South Carolina’s harvest season for oysters and mussels will close on Monday, May 15, at a half hour after official sunset, according to South Carolina Department of Natural Resources officials. Clam season will close on Wednesday, May 31, at a half hour after official sunset.
Because higher bacterial levels occur when water temperatures exceed 80 degrees, shellfish harvesting during the summer months is limited to commercial harvesters who can meet rigorous handling requirements. Coastal waters will remain closed to recreational shellfish harvesting until water temperatures begin to cool in the fall, making shellfish once again safe for harvesting and consumption. Shellfish harvesting is expected to reopen Oct. 1.
SCDNR’s oyster shell recycling and replanting program continues its efforts to encourage the public to recycle their oyster shells. Oyster shell recycling drop-off locations are located throughout coastal counties.
S.C. has largest number of orioles
Long known for its hospitality to visiting Northerners, South Carolina can now claim to be the state where Baltimore Orioles feel most at home during the winter.
For the third year in a row, South Carolina had the largest number of orioles wintering in the United States. Those results were recorded during the third annual Baltimore Oriole Winter Survey, conducted by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Feb. 17-20. SCDNR’s survey was held in conjunction with the Great Backyard Bird Count. Tapping into this longstanding citizen-scientist project allowed SCDNR to get a better picture of the status and distribution of this beautiful songbird wintering in the Palmetto State.
Survey participants in South Carolina submitted 67 reports and tallied 306 orioles. The number of reports was similar to past years, but the number of orioles recorded was noticeably less than last year. This is not too surprising since South Carolina had a mild winter this year. During milder weather, orioles may not frequent feeders as often as they would during colder weather or may be completely absent as they forage for natural foods.
Orioles were recorded in 16 South Carolina counties and ranged from the Upstate, through the Midlands and along the coast, from North Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head. Charleston County recorded the largest number of orioles in the state, recording more than a third of the total number for the state. Other counties with good numbers of orioles recorded were Dorchester, Sumter and Horry.
Baltimore Orioles are neotropical migrants, normally wintering in South and Central America and migrating to North America to nest. During the last few decades, however, this species has begun wintering annually in the Southeast.