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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.

Birds I saw at Huntington Beach State Park, South Carolina

May 5-7, 2008

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).

BLACKBIRD:
    Red-Winged
BLUEBIRD:
    Eastern
BOOBY:
    Masked
BUNTING:
    Painted
CARDINAL:
    Northern
CATBIRD:
    Gray
CHICKADEE:
    Carolina
CHICKEN
CORMORANT:
    Double-crested
COWBIRD:
    Brown-Headed
DOVE:
    Mourning
DOWITCHER:
    Long-billed
DUNLIN
EAGLE:
    Bald
EGRET:
    Cattle
    Great
    Snowy

FINCH:
    House
FLYCATCHER:
    Great Crested
GNATCATCHER:
    Blue-Gray
GOOSE:
    Canada
GRACKLE:
    Boat-tailed
GULL:
    Laughing
    Ring-billed
HAWK:
    Red-Tailed
HERON:
    Black Crowned Night
    Great Blue
    Green
    Little Blue
IBIS:
    White
JAY:
    Blue
MERGANSER:
    Red-breasted
MOCKINGBIRD:
    Northern

NUTHATCH:
    White-breasted
ORIOLE:
    Orchard
OSPREY
OWL:
    Barn
    Barred
    Great Horned
PELICAN:
    Brown
PLOVER:
    Black-bellied
    Semipalmated
ROBIN:
    American
SANDERLING
SANDPIPER:
    Semipalmated
SWALLOW:
    Barn
    Tree
SWAN:
    Mute
TANAGER:
    Summer
TERN:
    Least

THRASHER:
    Brown
TITMOUSE:
    Northern Tufted
TURKEY:
    Wild
TURNSTONE:
    Ruddy
VULTURE:
    Turkey
WARBLER:
    Yellow Throated
WHIMBREL
WILLET
WOOD-PEWEE:
    Eastern
WOODPECKER:
    Red-Bellied
WREN:
    Carolina
YELLOWLEGS:
    Greater
    Lesser
YELLOWTHROAT:
    Common

(My favorite photos are highlighted.)


Red-Winged Blackbird.

Eastern Bluebird.

Masked Booby (?).



Painted Bunting (not a postcard this time!).




Painted Bunting (too beautiful not to give another photo of this guy!!).

Painted Bunting (female or 1st summer male).

Northern Cardinal (male and female).

Northern Cardinal babies in nest.

Gray Catbird.

Carolina Chickadee.

Chicken (in a pen at the nearby Brookgreen Gardens).

Double Crested Cormorant.

Brown-Headed Cowbird (male) (and Northern Cardinal).

Brown-Headed Cowbird (female).

Mourning Dove.

Long-Billed Dowitcher.

Dunlin.

Bald Eagle (in a pen at the nearby Brookgreen Gardens, had an injured wing and could not fly).

Cattle Egret (in an aviary at the nearby Brookgreen Gardens).

Great Egret.

Snowy Egret.

House Finch (male).

House Finch (female).

Great Crested Flycatcher.

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher.

Canada Goose baby (at the nearby Brookgreen Gardens).

Boat Tailed Grackle (male).

Boat Tailed Grackle (female).

Yawning Laughing Gull.

Ring Billed Gull.

Red Tailed Hawk (in a cage at the nearby Brookgreen Gardens, poor guy).

Black Crowned Night Heron (in an aviary at the nearby Brookgreen Gardens).

Great Blue Heron.

Green Heron.

Little Blue Heron.

White Ibis (in an aviary at the nearby Brookgreen Gardens).

Blue Jay.

Red-Breasted Merganser (must have missed her migration with the rest of the mergansers).

Northern Mockingbird.

White-Breasted Nuthatch.

Orchard Oriole (female).

Osprey.

Barn Owl (in a cage at the nearby Brookgreen Gardens, poor guy).

Barred Owl (in a cage at the nearby Brookgreen Gardens, poor guy).

Great Horned Owl (in a cage at the nearby Brookgreen Gardens, poor guy).

Brown Pelican.

Black Bellied Plover.

Semipalmated Plover.

American Robin (it's about time I see one of these fellows on my travels!).

Sanderling.

Semipalmated Sandpiper (?).

Barn Swallow.

Tree Swallow.

Mute Swan (at the nearby Brookgreen Gardens).

Summer Tanager (1st summer male).

Least Tern.

Brown Thrasher.

Northern Tufted Titmouse.

Wild Turkey.

Ruddy Turnstone.

Turkey Vulture (in a cage at the nearby Brookgreen Gardens, poor guy).

Yellow Throated Warbler.

Whimbrel.

Willet.

Eastern Wood-Pewee.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker.

Carolina Wren.

Greater Yellowlegs (left) and Lesser Yellowlegs (right) - good comparison shot.

Common Yellowthroat.
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