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.

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.

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Other Resources (NOT sponsored by Carolina Bird Club)

Fish Haul Creek Park

Robin Carter


From the high bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway at the northwestern edge of Hilton Head Island keep going in US 278 for about 4 miles. Ignore the turnoff for the Cross Island Parkway (toll road) and keep on the old, free US 278 Business route. Shortly after the turnoff for the toll road turn left (north) onto Beach City Road. There should be a signs for the hospital, the library and perhaps the airport marking this turn. Continue north on Beach City Road for 1.9 miles to a four-way stop. To go to Fish Haul Creek Park keep going straight ahead to the park entrance, on the right. To go to Mitchelville Beach Park, turn left (northwest) at the four-way stop onto Fish Haul Road. Follow Fish Haul Road for 0.4 miles to Baygall Road. Here turn right (northeast) onto Baygall Road for 0.3 miles to Mitchelville Road. Turn right onto Mitchelville Road for 0.2 miles to the park entrance, on your left.

Birds to look for

Hooded Merganser (w), Red-breasted Merganser (w), Northern Gannet (w), Brown Pelican (w), Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, White Ibis, Wood Stork (s), Osprey, Bald Eagle, Merlin (m, w), Peregrine Falcon (m, w), Clapper Rail, Virginia Rail (w), Sora (w), Black-bellied Plover (m, w), Semipalmated Plover (m, w), Piping Plover (m, w), American Oystercatcher, Marbled Godwit (w), Ruddy Turnstone (m, w), Red Knot (m, w), Sanderling (m, w), Semipalmated Sandpiper (m), Western Sandpiper (m, w), Least Sandpiper (m, w), Dunlin (m, w), Short-billed Dowitcher (m, w), Laughing Gull, Bonaparte's Gull (w), Ring-billed Gull (w), Herring Gull (w), Lesser Black-backed Gull (w), Great Black-backed Gull (w), Gull-billed Tern (s), Caspian Tern, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern (s), Forster's Tern, Least Tern (s), Black Skimmer, Great Horned Owl, Belted Kingfisher (w), Sedge Wren (w), Marsh Wren, Nelson's Sparrow (w), Saltmarsh Sparrow (w), Seaside Sparrow, Painted Bunting (s), Boat-tailed Grackle


There are three parks at the north end of Hilton Head Island that give access to the Port Royal Flats or nearby marshes—Barker Field Park, Mitchelville Beach Park, and Fish Haul Creek Park.

Barker Field Park is mostly a park of soccer and softball fields, but at the north end of the park there is a boardwalk out into a brackish marsh, and there is another boardwalk that acts as a pedestrian bridge over a fresh water marsh to adjacent Mitchelville Beach Park. Listen and watch for rails and other marsh species from these boardwalks.

Just east of Barker Field Park is a new park, Mitchelville Beach Park. This small park has easy access to the beach and the Port Royal flats. Be sure to check out the bridge that connects Mitchelville Beach Park to Barker Field Park. There is also a small freshwater swamp along the road from Barker Field Park to Mitchelville Beach Park.

Once you are on the beach you can easily walk east for about 0.2 miles from Mitchelville Beach Park to Fish Haul Creek Park.

The largest and most varied of the three parks is Fish Haul Creek Park, a natural park with four major natural habitats—maritime forest, salt marsh and creeks, beach dunes and scrub, and tidal flats (the Port Royal flats).

The maritime forest, dominated by large live oaks, is good for passerines during migration and winter. The salt marsh is very accessible—there is a short boardwalk into the marsh. But the best birding is along the beach and on the mud flats. Except in early summer the Port Royal flats provide feeding and loafing habitat for most of the herons, shorebirds, gulls, and terns of the South Carolina coast, but you will need a telescope (or a willingness to get your feet wet) to see them well. This is a particularly good spot for wintering Marbled Godwits, as well as for other shorebirds, gulls, and terns.

When you are done at Fish Haul Creek Park and vicinity you might want to visit some of the other natural areas on the island. The other first-rate birding area on Hilton Head Island is the Sea Pines Forest Preserve. This 572-acre private wildlife preserve, with over five miles of trails, is an important part of Sea Pines Plantation, a development located near the southwestern end of the island. Follow US 278 Business to its end at a large traffic circle. From the circle take Greenwood Drive west, to the Sea Pines Plantation gate. (Visitors must pay a small fee here.) Continue 1.0 mile west to the main parking lot for the preserve. A trail map is available at the parking lot.

The preserve contains a marvelous mixture of swampy woods, marshes, small lakes, weedy fields, and pine plantations. This is a great birding spot all year round, but it is at its best during migration and in early winter. In addition to the common species of coast plains woods be alert for rails, bitterns, and herons in the marshes and a few wintering ducks on the lakes. If you explore this area for a day you can easily find fifty to seventy species of birds at any time of year -- many more than that during spring or fall migration.



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