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Stop 4 - South Carolina Coast : HUNTINGTON BEACH SP
The following page is devoted to my roadtrip photos of birds from Huntington Beach State Park on the South Carolina coast. Clearly, I did not photograph every kind of bird that can be found at Huntington Beach SP, but I have provided a selection of some of my favorite photos of the birds I did happen to see as I passed through.
One of the birds I wanted to see (and photograph, of course) was a Painted Bunting. The male of this species looks like he has bathed himself on a paint pallet, first immersing himself in the brilliant red paint, then rolling his back around in the electric greens and lemon yellows, and finishing off by dunking his head in the ocean blue. When I was in Texas and on Dauphin Island, I seemed to be one step behind the migration of the Painted Buntings towards their nesting grounds in the southeast, so I called some of the parks and wildlife refuges on the southeast coast, and discovered that these beautiful birds had arrived at Huntington Beach State Park in South Carolina.
I enjoyed my stay at Huntington Beach State Park, where the nice-albeit expensive-camping facilities and wide range of habitats-marshland, beaches, and woodland-gave rise to comfortable and successful birding. I found herons, plovers, and sandpipers (as well as alligators) in the marshes; I found gulls, terns, and pelicans along the beach; and I found buntings, titmouse, warblers, and thrashers in the trees. One of the most reliable places for songbirds was around the feeders of the Education Center, which is where I planted myself when I arrived, determined to stay there until I saw a Painted Bunting. A few hours later, I not only had a photo of a Painted Bunting worthy of hanging on my wall, but I found myself holding one of the beautiful little birds in my hand (I was lucky enough to be there at the same time as a wildlife biologist who was trapping and banding the buntings).
I stayed at Huntington Beach State Park for a few days and even did a little birding at the lush Brookgreen Gardens across the street, where the prize photo was of a Yellow-throated Warbler posing for several minutes on a low branch. I moved on when the sunny skies were replaced with thundershowers, hoping for an unlikely chance that the long-term forecast of rain for the east coast would bypass my next stop at Cape May, New Jersey (or result in an incredible fallout).
(My favorite photos are highlighted.)