This past weekend I had the good fortune to see Bobby Harrison speak in Columbia, SC. Thanks go out to M from birdforum.net for the heads-up. You can imagine how excited this IB hunter was to get to see other like-minded folks in the same room. The lecture was preceded by Alex Sanders, a past SC legislator who is credited with saving the Congaree Swamp and starting the SC conservation movement, with a little help from our elusive feathered friend. I was absolutely riveted listening to his story. The hairs on my neck and arms stood on end when he spoke about what happened out there in the swamp on that fateful day in 1971. I recorded all the speakers and will post notes from BH and JC, but I will post a link to a streaming file of Mr. Sanders talk. If he or anyone involved wants me to take it down, just email me and let me know. Christen “AT” cscstudios “DOT” com is my email address in non-spambot format….
Anyhoo….If you don’t know the story I won’t ruin it for you. It’s better to listen to it. I apologize for the crappy sound. It was recorded on a teeny digital voice recorder with no external mic, whaddya expect? I did run it through Cool Edit to remove some of the background hiss.
Alex Sanders Talk
Also speaking was John Cely, a wildlife biologist from Columbia. He too was bitten by the IB bug long ago. He was bitten when he read about them in RTP’s field guide to the birds. RTP mentioned that they were to be looked for in SC. So….JC just figured he’d hop on down to the swamp and have a looksee at one. Well, obviously, it wasn’t quite that easy. He did give a very nice talk about the history of IB’s in SC. I’ll give a few details about his chat in another post. Long story short…..I did get to see the Luneau video up close(I was in the front row) and it was projected the size of a movie screen. Whatever that bird is, it’s not a pileated. And, the white on the wings is on the top, not the bottom…. You lose! Good day sir!(with apologies to Willy Wonka)
The piece de resistance, was of course the Harrison video. Apparently we were the 2nd group he had ever shown it to. Upon the first viewing you realize just how darn quick it is. You’re looking at trees, then….zip!!.....some flap-happy bird with really white wings goes flying by. Once you slow it down though, you realize that this isn’t a pileated either. It sure looks like an IB to me. And I saw it 8 times, in various speeds and zooms.
He also played quite a few double knocks and calls from the ARU’s.
I’ll summarize his lecture in another post.
The next day I went for a hike in the Congaree NP. Wow. This was swamp habitat I’m not used to. This was swamp in red-clay country. Not the blackwater lowland swamps I grew up near. And the trees were absolutely HUGE. I’ve never seen this many trees so large on the east coast. The place was loaded with prothonotary warblers, red-bellied woodpecker, pileateds, downys, and hairys. I can see this being a good place for IB’s.