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Where to Go Birding

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Mild winters and a large variety of habitats, (beaches, barrier islands, tidal creeks, saltwater marsh, swamps, pine forests, hardwood bottoms, and freshwater lakes and ponds) make the Charleston area a premier birding destination any time of the year.

Spring and summer residents include; swallow-tailed kite, Mississippi kite, painted and indigobuntings, several vireos and warblers, osprey, black necked stilt and purple gallinule among many others.Winter sees an influx of; sparrows, waterfowl, finches, waxwings, wrens, kinglets, shorebirds and many other species. The Peterson CD ROMlists 329 species for SC. All but a few can be found in the low country, overthe course of a year.

The following are just a few of the many good birding areas in the Charleston area. Any place you want to take a few minutes to explore can be a good spot. for other birding spots in our area.

Near Downtown:

Pitt Street Bridge
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Old bridge which went from Mt. Pleasant to Sullivan’sIsland. Now a walking area in Mt. Pleasant, overlooking the Charleston harbor,the marshes and Sullivan's Island. Great to see wading birds, including herons,egrets and a favorite; American oystercatchers. In the fall and winter, lookfor marbled godwits. Keep eyes and ears open for a resident kingfisher. Try totime visits for a couple of hours either side of low tide.
Folly Beach
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Both ends of the island offer good birding opportunities.The north end of the island offers public parking to the right, just before theroad ends. The Old Coast Guard Stateion lies beyond the gate and it is just ashort walk to the beach thru shrubby areas (often teaming with songbirds). Fromthe northern tip of the island you can see the Morris Island Lighthouse and (dependingon the tide) look for shorebirds along the sandbars and sea ducks and loons aroundthe rocky groins.

The South end of the island holds the Folly Beach County Park: Recent expansionof the parking lots destroyed much of the dune and marsh habitat here, but wherethe beach overlooks the Stono Inlet is still a fine place to see shorbirds. BlackSkimmers, assorted terns and occasionally Lesser Black-Backed Gulls aren't unusualfinds.