About the Club

Mission Statement

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

Join us — Join, Renew, Donate

The Carolina Bird Club, Inc., is a non-profit educational and scientific association open to anyone interested in the study and conservation of wildlife, particularly birds.

The Club meets each winter, spring, and fall at different locations in the Carolinas. Meeting sites are selected to give participants an opportunity to see many different kinds of birds. Guided field trips and informative programs are combined for an exciting weekend of meeting with people who share an enthusiasm and concern for birds.

The Club offers research grants in avian biology for undergraduate and graduate students, and scholarships for young birders.

The Club publishes two print publications (now also available online). The Chat is a quarterly ornithological journal that contains scientific articles, reports of bird records committees and bird counts, and general field notes on bird sightings. CBC Newsletter is published bimonthly and includes birding articles and information about meetings, field trips, and Club news.

The Club provides this website to all for free.

By becoming a member, you support the activities of the Club, receive reduced registration fee for meetings, can participate in bonus field trips, and receive our publications.

Join, Renew, or Donate now!

Other Resources (NOT sponsored by Carolina Bird Club)

Field Trip Schedule and Descriptions

Friday, Sep 30
All-day Half-day Morning Half-day Afternoon
Trip 1Santee Coastal Reserve6:15am
Trip 2Huntington Beach State Park with the jetty7:15am
Trip 3Cherry Grove, Heritage Shores, & MBSP6:30am
Trip 4Yawkey Wildlife Center6:45am
Trip 5Bulls Island,Cape Romain NWR6:00am
Trip 6Birding and Butterfly Trip, HBSP Jetty6:15am
Trip 7Lewis Ocean Bays Heritage Preserve6:30am
Trip 8New Birders' Workshop,HBSP7:45am
Trip 9Hobcaw Barony7:00am
Trip 10Litchfield Plantation (private neighborhood)7:30am
Trip 11Hemingway Waste Treatment Plant6:45am
Trip 12Photography Workshop at HBSP1:45pm
Trip 13Pawleys Island, North and South ends1:10pm
Trip 14Huntington Beach SP without the jetty1:20pm
Trip 15Brookgreen Gardens1:30pm
Trip 16Black River Kayak trip,Rocky Point Community Forest1:00pm
Saturday, Oct 1
All-day Half-day Morning Half-day Afternoon
Trip 17Santee Coastal Reserve6:15am
Trip 18Huntington Beach State Park with the jetty7:15am
Trip 19Cherry Grove, Heritage Shores, & MBSP6:30am
Trip 20Black River Cypress Preserve, Peninsula Campus & the Georgetown Fishing Pier6:45am
Trip 21Bulls Island,Cape Romain NWR6:00am
Trip 22Hasty Point, Waccamaw NWR & Rocky Point Community Forest7:00am
Trip 23Lewis Ocean Bays Heritage Preserve6:30am
Trip 24South Tibwin, Francis Marion National Forest6:45am
Trip 25Santee Delta Wildlife Management Area7:00am
Trip 26Lake Busbee7:15am
Trip 27Young Birders: HBSP7:30am
Trip 28Murrells Inlet Marsh walk/Limpkin Hotspot/Oyster Landing HBSP1:10pm
Trip 29South Litchfield Beach1:20pm
Trip 30Brookgreen Gardens1:30pm
Trip 31Pawleys Island, North and South ends1:40pm
Trip 32Cox Ferry, Waccamaw NWR1:00pm
Sunday, Oct 2
Half-day Morning
Trip 33Waties Island6:45am
Trip 34Chasing the rare ones

Field Trip Descriptions

All-Day trip participants should bring their own lunch.

All-day trips

Trips 1 and 17: Santee Coastal Reserve—Friday & Saturday—6:15 am

Our tour of the Santee Coastal Santee Reserve will cover the mainland area including rice fields, river frontage along the South Santee River, magnificent Cypress-Tupelo swamp, upland fields, and mixed forest. Expect some waterfowl and wading birds, hawks, American White Pelicans, Wood Storks, probable rails, sparrows, raptors, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and migrating warblers. We may even find some owls if we are lucky, plenty of Bald Eagles with chances for Golden Eagle.

