Pritchards Island

Amazing Uninhabited Island

Pritchards Island is just southwest of Fripp and is only accessible by boat. This uninhabited island is owned by the University of South Carolina which conducts research on the island and welcomes daily visitors who enjoy strolling along the beaches and enjoying the barrier island's wildlife and tranquility.

Atlanta businessman Philip Rhodes donated the 1,600 acre island to the University of South Carolina in 1983 with the condition it not be developed commercially but rather used for coastal research.  Students would stay in the "old stilt house", the Rhodes Research Center, while studying the ecosystems on the island and managing the preservation of the loggerhead sea turtles that nest on the island.  The island is still managed by USCB and is used for education, conservation and research purposes by the University, other state institutions, and the general public.

In October of 2022, the abandoned research lab was removed, section by section, and hauled off on a barge.  

 

For several years, the Beaufort County Arts Council collaborated with USCB to hold an annual artist retreat on Pritchards. Each artist was required to provide a piece of art that became the Pritchards Island Collection.

That collection now hangs in the library at the Hilton Head Gateway campus. (Source: Island Packet 2015)

Boating to Pritchards

If you're looking for an adventure, visit Pritchards by kayak or canoe.  The Fripp Island Resort offers guided canoe trips that launch off the beach behind the Cabana Club.  It's a great way to safely navigate the swift current that runs through Skull Inlet and learn more about the barrier islands. Contact the Activity Center for more information and reservations.

If you're ready to head out on your own, you can check tides and head over in your kayak or canoe.  Single and tandem kayaks are also available to rent at Island Excursions.  Once you get to Pritchards, you'll enjoy the peace and quiet of the island while strolling, shelling and exploring.

Loggerhead Turtles

One of Beaufort County's most nested beaches, Pritchards Island is host to Loggerhead Sea Turtles between May and October.  A group of dedicated volunteers patrol the island during nesting season to protect, mark and even relocate nests when necessary. Learn more about loggerheads - they're truly amazing!

Learn More

Shorebirds and Seabirds

Pritchards Island is host to both shorebirds and seabirds throughout most of the year - in the summer for nesting, and as a rest and refuel layover during their epic spring and fall migrations.

Nests are laid in shallow scrapes in the sand that blend in very well to their surroundings. While raising their young in the summer, it is imperative that adult birds keep eggs and chicks shaded to prevent predation and overheating in the summer sun, like the Least Tern is doing in this photo.

With North American shorebird and seabird populations in steep decline from habitat loss, predation and human disturbance, every piece of natural habitat remaining is critical for their survival. Help us protect these birds while enjoying the beach by keeping these actions in mind:

  • Walk around flocks of birds, not through them, so they can rest and feed
  • Respect signage on the beach indicating where birds are nesting and/or resting
  • Leash your dog near birds, because even friendly dogs look like predators to them

There's lots to learn about birds in the Lowcountry - there are hundreds of different species to be found. Thank you for helping to protect our local wildlife! 

Learn More

Unlike the adults, which have bright pink plumage, juvenile roseate spoonbills are paler, with a mix of white and light pink feathers. Their wings might show hints of pink, but they are generally less vibrant. The juvenile’s head is covered with a light greyish down, and their long, spatula-shaped bill is pale and slightly shorter compared to adults. The eyes of a juvenile are also a dark shade. As they mature, their coloration intensifies, and they develop the striking pink hue that the species is known for.
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#roseatespoonbill #spoonbill #floridabirds #wildflorida #AudubonFlorida #birdphotography #birdsofinstagram #eye_spy_birds #pinkbird #audubontakeover #featured_wildlife #planetbirds #sonyalpha #bb_of_ig #wildlife_perfection #bird_watchers_daily #bbcearth #best_birds_shots #natgeoyourshot #birds_matter #elite_worldwide_birds #spoonbills #birdnerd #natgeowild #sharetheshore

Unlike the adults, which have bright pink plumage, juvenile roseate spoonbills are paler, with a mix of white and light pink feathers. Their wings might show hints of pink, but they are generally less vibrant. The juvenile’s head is covered with a light greyish down, and their long, spatula-shaped bill is pale and slightly shorter compared to adults. The eyes of a juvenile are also a dark shade. As they mature, their coloration intensifies, and they develop the striking pink hue that the species is known for.
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#roseatespoonbill #spoonbill #floridabirds #wildflorida #AudubonFlorida #birdphotography #birdsofinstagram #eye_spy_birds #pinkbird #audubontakeover #featured_wildlife #planetbirds #sonyalpha #bb_of_ig #wildlife_perfection #bird_watchers_daily #bbcearth #best_birds_shots #natgeoyourshot #birds_matter #elite_worldwide_birds #spoonbills #birdnerd #natgeowild #sharetheshore
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Reddish egrets are one of the few bird species with such a dramatic difference in color morphs, and both morphs can sometimes be found within the same nesting colony. Dark morph Reddish egret preening here.
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#reddishegret #egrets #naturehippys_ #eye_spy_birds #planetbirds #nuts_about_birds #bestoftheusa_birds #wildlifeaddicts #yourshotphotographer #best_birds_of_ig #bestbirdshots #wildlifeplanet #conserveflorida #floridawildlifecorridor #birdsofinstagram #birds_captures #naturebrilliance #sonyalpha #birdsonearth #keepflwild #birds_bees_flowers_n_trees #wildlifeonearth #sharetheshore #floridawildlife #nuts_about_wildlife #birdsphotography #audubonsociety #audubonflorida #keepfloridawild #sanibelisland

