James W. Webb Wildlife Center and Management Area
Garnett, Hampton County, South Carolina
From the town of Hampton, go south on US 601. In 9.2 miles turn right (north) on SC 3 for 3.1 miles. Turn left (south) on US 321 at the lights in Estill, SC and go 9.8 miles to the intersection of US 321 and SC 119 in the town of Garnett. Turn right (northwest) on to Augusta Stage Coach (Road 20). Go 2.6 miles until you reach the entrance road to the Webb Center on your left. From mid-March until the end of August, both Mississippi and Swallow-tailed Kites can be seen along this route.
Birds to look for
Least Bittern (s), Swallow-tailed Kite (s), Mississippi Kite (s), Purple Gallinule (s), Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Acadian Flycatcher (s), Brown-headed Nuthatch, Yellow-throated Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler (s), Swainson's Warbler (s), Kentucky Warbler (s), Yellow-breasted Chat (s), Bachman's Sparrow (s), Painted Bunting (s).
You also have a good chance of seeing other animals, including Armadillo, White-tailed Deer, Wild Boar (feral pig), Eastern Fox Squirrel (including the black morph), and American Alligator. The Webb Center is a stronghold for Eastern Diamond-backed Rattlesnake. It's a good idea to keep on the trails.
Webb Center, a globally recognized Important Bird Area, comprises 5866 acres and is adjoined to the east by Palachucola Wildlife Management Area with 6757 acres and to the west by the Hamilton Ridge Wildlife Management Area with 13,281 acres. Primary habitats include a river swamp-hardwood floodplain supporting old growth stands of bald cypress and water tupelo, agricultural land, lakes and streams. On the upper regions of the floodplain can be found dense growths of live, willow, laurel, water and overcup oaks. The higher flat terrain contains dense stands of longleaf, slash, loblolly, shortleaf and pond pine. Webb is open daily year-round but it is closed for special hunts. The office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Call 803-625-3569 before visiting to make sure the area is open.
Eminent botanist Dr. Richard Dwight Porcher describes Webb as “one of the premier public wildflower sites in the coastal plain” and states “over 600 species of vascular plants have been identified on this site.”
To begin your birding tour, park and walk along the entrance road with its allee of oaks, then proceed straight ahead until you come to the lodge/office complex. There is a restroom in the office, which is open Monday through Friday, 8 AM–4:30 PM. Maps of the Webb Center are usually available at the office. There is also a restroom in the picnic shelter, but it is frequently locked. Park and walk around in this area then follow Bluff Lake Road toward the “Lakes and Ponds.” Take your first right off of this road, which is signed “Nate's Road“Rookery.” After visiting the rookery, turn right on Nate's Road and proceed back to the main road. Go right and stay on the main road until you arrive at Bluff Lake. Once you have birded the area around the lake, take a walk on the Savannah River Nature Trail. Follow Bluff Lake Road back to the lodge and continue on the entrance road back to Augusta Stage Coach Road. Feel free to explore the many side roads on this site.