Wildlife: As We See It…

Welcome to the Kiawah Island Nature Program’s wildlife sightings page. Here, you’ll find postings from our Naturalists and island biologists showing you what is currently in the field as well as an archive of observations from throughout the year.

We hope this site will get you excited about the amazing and diverse wildlife found on Kiawah. Get outside and share your photos and stories with us at Kiawah_Recreation@KiawahResort.com.


February 8, 2017~ Beach Critters
While on a beach walk yesterday, my group and I stumbled upon a really large club-finger sponge. The sponge itself was really cool – probably one of the biggest I’ve ever seen on Kiawah, and bright orange – but it was what we found on the sponge that was so exciting… hiding in the branches of the sponge was a new find for me: a spineback hairy crab! As the name suggests, these little crabs are sparsely covered with tiny little hairs on the carapace (back) and black-tipped chelipeds (claws), and a few spines on each side. They top out at about 1.5 inches wide, but our little girl was only about an inch wide. After having a quick photoshoot with our spiny friend, we placed her back on the club-finger sponge, and left them both to be taken back by the tide. Winter Wonders Walk!

– Naturalist Ally

January 5, 2017~ Fly by at Mingo
wawsi may 31

Captain Brad snapped a photo of a hawk flying by the Mingo Point shack with his iPhone! Despite the not-so-red tail feathers on this bird, this is a young Red-tailed Hawk. Red-tailed hawks can look very different from one another based on age, location and time of year. However, the easiest way to identify a Red-tailed Hawk is from the “comma” marks on the wrists of the wings (circled in red).

There will be lots of hawks and other birds of prey flying around this winter. Stay curious and happy birding!