Leave at Exit 11 and go northwest on SC 24 for about 4 miles, to the village of Townville. The best farmlands for birding are south of the village.
Birds to look for
Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Gadwall (w), American Wigeon (w), American Black Duck (w), Mallard (w), Blue-winged Teal (w), Northern Shoveler (w), Northern Pintail (w), Green-winged Teal (w), Ring-necked Duck (w), Bufflehead (w), Hooded Merganser (w), Ruddy Duck (w), Pied-billed Grebe (w), Least Bittern (s), Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret (s), Little Blue Heron (s), Cattle Egret (s), Virginia Rail (w), Sora (w), Greater Yellowlegs (m), Lesser Yellowlegs (m), Solitary Sandpiper (m), Spotted Sandpiper (m), Least Sandpiper (m), Pectoral Sandpiper (m), Wilson's Snipe (m, w), Horned Lark, American Pipit (w), Field Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow (m), Savannah Sparrow (w), Grasshopper Sparrow (s), Lincoln's Sparrow (w), White-crowned Sparrow (w), Lapland Longspur (w), Blue Grosbeak (s), Indigo Bunting (s), Dickcissel (s), Bobolink (m), Eastern Meadowlark, Rusty Blackbird (w), Brewer's Blackbird (w)
When South Carolina birders refer to the great open-country birding near Clemson, they are usually speaking of the Townville area, which is a few miles southwest of Clemson, but still in the Clemson Christmas Count circle. Here, in some years, you might find up to a half dozen singing Dickcissels from early May through early July, as well as numerous breeding Grasshopper Sparrows, a few Horned Larks, and the usual species of Piedmont agricultural areas.
From SC24 in the village of Townville look for Road 117, Fairplay Road, which veers off to the left (west). If you reach the Oconee County line, you have gone too far. Turn left on Fairplay Road and go about 0.1 mile, to the first left, Fred Dobbins Road. Go south on Fred Dobbins Road for about two miles, to the third paved county road on the right. This is Fork School Road. Turn right (south). This stretch of road, from Fred Dobbins Road to the bridge over Little Beaverdam Creek, about one mile down the hill, is a good area for nesting Dickcissels.
At the bottom of the hill Fork School Road reaches at Little Beaverdam Creek. There is a small marshy area near the bridge, which attracts migrant Sora and Virginia Rails, and an occasional breeding Least Bittern.
This is a good area for wintering sparrows, including White-crowned. Lincoln's Sparrow has been found in the brush near the creek, but this elusive species is not to be expected.
To continue the Townville area tour, turn right (west) on Gaines Road at Fork School. (You get to this road before you get to the bridge. If you go right on Gaines Road it will reach a dead-end in a half mile at an observation point for ducks and geese.) Go west on Gaines Road until it ends at a T-junction with McAdams Road. Here turn left (south) on McAdams Road. In about a quarter mile you will approach Little Beaverdam Creek again. Just before you cross the creek, look for a farm road to the left (an entrance road for Beaverdam Creek Waterfowl Management Area). Park here and explore the area downstream, along the creek. This is a good area for migrants. This area is usually closed during the winter.
A few yards into the waterfowl management area from McAdams Road there is a gate. Carefully cross this gate and explore the wet meadows, marshes, and beaver ponds in front of you. In some years Black Rails have breed here, but are usually not present if the weather has been too dry. The Black Rails, if present, might be heard calling at dawn or dusk in May or June. Do not count on this species here, but it is something to hope for.
After exploring the marsh area, return to McAdams Road and backtrack to the north. Keep on McAdams Road. Within a mile of the creek you will pass two farm ponds on the left. Do not park at the pulloffs, which are used by the farmers. Do not cross any fences here. These ponds are great for migrant ducks and shorebirds. Horned Larks might visit the muddy edges at any time of year, and there may well be American Pipits or a Lapland Longspur in winter. These pastures are among the best places in South Carolina to find wintering Brewer's Blackbirds, but this primarily western species is rare, even here.
About 1.5 miles north of Little Beaverdam Creek, McAdams Road ends at Fred Dobbins Road. Here you may turn left, to return to the village of Townville, or turn right, and follow Fred Dobbins Road south and east, to SC 24, between I-85 and Townville.
Rarities found near Townville include Black Rail, Sandhill Crane, Barn Owl, Short-eared Owl, Say's Phoebe, and Vermilion Flycatcher.