June 2020 – South Carolina to Pennsylvania

New River Gorge
New River Gorge
New River Gorge

The pandemic was taking a toll and we decided to head north. Mike mapped out a safe trip that included birding from South Carolina to Pennsylvania.

Our first birding stop was River Park in Rock Hill, South Carolina. This was a seriously buggy place after the recent rains. We were happy to add the Carolina Chickadee and twelve others to bring our South Carolina state list to 55 species. A few of the new birds included Downy Woodpecker, Great-crested Flycatcher, Cliff Swallow, and Common Yellowthroat.

From there we stopped at the Riverwalk Trestle. One hundred Northern Rough-winged Swallows were perched on the wires with the river raging below. Lot’s of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Tufted Titmouse were flitting around along the trail. We finalized our list over an amazing dinner at The Pump House.

West Virginia

After a good night’s sleep, we took the winding back roads to Bluestone State Park in Hinton, West Virginia. The park has great camping and nice cabins for rent. A stellar 33 birds including Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Wood Thrush, Cedar Waxwings, Orchard Oriole, and both Summer and Scarlet Tanagers. The cicadas were deafening and we never actually saw one until today.

Continuing north there is a national park called Grandview. The birds were minimal but the views from the overlook of the New River Gorge are stunning.

After a night in Fayetteville WV, we headed north to Prickett’s Fort State Park in Fairmont WV. This is a reconstruction of the original 1700’s fort located on the Monongahela River. The grounds are beautiful with numerous birds in the open fields, along the river, and in the woods. The best bird was an Acadian Flycatcher. West Virginia was a new birding state and we tallied 48 species for the three stops.


Presque Isle State Park on Lake Erie was our birding destination in Pennsylvania and it did not disappoint. The north side of the island faces the lake and the south side is a bay between the island and downtown Erie. The drive out and back is about 15 miles and passes the Presque Isle Lighthouse. Houseboats have been part of the history since 1890 and there are now 24 year-round houseboats on Horseshoe Pond. We saw a nice family of Mallards by the pond.

The island is an important stop for migrating birds on their way to Canada and offers a variety of birding habitat. During our 2 1/2 hour visit we saw 43 species. Some of our favorites include Philadelphia, Warbling, and Red-eyed Vireos. We searched hard and played the call for the Black-billed Cuckoo, to no avail. Check out the wooded area at Fry’s Landing for the abundant Yellow Warblers.

You could easily spend a few days at Presque Isle especially during spring migration. We will be back here someday for sure.

Trip Birds: 65  Year Birds: 12 Life Birds: 0

Next Up: Adirondacks All Summer