Travel Time: 45–50 minutes
Facilities: None
Access conditions: Moderate walking (3–5 miles on foot) all day, buggy
Trips 2 and 18: Huntington Beach State Park with the jetty—Friday & Saturday—7:15 am

($8 per person entrance fee to the park.) This Trip will cover the jetty at the Huntington Beach State Park (HBSP), together with the nearby tidal creeks and flats, plus the causeway, Mullet Pond, the education center, salt marsh boardwalk and Sandpiper Pond. The jetty is one of best places in the state to find rarities. Please be aware that the walk to the jetty is 3 miles round trip from the North Beach parking lot. Huntington Beach State Park is the must-experience birding crown jewel of South Carolina because of the diversity of habitat and location along the coast.

Travel Time: 15 minutes
Facilities: Yes
Access conditions: Walking all day
Trips 3 and 19: Cherry Grove Pier & Marsh, Heritage Shores, and Myrtle Beach State Park (MBSP)—Friday & Saturday—6:30 am

(approximately $15 in access fees per person) We will ocean watch for pelagics, sea ducks, etc. from the Cherry Grove Pier which is the northernmost publicly accessible pier in the state. We will also visit Heritage Shores Nature Preserve in Cherry Grove and Myrtle Beach State Park for migrating passerines, marsh sparrows and shorebirds. If time and access permit, we will also visit the Springmaid Pier. The order in which we visit each location will be determined by the weather and the tides.

Travel Time: 60 minutes
Facilities: Yes
Access conditions: Moderate walking
Trip 4: Yawkey Wildlife Center—Friday—6:45am

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 this full day trip to this fantastic birding area. Target birds include American Avocet, American White Pelican, Barn Owl, early waterfowl, shorebirds, rails, raptors, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, warblers, 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!

Limit: 12
Travel Time: 50 minutes
Facilities: Yes
Access conditions: Short ferry over to island at 8 am and bus transportation to key sites on the island; moderate walking in various locations
Trips 5 and 21: Bulls Island—Cape Romain NWR— Friday & Saturday—6:00 am

This is a full day trip to Bulls Island by boat departing from Garris Landing in Awendaw where you will meet your guide. The fee of $60 (cash or check only payable to Coastal Expeditions) will be collected on board. We'll be walking 5-8 miles on the island all day. The pearl of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, Bulls Island offers mud banks, saltwater marshes, beaches, freshwater impoundments, and upland habitats. This place is on anybody's list of the top five birding spots in South Carolina. Weather dependent, we will try to land at the island's north end to reduce the long walk from the regular landing. Here we will look at the shorebird roost at high tide, scope the ocean for interesting birds and then check out Jack's Creek impoundment.

Limit: Minimum of 10, maximum 15
Travel Time: 75 minutes to Garris Landing
Facilities: Restroom at Garris Landing; 1 restroom on the island
Access conditions: Walking 5–8 miles all day on island and ferry through the estuary
Trip 20: Black River Cypress Preserve, Peninsula Campus & the Georgetown Fishing Pier—Saturday—6:45am

This all-day field-trip will cover 2 different habitats increasing the likelihood of getting a number of species. Black River Cypress Preserve is a private property conserved by the Butler Foundation and the Nature Conservancy. The Carolina Bird Club previously visited the Main Campus in Fall 2019. This time we will visit the Peninsula Campus with similar habitats including extensive Bald Cypress stands, mature pine forest, bottomland hardwoods, and early successional shrub/scrub areas. Expected species are mature forest and early successional migrants and resident species. We will also stop at the Georgetown Fishing Pier (either before or after the BRCP). The pier, located on an island at the convergence of the Great Pee Dee and Waccamaw Rivers, should prove to be a great migrant trap. We will explore the scrub and marshy areas as well as walk the pier to search for migrating passerines, terns, gulls and shorebirds.

