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

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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.

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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.

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Field Trip Schedule and Descriptions

Friday, Apr 26
Half-day Morning Half-day Afternoon All-day
Trip 1Francis Beidler Forest and Grasslands
Trip 2ACE Basin NWR
Trip 3Bear Island WMA
Trip 4Donnelly WMA
Trip 5Edisto Nature Trail
Trip 6Lighthouse Heritage Preserve (Folly Isl.)
Trip 7Francis Marion National Forest
Trip 8Caw Caw Interpretive Center
Trip 9Seabrook Island
Trip 10Mingo Point/Kiawah Island Boat Tour
Trip 11Dewees Island
Trip 12Old Santee Canal Park
Trip 13Ft Moultrie/Sullivans Island
Trip 14Pitt Street/Patriot's Point
Trip 15Santee WMR Cuddo/Bluff
Trip 16Cape Romain/Bull Island
Trip 17Black River Cypress Preserve
Trip 18Botany Bay
Saturday, Apr 27
Half-day Morning Half-day Afternoon All-day
Trip 19Caw Caw Interpretive Center
Trip 20Santee WMR Bluff Unit
Trip 21Bear Island WMA
Trip 22Donnelly WMA
Trip 23Edisto Nature Trail
Trip 24Ft Lamar/Melton Demetre Park
Trip 25Mingo Point/Kiawah Island
Trip 26Dewees Island
Trip 27Orangeburg Sod Farm
Trip 28Old Santee Canal Park
Trip 29Ft Moultrie/Sullivan's Island
Trip 30Pitt Street/Patriot's Point
Trip 31Cape Roman/Bull Island
Trip 32Santee Coastal Reserve and Delta
Trip 33Black River Cypress Preserve
Sunday, Apr 28
Half-day Morning
Trip 34Rarities

Important Tips for the Spring Trips! (click)

Field Trip Descriptions

Half-day trips

Trip 1 – Francis Beidler Forest and Grassland (Audubon, SC)

This Audubon sanctuary contains a portion of what is considered the largest remaining old-growth cypress-tupelo swamp in the world, known as Four Holes Swamp. Participants will experience the majestic wonder of this swampland along a 1.75 mile boardwalk. Birds we hope to find include Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, as well as other wading birds, including Wood Stork, a variety of woodpeckers, owls, and migrating songbirds. A Limpkin was recently observed and photographed here. Beidler has also opened a Grassland sanctuary—by maintaining native grassland habitat, we are creating a space that is attractive to birds like Painted Buntings and Northern Bobwhites.

Approximate Travel Time: 30 minutes.
Facilities: Restrooms available
Access: $15/person fee. Participants should be prepared for possible mosquitoes by wearing appropriate clothing and bringing insect repellent.
Trip 2 – ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge

The ACE Basin NWR lies in the heart of the ACE Basin, “One of the last great places on Earth.” We will bird the Grove Plantation area, in which habitat types are mixed hardwood-pine, bottomland hardwood, longleaf pine, and early successional grasslands/field. The location hosts a diversity of waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and passerines. This area is known for Wood Storks, Bald Eagles, other raptors, and the exceptional diversity of migratory land birds.

Approximate Travel Time: 1 hour.
Facilities: Restrooms at Refuge Office.
Access:Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, snacks, and water as needed. No fee.
Trips 3 & 21 – Bear Island Wildlife Management Area

Managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Bear Island ranks as one of South Carolina's top birding destinations. It consists of 17,000 acres in the heart of the ACE Basin, a multi-partnered complex of significant wildlife resources and habitats. It is also an Important Bird Area. Bear Island consists of brackish managed wetlands, marshes, hardwood and pine forests, and open fields. It is accessed by miles of dikes that offer opportunities to see a variety of birds such as Mottled Duck, birds of prey including Barn Owl, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, American White Pelican, Least Bittern, American Avocet and others. Depending on water level conditions, Bear Island can be excellent for migrating shorebirds and transient songbirds.

