Juvenile Little Blue Heron

This juvenile Little Blue Heron was on his own, just hanging around on a dead tree trunk. There was a small group at the other end of the big pond but most of his siblings and cousins have moved on. There are no adult Little Blues around the swamp either.

Juvenile Little Blue Heron
Juvenile Little Blue Heron

Birds with nothing else to do default to preening, and this fellow was no different.

Check your toes.

Juvenile Little Blue Heron
Juvenile Little Blue Heron

Then under your wings.

Juvenile Little Blue Heron
Juvenile Little Blue Heron

Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist: Inside

The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist was open the day I discovered it and as I stepped inside I was somewhat overcome by the size. Many of Charleston’s churches welcome visitors to view their interiors, often with knowledgeable guides on hand, as well as for spiritual reasons.

Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist
Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist

I saw no one here, and saw no welcome sign, either. The interior is an amazing work of art and craftsmanship. I took a few images and went on my way.

Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist
Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist

Great Egret

With Storm Florence now well to the north I was able to return to one of my favorite birding spots this afternoon. The sun was in and out with puffy white clouds filling the sky.

Great Egret Hunting
Great Egret Hunting

This Great Egret had found a shallow spot to hunt, although this wasn’t looking like a great fishing hole as he kept coming up with nothing.

Great Egret Hunting
Great Egret Hunting

He did create some nice reflections for me, albeit in dirty looking water that was still churned up from Flo’s rain and wind.

Great Egret Hunting
Great Egret Hunting

My heart goes out to those in North Carolina who will be weeks, months, and probably more putting their lives back together after storm Florence’s record rain fall.

Charleston Cathedral with Connecticut Connection

On a trip into Charleston last month I walked down a section of Broad Street that I had somehow missed before and discovered the massive Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. The first cornerstone for a church on this spot was laid in 1850 and an 1100 seat cathedral was consecrated in 1854. Six years later it burned to the ground in The Great Charleston Fire of 1861. Decades of fundraising culminated in the present day Gothic building being started in 1890.

Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist
Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist

I was delighted to find that the structure is Connecticut tool-chiseled brownstone. In Connecticut, Ted and I lived only a few of miles from the now defunct Portland Brownstone Quarry. This stone was used all over the US starting in the late 1700s, reaching the peak of its popularity in the mid 1890s. It is most famous as the namesake of the New York City and Boston “Brownstones.”

Zoom in on any one of these images to see the detail of the tooling. I need to go back to capture some of the material detail.

Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist
Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist

The building is impressive in its size, 200 feet long, 80 feet wide, and 167 feet to the tall. There was supposed to be a spire, but lack of funding kept that from being completed.

Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist
Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist

Pond Reflections, A Touch of Pink

The past few weeks have been poor for getting new images; lots of grey days and thunderstorms at various times throughout the day, there are not many birds around, and the greater Charleston area has been mostly shut down since Monday due to the threat of Hurricane Florence.

I got a quick stroll in at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens on Sunday between rain storms. The air was still so the reflections in the ponds were pretty even though there wasn’t much light.

Pond at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Pond at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Magnolia and all of my usual haunts are closed until the storm passes. Florence’s path and power for our area are still hard to predict but I expect I’ll see some changes when we are able to return.

Wasp Architechture

From a distance this wasp nest looked like a dried flower head jammed into these branches. When I got close enough to see the insect movement I could tell that it was not a flower at all.

Wasps on Nest
Wasps on Nest

It’s interesting that the nest appeared to have a uniform depth and I couldn’t tell what was supporting the disk. The wasps were crawling around the outside of the nest, not coming and going as I would have expected.

Wasps on Nest
Wasps on Nest

Gulf Fritillary

Gulf Fritillaries were zipping all around the swamp edges yesterday morning in what I have come to recognize as a harbinger of fall in South Carolina.

Gulf Fritillary
Gulf Fritillary

There were a lot of spider webs, too, attached to every kind of plant around the swamp. I walked with a small stick to move those that blocked the trail and only walked into a couple.

Gulf Fritillary
Gulf Fritillary

Butterflies seem aware of the spider web strands and easily manipulate around them.

Gulf Fritillary
Gulf Fritillary

I saw this last Gulf Fritillary as we were leaving bouncing on a more delicate wild flower.

Gulf Fritillary
Gulf Fritillary

Taken 9/8/2018

Fall Colors

There is a touch of fall color in the “skinny tree” which earlier this year hosted one Great Blue Heron  and several Great Egret families. Now the tree serves as an occasional landing spot for a passing bird.

Anhinga Drying in Sun
Anhinga Drying in Sun

This Anhinga chose it as a drying off spot and executed a smooth landing.

Anhinga Drying in Sun
Anhinga Drying in Sun

He then turned his back to the sun and spread his wings to dry off.

Anhinga Drying in Sun
Anhinga Drying in Sun