The Carolina Bird Club is a non-profit organization
that represents and supports the birding community in the Carolinas
through its website, publications, meetings, workshops, trips, and partnerships,
whose mission is
- To promote the observation, enjoyment, and study of birds.
- To provide opportunities for birders to become acquainted, and to share information and experience.
- To maintain well-documented records of birds in the Carolinas.
- To support the protection and conservation of birds and their habitats and foster an appreciation and respect of natural resources.
- To promote educational opportunities in bird and nature study.
- To support research on birds of the Carolinas and their habitats.
Clemson Field Trip Schedule and Descriptions
|Friday, May 1
||Saturday, May 2
|Trip #1||Jocassee Gorges – 6:15 |
|Trip #2||Walhalla Fish Hatchery, Burrell’s Ford, and Bad Creek – 6:15 AM|
|Trip #3||Lake Jocassee and Devils Fork State Park – 6:30 AM|
|Trip #4||Lake Conestee Nature Park – 6:30 AM|
|Trip #5||Trip 5 – Townville Area – 6:45 AM|
|Trip #6||Trip 6 – Nine Times Preserve and the Eastatoe Valley – 6:45 AM||
|Trip #17||Table Rock SP and Nine Times – 6:15 AM|
|Trip #18||Walhalla Fish Hatchery, Burrell’s Ford, and Bad Creek – 6:15 AM|
|Trip #19||Lake Jocassee and Devils Fork State Park – 6:30 AM|
|Trip #20||Cedar Falls Park – 6:30 AM|
|Trip #21||Townville Area – 6:45 AM|
|Trip #22||Nine Times Preserve and the Eastatoe Valley – 6:45 AM|
|Trip #7||Rocky River Park – 7:00 AM|
|Trip #8||South Carolina Botanical Gardens – 7:15 AM|
|Trip #9||Lake Issaqueena Recreation Area – 7:15 AM|
|Trip #10||Clemson Aquaculture Facility – 7:30 AM|
|Trip #11||South Cove County Park – 7:30 AM||
|Trip #23||Rocky River Park – 7:00 AM|
|Trip #24||South Carolina Botanical Gardens – 7:15 AM|
|Trip #25||Lake Issaqueena Recreation Area – 7:15 AM|
|Trip #26||Clemson Aquaculture Facility – 7:30 AM|
|Trip #27||South Cove County Park – 7:30 AM|
|Trip #12||Townville Area – 1:00 PM|
|Trip #13||South Carolina Botanical Gardens – 1:00 PM|
|Trip #14||Clemson Experimental Forest South – 1:15 PM |
|Trip #15||Clemson Aquaculture Facility – 1:15 PM|
|Trip #16||Beginning Birders' Seminar at the Botanical Gardens – 1:30 PM||
|Trip #28||Townville Area – 1:00 PM|
|Trip #29||South Carolina Botanical Gardens – 1:00 PM|
|Trip #30||Clemson Experimental Forest South – 1:15 PM |
|Trip #31||Clemson Aquaculture Facility – 1:15 PM|
|Trip #32||Beginning Birders' Seminar at the Botanical Gardens – 1:30 PM|
|6:45 PM||Social Gathering|
|7:15 PM||Welcome and Announcements|
|8:00 PM||Evening Presentation: Dr. Maria Whitehead||
|7:30 PM||Announcements and Introductions|
|7:45 PM||Evening Presentation: Dr. Drew Lanham |
|8:30 PM||Species Count-Down|
Spring Meeting Planning Notes
All trips will depart from our hotel parking lot.
The times listed above are when cars should be lined up and departing.
Please arrive at least 10 minutes early and check in with the leader.
If you decide not to go on a trip, please scratch your name from the list or notify the leader.
Participants are encouraged to carpool as much as possible.
This helps to lower carbon emissions, simplify logistics, and keep the group together;
in addition, it's a nice way to get to know some new birders!
Birders going on Trip 1, into the Jocassee Gorges, will need to drive a high-clearance (preferably 4WD) vehicle or ride with someone who is.
Pack snacks and water for all trips.