Approximate Travel Time: 1 hour 15 minutes.
Facilities: No public restrooms are available at Bear Island. Please bring lunch, drinks, and snacks.
Access: We will mostly be driving and walking dikes in the area. Participants should be prepared for full sun exposure and mosquitoes by wearing appropriate clothing, insect repellent, and sunscreen. No fee.
Trips 4 & 22 – Donnelly WMA

Managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Bear Island ranks as one of South Carolina's top birding destination, birds include the Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Wood Duck, Mottled Duck, Wild Turkey, Northern Bobwhite, Pied-billed Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Least Bittern , Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Osprey, Mississippi Kite, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel, King Rail, Virginia Rail, Sora, Purple Gallinule, Common Gallinule, American Coot, Greater Yellowlegs Lesser Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitcher Long-billed Dowitcher, Forster's Tern, Black Tern, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red Cockaded Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Acadian Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow-Rumped Warbler Yellow-throated Warbler, Pine Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, Summer Tanager, Bachman's Sparrow, Painted Bunting , and Rusty Blackbird.

Approximate Travel Time: 45 minutes.
Facilities: Restrooms available.
Access: Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and water. No fee.
Trip 5 & 23 – Edisto Nature Trail

The Edisto Nature Trail is in Jacksonboro and is a premier SC nature trail. There are two loop trails, the longest being about 1.5 miles. Walking can be slippery and on uneven ground with roots. This area supports open mature pines, hardwood forests, bottomland hardwoods, and bald cypress stands. Forest species abound here; vireos, flycatchers, thrushes, warblers, and hawks and owls.

Approximate Travel Time: 50 minutes.
Facilitis: There are no facilities, a truck stop is approximately 1 mile from the trailhead, with adequate restrooms, food, and drinks.
Access: Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and water. No fee.
Trip 6 – Lighthouse Heritage Preserve (Folly Island)

Lighthouse Heritage Preserve is a county park located at the north end of Folly Island. It is the site of an old Coast Guard station, provides a resting and foraging area for passerines migrating, and is a migrant “trap” during periods of active migration along the coast. There is extensive maritime forest, beach and dune habitat, open ocean, and extensive exposed mud flats and exposed sand bars at or near high tide. All of these areas provide excellent habitat for resident and migrant species. Shorebirds, terns, gulls, and passerines.

Approximate Travel Time: 1 hour.
Facilities: Restrooms, snacks, drinks, and food are available prior to arriving at the Preserve in the town of Folly Beach.
Access: Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and water. There are many places locally on the island to obtain food and water.
Trip 7 – Francis Marion National Forest

There are Red-cockaded Woodpeckers here along with other open mature pine species: Bachman's Sparrow, Brown-headed Nut hatch, Summer Tanager. The drive goes through the swamp where we will find migrant passerines and other forested wetlands species. This trip is mostly for forest birds, both upland pine and forested wetlands, and includes mature and early successional habitats of these forest types.

Approximate Travel Time: 45 minutes.
Facilities: There are no restrooms here, but there are convenience stores on the way that provide restrooms, water, and snacks.
Access: Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and water. There is a store in Awendaw that provides restrooms, food, and drinks. No fee.
Trips 8 & 19 – Caw Caw Interpretive Center

Located near Ravenel, this Charleston County Park is situated on land that was once historic rice plantations. The park consists of 1,000 acres of diverse coastal habitats including cypress/tupelo swamps, a tidal saltmarsh, freshwater and brackish water impoundments, and upland and bottomland forests. The property is accessed by six miles of trails and offers easy and quality birding. Over 250 species of birds have been documented in the park, and we hope to find marsh and wading birds, owls, vireos, wrens, migrant warblers, and other passerines.

Approximate Travel Time: 45 minutes.
Facilities: Restrooms available.
Access: $2/person fee to enter the County Park. This trip will involve easy to moderate walking.
Trip 9 – Seabrook Island

This is the largest sea bird nesting area north of Florida and an important site on the bird migration map. The diverse ecosystem of freshwater ponds, salt marshes, maritime forests, and natural beaches attract a large population of year-round resident birds and migratory birds in each season. Pack your binoculars, sunscreen, sunhat (and bug spray!), and explore the best birding spots on Seabrook Island.

