by Kathy Woolsey
One of my favorite places on James Island is Dock Street Park, a small pocket park located at the end of Patterson Avenue.
The name is confusing because there is no Dock Street in this neighborhood, but legend has it there was a dock for farmers to take their produce over to the city.
This little park has a lot to offer. The first thing you will notice is the large live oaks framing marsh vistas on two sides of the park.
The sweeping panorama of the James Island connector bridge, the Ravenel bridge towers and marshes along James Island creek makes the park seem much larger.
Walk out on the small fishing dock and the view and wide open spaces will sweep you away. Although fishing and crabbing are popular activities here, I like to look over the marsh with my binoculars for birds.
This is one of the best places to look for Yellow Crowned Night Herons. They roost during the day in the park’s old oak tree. Ibis, egrets, and herons feed along the creeks and mud flats.
If you are lucky, you will see a Clapper rail and a Marsh wren. These elusive birds are abundant in the marsh grass but difficult to spot but listen for them. The Clapper Rails rapid “clack-clack-clack” calls can be heard throughout the marsh like a game of Marco-Polo.
The best time to spot these birds is at low tide along the creek. Listen for the sweet trill of the Marsh Wren on sunny days. If you are vigilant you may spot one near the dock creeping though the reeds.
There are picnic tables, benches and swings all with great views. During the work week this is a popular spot for a lunch break. There is a grill perfect for a family cookout by the water.
Young children can enjoy the playground which includes swings for toddlers.
I recommend that you turn off your phone and enjoy the sounds of nature when visiting Dock Street Park. The fresh air, views and nature will recharge your batteries.
Kathy Woolsey is a Staff Writer for the Bugle and a Commissioner at the James Island Public Service District.