For full-day trips, pack a lunch as well.
Sunscreen is advised for all trips, but is particularly important for trips to Lake Jocassee, Townville, and the Clemson Aquaculture Facility.
Clemson Meeting Field Trip Descriptions
- Trip 1: Jocassee Gorges Driving directions
This wilderness of deep gorges with dense thickets of rhododendron, large tracts of cove hardwood forest, oak-hickory forests, and ridgelines of dry pineland provide some of the most extensive representative habitat for species that typically occur along the Blue Ridge Escarpment. As well as being home to possibly the densest population of Worm-eating Warblers anywhere in the Carolinas, it also is ideal habitat for large numbers of Ovenbirds, Hooded, Black-and-white, and Black-throated Green Warblers, as well as smaller numbers of many other species of breeding birds and migrants. Swainson's Warblers also regularly breed in this area.
Access Conditions: Participants should either drive a high-clearance (preferably 4WD) vehicle or be prepared to carpool in one.
Facilities: Do not count on restrooms, although there may be porta-potties.
- Trips 2 and 18: Walhalla Fish Hatchery, Burrell's Ford, and Bad Creek Driving directions
This area, in the extreme northwestern corner of the state, provides some unique habitats and beautiful scenery. Burrell's Ford and the Walhalla Fish Hatchery are along the Chattooga River, and are two of only a few locations in South Carolina to find breeding Red-breasted Nuthatches and Black-throated Blue Warbler. Swainson's Warbler is also likely, as are Worm-eating, Hooded, Black-throated Green, Black-and-white, and Louisiana Waterthrush. Acadian Flycatchers should be found as well. From the fish hatchery, we'll make several stops on the way to Bad Creek, which flows into Lake Jocassee. There we will continue to sort through resident and migrant passerines.
Access Conditions: This trip will involve some hiking, but should not be strenuous.
Facilities: Restrooms are available at the fish hatchery.
- Trips 3 and 19: Lake Jocassee and Devils Fork State Park Driving directions
We'll begin the morning with one of the trails at Devil's Fork State Park in search of warblers, thrushes, tanagers, and other migrants. The highlight of this trip will be a pontoon boat ride onto Lake Jocassee with local guide Brooks Wade of Jocassee Lake Tours. Lake Jocassee has a significant wintering population of Common Loons and Horned Grebes, some of which may still be present and easily viewed from the boat. Rarities such as late, lingering Red-necked Grebes are also a distinct possibility on Lake Jocassee, as is a look at the Peregrine Falcons that nest along the cliffs on the eastern shore. We'll enjoy a picnic lunch (bring your own) out on the lake before returning to the dock. If time allows after the boat trip, we may continue to bird at Devils Fork SP, or travel up to Bad Creek in the Jocassee Gorges.
Access Conditions: Some light hiking, but the largest portion of the day will be spent on the boat. Wear sunscreen.
Facilities: Restrooms are available at Devils Fork State Park.
Extra fee of $35 payable in cash to the boat operator at time of tour.
- Trip 4: Lake Conestee Nature Park Driving directions
Lake Conestee, south of Greenville, consists of approximately 400 acres of diverse habitat, and has been designated as an Important Bird Area of Global Significance by the National Audubon Society. Nearly 200 species of birds have been identified at Lake Conestee, thanks in large part to its diverse habitat and great trail system. We'll work our way around some of these trails to find a variety of lingering waterfowl, waders, woodpeckers, warblers, and more. A spring day at Lake Conestee can produce a very impressive list. After birding at Conestee, we will travel to nearby Gunter Road to see if the perennial Scissor-tailed Flycatchers have yet arrived, while looking for other grassland species such as Grasshopper Sparrow, Meadowlark, and Loggerhead Shrike.
Access Conditions: This trip will include a lot of walking, but all on level trails in good condition.
Facilities: Restrooms are available at the park entrance.
