A weekend visit to Huntington Beach, S.C.

Published 4:02 pm Monday, March 12, 2012

A Virginia Rail. (photo by Simon Thompson)

It always seems to take ages to drive from the N.C. Mountains down to Murrell’s Inlet, S.C., but all of our group attendees managed to get there around the meeting time on Friday night, prior to the start of our annual beach birding weekend.
We certainly started the weekend as we meant to go on with a delicious meal at Russell’s seafood restaurant. With plates of local oysters and freshly caught fish, this is one of our favorites and had only opened for the season the previous evening. The place was packed. Thankfully we did not have to wait too long before several of us tucked into plates of oysters, clams and shrimp.
A great start to the weekend, but to be honest, we were here for the birds! We met the remainder of the group at the gate to Huntington Beach State Park and birded the causeway and freshwater ponds before lunchtime. It has been a mild winter so the duck population was way down and we had to be happy with a handful of Scaup and a nice sized flock of Green-winged Teal.
An adult Bald Eagle flew over the distant tree line and an Osprey put in a brief appearance over the nearby lagoon. The Carriage Trail along the back of the freshwater wetland has been improved a lot over the last couple of years and now allows unobstructed views into the nearby marshes and wetlands. Here we did see a few Gadwall, a small flock of Blue-winged Teal and several Common Moorhen, but the highlight of this walk had to be the Virginia Rail that fed in full view for all of us to enjoy at length.