Travel Time: 1 hour to the BRCP
Facilities: There are no restroom facilities. Food, drink, and snacks should be obtained ahead of time or along the route.
Access conditions: Trail walking over sometimes uneven terrain at BRCP
Trip 22: Hasty Point, Waccamaw NWR & Rocky Point Community Forest—Saturday—7:00am

The Carolina Bird Club has been granted special permission to bird a newly acquired, not yet open to the public, tract of the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge, called Hasty Point. This former plantation located on the Pee Dee River includes former rice fields, longleaf and loblolly pine forests, bottomland hardwoods, tidal marsh, and bald cypress forests. In these diverse habitats, we will be able to tally a variety of waterfowl, wading birds, migrating and year-round passerines including the Red-cockaded woodpecker. We will picnic here before proceeding to a nearby site on the Black River, the Rocky Point Community Forest. Here we will explore the waterfront as well as the nature trail to look for waders and migrating passerines. Rocky Point Community Forest is a property for which the Carolina Bird Club has contributed grant money for its preservation.

Travel Time: 50 minutes
Facilities: Yes
Access conditions: Walking 3–4 miles on occasionally uneven terrain

Morning half-day trips

Trip 6: Birding and Butterfly Trip, HBSP Jetty—Friday—6:15sm

($8 per person entrance fee) An early morning departure will allow us to hear and see birds as they come in from their over-night flights. We will depart from the hotel and go straight to the North Beach Parking Lot at Huntington Beach State Park. From there, we'll walk to the jetty (3 miles round trip) and search the dunes for resident and migratory birds and butterflies. We hope to see warblers, early saltmarsh sparrows, shorebirds, terns, gulls, waterfowl, and cormorants—Parasitic Jaeger is a possibility. Target shorebirds include Piping, Wilson's, Black-bellied, and Semipalmated Plover, American Oystercatcher and Whimbrel. This is a great spot to watch for migrating falcon and other raptors. The cedar trees at the north end of park often host roosting Monarch butterflies, migrating Gulf Fritillary butterflies and others.

Travel Time: 15 minutes
Facilities: Restroom at the parking lot
Access conditions: 3 mile walk over sandy beach and asphalt-topped jetty
Trips 7 and 23: Lewis Ocean Bays Heritage Preserve—Friday and Saturday—6:30am

This 9,000 acre preserve includes 23 Carolina Bays. The preserve is classified as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. The chief target birds will be Red-cockaded woodpeckers and other resident and migrating species associated with pine savannas. The state's largest population of Black Bears occurs here as well as numerous rare plants including the Venus Flytrap.

Travel Time: 45 minutes
Facilities: None
Access conditions: Moderate walking
Trip 8: New Birders' Workshop, HBSP—Friday—7:45am

($8 per person entrance fee) This is for those new birders, or those who just want a refresher. You will visit Huntington Beach State Park looking and listening for birds in a variety of habitats and observing behavior with a focus on identification techniques.

Travel Time: 10 minutes
Facilities: Yes
Access conditions: Moderate walking along mostly paved paths or wooden boardwalks
Trip 9: Hobcaw Barony—Friday—7:00am

($40 per person entrance fee - cash or check only – payable to the Baruch Foundation) We have organized a special guided bird-watching tour of this privately owned, 16,000 acre research reserve owned by The Belle W. Baruch Foundation. This IBA reserve features all possible habitats (fresh and saltwater marshes, beach, cypress lowlands, bottomland hardwoods, upland and maritime forests, old growth pine) in coastal South Carolina which translates into a variety of species for us to see: waders, shorebirds, raptors, passerines, woodpeckers such as the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, resident and migrating species.

Limit: 8 minimum–14 maximum
Travel Time: 25 minutes
Facilities: Yes
Access conditions: On the property, we will travel by bus and do some moderate walking
Trip 10: Litchfield Plantation (private neighborhood)—Friday—7:30am

Join us for a tour of this gated community in Pawleys Island. We will walk the Live Oak lined streets to look for fall migrants and resident birds including Woodpeckers, Warblers, other passerines and possibly the resident Great-horned Owl. We will also visit the canal behind the plantation house to listen for rails and scan the marsh for blackbirds and others. Finally, we will stop to watch a backyard feeder for Red-headed Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch and others.

