A Day Of Rarities

Not knowing what Kathy had in store for me tomorrow, I had to make the best out of today and get in as much birding as possible. My first stop was Fish Haul Creek Park where upon arriving a large group of birders were unloading and gathering. Wanting to get out to the beach before this large crowd I hurried along the trail to the waters edge. It was a beautiful morning after that strong front came through yesterday, however the winds were very strong and the skies blue, so all was well from a birding aspect.
American Oystercatchers, Black-bellied Plovers, Northern Harrier, Black Skimmers were some of the better birds seen. Both blue and white morph Little Blue Herons were seen unfortunately no pictures. However the bird for the morning were the 2 Piping Plovers. This is the third time I”ve been here during this time of year, and just like clockwork the Piping Plovers show up.
I was having no luck with Saltmarsh Sparrows so I started to walk back when the birding group passed me. I said hello to them and continued to walk. A lady who was bringing up the rear stopped me and we started to talk. It seems they were from the local Audubon Society and this is their month outing. Well after a few minutes of your normal bird talk, we got on the subject of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. Well to make a long story short, her and her husband were able to hook me up with a really good location of these birds just and hour or so from where I was staying in Sun City.
The location is called Webb Wildlife Management Area in Garnet South Carolina.
The ride was through some very rural parts of South Carolina, so when I arrived needless to say I was anxious to get going. As you drove down the long, gravel drive you couldn’t help but notice the trees that are marked as nesting trees for the woodpeckers. But there were no woodpeckers. Except for a lone Pileated and Red-bellied there wasn’t a whole lot of action. That was until I heard a chip note off to my right. I “pish” a few times. Up jumps a sparrow. But not just any sparrow, a Bachman’s Sparrow. Holy cow I never expected anything like this. I never took the time to even reached for my camera, I was just looking at this awesome bird. It then disappeared as quick as it came. I worked the area for a few more minutes without success, so it was back to finding a woodpecker.
I traveled up and down the road, stopping and looking into the trees for a long time until I decided that maybe I needed to walk back into the woods and try my luck that way since nothing else was working.
So I parked the car and set out on foot. I walked several hundred feet back to where I noticed a deer stand and a family of Eastern Bluebirds. I continued to walk when I must have spooked up this woodpecker. And there it was flying away from and into the woods. Unmistakable ladder back, small size. Everything indicating a Red-cockaded Woodpecker.
This trip has been epic so far and after today I really don’t know how to top this from a birding point of view. Totally satisfied. I’m sure I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I can’t imagine another life bird. Everything else now is just gravy.

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2 responses to “A Day Of Rarities

  1. Les,
    That’s pretty cool about the Red-cockaded Woodpecker. We are planning a vacation in Tybee Island this summer. Can you give me a little more detail on where you found the Red-cockaded Woodpecker?

    Thanks,
    John Seiler

    • Webb Wildlife management Area is about 1 hour outside of Hilton Head. I first went over the entry road area since that is where the most trees are that are marked with a white ring, which indicated a nest hole. But it wasn’t until I ventured on some of the trails/sandy roads when I caught sight of one. Tough bird to find. Good luck.

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