Trip 10 – Mingo Point/Kiawah Island and Boat tour (maximum of 12 persons)

This special trip will include birding in a maritime forest, with a visit to a bird banding station and birding at the new Johns Island County Park. We will most likely see a good variety of migrating passerines (warblers, thrushes, flycatchers, vireos). We then will board a boat for 2 hours, birding the Kiawah River. The Kiawah River and its surrounding tidal creeks, oyster beds, and mud flats provide an abundant array of migratory, shore, and wading birds. Come join us as we cruise the saltmarsh and witness the daily life of the river's avian species. Cost is $45.

Trips 11 & 26 – Dewees Island

Dewees Island is a private island that is zoned for Natural Resource Management. There is a conservation easement over the island and there are many ongoing conservation projects on the island with many local partners. Birding will be done by golf cart and access is by ferry. This island has pristine habitats of beach and dune, where at high tide shorebirds, terns, and gulls congregate. Other pristine habitats are the tidal marsh and maritime forest. Old House Lagoon holds waterfowl, and wading birds are numerous, and this is one of the best spots for Roseate Spoonbill. During migration shorebirds abound, along with passerines in the forests, and raptors in the skies.

Approximate Travel Time: 45 minutes.
Facilities: Ferry cost is $40.
Trip 12 & 28 – Old Santee Canal Park

Old Santee Canal Park commemorates the area's rich history and habitat. Among its attractions are the Stony Landing House, built in 1843, and four miles of boardwalks that meander through the quiet backwaters of Biggin Creek and its surrounding swamp. Beyond its historical offerings, the park has become a popular destination for bird watchers, hikers, paddlers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. The park has many rich habitats, from pine trees, mixed hardwoods, open fields, and freshwater swamp, which allow for a wide diversity of species any time of year. The location along the Cooper River and proximity to Lake Moultrie make it an ideal spot during spring and fall migration. Currently boasting 170 species on eBird, come discover this hidden gem. Likely birds include migrant warblers, wading birds, owls, raptors, and ducks.

Approximate Travel Time: 30 minutes.
Facilities: Restrooms, AC, water fountain.
Access: $3/person, $2/seniors.
Trip 13 & 29 – Fort Moultrie/Sullivan's Island

Fort Moultrie and Breach Inlet are on Sullivan's Island, with Fort Moultrie now known as the migrant hotspot around the Charleston Harbor. Fort Moultrie supports grasslands, maritime forest, beach and dune, the Intracoastal Waterway, and includes a nature trail through the forest bordering the dunes and beach. Migrating passerines and grassland birds can be in high numbers here, along with migrating hawks, falcons, and eagles. Breach Inlet is located between Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms, and is well known for migrating shorebirds (especially Red Knot), terns, gulls, with some sea ducks and seabirds later in the season. Recent rarities here were Gray and Tropical Kingbird.

Approximate Travel Time: 35 minutes.
Facilities: Yes, at Ft. Moultrie Visitor Center
Access: Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and water. There are many places locally on the island to obtain food and water. No fee.
Trip 14 & 30 – Pitt Street Causeway/Patriot's Point

These hotspots are in Mount Pleasant, SC. Pitt Street Causeway will be birded at low tide when the mudflats are exposed, attracting shorebirds, wading birds, terns and gulls. Reddish Egret is sometimes found here. This is a great spot for swallows, wrens, warblers, and raptors during migration. Patriot's Point is nearby, is known for migrating passerines, and there is an observation platform overlooking the harbor for views of water birds and waterfowl.

Approximate Travel Time: 45 minutes.
Facilities: There are no restrooms at these places, but there are numerous convenience stores nearby with restrooms, food, snacks, and drinks.
Access: Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and water. No fee.
Trip 20 – Santee National Wildlife Refuge (Bluff Unit)

Situated on the north shore of Lake Marion, opposite the town of Santee, this NWR has about 71,000 acres of open water and marsh and about 3,000 acres of uplands. Vast open fields are managed primarily for wintering waterfowl. Wright's Bluff Wildlife Trail, with a short boardwalk, also includes a high observation deck which offers sweeping vistas. Raptors, including Barred Owls and Bald Eagles, are here year-around, as are numerous Wood Ducks. The Bluff Unit is especially good for migrating shorebirds and passerines. Top Ten SC Birding Hotspot!

