I started off at this park only 11 miles from the hotel, but it really wasn't very birdy. Although I added 4 more avian species to my trip list, I would see 3 of them (all but Rock Pigeon) at Huntington Beach State Park, and I only saw a total of 12 avian species at Myrtle Beach State Park.
January 1; Huntington Beach State Park
It was sunny and very crowded again, but I started out on the path between the Mullet and Mallard Ponds, and saw some avian species I had not seen there the day before.
Wood Stork, Great Egret, and Green-winged Teals
Yellow-rumped Warblers were all over the park, but I also saw two Pine Warblers on this path.
I headed over to the jetty parking lot, and as I hiked towards the beach, I spotted an Orange-crowned Warbler.
While near the jetty parking lot, I talked with another local birder who was one of the last birders to see the Harlequin Duck. He said that the next day, duck hunting season opened in South Carolina, including for all sea ducks except Harlequins, and he hadn't seen it since then. At this point, I decided not to make the 2.6 mile round trip to the jetty to look for the Harlequin Duck. I checked the duck hunting season dates there, and they are December 12, 2019 to January 31, 2020. So the Harlequin Duck was seen 6 days after the season opened, but not since the 18th. Hopefully, someone had not mistaken it for a different duck species, and perhaps many of the ducks had gotten the email about duck hunting season, and had fled the area for safer feeding grounds.
A raptor flew quickly overhead, but I only got a few photos of it as it flew away. It looked to be the size of a Sharp-shinned Hawk, but the photo doesn't quite look right for one. A Merlin was reported on eBird that day, but this raptor wasn't flying like a Merlin.
The marsh boardwalk was quiet, but I added Mourning Dove at the boarkwalk entrance to my trip list.
I returned to the path between the Mullet and Mallard Ponds, and added a few more avian species, including my 60th trip species, Tree Swallow.
Great Egret and Green-winged Teals
Click here to continue to birding on January 2