A weekend visit to Huntington Beach, S.C.Published 4:02pm Monday, March 12, 2012
To be able to see such a shy bird so well was quite a treat. Before long it was time to eat (again!) and lunch was at Nance’s in Murrell’s Inlet – another nice spot to eat seafood (again!) and enjoy the view over the marsh and emerging oyster beds. So it was birding out of the windows as we ate, so we finished dinner with a selection of gulls, a female Northern Harrier and a single Oystercatcher.
Our afternoon walk was back in the park again and our slow trek along the beach up to the jetty- always an energetic and fun thing to do. The tide was quite low allowing us to walk along the hard sand and watch the dark clouds gathering to our south.
The sea was quite active with small flocks of Horned Grebes just off the breakers: some were even starting to get into breeding plumage with reddish feathers appearing on their necks.
Small numbers of Red-throated Loons were moving north as were a couple of flocks of distant Black Scoters. Birding around the jetty was enjoyable with some very close Common Loons and a small flock of Northern Gannets plunge-diving after fish.
We had heard unconfirmed rumors of a Black Guillemot up near the rocks, but we had no luck finding this rare vagrant.
By the time we got back to the hotel, the first rain drops had started to fall and this was a precursor to the impending weather that was moving in from the southwest. Dinner at Russell’s (again!) was excellent and a great seafood-infused end to our birding day. Unfortunately the weather the next morning was looking pretty bad with heavy rain moving in from the south. We did manage a quick stop at the Georgetown Wastewater Treatment Plant where the highlights were some Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead and our only White Ibis of the weekend. Several Fish Crows announced their presence with their nasal calls and a few Eurasian Collared Doves sat around on the wires. By now the rain was really starting to come down, but what better place to be than in the rain watching ducks – how appropriate. I didn’t think this would last too long, so we quickly bailed and headed home our respective ways. A great weekend and yes, we will do it again next year.
Simon Thompson has lived in WNC for the past 16 years. He owns and operates his own birding tour company, Ventures Birding Tours. WWW.birdventures.com
He and Chris also own and operate the Asheville Wild Birds Unlimited Store. For more information on any of the birding activities in the area, drop by the store or check his website at www.asheville.wbu.com