- Trips 5, 12, 21, and 28: Townville Area Driving directions
The open country, wildlife management areas, and views of Lake Hartwell near Townville collectively make up one of the most productive birding areas in Upstate South Carolina. The agricultural areas are home to Grasshopper Sparrows, Horned Larks, Meadowlarks, and the occasional Loggerhead Shrike. There may be lingering Savannah, Vesper, or White-crowned Sparrows to be found. The ponds at Dobbins Farm may host a few late ducks as well as a handful of shorebirds. Beaverdam Wildlife Management area gives another chance for waterfowl, as well as good habitat for warblers (including Prothonotary), wrens, and perhaps even a Night-Heron. The full-day options (Trips 5 and 21) will have time to continue to several overlooks on Lake Hartwell to look for gulls, terns, Cliff Swallows, and Osprey.
Access Conditions: Some walking, but on level trails in good conditions. Lots of open country, so wear sunscreen.
Facilities: Limited restroom availability, mostly at a local gas station.
- Trips 6 and 22: Nine Times Preserve and the Eastatoe Valley Driving directions
The Nature Conservancy's Nine Times Preserve is a 560-acre preserve protecting one of the most biologically significant properties in the southern Appalachian foothills. This beautiful preserve holds several different forest types, rock outcrop plant communities, a great variety of wildflowers, and a varied bird life to match. We'll start our day exploring some of the trails here to look for migrant as well as nesting warblers, thrushes, tanagers, and other passerines. Highlight breeding residents should include Kentucky Warbler as well as Hooded, Black-throated Green, Black-and-white, Louisiana Waterthrush, Ovenbird, and Yellow-breasted Chat. We'll have a brief look at the adjacent Nine Times Forest recently protected by Naturaland Trust before working our way up the Eastatoe Valley. This scenic, pastoral valley offers a variety of habitats and has a reputation for turning up a few rarities each year during migration. Finally, we'll head to Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina, looking for a variety of migrants as we climb, including Swainson's Warbler.
Access Conditions: Some hiking at the Nine Times Preserve may be moderately strenuous, after which hiking should be easy. Difficult portions of the trails at Nine Times will be brief, and can be easily skipped.
Facilities: There will be one bathroom stop on the route.
- Trips 7 and 23: Rocky River Park Driving directions
This park, adjacent to the Anderson University Sports Complex, has just been acquired and is just starting to be developed. Plans are in the works for extensive trails, boardwalks, foot bridges, overlooks, and an educational center. Come out and explore the undeveloped trails and roadsides of what promises to be the next birding gem in Upstate South Carolina. The park includes upland mixed hardwood forest, wetlands and swamp, and vistas of the Rocky River. It's a very promising spot for some migrant activity!
Access Conditions: Walking may be on uneven or undeveloped trails, and may include off-trail travel.
Facilities: Restrooms available nearby.
- Trips 8, 13, 24, and 29: South Carolina Botanical Gardens Driving directions
The SC Botanical Garden at Clemson University is 295 acres of diverse gardens, streams, and nature trails with a penchant for attracting a great variety of migrant songbirds. It is quickly becoming recognized as a hotspot among Upstate birders. We'll tour through the gardens to find those migrants, along with resident lingering winter residents, and enjoy some botanizing as well. Birding in the gardens is easy, with a network of well-developed trails.
Access Conditions: Easy walking on well-developed, mostly level trails.
Facilities: Restrooms are available at the Gardens.
- Trips 9 and 25: Lake Issaqueena Recreation Area Driving directions
The Lake Issaqueena Recreation Area, a portion of the Clemson University Experimental Forest, is situated around a small lake formed by a dam on the 12-Mile Creek, which feeds into Lake Hartwell. The forest here is primarily oak-hickory, but has patches of rhododendron thickets as well as some large stands of pine. This variety of habitats produces a good variety of migrant and resident songbirds.
Access Conditions: The road into Lake Issaqueena includes one small stream crossing, so a high-clearance vehicle (or carpooling in one) is recommended.
Facilities: No restrooms available.
- Trips 10, 15, 26, and 31: Clemson Aquaculture Facility Driving directions
This locally well-known birding gem next to Lake Hartwell includes impoundments, agricultural fields, mud flats, wooded paths, and tree-lines, and boasts over 200 total species on record! This site regularly produces Sora, and has the potential for a nice variety of shorebirds. Last spring it turned up both Willow and Alder Flycatcher, at the same time!
