Coastal Expeditions Hosts First Adventure at Kiawah River

Last month Chris Crolley – “one of the state’s most knowledgeable naturalists” (Garden and Gun), set out on his inaugural expedition through Kiawah River for The Pink Birds + Flower Moon tour. 

Around two o’clock the crew met at Kiawah River’s dock, Bobcat Landing, with sunscreen, binoculars, and cameras ready. The adventure was to begin with a hike through the maritime forests on a curated five mile section of the Kiawah River Trails, but we were surprised by an early visit by the Pink Birds.

Ten Roseate Spoonbills had landed in the water and Captain Chris Crolley was thrilled. Of the 297 different species of birds categorized seasonally in our part of the world only one of them is pink. 

The next phase of our adventure led us to leave the main land behind and venture into the intimate creeks via expedition style sea kayaks and begin meandering toward the Kiawah River. As we crossed this dynamic edge that is the transition between the land and the sea we experienced a dramatic change of both flora and fauna. The white tailed deer and wild turkeys of the forest gave way to the bottle-nosed dolphins, egrets and pelicans of the estuary. The ecosystem changes dramatically as the oaks and pines yield to the smooth cordgrass fields of the salt marsh. 

As the guided paddle continued the June “flower moon” rose up above us, and the crowd was awed. We slowly and wistfully came off the river, loaded up the gear and were met with a crackling fire glowing in the Cowboy Cauldron. Drinks were cheered and memories were made.