arrows pointing right and left

Birding Club Trip to South Carolina & Georgia

email Scott Turner
previous chapter

album index
(Click any photo to enlarge.)

Birding Club Trip to South Carolina & Georgia

Kathy and Scott enjoyed a fabulous time with the Elizabethton Bird Club on a four day excursion in early March. The drive to the coastal wetlands took much of the day, and was rewarded at the Savannah River National Wildlife Refuge. There we saw Blue-winged Teal, a grebe, and a nice variety of herons and egrets. The flat land and Spanish moss showed us that we were far from home.

Cumberland Island

The second day was devoted to the picturesque and wild Cumberland Island, reached by ferry from St. Mary’s, Georgia. From the dock on the sheltered side of the island, we traversed to the ocean beach where we got out the spotting scopes to see Royal and Forster’s Terns.

As it turned out, most of the shorebirds on the beach didn’t mind if we came close. Binoculars or unaided eyes gave us rewarding views. Cute little Sanderlings were all over the beach, running in and out with the waves. Highlights were two American Oystercatchers and two Ruddy Turnstones.

Away from the shore, Cumberland Island has Live Oaks and wild horses. Scott saw his first armadillo in the wild, which was so much fun we got no photo.

As the day came to a close, we caught the last ferry back to St. Mary’s.

Crooked River

We have no photos from Crooked River National Wildlife Refuge — probably because the birds were good, with Wood Storks, two species of pelicans, and an incident in which a Bald Eagle chased an Osprey, forcing it to drop a fish.


Our visit to Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge began with a quest for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, which we quickly learned to call RCWs. Sadly, a couple of hours of searching did not turn up any RCWs, even though it was easy to see a number of trees whose trunks were marked to indicate that this endangered species had been nesting.

We did find alligators in a small pond, and walked on a boardwalk toward the edge of the swamp.

We headed back to the visitor center, where we saw a skink (or anole?) on the screen.

The highlight of our day’s schedule was a sunset boat trip into the swamp. We saw an Anhinga, Black-crowned Night Herons, and a Barred Owl calling.

As we exited the boat, a three-toed frog sat next to the steps.

Congaree National Park

The fourth day was the return trip, stopping in the afternoon at Congaree National Park, remarkable for its old growth bottomland forest. Here we saw Red-Headed Woodpeckers, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and heard more Barred Owls. Happily, it was not mosquito season yet.

Several of our group have an interest in fauna well beyond birds. If we saw an interesting lizard or butterfly, it wasn’t long before someone figured out the exact species.

We had such a nice time that we had to discuss plans for future trips. They would be glad if we would investigate and plan destinations. One thing we need to keep in mind is that our club’s trippers are not into saving money by camping or cooking our own food — motel and restaurants must be included.

album index

next chapter

Support open standards!  
Valid XHTML 1.0!