South Carolina Parks, Recreation, and Tourism is proud to present the third annual Blue Wall Birding Festival, held in Upstate South Carolina from May 11 to May 14, 2017. Our home base for the event will again be Table Rock State Park. From there, we will branch out and bird some of the best hotspots for spring migration in northwestern SC. At this time of year, we should find a great variety of migrating birds as well as a nice selection of the area's breeding birds, such as Swainson's Warbler, and perhaps a few lingering winter residents. All trips will be led by knowledgeable local birders. This year we're going to branch out a bit and introduce a couple of field trips that will focus primarily on butterflies, of which the Upstate has a great variety. Don't worry - we'll still look at birds on those trips as well!
Throughout the weekend we hope to showcase the great birding and parks that Upstate South Carolina has to offer, as well as some of the conservation work that is under way in the area. The area has a great variety of habitat, from the open country landscape of the Townville area, to the striking mountains of Table Rock and Caesar's Head State Parks, to the pristine and beautiful Lake Jocassee.
Participation will be limited to 50 attendees in order to keep the field trip group sizes small, so sign up quickly.
Thursday night we will gather together to introduce some of our trip leaders, discuss the logistics for the weekend, and enjoy chatting about birds. The highlight of the evening will be a presentation from naturalist and educator Rudy Mancke. Rudy is best known from his many years of co-hosting the South Carolina Educational Television series NatureScene. Across a career dedicated to education, he has taught at Spartanburg High School and the University of South Carolina, served as the Curator of Natural History at the South Carolina State Museum, and founded the South Carolina Association of Naturalists. Rudy can still be heard giving 1-minute snippets about various aspects of the natural world each weekday on South Carolina Public Radio's Nature Notes.
Participants are encouraged to stay at the cabins at Table Rock State Park, which will be held for attendees of this festival until March 31, 2017.
NOTE: Since the cabins are held for festival participants, they will not appear available online. Please call the park at (864) 878-9813 instead and tell them you are registered for the festival in order to reserve one of the cabins.
Table Rock also has several campsites available. This year we are opening the White Oaks group camping area for festival participants only, so that those interested in camping may choose to do so in a group with others from the festival. Since this area is not open to the general public, please call the park at (864) 878-9813 if you wish to reserve a campsite in the White Oaks area.
In addition, the following state parks in the area have cabins or campsites available, as specified:
There are also several hotels available in Clemson, Seneca, and Easley.
The cost for the event is $100 per person, and includes guides for all trips, admission to Thursday night's presentation and to any state parks included as part of a field trip itinerary, and snacks and drinks at the Thursday and Saturday evening events. For those interested, it also includes admission to Table Rock State Park after hours for Friday night's owling excursion, and a guided tour of Lake Conestee Nature Park on Sunday morning (Trip 7).
For those interested in Trip 11, to Devil's Fork State Park and Lake Jocassee, there is an additional cost of $40 per person to cover the boat tour portion, allowing close looks at Loons and Grebes, a chance at seeing the Peregrine Falcons nesting along the cliffs, and a very enjoyable and relaxing ride on a beautiful lake in the mountains.
Not included in the registration fees are accommodations, meals, and transportation, with the exception of Trips 5 and 7, covering The Mountain Bridge Wilderness and Table Rock State Park, respectively, which will use the State Parks van for transportation.
Registration is open until April 1, 2017. Details for how to sign up can be found on our Registration Page.
The third annual Blue Wall Birding Festival is being brought to you by the following organizations:
South Carolina State Parks
The Greenville County Bird Club
The Keowee-Clemson Bird Club
Jocassee Lake Tours