Day 12 – South Carolina comes up Trumps

Bird of the day just had to be this Red-cockaded Woodpecker – seen immediately on arrival at the specially marked tree!

Today was our first full day birding in South Carolina and after a steady start it really came up trumps – political pun intended! (FYI SC has voted Republican since 1964, except in 1976 when it supported fellow Southerner Jimmy Carter.) Our first stop was Savannah NWR where we worked three areas of wetland and woodland. The last stop at Kingfisher Pond produced our first trip ticks – a pair of Wood Duck and Red-eyed Vireo. The next scheduled stop was Bear Island WMA – a vast area of swamp, ponds and wet woodland – produced an impressive array of waterbirds and two more trip ticks in the form of Tree Swallow and Mallard! Talking to one of the Rangers she told us about another site Donnellys WMA, just up the road, which had more shorebirds and a small colony of Roseate Spoonbill – a good tick for South Carolina. As we drove in we noticed some mature pine trees which had been conspicuously marked. Ever since our first trip to Florida we’ve known about this ‘secret code’ which is used to identify nest sites of the nationally scarce Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Having filled our boots with the Spoonbills and seen some very impressive (and intimidating) alligators we stopped off at the pine trees, at which point Jane shouted ‘there’s a woodpecker on the tree!’ Turned out to be a Red-cockaded – right on cue. The last impromptu site, which was given to us by a woman birder at Donnellys, was in the town of Jacksonborough – the Edisto Nature Trail. It was quiet on the birding front – best being a nice male Hooded Warbler – but it did give us point blank views of a Racoon, foraging in the undergrowth. A great days birding, taking our State list for South Carolina to 75. We’ll see if we can break the ton tomorrow.

Always nice to see these diminutive bitterns – this is Least. Just 13 inches tall!
Roseate Spoonbill – if we had gone to Donnellys WMA for these birds, we wouldn’t have seen the woodpecker!
Bear Island held a good range of waterbirds – including these American Avocet. First seen on this trip in Florida
This entry was posted in Birding.

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