Travel Time: 15 minutes
Facilities: Yes
Access conditions: Moderate walking
Trip 11: Hemingway Waste Treatment Plant—Friday—6:45am

You will meet your guide at this site, one of the top birding spots in Williamsburg County. Rarities often show up here. We will be looking at shorebirds, terns and resident and migrating passerines. Some early arriving waterfowl may also be present. If time allows, a visit to the seldom-birded Johnsonville Sand Pits is planned.

Travel Time: 70 minutes
Facilities: None
Access conditions: Moderate walking
Trip 24: South Tibwin, Francis Marion National Forest—Saturday—6:45am

We will meet our guide in the parking lot for South Tibwin, just off Hwy 17 a short distance past McClellanville. We'll walk through mature pine forest to medium-sized impoundments bordering the Intracoastal Waterway. These impoundments are where we hope to find a variety of waterfowl, shore birds, rails, bitterns, etc. Warblers, flycatchers, wrens, and birds of prey are also possible.

Travel Time: 60 minutes
Facilities: None
Access conditions: 2–3 miles of walking on wooded trails and open scrub dikes
Trip 25: Santee Delta Wildlife Management Area—Saturday—7:00am

On this tract of land, you really get a feel for what it is like to be on the vast expanse of the Santee River delta where trails wrap around former rice impoundments which are closed from mid-November to February 1st for the protection of waterfowl that spend their winters here. The dikes are lined with scrub, cedar, cypress and hardwoods along the North Santee River. Here we will see some wood storks, waders, migrating raptors and resident and migrant passerine, and early waterfowl.

Travel Time: 40 minutes
Facilities: None
Access conditions: 2–3 miles of walking over occasionally uneven terrain
Trip 26: Lake Busbee—Saturday—7:15am

Lake Busbee, today a thriving wetland was once a cooling pond for an old coal plant, in Conway. Today it is used as recreation site with a 2.5 mile nature trail that nearly circumnavigates the entire lake. The marshes and canals around it provide wonderful habitat for a variety of waterfowl, waders, shorebirds, and rails. Hardwoods and some cypress lining the edges serve as good perches for raptors and habitat for passerines.

Travel Time: 40 minutes
Facilities: None
Access conditions: 2–3 miles of walking on level gravel road
Trip 27: Young Birders: Huntington Beach State Park—Saturday—7:30am

($8 per person entrance fee) This trip is specifically for young birders and their families, though others are welcome if there is room the day of the trip. You will visit Huntington Beach State Park looking and listening for birds in a variety of habitats, choosing destinations according to the trip leader's research (and maybe a hunch or two).

Travel Time: 10 minutes
Facilities: Yes
Access conditions: Moderate walking
Trip 33: Waties Island—Sunday—6:45am

Waties Island is one of the last undeveloped barrier islands on the S.C. coast and a true oasis in comparison to the Grand Strand. Saved for generations by one family, Waties is now preserved by a conservation easement and is host to research projects by the faculty and students of Coastal Carolina University. We will be able to see a variety of migrating raptors, passerines, waders and shorebirds as well as their resident counterparts.

Travel Time: 70 minutes
Facilities: None
Access conditions: Moderate walking, including beach walking
Trip 34: Chasing the rare ones—Sunday—TBD

Did you miss out on a great bird? Saturday evening, groups are encouraged to self-organize to chase the birds you may have missed. There will be no designated leader or departure time. This is a do-it-yourself trip.

Afternoon half-day trips

Trip 12: Photography Workshop at HBSP—Friday—1:45pm

($8 per person entrance fee) Venture beyond your camera's automatic mode - learn to use manual settings to make the most of your time while birding. During this half-day workshop, instruction in both camera set-up and use of technical controls will be followed by instructor-led experience photographing birds in and around the marshes of Huntington Beach State Park. Personalized guidance will be provided in order to practice new skills and techniques such as mastering lighting and perspective as well as focusing on capturing unique bird behavior all while being mindful of practicing ethical bird photography.

