On Monday September 23rd, 48 members of SINHG boarded the Pirate’s Lady with Captain Mike and his first mate Becca under overcast skies to travel down Bohicket Creek to Deveaux Bank just off the mouth of the North Edisto River.
Kate Schaefer, South Coast Director from the Beaufort office of the Coastal Conservation League, joined the group to discuss the importance of Deveaux Bank to nesting seabirds and shorebirds. It is one of three seabird sanctuaries along the coast of South Carolina managed by DNR. After a successful project in 2013 to increase the number of nesting birds on Deveaux, DNR officially designated specific areas of the island as critical seabird and shorebird nesting areas and have closed them to humans. If you visit the island on your own, please be sure to check the DNR website and obey all signage on the island. Dogs and camping are prohibited year-round.
Following the brief overview, the participants had about an hour to explore the island between the water’s edge and the high tide rack line.
During our walk around Deveaux we saw more than 500 Brown Pelicans, both immature with the brown head and “mature” with the silver/white heads (like many of our residents). The group was a little disappointed we didn’t see more diversity in bird species, but found it fascinating when Kate explained in 2013 there were nearly 6,000 Brown Pelican fledglings on Deveaux Bank, representing 67% of all pelicans nesting in South Carolina and 25% of the pelicans nesting on the Atlantic coast of the United States.
Except for a few rain drops, the weather was perfect with the cloud cover providing a shaded and cooler day than expected. Captain Mike was able to find a pod of Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins who put on a great show chasing mullet and stranding along the riverbank. Overall it was a great trip and we plan to host a trip to Deveaux Bank again next spring on the Pirate’s Lady to visit during the bird nesting season.
-Submitted by Nancy Brown