Rookeries are by no means uncommon in the Lowcountry, but close-up views like the one afforded by the town of Port Royal's Cypress Wetlands is a rare glimpse inside nests in an urbanized setting.
The Cypress Wetlands also provide a lot to see in a short, convenient stroll, making it unlike many of the sprawling properties that account for most of the other areas higlighted in The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette's interactive graphic, the Lowcountry's 10 Best Spots for Birding. 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 Cypress Wetlands in northern Beaufort County.
All of the places in our list of the 10 Best Birding Spots in the Lowcountry are set in rural or undeveloped surroundings ... except this one. The area was one of several wetlands within town limits once isolated by road construction and other developments, according to the town’s website. However, many of those wetlands are now linked by pipes and integrated into the town’s stormwater drainage system, filtering runoff before it reaches Port Royal Sound.
In April 2012, the town finished a project of more than $500,000 to complete a trail and boardwalk around and through the wetlands and to build an amphitheater on the Cypress Wetlands’ western edge.
Geese, ducks, mergansers, scoters and other migratory waterfowl call the Cypress Wetlands home, and passerines and raptors can also be spotted there. But the main attraction, from spring through early fall, is the rookery on two islands. Anhingas and several species of egrets and herons nest there starting in spring, followed closely by white ibises.
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.