Georgetown Field Trip Descriptions
Time swap: Due to a special "youth hunt" at Santee Coastal Reserve the morning of Saturday, Feb 2, Trips 18 and 23 will be swapped; 23 will be in the morning and 18 in the afternoon.
|Friday, Feb 1||Saturday, Feb 2|
|Half-day Morning||Half-day Morning|
|Half-day Afternoon||Half-day Afternoon|
Winter Meeting Field Trip Descriptions
- Trips 1, 13 Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center
- This area is a SC Heritage Preserve and administered by the Department of Natural Resources. Public access can be rather limited, so we are excited to offer two full day trips to this fantastic birding area just 20 minutes from Georgetown. Target birds include American Avocet, American White Pelican, Tundra Swan, Barn Owl, lots of waterfowl, shorebirds, rails, raptors, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, sparrows and more! Observation towers provide a panoramic view of the south Santee River Delta and surrounding area. This trip seems to be the one to get it all, in one long day! Note that space will be limited, so if you are hoping to go on this trip, register early!
- Trip 2 Cape Island, Raccoon Key, and Lighthouse Island
- We will drive 30 minutes south to McClellanville and board a boat for the trip to the islands. Target birds include Peregrine Falcon, Long-billed Curlew, Red-necked Grebe, Common Ground-Dove, maritime sparrows, raptors, and sea ducks. We will hope for a Short-eared Owl and Common Mergansers. Note: there is an additional fee of $60 per person to cover the cost of the boat charter. Limit of 12 passengers. Dress appropriately and be prepared for cold temperatures and possible spray.
- Trip 3,16 Hobcaw Barony and Arcadia Plantation
- No significant walking away from the cars. Hobcaw is an amazing place. At 17,500 acres, it was one of just a few "Baronies" - vast colonial land grants. The habitats include Longleaf Pine forests (with Red-cockaded Woodpeckers), hardwood forests, old field habitat, managed waterfowl impoundments, freshwater swamps and maritime forests. Great waterfowl, rails, raptors, sparrows, rare birds - Hobcaw has it all. This trip also visits nearby Arcadia Plantation.
- Trip 4 Conway Sewage Plant and New Road
- What better way to spend a crisp winter morning than at the local sewage treatment plant! While not everyone’s idea of a fun time, birders know sewage plants can attract interesting visitors. We may get skunked, but we might find a Black-headed Gull, shorebirds, waterfowl, and more. The trip will then visit New Road for wintering and resident passerines. Feeding flocks of the more common local birds may attract unusual visitors, and with this year’s finch invasion, who knows what we will find!
- Trips 5, 19 Huntington Beach SP Jetty
- The jetty at the Huntington Beach State Park, together with the nearby tidal creeks and flats, are a top destination for winter birders. The jetty is one of best places in the state to find wintering Purple Sandpipers and Great Cormorants. Rarities are almost to be expected, and species such as Common Eider, Razorbill, Long-tailed and Harlequin Duck, Snow Bunting, Lapland Longspur, and more have been found during recent winters. Northern Gannets and scoters are to be expected. The main drawback to visiting the jetty is that it is more than a 1.25 mile walk along the beach from the north parking lot. There is a $5 per person entrance fee to the park (A good reason to buy an annual South Carolina State Park Pass!)
- Trips 6, 17 Pawley's Island and Murrell’s Inlet
- This is a trip for "less extreme" birding, with a boardwalk (at Murrell’s Inlet) and great seafood restaurants in the area. You could find many of the same species as you would Huntington Beach State Park (with a lot less walking).
- Trip 7, 12 Long-billed Curlew Trip
- This trip visits Raccoon Key and Lighthouse Island in a covered boat with windows that lower. The boat holds up to 34 passengers. Cost $35. Look for Piping Plover, Wilson's Plover, American Oystercatcher, and more. “Ipswich” Savannah Sparrows winter here. Raccoon Key is famous as a great place to see Long-billed Curlews. Raccoon Key also has Whimbrel, Marbled Godwits, all sorts of shorebirds and Peregrine Falcons. Red-necked Grebes are possible in Key Bay.
- Trips 8b, 21 Dewees Island
- We will meet the (free) Dewees Island Ferry and ride several miles along the waterway to Dewees Island where we will use golf carts and some light walking to bird the island. Expect wading birds, Piping Plovers and other shorebirds, Common Ground-Doves, Peregrine Falcons, wintering Orange-crowned Warblers and other songbirds. The ocean might yield gannets, loons, grebes or other seabirds.
- Trips 9, 22 Huntington Beach State Park
- Even if you don't go out to the jetty, a trip to “HBSP” can yield great birding and photographic opportunities. This trip will cover the causeway, Mullet Pond, the education center feeders, salt marsh boardwalk, and an overlook on the marshy end of Sandpiper Pond (good for rails and bitterns). This trip will also visit the beach briefly, but will not make the trek to the jetty. $5 per person entrance fee to the park.
- Trips 10, 18 Santee Coastal Reserve
- Our tour of the Santee Coastal Reserve's mainland area will cover acres of former rice fields, river frontage along the South Santee River, magnificent Cypress-Tupelo swamp, upland fields and mixed forest. Expect lots of waterfowl and wading birds, hawks, American White Pelicans, Wood Storks, probable rails, sparrows, raptors, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Barn Owls if we are lucky, plenty of Bald Eagles with chances for Golden Eagle. Moderate walking.
- Trips 11, 20 Samworth Wildlife Management Area
- If you love sparrows, this may be the trip for you. The “dove fields” along the entrance road often produce an excellent variety of the “little brown jobs”, and sometimes something unusual shows up! Also expect lots of waterfowl, American White Pelicans, raptors and wading birds on the ponds and impoundments.
- Trip 14 Bulls Island
- Bulls Island is a full day boat trip (bring lunch). We have arranged for the ferry to land at the island’s north end to reduce the long walk from the regular landing. Here we will look at the massive shorebird roost at high tide, scope the ocean for interesting birds and then check out Jack's Creek impoundment. This is famous as the number one spot for wintering Canvasbacks in SC. Target birds include Canvasback and Redhead, Red-necked Grebe, potentially thousands of shorebirds, Piping Plover, Peregrine Falcon, American White Pelican and more. There is a charge of $35 per person for the ferry.
- Trip 15 Murphy Island
- All day boat trip, cost unknown presently, but probably around $60. A place that is hard to reach (closed to the public in winter) but crawling with good birds. Murphy Island has large open ponds that diving ducks like Canvasbacks and Redheads use, and marshy former rice fields that pintails and Snow Geese use in good numbers. Murphy Island is the top site in South Carolina for wintering Snow Geese and second only to Bulls Island for consistent numbers of wintering Canvasbacks. Murphy is also a good place to see Common Goldeneyes. Murphy Island has plenty of other ducks (often Tundra Swans), Bald Eagles and the occasional Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcons and other raptors, wading birds, rails, pipits, sparrows and other goodies. Murphy has a front beach that runs from South Santee Inlet down to Cape Harbor. Sandbars close off the beach and are roosting places for shorebirds and gulls. Piping Plovers, Marbled Godwits, American Oystercatchers and other shorebirds are found here. Murphy Island also has extensive forests and is a good place to see Orange-crowned Warbler.