I spent a pleasant September morning birding the James Island County Park. I began the day exploring the new fishing dock which offers wonderful long views of the beautiful salt marsh. I then walked the entirety of the green and orange trails. It was a peaceful walk and nearly every park-goer I passed smiled and said good morning. James Island County Park is eBird Hotspot #20 with 210 bird species recorded!
As I headed to the fishing dock I immediately heard several songbirds including Carolina Chickadees and Tufted Titmice. I looked for the happy singers and caught a flash of bright yellow. I followed the colorful bird and a moment later it briefly emerged from the thick maritime habitat. It was a bright yellow Prairie Warbler searching for insects.
I continued to the fishing dock and enjoyed the amazing views across the bright green cordgrass and tidal creeks. It was a lower tide revealing muddy banks and a great opportunity to find foraging birds. There were several wading birds including Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Green Herons, and a Tri-colored Heron. I also heard a few low tup calls from nearby Seaside Sparrows hidden in the marsh grass. Clapper Rails were calling form every direction with their distinctive kek kek kek calls. I was lucky enough to see 3 Clapper Rails along the muddy banks of the tidal creek.
After the salt marsh exploration I headed along the green trail to explore the shady wooded areas. I encountered several year round residents including Carolina Wrens and Northern Cardinals. I made it to the orange trail near the dog park and noticed a small songbird fly across the road into a nearby tree canopy. I quickly and safely crossed the road to get a closer look. The beautiful bird fluttered from branch to branch like a butterfly. It was an American Redstart fanning its long tail feathers showing bright yellow patches.
I headed to the lake near the dog park and rolled up on a family of Canada Geese.
Walking the perimeter of the lake I watched countless Mullet jumping completely out of the water and sometimes leaping 3 times in row like skipping a flat stone. I did my best to capture the action shot but only captured blurry images of these active fish. In the distance I could see a few Eastern Kingbirds and a Belted Kingfisher. I also found a female Anhinga perched on a branch over the water keeping a cautious eye on my presence.
Passing the kayak dock I could hear the rapid trill of a Pine Warbler and more Carolina Chickadees in the nearby Pine trees. Walking through the wooded areas I noticed many Banana Spider webs with one web lower and close to the trail allowing a good look at this large colorful spider.
I rejoined the green trail to cover the final leg of my exploration. This section of trail is close to the marsh and I could see many Fiddler Crabs scurrying across the ground back to their muddy holes.
Along the last stretch of trail a mixed flock of songbirds appeared right beside me! A Common Yellowthroat posed on a low branch showing its yellow throat.
A Downy Woodpecker searched for food along a very close Palm Tree and then an Oak branch.
Carolina Chickadees quickly moved through the vegetation and continued out of sight.
It was a pleasant and peaceful morning walking the beautiful trails of this Charleston County Park. The kind park-goers made the day extra enjoyable. If you haven’t explored this wonderful park I would recommend a visit to walk along the numerous paved trails and fishing dock. The day yielded 35 species of birds while covering 3.14 miles. eBird checklist: https://ebird.org/checklist/S149192389