WHERE TO SEE WILDLIFE ON KIAWAH ISLAND
Popular Wildlife Viewing Spots on Kiawah Island
Kiawah River Bridge
- There is a paved pull off on the right side of the Kiawah Island Parkway just before the bridge as you
are leaving the island. Common species seen here include: Double-crested cormorant, snowy and great egrets, wood storks, osprey,northern harrier, bald eagle, willet, laughing and ring-billed gulls, tree swallows, bufflehead, and red-winged blackbirds.
Sam's Inlet - The Kiawah River flows through a narrow channel between Kiawah and Seabrook islands creating a great spot for wildlife
viewing. One of the biggest attractions are bottlenose dolphin that are frequently seen feeding in this area. They are often
engaged in strand feeding, a unique feeding strategy in which they literally propel themselves out of the water to catch fish and
shrimp that have been pushed onto the bank. This is also a great spot to view birds, including black skimmers, American
oystercatchers, least terns, black terns, brown pelicans, Wilson's plovers, and many more. Be sure to stay out of marked bird
nesting areas and remember that no pets are allowed in this area at any time.
Marsh Hawk Tower - This wildlife
viewing tower is located at the end of Marsh Hawk Lane off of Sea Marsh Drive. There is no parking provided so access is by
foot or bike via the bike path. The tower provides a scenic view of the Kiawah River marshlands. A variety of bird species
can be seen but binoculars or a spotting scope are a must. The tower is open from sunrise to sunset only.
Grey Widgeon Tower
- This wildlife viewing tower
is located off of Grey Widgeon Lane in the Preserve. A parking area is provided on the right side of Grey Widgeon and the
tower is accessed via a dirt nature trail across the road from the parking area. This tower provides a scenic view
of Blue Heron Pond. Bobcats and deer can be seen from the tower particularly in the early morning and late evening hours.
Other species of note: black-necked stilt, greater and lesser yellowlegs, herons and egrets, wood storks, anhinga, belted kingfisher,painted buntings, and hooded merganser.
pond is located along Ocean Course Drive approximately 1/4 mile before the Ocean Course Golf Course entrance. Parking is
provided just past the pond on the right. Willet Pond is similar to Ibis Pond in that it is a very good spot to view alligators
and birds. Across the road from the pond is an active osprey nest which often hosts great-horned owls in the winter
months as well. Species to look out for are the same as those listed for Ibis Pond above.
-Kiawah's beach is host to a large variety of birds throughout the year. The extreme western and eastern ends of the beach are
particularly good birding spots. Remember that dogs are not allowed into these areas for this reason. Signs are posted
designating these critical habitat areas. Common species along the beachfront: bottlenose dolphin, common loon, plovers
(black-bellied, Wilson's, piping), red knot, sanderling, western and least sandpipers, dunlin, short- and long-billed dowitchers,
gulls (great black-backed, herring, laughing), terns (least, common, royal, Forster's, sandwich, black), black skimmer, brown
pelican, willet, black and surf scoters, american oystercatcher, whimbrel, and marbled godwits.
Interior Woods and Lots
-The interior of Kiawah Island is home to a variety of birds and animals. Bobcats, deer, and foxes are all routinely seen during
dawn, dusk, and nighttime hours. Be on the lookout for these species as you travel around the island. Common bird species
include: hawks (red-tailed, red-shouldered, Cooper's), owls (great horned and screech), mourning dove, Northern cardinal, Carolina
chickadee, Tufted titmouse, Northern mockingbird, Carolina wren, American and fish crows, woodpeckers (pileated, downy, and red-bellied),ruby-throated hummingbirds, and a variety of warbler species.
- Dunes stretch the length of Kiawah Island's 10
mile beachfront and are home to a number of wildlife species, including bobcats and deer. Dense sections of vegetation are used
as daytime resting areas by each of these species. Common bird species include: common ground dove, mourning dove, and painted
East End Lagoon
- The oceanfront lagoon and creeks on the eastern end of Kiawah's beach host a wide variety
of bird species, including black skimmers, American oystercatchers, least terns, black terns, brown pelicans, Wilson's plovers, red
knots, piping plovers, buffleheads, and many more. A snowy plover, a very unusual species for South Carolina, has also been seen in
this area for several years in a row. Be sure to stay out of marked bird nesting areas and remember that no pets are allowed in this
area at any time.
Kiawah River Bridge
Captain Sam's Inlet
East End Lagoon
Town of Kiawah Island
21 Beachwalker Drive
Kiawah Island, SC 29455
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