Reddish egrets are one of the few bird species with such a dramatic difference in color morphs, and both morphs can sometimes be found within the same nesting colony. Dark morph Reddish egret preening here.
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#reddishegret #egrets #naturehippys_ #eye_spy_birds #planetbirds #nuts_about_birds #bestoftheusa_birds #wildlifeaddicts #yourshotphotographer #best_birds_of_ig #bestbirdshots #wildlifeplanet #conserveflorida #floridawildlifecorridor #birdsofinstagram #birds_captures #naturebrilliance #sonyalpha #birdsonearth #keepflwild #birds_bees_flowers_n_trees #wildlifeonearth #sharetheshore #floridawildlife #nuts_about_wildlife #birdsphotography #audubonsociety #audubonflorida #keepfloridawild #sanibelisland
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Just had to share this picture I took recently at the beach 🥰🥰🥰 It’s that time of year again, beach birds are starting to pair up so be aware of who you might be stepping on!! Many shorebirds, like plovers, terns, and other relatives use simple and hard-to-see scrapes on the beach to lay their very camouflaged eggs. 

[image description: my hand holding out a sticker showing an adult snowy plover and three fluffy chicks, with the caption “Share the Beach”. I am holding it in front of a beach background with blue sky.] 

#BirdArt #BirdSticker #NatureSticker #ShareTheBeach #ShareTheShore #plover #PloverLover #SaveTheBirds

Just had to share this picture I took recently at the beach 🥰🥰🥰 It’s that time of year again, beach birds are starting to pair up so be aware of who you might be stepping on!! Many shorebirds, like plovers, terns, and other relatives use simple and hard-to-see scrapes on the beach to lay their very camouflaged eggs.

[image description: my hand holding out a sticker showing an adult snowy plover and three fluffy chicks, with the caption “Share the Beach”. I am holding it in front of a beach background with blue sky.]

#BirdArt #BirdSticker #NatureSticker #ShareTheBeach #ShareTheShore #plover #PloverLover #SaveTheBirds
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Roseate spoonbill
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#roseatespoonbill #spoonbill #floridabirds #wildflorida #AudubonFlorida #birdphotography #birdsofinstagram #eye_spy_birds #pinkbird #audubontakeover #featured_wildlife #planetbirds #sonyalpha #bb_of_ig #wildlife_perfection #bird_watchers_daily #bbcearth #best_birds_shots #natgeoyourshot #birds_matter #elite_worldwide_birds #spoonbills #birdnerd #natgeowild #sharetheshore

Roseate spoonbill
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#roseatespoonbill #spoonbill #floridabirds #wildflorida #AudubonFlorida #birdphotography #birdsofinstagram #eye_spy_birds #pinkbird #audubontakeover #featured_wildlife #planetbirds #sonyalpha #bb_of_ig #wildlife_perfection #bird_watchers_daily #bbcearth #best_birds_shots #natgeoyourshot #birds_matter #elite_worldwide_birds #spoonbills #birdnerd #natgeowild #sharetheshore
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Reddish egret ~ Egretta rufescens
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#reddishegret #wadingbirds #egrettarufescens #egretsofinstagram #birdphotography #birdsofinstagram #floridabirds #birdsofflorida #bb_of_ig #planetbirds #best_birds_of_ig #best_birds_of_world #raw_birds #bestoftheusa_birds #bbceath #reddishegretsofinstsgram #birdphotos #birdphotography #sonyalpha #sharetheshore

Reddish egret ~ Egretta rufescens
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#reddishegret #wadingbirds #egrettarufescens #egretsofinstagram #birdphotography #birdsofinstagram #floridabirds #birdsofflorida #bb_of_ig #planetbirds #best_birds_of_ig #best_birds_of_world #raw_birds #bestoftheusa_birds #bbceath #reddishegretsofinstsgram #birdphotos #birdphotography #sonyalpha #sharetheshore
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Reddish egrets are highly adaptable birds, capable of adjusting their foraging techniques and feeding strategies in response to changes in their environment. This adaptability is essential for their survival in dynamic coastal ecosystems.
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#reddishegret #egrets #naturehippys_ #eye_spy_birds #planetbirds #nuts_about_birds #bestoftheusa_birds #wildlifeaddicts #yourshotphotographer #best_birds_of_ig #bestbirdshots #wildlifeplanet #conserveflorida #floridawildlifecorridor #birdsofinstagram #birds_captures #naturebrilliance #sonyalpha #birdsonearth #keepflwild #birds_bees_flowers_n_trees #wildlifeonearth #sharetheshore #floridawildlife #nuts_about_wildlife #birdsphotography

