Wildlife Watch

South Carolina is rich in its diversity of wildlife and habitats. From the mountains to the sea, watching wildlife is a great activity to participate in while visiting a park.

On a recent trip to Table Rock, I was amazed at the abundance of wildlife I encountered on my walk to the White Oak Picnic Shelter. Along the road were several wild turkeys leisurely making their way into the woods, taking a minute to look up and study my presence. Growing up in the upstate (several decades ago) a wild turkey was a rare sight. Today the wild turkey has made a tremendous comeback and is commonly seen in many of your state parks.

On my way out, I was treated to yet another sign that our forests have changed as two whitetail deer darted across the road and made their way back into the forest.

The coast is as abundant in wildlife as the upstate, and if you are lucky you could be in for some special treats. Recently, some visitors were treated with a rare sighting of a harbor seal at Huntington Beach State Park. Visitors to our coastal parks have also been treated to sights of whales, dolphins and even a leatherback sea turtle and South Carolina’s faithful loggerheads. Watching the turtles is an experience you will never forget! Take a walk along the causeway at Huntington Beach and you are sure to see at least one gator sunning on the island or just making its way through the marsh.

Throughout the state listen for the distinct sounds of the morning dove or the knocking of a woodpecker; birding is so much more than just watching. Be sure to take a trip to Landsford Canal and see our resident bald eagle, or visit one of the many lake parks where osprey, anhinga, egrets and great blue herons are abundant.

Here are a few tips for wildlife watching in a state park:
  • Keep a safe distance from all wildlife, respect their territory and remember they are wild animals.
  • Early morning and evening hours are when animals tend to be feeding and are more easily seen.
  • Ask a Ranger. They know some great spots for watching wildlife.
  • Enjoy!

See you in the parks!

Phil