Learning Together at Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge – Combahee Unit
Sunday, December 12, 2021: 8:30 am – 10:30 am
Birding at the Combahee Unit of the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge
Location: Options of where you plan to meet the group
– 6:30 Meet at Seabrook Island Real Estate office to carpool
– 7:30 Meet at the Food Lion in Ravenel (junction of Hwy 17 and 165) to carpool
– 8:00 Meet at the parking lot at the Combahee Unit (32.660443, -80.714264) to bird at 8:00am
Cost: Free for members; $5 donation for guests
Cathy and Carl Miller will lead SIB to bird at the Combahee Unit of the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge. This wildlife refuge was once part of the land grant to Robert Fenwick in 1694. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service purchased the property in 1992 as part of the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge. It is not nearly as popular as some other regional birding sites, but is nonetheless quite rich in wildlife. The refuge straddles River Road and has two distinctly different habitats. On the Combahee River side (north side) of River Road are the open impoundments where various duck species and other water birds spend their winter months. On the opposite side of River Road (south side) is a mix of upland and bottomland hardwoods with large freshwater ponds and a very different set of birds than those found on the river side.
Their plan is to spend the morning on the south side walking in the old pecan orchard and the bottomland forest. We hope to see some black-bellied whistling ducks (if they have not yet migrated) in the freshwater pond. In recent trips they’ve also see Wild Turkey, Rusty Blackbirds, American Bittern, Hairy Woodpecker, and assorted sparrows, warblers, and vireos. The morning loop will be about 3.5 miles. Please note that the ground can be rather uneven at times so appropriate shoes are a must. We’ll take a break at the cars for lunch and then for those who want to continue, we will explore the open impoundments on the north side of River to Road. There we’ll see some winter ducks, raptors, herons, egrets, and assorted sparrows. This will be an additional 1-3 miles of walking, but well worth it!
As always, be sure to bring your binoculars/cameras, hats and sunscreen. Bring plenty to drink and a picnic lunch to eat on the property. There are no facilities on the property so you may wish to include a stop prior to arrival at the gas station next to the Food Lion where we meet. Also, parking in the afternoon for the impoundment side of the refuge is quite limited, so we may ask folks to carpool as much as possible.
If you are not yet a 2021 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $10 by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/. You may bring the form and your dues to the event. Or you may pay the Guest Fee of $5.
Please complete the information below to register no later than Friday, December 10. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on December 11, the day prior to the trip. If you need to cancel, please let us know so we can invite people on the waiting list to attend.
One thought on “Off Island Birding at Combahee Unit Ace Basin National Wildlife Refuge”
We will meet you at the Refuge at 08:00 Sunday morning at 08:00 if you have space for us. Carolyn and Willy Schwenzfeier