blog entries from my New Year's Eve Toast click 2016 20152014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009