SUN CITY BIRD CLUB---NEARBY BIRDING LOCATIONS
The following locations provide good year-round birding opportunities & seasonal highlights as noted. They are great places to go on your own for a day outing where you can enjoy beautiful surroundings & a variety of birds, nature & wildlife. Check tides before going to a beach or tideland.
WITHIN SUN CITY
Riverbend—the dock (low tide is best) & Tidewatch Drive lagoons & pines, Concession Oak eagle nest, Palmetto Commons boardwalk, Hidden Cypress Lane (a.k.a. Cypress Hills Drive) boardwalk, Town Square paths, Lake Somerset, open lots on the north side of SCHH.
HALF HOUR DRIVING TIME
Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge (NRW). Located between bridges to Hilton Head Island. A difficult left turn into the refuge when coming from the west! Be careful. www.fws.gov/refuge/pinckey_island/ Spring: Ibis Pond Rookery; migrating warblers; Summer: resident Painted Buntings & Summer Tanagers, Red-headed Woodpeckers, songbirds, waders; Winter: Yellow-rumped warblers
Savannah NWR. Hwy 170 to 46 to 170 then left on 17 to 1st exit back onto 170. Follow signs or check www.fws.gov/savannah for more info.
Winter: waterfowl; Spring: bobolinks, least bittern, migrants; Summer: purple gallinule, songbirds; Year-round: songbirds, waders, woodpeckers, owls, lots of birds of prey.
Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens. 2 Canebrake Rd, Savannah. www.coastalgeorgiabg.org Admission $5 for any adult. The bamboo grooves attract unusual birds such as a Wilson’s Warbler in 2016.
Coastal Discovery Museum marsh and grounds. . On Hilton Island at the entrance to the Cross Island Parkway. 70 Honey Horn Plantation Rd. www.coastaldiscovery.org The feeder by the museum entrance often attracts Painted Buntings and the Camellia Garden may have hummers.
Port Royal Cypress Wetlands. www.portroyal.org . See “Things To Do”. Spring. Spectacular up close heron rookery. Paris Ave in Port Royal. The Sands area and boardwalk on Port Royal Sound also in Port Royal.
45 MINUTE DRIVING TIME
Fish Haul Creek Park. www.hiltonheadisland.com/fish-haul-creek-beach .Follow signs to Hilton Head Regional Hospital. Park is ¼ mile from end of Beach City Rd (past the airport) on Hilton Head Island. Winter: shorebirds; Year-round: songbirds & waders, eagles, osprey, pelicans. Good for American Oystercatchers & Black Skimmers. Spring: Horseshoe crab spawning on nights of full and new moons.
Sea Pines Forest Preserve ($6 per car entry fee) Greenwood Drive exit on Sea Pines circle, follow signs for Visitor Passes & then ask at Security Gate for directions. Preserve will be on your left, look carefully for sign. Spring: migrating warblers, rookery, wildflowers & butterflies; Year-round: songbirds & waders.
Hunting Island State Park $5 per person fee, $3.25 SC seniors, Annual 65 & older Palmetto Passport is $25--covers all occupants of a vehicle. Check www.huntingisland.com for directions. Nature Center, lighthouse, the only “natural” ocean beach in the area (go at low tide for best shell collecting) & various wooded trails & boardwalks. Spring: migrating warblers & songbirds, shorebirds, waders from Marshland boardwalk; Year-round: songbirds, pelicans, shorebirds & waders. Look for Ruddy Turnstones on the rocks. Sea ducks & Northern Gannets offshore in the winter.
Skidaway Island State Park (Georgia). Really it’s a 1 hour drive. $5 parking fee. www.gastateparks.org/SkidawayIsland . Six miles of trails.
HOUR AND ½ DRIVING TIME
ACE Basin Wildlife Management Areas: Donnelly and Bear Island. Check www.carolinabirdclub.org for details and closure dates. Ducks, geese, Tundra swans, shorebirds, waders, rails.
Harris Neck NWR I-95 South to Georgia exit 67. Check www.fws.gov/refuge/harris_neck for more info. Spring: wood stork rookery, night herons, large rookery, wood ducks, songbirds; Fall: migrants, waders
Audubon Sanctuary at the Francis Beidler Forest. Harleyville, SC. $8 seniors. A 1.75 mile boardwalk through a blackwater swamp. Check website for hours & directions: www.sc.audubon.org/. See “Chapters & Centers”. Spring: migrating & resident warblers, nesting Prothonotary Warblers, woodland songbirds, owls
Magnolia Plantation and Audubon Swamp Gardens check www.magnoliaplantation.com for info & directions. $15 admission. $47 all inclusive pass. Year-round: beautiful gardens, cypress swamp, waders, songbirds, nesting prothonotary warblers
Santee NWR I-95 North to exit 102 (north side of Lake Marion) www.fws.gov/refuge/santee follow signs to Visitor Center. (closed Mondays). Winter: waterfowl; Spring: songbirds, waders
TWO HOUR DRIVING TIME
Congaree National Park I-95 North to I-26 West to I-77 North Exit 5 or follow sign on I-26 for rural route. Buy a $10 lifetime Senior Pass. Spring: migrating & resident warblers & other songbirds (best before leaves emerge due to high canopy).