Travel Time: 10 minutes
Facilities: Yes
Access conditions: Moderate walking
Trips 13 and 31: Pawleys Island, North and South ends—Friday—1:10pm and Saturday—1:40pm

On this trip we will visit both north and south ends of Pawleys Island. First, we will go to the South end and walk the beach looking for Gulls, Terns, Shorebirds and Skimmers. As we drive from the South to North, we will be scanning rooftops for Eurasian-collared Doves and the marshes for Waders and Rails. At the North end, we will be closer to low tide and will scan towards Litchfield beach for loafing Gulls, Terns and Pelicans.

Travel Time: 15 minutes
Facilities: Yes
Access conditions: Moderate beach walking
Trip 14: Huntington Beach SP without the jetty—Friday—1:20pm

($8 per person entrance fee 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. Shorebirds, rails, wading birds, hawks, migrating warblers, owls, and falcons.

Travel Time: 10 minutes
Facilities: Yes
Access conditions: Moderate walking
Trips 15 and 30: Brookgreen Gardens—1:30 pm

($20 per person entrance fee) We will spend the afternoon exploring beautiful statuary gardens and wonderful open woodland habitat for a variety of birds including ducks, rails, bitterns, wading birds, wintering passerines, Great Horned & Barred owls, Bald eagles, etc.

Travel Time: 10 minutes
Facilities: Yes
Access conditions: Moderate walking
Trip 16: Black River Kayak trip, Rocky Point Community Forest—Friday—1:00pm

This outing gives you the opportunity to explore a beautiful black water, cypress swamp habitat by boat. We will kayak up the Black River and into one of the many small tributaries that feed into it. This will be an easy, flatwater paddle with the chance to see herons, kingfishers, barred owls, woodpeckers and other swamp-loving species as well as a chance at some migrants passing through. We will also be looking for snakes, frogs, alligators and many other featherless species. There will be a brief 'kayaking 101' lesson at the start of the trip and this paddle is great for both experienced and 1st time kayakers. Please bring $30 in cash to pay the outfitter at the landing. You will be contacted after you register to see if you want a single or tandem kayak.

Travel Time: 45 minutes
Facilities: Port-a-lets
Access conditions: Flatwater paddling
Trip 28: Murrells Inlet Marsh walk/Limpkin Hotspot/Oyster Landing HBSP—Saturday—1:10pm

This field trip will take you to three different locations that are relatively close. The order will be determined by tide at the discretion of the trip leader. The Limpkin spot, where a colony of these birds are nesting and raising young, is in a neighborhood close to the Waccamaw NWR. Oyster Landing has abundant birdlife close to Huntington Beach State Park proper but not within the gated part, and thus there is no fee. The Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk is an eBird hotspot which leads out over the marshes and along the shore. This is a great spot to see gulls and Brown Pelicans, early arriving marsh sparrows, blackbirds, wrens, shorebirds, and waders. Along the shoreline in the grand oaks, we may see different resident and migratory songbird species. After birding, if in need of some refreshments, there are a few bars and restaurants along the boardwalk from which you can enjoy both the food and the birds.

Travel Time: 35 minutes to the Limpkin spot from the hotel // 15 minutes from the marsh walk to the hotel
Facilities: No, but stops are possible
Access conditions: Travel by car and moderate walking over easy terrain
Trip 29: South Litchfield Beach—Saturday—1:20pm

Located near our hotel, this beach is south of HBSP. Along the causeway leading to the beach is one of the best places to find rails. From the parking lot there is a 1.3 mile walk along the beach where we may see a variety of shorebirds. On the western side of the island, we may find plovers, skimmers, and sandpipers.

Travel Time: 15 minutes
Facilities: None
Access conditions: Walking on boardwalk and beach
Trip 32: Cox Ferry, Waccamaw NWR—Saturday—1:00pm

This trip visits the Cox Ferry Recreational Area with its 5 miles of trails through multiple ecosystems including coastal wetlands, cypress swamp, pine forests and the Waccamaw River, of course. Target species include migrating warblers, resident passerines such as the Red-cockaded woodpecker, owls, raptors, and early arriving waterfowl.

Travel Time: 50 minutes
Facilities: No
Access conditions: Trail walking and boardwalks

Meeting Notes