Savannah Field Trip Descriptions

Updates: Trip #25 has been cancelled and replaced by trip 34. We are also cancelling several other trips that have had low signup.  
Friday, September 29
Half-day Morning
Trip #1Savannah NWR – 7:00 AM
Trip #2Skidaway Is./Priest Landing – 6:50 AM
Trip #3Victoria Bluff/Waddell – 7:00 AM cancelled
Trip #4Broad/Chechessee River/Lemon Island – 6:50 AM cancelled
Half-day afternoon
Trip #5Savannah NWR – 1:10 PM
Trip #6Skidaway Island/Priest Landing – 1:00 PM
Trip #7Victoria Bluff/Waddell – 1:10 PM cancelled
Trip #8Broad/Chechessee River/Lemon Island – 1:00 PM
Trip #9Tybee Island/North Beach – 6:40 AM
Trip #10Harris Neck – 6:30 AM
Trip #11Western Jasper County Tour – 6:30 AM cancelled
Trip #12Pinckney Island/PR Mud Flats/Sea Pines – 6:40 AM
Trip #13Altamaha Waterfowl Management Area – 6:20 AM
Trip #14Bear Island – 6:20 AM
Trip #15Donnelly WMA – 6:30 AM cancelled
Saturday, September 30
Half-day morning
Trip #16Savannah NWR – 7:00 AM
Trip #17Skidaway Is./Priest Landing – 6:50 AM
Trip #18Victoria Bluff/Waddell – 7:00 AM
Trip #19Broad/Chechessee River/Lemon Island – 6:50 AM cancelled
Trip #20Ridgeland/Nimmer Sod Farms – 7:10 AM
Half-day afternoon
Trip #21Savannah NWR – 1:10 PM
Trip #22Skidaway Island/Priest Landing – 1:00 PM
Trip #23Victoria Bluff/Waddell – 1:10 PM cancelled
Trip #24Broad/Chechessee River/Lemon Island – 1:00 PM cancelled
Trip #25An Introduction to Nature Sound Recordingcancelled, replaced by Trip 34
Trip #34Sparrow Identification
Trip #26Tybee Island/North Beach – 6:40 AM
Trip #27Harris Neck – 6:30 AM
Trip #28Western Jasper County Tour – 6:30 AM
Trip #29Pinckney Island/PR Mud Flats/Sea Pines – 6:40 AM
Trip #30Altamaha Waterfowl Management Area – 6:20 AM
Trip #31Bear Island – 6:20 AM
Trip #32Donnelly WMA – 6:30 AM cancelled
Sunday, October 1
Trip #33 Birding Hot Spots – Time TBA
Depending on interest and the location of any rarities found during the meeting, there may be a Sunday morning field trip. Check with trip leaders at the Saturday night program for location and time.


All trips will leave from the hotel. Gather with your leader in the meeting room. Please arrive 15 minutes before the announced departure time, and look for the numbered placard designating your field trip.

Participants should bring sun protection and insect repellant. All field trips will utilize carpooling; please let your leader know if you wish to drive and can take other participants. Please consider bringing adequate drinks and food (lunch and/or snacks) for all trips.

Special Note Regarding Savannah Spoil Site

In the past, CBC meetings held in southeastern SC visited the Savannah Spoil Site. Access to the site is significantly limited and at present access to the site has not been obtained. Accordingly, no field trips to the site are available. Should access be obtained, notification will be made here.

