Trip Report


‘Open Country Birding,’

Townville, SC

Sunday, March 6, 2016


Great Blue Heron by Alan Lenk


     Our annual ‘Open Country Birding’ trip this year took us to the farmlands and fields in the area of Townville, SC. After driving in from Flat Rock, NC, we began the day at Dobbins Farm. The ponds here are great for ducks this time of year and we found 8 species present, including Wood Duck, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal and Lesser Scaup, among others. The clear blue skies and warm weather boded well for our raptor selection, and we all got great looks at American Kestrel, Osprey, Northern Harrier, and both Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks. The meadows were chocked full of singing Eastern Meadowlarks and twittering Horned Larks, and American Pipits flocked overhead giving their characteristic 2-note call. One of the highlights of the morning surely was the distant albeit unmistakable scope-view of a Great Horned Owl on the nest with downy, white young.
    At Beaverdam Creek WMA, we enjoyed watching a Hermit Thrush bobbing its rufous tail from its low perch in the vines as well as a Brown Creeper foraging on the tree trunks. White-throated, Song, and Swamp Sparrows were abundant here and a few Rusty Blackbirds and Wilson’s Snipe flushed from along the water’s edge as we walked along. On our way out, we finally found the Red-headed Woodpecker we kept hearing earlier, and watched it as it watched us from within its cavity. We had our delicious picnic lunch near the WMA access point at the end of Gaines Rd., and boosted our list with Pine Warbler (heard), Brown-headed Nuthatch and Field Sparrow before moving on to Prater Farm. Walking along the rows of brush and vegetation on the roadside we found good numbers of White-crowned and Savannah Sparrows, plus more American Pipits. We also managed to pick out 2 fairly drab Vesper Sparrows, which eventually cooperated and turned around to show us the nice white eye-ring and cheek markings indicative of this species.
   Our day soon ended with an unsuccessful search for the resident Barn Owl, but how could we complain on a day with such wonderful weather, an excellent group, and an impressive tally of 70 species?


Aaron Steed

Birds seen or heard on our

‘Open Country Birding,’ Townville, SC

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Species encountered (70)



Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Lesser Scaup
Hooded Merganser
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Wilson’s Snipe
Bonaparte’s Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker (heard)
Northern Flicker (heard)
Pileated Woodpecker (heard)
American Kestrel
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Horned Lark
Tree Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin

Brown Thrasher
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
American Pipit
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Field Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Rusty Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
American Goldfinch

House Sparrow