Access Conditions: Some significant walking involved, but all on level roads and paths. Shade is scarce, so wear sunscreen.
Facilities: Restrooms are available.
- Trips 11 and 27: South Cove County Park Driving directions
South Cove County Park is a 50-acre property surrounded by pristine Lake Keowee. Throughout the year over 100 species of birds are counted in the various habitats that the park offers. More species of birds have been recorded on eBird at the park than at any other one site in Oconee County. The park recently completed the Hermit Thrush Nature Trail, featuring bird feeding stations and a bird blind. The campground is situated on a peninsula that funnels flocks of birds before they cross the lake during migration. South Cove County Park has also been installing butterfly gardens throughout the park this past year. This is a great place to go take a morning stroll, watching the many species of birds and butterflies.
Access Conditions: Easy walking on well-maintained trails and roads.
Facilities: Restrooms are available at the park.
- Trips 14 and 30: Clemson Experimental Forest South Driving directions
This large portion of the Clemson University Experimental Forest, located south of town, includes a number of forest types as well as some wetlands and views of sections of Lake Hartwell. The forest has an extensive network of trails and dirt roads, giving access to a nice variety of habitats.
Access Conditions: A fair amount of walking will be required, but all on level, improved roads and trails.
Facilities: No restrooms available.
- Trips 16 and 32: Beginning Birders' Seminar at Botanical Gardens Driving directions
This outing is targeted toward beginning or intermediate birders, and will focus on equipment use, fieldcraft, tips for location and identification of birds. We'll also delve into birding ethics and etiquette. The trip will be slower-paced, and is perfect for anyone interested in developing their skills in the easy-to-bird SC Botanical Gardens. See the description for Trip 8 for more details on the Botanical Gardens.
Access Conditions: Easy, slow-paced walking on level, well-developed trails.
Facilities: Restrooms are available.
- Trip 17: Table Rock State Park and Nine Times Driving directions
We'll start the morning birding near the Visitor Center at Table Rock State Park, which offers great views of the huge granite monolith for which the park is named. The trails here often produce a nice variety of migrant songbirds, while offering views of raptors, vultures, and the occasional Common Raven soaring nearby. After exploring the trails and old homestead near the Visitor Center, we'll bird some more forested areas of the park, looking for residents such as Louisiana Waterthrush, Hooded, Black-and-white, Worm-eating, and Black-throated Green Warblers, as well as for more migrants. After Table Rock, we will stop by the Nine Times Preserve on the way back to Clemson to look for Kentucky Warbler, Acadian Flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Chat, and others.
Access Conditions: Some walking, but on relatively level and easy trails. We will skip the moderately strenuous portions of the trails at the Nine Times Preserve on this outing.
Facilities: Restrooms are available at Table Rock State Park.
- Trip 20: Cedar Falls Park, Gunter Road, and Holliday Circle Driving directions
We'll start the morning on a road less traveled with some roadside birding along Holliday Circle in lower Greenville County. A variety of habitats including open field, early successional, and hardwood bottomland forest, provide the opportunity to view many different species including Prairie Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Acadian Flycatcher, and Scarlet Tanager. We may also see Cliff Swallows, which nest under the bridge over the Saluda River just a short distance away. From there we will travel the short distance over to historic Cedar Falls Park. There we will walk along the beautiful, expansive shoals of the Reedy River and see the remnants of the nearly two centuries-old mill structures as we search the trails for breeding Yellow-throated Vireo, and Swainson's, Kentucky, and Prothonotary Warblers. After birding at Cedar Falls, we will travel to nearby Gunter Road to see if the perennial Scissor-tailed Flycatchers have yet arrived, while looking for other grassland species such as Grasshopper Sparrow, Meadowlark, and Loggerhead Shrike.
Access Conditions: This trip will include a fair amount of walking, on level trails and roadsides in good condition.
Facilities: Restrooms are available at Cedar Falls Park.