Skimmers at the Beach

A flock of mostly Black Skimmers with a few terns, gulls and Oyster Catchers mixed in were occupying a sand bar at the edge of the ocean near where the Kiawah River runs into the Atlantic.

Black Skimmers Taking Off
Black Skimmers Taking Off

As I’ve seen before some signal is received by the birds and they all take off and relocate at once.

Black Skimmers Over Ocean Surf
Black Skimmers Over Ocean Surf

This was just past low tide and their real estate was shrinking quickly with the incoming tide. They settled down on the next available spot, dislocating a few pipers.

Black Skimmers Landing at Beach
Black Skimmers Landing at Beach

The terns were more inclined to stay put, not minding the surf lapping at their legs.

Black Skimmers Over Surf
Black Skimmers Over Surf

Beachwalker Park, Kiawah, SC 9/24/2019

Sun Going Down

This was our first night in the area and I scouted a sunset spot using Google Maps and The Photographer’s Ephemeris phone app. The color was subtle over Brickyard Creek and there wasn’t much of a foreground but it ended up being a pretty good choice.

Sun Setting Over Brickyard Creek
Sun Setting Over Brickyard Creek

After the sun disappeared three kayakers  worked their way back to the boat launch, impressed with what they had seen. Voices really carry over water!

Sun Set After Glow Over Brickyard Creek
Sun Set After Glow Over Brickyard Creek

Click on either image for a larger view. 

Stumphouse Tunnel

The Blue Ridge Railroad was hoping to bore through Stumphouse Mountain for a line extending from Anderson, South Carolina to Knoxville, Tennesee.  Started in the early 1850s, 1,500 Irish miners cut through blue granite with hand drills, hammers and chisels, and black powder in this and two nearby tunnels. Their efforts came to an end in 1859  when no more funding could be procured to complete the work and subsequent efforts to restart the rail project over the next several decades failed.

Stumphouse Tunnel
Stumphouse Tunnel – top

Even though the ceiling was quite high, 20 or 25 feet ( 6 or 7 meters)  right here, I’m not a fan of underground spaces and stayed pretty close to the entrance. Ted was a bit more adventurous. You can go further, but would want better shoes and light, be prepared for bats, and have water protection for your camera.

Stumphouse Tunnel
Stumphouse Tunnel – Ted looking back to the entrance

There was less green growth on the walls just a short distance from the entrance. Two streams of water a few inches deep flowed on either side of the floor and water dripped from the ceiling. The cool air flowing out of the tunnel was welcome on this hot day.

Stumphouse Tunnel
Stumphouse Tunnel – those are Ted’s footprints in the mud

Stumphouse Tunnel is managed by the City of Walhalla, SC as part of a recreation area.

Down But Not Out

I was happy to see this aged and fallen Rose of Sharon left in place on a lawn at Rose Hill Plantation. While not thriving, it provided a nice burst of color when the actual roses in the formal gardens on the property had gone dormant.

Rose of Sharon
Rose of Sharon

Many blooms were managing just fine and were a very intense color.

Rose of Sharon Bloom
Rose of Sharon Bloom

A few bees buzzed around in the late morning heat, 90 plus degrees F (32 Degrees C).

Rose of Sharon Bloom with Bee
Rose of Sharon Bloom with Bee

This one got stuck down in the flower’s center then crawled his way up a petal, curling it as he went, to get out. I wondered if he was carrying too much pollen to lift off, but he eventually made it.

Rose of Sharon Bloom with Bee
Rose of Sharon Bloom with Bee

Cross Keys Plantation

The Cross Keys Plantation wasn’t on our list of potential stops on our recent mid-state driving tour. However, we made a quick u-turn to check out this unexpected sight.

Cross Keys Plantation House
Cross Keys Plantation House

The property is owned by the Union County Museum but wasn’t open so I only took images from the road. The white plaque at the gable peak has the build date of 1812 along with two crossed skeleton keys.

Cross Keys Plantation House
Cross Keys Plantation House

The other end of the house has just one chimney, partly hidden by a tree.

Cross Keys Plantation House
Cross Keys Plantation House

The intricate brick work is fascinating, especially in the chimney.

Cross Keys Plantation House
Cross Keys Plantation House

The bricks varied in colors and the top several rows on the front of the house appear to be of a different era.

Cross Keys Plantation House
Cross Keys Plantation House

Click on any image for a larger view. 

Cross Keys, Union, SC

Rose Hill Plantation

The plantation home is the centerpiece of Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site in Union, SC. Four Magnolia trees thought to be over 200 years old screen the front of the building from the road. This is in contrast to many of the southern plantations that had tree-lined entrances designed to impress leading to the homes.

Rose Hill Plantation
Rose Hill Plantation

The ornamental front gate opens into a formal boxwood garden.

Rose Hill Plantation
Rose Hill Plantation

Once through the gate a visitor would be wowed by the porches and size of the home. The portico on the right side of the home was probably the more likely entry point for a visitor arriving by carriage.

Rose Hill Plantation
Rose Hill Plantation – Road side

At its peak in the 1860s the plantation covered over 5000 acres with corn and cotton as the primary crops and about 180 enslaved individuals.

Front Porch, Rose Hill Plantation
Front Porch, Rose Hill Plantation

There certainly is a lot of symmetry going on, if not a front to back mirror image. I regret not taking the inside tour.

Rose Hill Plantation, Back
Rose Hill Plantation, Back
From the SC State Park website:
Gist family members lived in the mansion from about 1811 to 1889. It remained untouched during the Civil War as there were no battles, retreating armies, military quarters or skirmishes in the area.  From the 1890s to the 1930s, the mansion deteriorated significantly. In the 1940s, it was purchased and restored by Clyde Franks, who sold it to the state in 1960.
This State Historic Site interprets the family life and political legacy of William Henry Gist, often called South Carolina’s “Secession Governor,” serving from 1858-1860. With its mix of Georgian and Greek Revival architectural styles, the former family mansion stands as a fine example of an antebellum home.