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Scott's next birding hike ready to fly
Isaiah Scott
Isaiah Scott (left) and Jacob Garvin (front right) spy a bird in a tree at Honey Ridge Planation during a 2018 birding hike at Honey Ridge Plantation. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

GUYTON — Isaiah Scott’s next birding hike is ready to take off.

Scott is set to lead other birdwatchers on a March 21 visit to the Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge in South Carolina. It will last from 9 a.m.-noon.

“I started these two years ago,” said Scott, a South Effingham High School junior. “I’ve done four of them so far.”

Scott’s initial birding hike occurred at Honey Ridge Plantation in 2018. The March 21 event will be the first to take place out of the state.

The Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge covers more than 4,000 acres between the mainland and Hilton Head Island.

“We would go there when I was little because my family would usually vacation at Hilton Head,” Scott said. “After visiting there a couple times, we saw the diverse wildlife and the different bird species there. It’s a beautiful landscape with the marshes and the oak trees.”

There is no visitor center at the refuge. However, there are opportunities for hiking, cycling, photography and wildlife observation.

“It also has different ponds that you can go to,” Scott said. “There is also a beach at the end of the island. It’s just a very beautiful area to go to evaluate wildlife and nature.

“It’s an amazing place. You would love it for sure.”

Pinckney Island features large concentrations of white ibis, herons and egrets. Bald eagles and wood storks are also usually present.

Scott said it is likely a little too early to view one of America’s most colorful birds, the painted bunting. The time for its typical annual arrival is a few weeks away.

“There could be a slight chance that we might be able to see one,” Scott said.

Painted buntings, even though they sport red, blue, green and yellow plumage, are often difficult to observe. They breed in semi-open habitats with scattered shrubs or trees.

“The first time I saw a painted bunting was when I went to Fort Pulaski on an Ogeechee Audubon (Society) field trip,” Scott said. “We only saw one male and like two females. I only saw the red coloration on the male and it flew right by me.

“I only got a picture of a female and it’s kind of blurry. The females are kind of greenish and don’t have all the vibrant colors like the male does.”

Scott’s goal is get a clear photograph of a painted bunting soon.

“That would be awesome,” he said.

Scott, a recent National Honor Society inductee, wants to study wildlife biology with a concentration in ornithology at the University of Georgia or Clemson University. He is set to attend an American Birding Association camp in Colorado this summer.

“I won (the camp trip) through the Georgia Ornithological Society,” he said. “I had to write an essay about a birding experience.”

Some of Scott’s previous birding hikes featured arts and crafts opportunities. That won’t be the case at Pinckney Island because it doesn’t have a facility suitable for such activity. He still expects to be a worthwhile endeavor.

To register, text (912) 659-7985 or email

“I want people to register just to get a good estimate of how many people are coming,” Scott said. “People can also ask me any questions they would like to ask me.”