Reddish egrets are highly adaptable birds, capable of adjusting their foraging techniques and feeding strategies in response to changes in their environment. This adaptability is essential for their survival in dynamic coastal ecosystems.
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#reddishegret #egrets #naturehippys_ #eye_spy_birds #planetbirds #nuts_about_birds #bestoftheusa_birds #wildlifeaddicts #yourshotphotographer #best_birds_of_ig #bestbirdshots #wildlifeplanet #conserveflorida #floridawildlifecorridor #birdsofinstagram #birds_captures #naturebrilliance #sonyalpha #birdsonearth #keepflwild #birds_bees_flowers_n_trees #wildlifeonearth #sharetheshore #floridawildlife #nuts_about_wildlife #birdsphotography
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If you’ve posted up at the inlet this summer I’m sure you’ve heard this guy coming and going. He certainly makes his presence known. American Oystercatcher - Manasquan Inlet, July 2021. #oystercatcher #americanoystercatcher #birds #birdsofinstagram #best_bird_shots #best_birds_of_ig #best_birds_planet #best_birds_of_world #macro_perfection #photographyinmyframe #oceanvirals #allkindsofmagic #allkindsofnature #jshn #nj #newjersey #sharetheshore #audbonsociety #earthfocus #featured_wildlife #global_creatives #planetbirds #shorebirds #whatschirping #animal_elite #macro_brilliance #birdsonearth #birds_adored #natgeoyourshot

If you’ve posted up at the inlet this summer I’m sure you’ve heard this guy coming and going. He certainly makes his presence known. American Oystercatcher - Manasquan Inlet, July 2021. #oystercatcher #americanoystercatcher #birds #birdsofinstagram #best_bird_shots #best_birds_of_ig #best_birds_planet #best_birds_of_world #macro_perfection #photographyinmyframe #oceanvirals #allkindsofmagic #allkindsofnature #jshn #nj #newjersey #sharetheshore #audbonsociety #earthfocus #featured_wildlife #global_creatives #planetbirds #shorebirds #whatschirping #animal_elite #macro_brilliance #birdsonearth #birds_adored #natgeoyourshot ...

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Roseate Spoonbill ~ Platalea ajaja.
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#roseatespoonbill #spoonbill #floridabirds #birdinginflorida #florida #floridawildlife #wildflorida #conserveflorida #sonyalpha #audubonflorida #audubonsociety #elite_raptors #birds_matter #birdnerd #bestbirdshots #birds_bees_flowers_n_trees #featured_wildlife #birdwatching #bird_gardenical #wildlife_perfection #yourshotphotographer #springwatch #conserveflorida #keepfloridawild #sharetheshore

Roseate Spoonbill ~ Platalea ajaja.
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#roseatespoonbill #spoonbill #floridabirds #birdinginflorida #florida #floridawildlife #wildflorida #conserveflorida #sonyalpha #audubonflorida #audubonsociety #elite_raptors #birds_matter #birdnerd #bestbirdshots #birds_bees_flowers_n_trees #featured_wildlife #birdwatching #bird_gardenical #wildlife_perfection #yourshotphotographer #springwatch #conserveflorida #keepfloridawild #sharetheshore
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• a second chance • El Torro Loco, a one-year-old Piping Plover from Barnegat Light, has had a rough nesting season so far. She lost her mate, Sideshow Bob, to a fox and had to abandon their nest of four eggs that would have hatched in mid June. Shortly after, an unbanded male strutting through the dunes performed a courtship ritual to attract her attention. There’s still time for the new pair to renest if we #ShareTheShore and give them the space they need behind the ropes. This small protected area on the beach is critical to their survival, but even without human and dog disturbances, they have to defend their nest from ghost crabs, crows, raccoons, foxes and owls. Good luck, El Torro Loco! Biologists Kashi Davis and Emily Heiser, of nj.dep, are working up and down the Jersey coast with shorebird monitors to give these endangered birds the best chance at recovering to a more stable population.

• a second chance • El Torro Loco, a one-year-old Piping Plover from Barnegat Light, has had a rough nesting season so far. She lost her mate, Sideshow Bob, to a fox and had to abandon their nest of four eggs that would have hatched in mid June. Shortly after, an unbanded male strutting through the dunes performed a courtship ritual to attract her attention. There’s still time for the new pair to renest if we #ShareTheShore and give them the space they need behind the ropes. This small protected area on the beach is critical to their survival, but even without human and dog disturbances, they have to defend their nest from ghost crabs, crows, raccoons, foxes and owls. Good luck, El Torro Loco! Biologists Kashi Davis and Emily Heiser, of nj.dep, are working up and down the Jersey coast with shorebird monitors to give these endangered birds the best chance at recovering to a more stable population. ...

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