Trips 1, 5, 16, 21 Savannah NWR.
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge features 3,000 acres of former rice fields that are managed for migratory waterfowl. These freshwater impoundments are flooded in fall in preparation for the arrival of a great variety of waterfowl. Year-round residents like Great Egrets, Anhingas, and White and Glossy Ibis can also be found making use of these rich feeding pools. By October, birds such as Northern Harriers, American Bitterns, and King and Sora Rails have usually arrived for the winter. Hammocks along the wildlife drive should yield passerine migrants. There is a chance of finding Lincoln's Sparrow and Winter Wrens. Trip Rigor: Easy - we will drive through the refuge, with short walks at each stop. Restrooms are available. map.
Trips 9, 26 Tybee Island/North Beach/ Fort Pulaski National Monument.
Tybee Island, a coastal barrier island, is part of the Colonial Coast Birding Trail. The north beach, near Tybee's famous lighthouse, is a great place to view seabirds and shorebirds. Black Skimmers regularly gather to rest in flocks ranging from 100 to 1000 birds; American Oystercatchers frequent the area as well. Expect to see Sanderling, turnstones, Dunlin, Western Sandpiper, Red Knot, Black-bellied, Semipalmated, and sometimes endangered Piping Plovers. The north beach of Tybee is at the mouth of the Savannah River, where it meets with the Atlantic Ocean, and is a year round home for terns, gulls, pelicans, and cormorants. map.
Trips 10, 27 Harris Neck NWR/ Youman's Pond (Colonel's Island).
Harris Neck NWR, once a WWII Army Airfield, was established in 1962. The refuge's 2,824 acres consist of man-made impoundments, salt and brackish marshes, old fields, pine forests and maritime oak forests. Expect waders, ducks and shorebirds. Colonel's Island has a variety of natural habitats that support a diversity of avifauna. Youman's Pond is a freshwater pond found on Colonel's Island. It is an excellent birding site that supports an active wader rookery. Trip Rigor: Easy - the refuge is flat, and walks will be restricted to no more than a half-mile, driving from place to place. map.
Trips 11, 28 Western Jasper County Tour/Webb WMA/Stokes Bluff Landing.
Along the Savannah River are several plantations which cater to deer and quail hunters. We will bird this area looking for Bobwhite, turkey, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, and Bachman's sparrow. The Webb Wildlife Center is an excellent spot for wildlife in the pinewoods and river swamps of the Coastal Plain. Stokes Bluff Landing may provide kites, several species of hawks, storks and a variety of herons.
Trips 12, 29 Pinckney Island NWR/ Sea Pine Forest Preserve/PR Mud Flats (HHI).
Pinckney Island NWR is a large island near Hilton Head Island. It includes a variety of land types: salt marsh, maritime forest, pine flatwoods, agricultural fields, brushy scrub and freshwater ponds. With 14 miles of nature trails we have a variety of opportunities to search for flocks of neotropical migrants. Wintering ducks should be arriving, and we may catch a Painted Bunting before they depart for the winter. Mud flats provide feeding and loafing habitat for many herons, shorebirds, gulls, terns, oystercatchers, and possibly an early godwit. The Preserve contains a marvelous mixture of swampy woods, marshes, small lakes, weedy fields, and pine plantations. Expect some short to medium length walks. map.
Trips 2, 6, 17, 22 Skidaway Island State Park and Priest Landing.
Located near historic Savannah, this barrier island has both salt and fresh water due to estuaries and marshes that flow through the area. Two nature trails wind through marshes, Live Oaks, Cabbage Palmettos and Longleaf Pines, with chances to see deer, Raccoon, shorebirds and passerine migrants. Observation towers provide another chance to search for wildlife on this beautiful island. We will bird from the Diamond Causeway, and explore the maritime forest, salt marsh, fresh water ponds, and tidal creeks. Expect to see Bald Eagles, Osprey, migrating songbirds, Wood Storks, and possibly Painted Bunting. map.
Trips 3, 7, 18, 23 Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve/Waddell Mariculture Center.
This preserve protects a kind of habitat known as Florida Scrub-flatwoods and consists of Slash and Longleaf Pine with a Saw Palmetto understory alternating with wetter areas of almost impenetrable thickets. We will scope the rivers and brackish marshes for gulls, terns, and ducks and hope to find migrant songbirds in the upland areas. map.
Trips 4, 8, 19, 24 Broad and Chechessee River Estuaries/Lemon Island.
This trip visits a series of broad tidal estuaries interspersed with salt marshes. At the public fishing pier we will look for pelicans, gulls, terns, and other water birds. Lemon Island is relatively undeveloped and the sand flats and salt creeks along the highway harbor hundreds of shorebirds at high tide such as plovers, oystercatchers, Willets, Dunlin, dowitcher, and Whimbrel. map.
Trips 13, 30 Altamaha Waterfowl Management Area.
The Altamaha Waterfowl Management Area is one of the best overall sites in Georgia, worth a visit in any season. The best bird areas are broken up into three sections. The first is the series of sometimes-flooded former rice fields on the east side of US Highway 17. Second is the part of the WMA north of the Champney River, on the west side of US 17. This area has several ponds and fields and a dike area good for passerine migrants. The third is the area south of the Champney, west of US 17, called Champney Island, where there are sometimes-flooded fields and a large impoundment with an observation tower. This area usually has water even when the fields are dry and is always worth checking. No restrooms available but are available outside the WMA. map.
Trips 14, 31 Bear Island Wildlife Management Area.
With 12,000 acres of managed wetlands, scattered stands of pines and agricultural fields, Bear Island attracts waterfowl, Bald Eagles, wading birds, shorebirds, raptors and songbirds. This area includes an observation platform, roads for driving, and miles of dikes for walking. Truly a must-see place. Look for Bald Eagle, Great Horned Owl, Wood Stork, and Black-necked Stilt. We will visit Bennett's Point Road for Barred Owl, Hairy Woodpecker, and rails. A good day at Bear Island can yield over 80 species. Primitive rest room and picnic facilities are available near the entrance. map.
Trips 15, 32 Donnelly WMA.
The 8,000 acres of Donnelly contains one of the East Coast's largest undeveloped areas of estuaries and associated wetlands with pine and pine-hardwood uplands, bottomland hardwoods, managed wetlands and agricultural fields. We will look for Bald Eagles, Osprey, Wood Storks, Purple Gallinules, Anhinga, Wild Turkey, and hope for Black-bellied Whistling Duck. Waterfowl, waders, raptors, and passerines make Donnelly WMA a excellent location for seeing a variety of birds. map.
Trip 20 Ridgeland - Nimmer Sod Farms.
The Nimmer Sod Farms are a recently discovered birding location comprised of several hundred acres bisected by many service roads. Logically, shorebird rarities should appear here in Ridgeland as frequently as they do in Orangeburg and the sod farms there. We hope to see Buff-breasted Sandpiper, American Golden Plover, American Kestrel, Killdeer, White Ibis and potentially some sparrows. Warblers and other migrating passerines may be abundant as well.
Trip 25 An Introduction to Nature Sound Recording.
This course is an introduction to nature sound recording for beginners, as this will be a short show-and-tell of some of the many recording gear out there along with some CDs of examples of what you can do with the gear. This is a two hour course and a preview of a more extensive workshop to be announced later. This course has had to be cancelled due to the leader's scheduling conflict.
Trip 34 Sparrow Identification .
This workshop introduces the basics of sparrow identification. Even though most North American sparrows lack the bright colors of many warblers, sparrows' distinctive shapes, interesting behaviors and subtly beautiful patterns can allow us to identify them with often only a quick glance. Sure sparrows and their often-secretive behaviors can present identification challenges in the winter. The trick is being prepared. Once you understand the basics of the combination of shapes, behaviors and patterns, you, too, can do away with the term "Little Brown Job." You may even find yourself saying you are going "sparrowing" instead of birding this winter.

Return to CBC Fall Meeting page

Return to CBC Main Page