Approximate Travel Time: 30 minutes.
Facilities: No public restrooms are available at the refuge but there is a nearby service station with facilities, and some food and drinks.
Access: Some birding is by car, but mostly on foot on trails and service roads. Participants should be prepared for mosquitoes by wearing appropriate clothing and insect repellent, and please bring sunscreen. No fee
Trip 24 – Fort Lamar/Melton Demetre Park

Fort Lamar and Melton Demetre Park (Sunrise Park) are two little known yet very productive birding areas in the Charleston Harbor. Fort Lamar is a Civil War era fort on James Island. It is primarily maritime forest surrounded by tidal marsh and can be full of migrant passerines -22 species of warblers have been observed here. Surrounded by tidal estuary, wading birds, terns, and other marsh associated species are also found here. Sunrise Park is also on James Island and on the southern side of the harbor, with open views of the shoreline and harbor. Migrating passerines, waterfowl, water birds, and passerines can be found in this small area.

Approximate Travel Time: 40 minutes.
Facilities: Restrooms are available at Sunrise Park, but not Ft. Lamar. There are numerous convenience stores/service stations along the way to provide facilities.
Access: Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and water. There are many local places to obtain food and water and lunch if necessary. No fee
Trip 25 – Mingo Point/Kiawah Island

Mingo Point and destinations on Kiawah Island offer extensive salt marsh, maritime forest, and dunes and beaches to locate resident and migrating birds. Mingo Point provides habitat for gulls, terns, wading birds, raptors, warblers, and dozens of other passerines that migrant along the coast. A walk out to the high tide roost on East Beach should produce high numbers of species, including shorebirds, terns, gulls, and wading birds, possibly Reddish Egret.

Approximate Travel Time: 1 hour.
Facilities: Restrooms are available at Mingo Point and just outside the entrance to the gated communities.
Access: Birding at Mingo Point is an easy walk, and birding on Kiawah Island proper will be by van or driving and stopping. No fee.
Trip 27 – Orangeburg Sod Farms

The Orangeburg Sod Farms are privately owned, allowing visitation by birders. This area is well known for its sometimes-spectacular shorebird migration, with specialties such as American Golden-Plover, Upland Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper. Other local residents include grassland and open field species such as Northern Bobwhite, Common Ground Dove, Horned Lark, Loggerhead Shrike and others.

Approximate Travel Time: 45 minutes.
Facilities: Restrooms and food stops will be available in route.
Access: Birding at the sod farms will involve mostly roadside stops but conditions can be muddy. Do not drive on the sod and birders must respect the grounds and work crews to have continued access to this area. No fee.
Trip 34 – Search for Rarities

Attempts to relocate rarities that had been seen over the weekend

Full-day trips

Trip 15 – Santee National Wildlife Refuge (Bluff and Cuddo Units)

The Bluff and Cuddo Units of the Santee National Wildlife Refuge encompass open water, hardwood and pine forests, freshwater marsh, cultivated fields, old fields, impoundments, and cypress swamps. This refuge is known for waterfowl and water birds, but the forests, vine tangles, and fields are especially productive for migrating passerines and many grassland species.

