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Donnelley Wildlife Management Area - BirdForum Opus

South Carolina, USA


Donnelley WMA is located about 45 miles west of Charleston along US highway 17 (main entry point at 32°42'46.3"N 80°36'25.0"W). This is an area with several different habitats, allowing for a relatively large list of birds being assembled in one visit (around 50 in a single visit in May!). The area is managed by the South Carolina DNR with the intent of benefiting multiple users including hunters, so there are some days where the area is closed due to just that. Likewise, at least part of the area is closed between November 1 and February 9. Other goals of management is to allow for maximal biodiversity within the area.


Notable Species

Well known for having a good population of Pileated Woodpecker, but also Red-bellied and Red-cockaded Woodpeckers are present. Just about all the herons and egrets (including Roseate Spoonbill) and lots of Anhingas will be found in the swampy areas, and migrating or wintering shorebirds are also present. In the wooded areas, warblers and vireos are certainly found especially in migration. Black-bellied Whistling Duck and Purple Gallinule should be more common than in surrounding locations.


Sandhill Crane is mentioned as one rarity that has occurred.


Birds you can see here include:

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, , Snow Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Tundra Swan, Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, American Wigeon, Mallard, American Black Duck, Mottled Duck, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Northern Bobwhite, Wild Turkey, Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Common Ground Dove, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Common Nighthawk, Chuck-will's-widow, Eastern Whip-poor-will, Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, King Rail, Clapper Rail, Virginia Rail, Sora, Common Gallinule, American Coot, Purple Gallinule, Sandhill Crane, Whooping Crane, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Black-bellied Plover, American Golden-Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Piping Plover, Killdeer, Whimbrel, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Ruff, Stilt Sandpiper, Sanderling, Dunlin, Baird's Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Long-billed Dowitcher, American Woodcock, Wilson's Snipe, Wilson's Phalarope, Spotted Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Willet, Lesser Yellowlegs, Bonaparte's Gull, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Least Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Caspian Tern, Black Tern, Common Tern, Forster's Tern, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Black Skimmer, Wood Stork, Anhinga, Double-crested Cormorant, American White Pelican, Brown Pelican, American Bittern, Least Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Reddish Egret, Western Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Swallow-tailed Kite, Golden Eagle, Mississippi Kite, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Barn Owl, Eastern Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Acadian Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Vermilion Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Eastern Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Loggerhead Shrike, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Horned Lark, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Bank Swallow, Barn Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, House Wren, Winter Wren, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, Carolina Wren, European Starling, Gray Catbird, Brown Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, Eastern Bluebird, Veery, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Cedar Waxwing, House Sparrow, American Pipit, House Finch, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, Bachman's Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, White-crowned Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, LeConte's Sparrow, Seaside Sparrow, Saltmarsh Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, Yellow-breasted Chat, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Rusty Blackbird, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle, Ovenbird, Worm-eating Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Northern Waterthrush, Blue-winged Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Swainson's Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, American Redstart, Cape May Warbler, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Palm Warbler, Pine Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Painted Bunting,

Other Wildlife

Alligators and different turtles, lizards and squirrels are just some of the most visible species.

Site Information

History and Use

Like most areas around this one, the landscape once belonged to one or more plantations.

Areas of Interest

There is an area of Long-leaf Pine not to far from the secondary entrance from Bennett's Point Road onto Blocker Run Road. This area contains the Red-cockaded Woodpecker. A mile or so further west, there is a wetland which used to be rice fields. Many of the wetland birds can be found there. The Boynton Nature Trail loops around a marsh and forest area and is most easily found on the right side when driving south from the main entrance.

Access and Facilities

The main entrance is by turning south opposite of where road SC303 intersects with US17. This brings you onto the gravel road called the "main" road on the maps hanging in the information kiosks on site. A second entry is found by turning towards Bear Island Wildlife management area from US17, a turnoff approximately 2.5 miles east of the other turnoff. That brings you onto Bennett's Point Road, and a further 4.3 miles south you will turn right onto Blocker Run Road (32°40'57.4"N 80°32'53.7"W).

Facilities are very limited inside the area, not even trash bins are available. Essentially, if you bring it in, you should bring it out. There are a couple of picnic tables. More importantly, there is a lot of nature to explore, including a 3 mile long nature trail in the south west corner.

Contact Details

The best authority to contact regarding this location is the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (see link under External links).

External Links

  1. A description by Robin Carter for Carolina Bird Club: https://www.carolinabirdclub.org/sites/SC/donnelley.html
  2. The location description in the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources site: https://www2.dnr.sc.gov/ManagedLands/ManagedLand/ManagedLand/58
  3. Ebird bar charts for this area: https://ebird.org/barchart?r=L454532&yr=all&m=

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