Donnelley WMA provides diverse, accessible birdwatching

The Beaufort GazetteJuly 8, 2014 

The Donnelley Wildlife Management Area is maintained by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. It includes a diverse habitat, which attracts a variety of birds -- from ducks to nesting wood storks to bald eagles to occasional whooping cranes.

JEFF KIDD — The Island Packet - The Beaufort Gazette

— The Donnelley Wildlife Management Area is offers a diverse landscape, so it figures that the area would also support a diverse number of bird species.

A haven for ducks, passerines, wading birds and some rare species, Donnelley was an easy pick to be included among The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette's interactive graphic, the Lowcountry's 10 Best Spots for Birding, which launched June 16. The graphic is a resource highlighting some of the region's best spots to view nature and wildlife. Untamed Lowcountry is highlighting each of the spots individually, starting at the northernmost location and working south.

This week's countdown spot is the Donnelly WMA in Colleton County, near Green Pond.

Like nearby Bear Island WMA -- last week's featured spot -- Donnelley is managed to attract waterfowl, and its impoundments sometimes attract common goldeneye and Eurasian wigeon ducks, along with more common northern shovelers, gadwalls, blue-winged teals and green-winged teals. Some species, such as warblers, black-bellied whistling ducks and purple gallinule, are much more likely at Donnelley than at nearby Bear Island, according to the popular Carolina Bird Club website.

Donnelley also features upland hardwood forests, pine forests, hardwood swamp forests, agricultural land, tidal marsh, managed rice fields, and freshwater marshes and swamps. Audubon also has been designated it as a state important bird area. It provides an occasional glimpse of the difficult-to-find common ground dove and can be a stopover for migrating sandhill cranes.

Donnelley is easy to negotiate, with two designated nature trails and miles of dirt roads for hikers and cyclists. The road system through Donnelley can make for a great driving tour for the mobility-impaired.

If you would like to see information on the other top birding spots in the Lowcountry, there's no need to wait for the countdown to unfold. Visit the graphic and see photo galleries, videos, seasonal bird lists, maps and all sorts of other information about all 10 sites.

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