Birding along the Pitt Street Bridge ~ Mount Pleasant, SC

I’ve only been to the Pitt Street Bridge in Mount Pleasant, SC, a few times, but it has become one of my favorite birding destinations.  The old bridge used to connect Mount Pleasant to Sullivan’s Island and its beaches, but it closed to traffic in 1945 when a new bridge was constructed. Now the disconnected bridge is grassed over and has become a park and walkway for pedestrians and bikers.  It just so happens to be an ideal spot for birding too!!!

Remnants of the old Pitt Street bridge

Remnants of the old Pitt Street bridge

Within a short amount of time on any given day, one can see a wide variety of birds.  I was constantly finding myself having to make difficult choices, choosing which species to photograph. At the same time two Great Blue Herons were chasing each other around the marsh grasses, a flock of mergansers chose to land close-by. I was all dialed in on the mergansers when all of a sudden a Brown Pelican flew overhead and dive-bombed into the water after a fish.  

Two Great Blue Herons on the chase!

Two Great Blue Herons on the chase!

Three Mergansers wing to wing.

Three Mergansers wing to wing.

Mergansers cruising on the wetlands!

Mergansers cruising on the wetlands!

Brown going down!

Brown going down!

I rarely get close to a Kingfisher, but on this last trip I came pretty close.  A man was playing his guitar nearby and the bird landed briefly to hear him play.  :) I took a few quick pics, was sneaking closer hoping the bird would turn toward the light, when all of a sudden a jogger ran by and coughed.  Off it flew!  :(

Kingfisher!

Kingfisher!

Strumming away!

Strumming away!

As I watched and photographed a bunch of White Ibis in the flattened reeds of the wetlands, a Great Blue Heron flew in and joined them. It was all wild looking after being chased by another Blue.  

White Ibis at feeding time!

White Ibis at feeding time!

Big Blue arrives!

Big Blue arrives!

I spent quite a bit of time watching a Little Blue Heron in the long grasses, stalking small fish and crustaceans. Occasionally a Snowy Egret would join it and then fly off.  

A hungry Little Blue Heron!

A hungry Little Blue Heron!

Snowy Egret on the move!

Snowy Egret on the move!

Each time we visit the Pitt Street Bridge there are a number of grackles that make a lot of noise and like to hang out in the palms trees. Their glossy-iridescent bodies become quite colorful when the sun hits them.  

Iridescent Grackle!

Iridescent Grackle!

On my most recent visit to the Pitt Street Bridge, as I was leaving heading back to our car, I heard the familiar tapping of a woodpecker!  I looked up in the tree to see a male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker!  

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker!

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker!

I thought to myself, this place is a birder’s paradise.  Not only do you get to enjoy seeing a wide variety of birds, but one can also watch shrimp boats returning after a long day on the water, and there is a wonderful view of the relatively new Arthur Ravenel Bridge which spans the Cooper River leading into downtown Charleston.  

Distant view of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge!

Distant view of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge!

The Pitt Street Bridge can be a walk in the park, or it can be much more.  For me, it is a place where I can witness all kinds of shorebirds in their natural habitat, study them, photograph them, and gather valuable insight into how I might like to portray them on canvas.  I can’t wait to return!

Thank you for reading my journal, for your interest in my photography and my art.  If I’m not painting birds, I might be painting Charleston.  Please check back sometime soon to see what’s on the easel!  Thanks again!!!


One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
What's next? Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe