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Myrtle Beach - May


Skull Guy

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We are taking a trip to Myrtle beach the first week of May. I have been there before in the middle of June, and the birding was decent, but I figure early May should be great! We know the usual places - and will be camping at Myrtle Beach State Park. We plan to bird that park heavily for migrants and visit Huntington and Santee Coastal Reserve again (we did them the last time in June). Target species include Mississippi kite, whip-poor-will, southern warblers (worm eating, Swainsons, etc), western sandpiper and the pine specialists (red-cockaded etc.). Any recommendations for "off the beaten path" spots that we haven't planned or done? I'll have younger kids that are really into nature, hoping to find a place with gators and cool wildlife and also birds. 

 

We are willing to travel an hour from the campsite. We have family in Conway also that we will be visiting.

Thanks!

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Heritage Shores Nature Preserve in Little River.  It's a peninsula of a few acres in the middle of the river.  The kids may think it's cool that it has water on both sides and you can go all the way to the point at the end.  I'm also partial to the nearby Russell Burgess Coastal Preserve, with its extensive salt marshes and short boardwalk.

https://ebird.org/hotspot/L3085022

https://ebird.org/hotspot/L1772235

The boardwalk in Little River is a good walk after hitting one of the restaurants in the area, although I admin they can be a bit pricey.

https://ebird.org/hotspot/L4034303

You're already planning on Huntington Beach SP, the premiere spot on the SC coast, but for those who aren't aware of it, 

https://ebird.org/hotspot/L124353

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Thanks for those tips! I had not looked too deeply into the first two you mention but they look perfect. Short walks and cool areas. I also saw the Murrells inlet board walk and marsh walk. We ate at that restaurant last time we were there, but that walk was not open yet. I plan to try that.

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26 minutes ago, chipperatl said:

That might almost be worth the drive down from Wilmington when I am there this year.  

Wilmington?  

Airlie Gardens - https://ebird.org/hotspot/L452423 - overlooks a tidal estuary

Greenfield Lake - https://ebird.org/hotspot/L358125 - urban park with lots of water and paved trails

USS North Carolina - https://ebird.org/hotspot/L487086 - sure, there are hot spots with more species listed, but how often do you get to bird from the decks of a battleship?  Great views of the surrounding marshes, estuaries, and river.

Ft. Fisher Rec Area - https://ebird.org/hotspot/L337931 - There are several hot spots in this area, including the NC Aquarium.

Finances permitting, consider one of the nature-oriented river cruises

https://cfrboats.com/black-river-nature-cruise/

https://wilmingtonwatertours.net/cruises/speciality-cruises/

Wilmington to Huntington Beach is about two hours.  You'll be able to hit most of the park, and some of the best birding spots are close to the park entrance and visitor center.  You may not have the time for the walk to and from the jetty (over 1 mile each way on beach sand), but there are plenty of piers in the Wilmington area.

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1 hour ago, Skull Guy said:

Thanks for those tips! I had not looked too deeply into the first two you mention but they look perfect. Short walks and cool areas. I also saw the Murrells inlet board walk and marsh walk. We ate at that restaurant last time we were there, but that walk was not open yet. I plan to try that.

You didn't say how old the children are.  The Russell Burgess boardwalk is only a few hundred feet long; there's a well-maintained Port-a on site but no shade.  Parking for Heritage Shores is a few hundred feet south of the park itself, in a separate park and boat ramp with full bathrooms.  The walk around the Heritage Shores peninsula itself is about a mile on well groomed trails and some shady areas.  Both can be combined for an easy half-day or more, depending on interest or birding speed.  There's no water at either but there are plenty of convenience stores in the im

I suggest eating at The Shack: http://theshackcherrygrove.com/

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17 hours ago, Skull Guy said:

hoping to find a place with gators and cool wildlife and also birds. 

Almost forgot - https://alligatoradventure.com

Dad and I went here to kill a few hours while Mom and Darling Bride did some shopping.  We were expecting a mediocre experience, just big lizards being tossed the occasional chicken carcass, a typical exploitive roadside 'zoo'.  We were pleasantly surprised by the knowledgeable presentations, variety of animals, and quality of the enclosures.  Mind you, at $30 or so for the adults, it ain't cheap.

You'll be tripping over gators at Huntington anyway.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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1 hour ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Wilmington?  

Airlie Gardens - https://ebird.org/hotspot/L452423 - overlooks a tidal estuary

Greenfield Lake - https://ebird.org/hotspot/L358125 - urban park with lots of water and paved trails

USS North Carolina - https://ebird.org/hotspot/L487086 - sure, there are hot spots with more species listed, but how often do you get to bird from the decks of a battleship?  Great views of the surrounding marshes, estuaries, and river.

Ft. Fisher Rec Area - https://ebird.org/hotspot/L337931 - There are several hot spots in this area, including the NC Aquarium.

Finances permitting, consider one of the nature-oriented river cruises

https://cfrboats.com/black-river-nature-cruise/

https://wilmingtonwatertours.net/cruises/speciality-cruises/

Wilmington to Huntington Beach is about two hours.  You'll be able to hit most of the park, and some of the best birding spots are close to the park entrance and visitor center.  You may not have the time for the walk to and from the jetty (over 1 mile each way on beach sand), but there are plenty of piers in the Wilmington area.

Yes, been there several times with family there.  Fort Fisher is my favorite place there.  I'll have my dog, so Airlie Gardens won't be on the itinerary.  Will hit up Governor's Road hoping to see Bobwhites, and not just hear them.  Did a river cruise before also.  So many Osprey, was crazy.  

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