Thursday, October 15, 2015

2015 S.C. Birding Trip

This year was one of a couple of firsts. We got two very new birds. We visited some new places. We arrived on the heels of Hurricane Joaquin. There was plenty of standing water in the ditches and yards and a few bridges out but we pretty much got what we came for.

We found 109 species which is not the best but hardly the worse. At one point there were 13 of us, too!

The two species that just never got before were great-horned owl and screech owl. We have both easily here in east Tennessee but we never bird at night on these trips.

We visited the Orangeburg Fish Hatchery for the late evening look at anhinga and heron. The St. Johns Island County park where we found rail and savannah sparrow. We tried to visit Bear Island but it was closed due to all the flooding. The drive out and back was more than worthwhile so don’t give up. The picture in the upper left is at a pull out on the road to Bear Island. A good place by itself.

We revisited Donnelly WMA (upper right picture) which we checked out in August. With the water up, the birds were gone except for a painted bunting and a black-crowned night heron.

We found our way to the Bear’s Bluff Hatchery but it was closed. This is the saltwater counterpart to Orangeburg and is located literally at the end of the road. Great possibilities.

However, Beachwalker County Park (but not in a county named “Beachwalker”) was wonderful. The day was cloudy, the surf down, the shore birds posing for photographs, and dolphins, too! That afternoon and evening we went to Roxbury County Park to find the owls and turkey tail fungi.

On the trip back home we stopped again at Orangeburg but at the SuperSod Farm instead. This is a reliable standby place to bird. Check in at the office. Got our horned larks but no harrier. At the industrial park, however, we added sandpipers. By this time the water in the yards will have receded and the shorebird populations will have moved on.

Sadly, we never made it to Congaree National Park, just below Columbia. Too many road were out and we kept getting thrown into detours but not closer to the park so we gave up. 

Perhaps of note: American black duck, dozens of bald eagle, coot, moorhen, sora, piping plover, pectoral sandpiper, and an immature red-headed woodpecker.

We did eat in one place we never have before which was at the Hardees’ in Ravenel. It was about 8:00 or 8:30 on the way back from Roxbury Park. There just wasn’t anyplace else and gas stations and restaurants are hard to find in the part of the county. There are a lot of towns on the South Carolina map but many are a post office and railroad crossing. We learned on our first trip to not count there being a town where the map says there is a town.


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