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First Birding trip to West Ashley Park, 9 warbler species!

Updated: Oct 15, 2022

It was my first trip birding West Ashley Park in Charleston, SC. I did not realize that this park covered 260 acres! It has wetlands, hardwoods, marsh and open habitats, so it attracts a variety of birds. I started around 8:45am as the sun rays were climbing the trees, I quickly found a mixed passerine flock. I first observed both Red-eyed and White-eye Vireos, Downy Woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Then I found several Warblers, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Palm Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Northern Parula and a personal first of the year Magnolia Warbler! A cuckoo quickly flew over into another tree-line, I quickly followed to discover it was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo and to my surprise lower to the ground I briefly observed a Veery (another first of the year bird). I walked a wooded trail that led to the marsh and some open water. The trail allowed me to get up close with an Anhinga that was weary of my proximity, I slowly passed by while taking a few close pictures. The wetland understory provided 3 Black-throated Blue Warblers, more Northern Parulas and several woodpecker species. As I headed back to the parking lot I passed a corner of tall trees and a thicker understory, I saw a flash of movement a few feet off the ground and proceeded to enter the forest. I briefly found a Gray Catbird and a Swainson's Thrush! I slowly moved in the direction of the flushed Thrush to try and get a photograph, unfortunately I did not relocate the bird but I did encounter a Northern Waterthrush chipping on the edge of some standing water. I finished the trip with 46 species including 9 warbler species and some great birds! I added 3 new bird species for the year in Charleston County, now at 212.

Happy Birding! -Charles

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