Approximate Travel Time: 30 minutes.
Facilities: No public restrooms are available at the refuge but there is a nearby service station with facilities, and some food and drinks.
Access: Some birding is by car, and some on foot on trails and service roads. Participants should be prepared for mosquitoes by wearing appropriate clothing and insect repellent, and please bring sunscreen. No fee.
Trip 16 & 31 – Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and Bulls Island

Located 20 miles from Charleston and accessed only by boat, Cape Romain NWR's 66,000-acre ecosystem of barrier islands and saltmarsh habitats extend 22 miles along the coast. This is the gem of the South Carolina coast and a must for birding in the low country. This special resource is part of the Carolinian-South Atlantic Biosphere Reserve, being of international significance due to its high conservation value and educational importance. It was also recently designated part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. Participants on this trip will explore by boat the saltmarsh estuaries at different tides, seeking out concentrations of migrating shorebirds, marsh (sparrows and rails) and wading birds, gulls, and terns. After exploring the estuaries and marshes, we will then debark for land-birding on Bulls Island, where we hope to pick up migrating raptors and songbirds, including warblers, vireos, tanagers, flycatchers, etc. Our boat leaves at 7:30 a.m. and our estimated return is 3:30 p.m. to Garris Landing. Nearly 300 species have been observed here. Please arrive 30 minutes prior to departure (7 a.m.). This field trip is a special charter through Coastal Expeditions and there is a $60.00/person fee, and cash, check, and cards (fee) are accepted on site at Garris Landing.

Approximate Travel Time: 45 minutes to Garris Landing, located at the end of Bulls Island Road near the small village of Awendaw.
Facilities: Public restroom at Garris Landing and near the Dominick House on Bulls Island.
Access: Some of our time will be spent on open water in a boat in route to Bulls Island. At Bulls Island, expect a long hike that is easy to moderate walking conditions and through loose, possibly muddy soils. Depending on weather, participants should prepare for full sun exposure and carry insect repellent. Bring any food, lunch, and water/drinks. $65 fee.
Trip 17 & 33 – Black River Cypress Preserve

Black River Cypress Preserve is in Georgetown County and is a private property conserved by The Nature Conservancy. It is approximately 500 acres and includes extensive Bald Cypress stands in the Black River watershed. Other habitats include mature pine stands, bottomland hardwoods, and early successional shrub/scrub areas. This area is being developed for passive recreation and very much under-birded. Expected species are mature forest and early successional migrants, as well as the many resident species. One thousand-year-old cypress trees are here, as are many oxbow lakes. Forested wetland and forest species are numerous here, as are hawks and owls.

Approximate Travel Time: 1 hour 10 minutes.
Facilities: There are restrooms at the entrance. Food, drink, and snacks should be obtained ahead of time or along the route.
Access: There are several miles of trails within the Preserve, all with relatively even surfaces. No fee.
Trip 18 – Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve Wildlife Management Area

Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area is managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The property is 4,630 acres and is a mix of pine and hardwood forest, agricultural fields, coastal wetlands, and a barrier island. We will drive leisurely through the maritime forest and observe resident and migrant passerines, including flycatchers, warblers, vireos, thrushes, buntings, and sparrows. The vast sunflower and cropped fields provide habitats for many seed-eating species. Wee will spend some time looking for these species and Common Ground Dove. We will then take a short round trip hike of approximately 2 miles to the beach at low tide where we hope to see many shorebirds feeding in the relict marsh. Approximately 30 species of shorebirds have been recorded at Botany Bay, and this will be the peak of shorebird migration. Participants should be prepared for mosquitoes by wearing appropriate clothing and insect repellent, and please bring sunscreen.

Trips 32 – Santee Coastal Reserve and Delta

Designated an Important Bird Area, Santee Coastal Reserve encompasses 24,000 acres of varied habitat, including pine forests, freshwater, brackish and tidal wetlands, and agricultural fields. Look for species typical of longleaf ecosystems, including Bachman's Sparrow and Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Waterfowl, rails, and a variety of marsh wading birds, bitterns, and migrating shorebirds and passerines are expected. The Big Well wetlands behind the office are now specifically managed for shorebirds. Santee Delta is an adjacent 1,700-acre resource containing remnant historic rice fields and bottomland hardwoods. It can be very good for rails.

Approximate Travel Time: 1 hour 15.
Access: Mostly birding by car on the entrance road to the office complex, but most by walking on dirt roads and dikes once parked. Participants should be prepared for mosquitoes by wearing appropriate clothing and insect repellent, and please bring sunscreen.