Thursday, November 18, 2010

Folly Beach to Rockville: Birding Along the Way

So, yes: It was a long day. Seven hours from put-in to take-out and six hours of paddling.
Shorter to paddle than to drive... if you measure, and don't watch the clock.
And yes: I was one of the first to start griping about aches and pains. Some folks are cut out for the long haul, and while I enjoy the sense of accomplishment from completing this long paddle, I've never been one for marathons... So, while we paddled on, I kept looking for shorter-term objectives. And the birds helped.
Mixed gatherings were common on the water, on bars, and on the beach.
From rafts of floating birds, to flyovers and sightings along the beaches and sandbars, it was a good day for birding. Highlights included Scott's first sighting of Northern Pintails among the Hooded Mergansers and Lesser Scaup, Osprey and Bald Eagles in flight, a good assortment of shorebirds, terns and gulls, and marsh favorites including the usual suspects – Great Blue Heron, Great and Snowy Egret – as well as lone Wood Stork and Northern Harrier.

With all the good birding available in the Lowcountry, it is worth remembering that getting off the beaten track can be a first step to some really great birding. Whether you're willing to take to a kayak for six hours or not is up to you. I'm glad I did: I just wish I'd packed my binoculars!

- Steve

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