All posts by Ellen Jennings

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.

Horseshoe Falls

Cedar Shoals Creek drops down this small rock falls just before it runs into the Enoree River at the site of South Carolina’s Battle of Musgrove Mill State Historic Site. 

Horseshoe Falls
Horseshoe Falls

It has been abnormally dry in this region of the state so there were limited splash options to photograph, on the other hand more of the textured rock was visible than there would be with a big flow. And I was able to  get different angles without getting my feet wet!

Horseshoe Falls
Horseshoe Falls

As falls go this one is quite modest, but as I’ve been living in the SC Low Country that is just above sea level for three years any elevation is something to see.

Horseshoe Falls
Horseshoe Falls

Musgrove Mill Battle Site

This pretty spot on the Enoree River in Clinton, SC, was the impetus of the August 19, 1780 Revolutionary War Battle of Musgrove’s Mill. Possession of this easy to ford section of the river in the rural, agricultural area was the impetus behind the skirmish.

Enoree River at Musgrove Mill State Historic Site
Enoree River at Musgrove Mill State Historic Site

A modern bridge less than 1000 feet (300 Meters) downstream made this site obsolete for river passage a long time ago.

Turtle in Enoree River at Musgrove
Turtle in Enoree River at Musgrove

The day I visited a few turtles playing “king of the hill” was the extent of the activity.

Turtle in Enoree River at Musgrove
Turtles in Enoree River at Musgrove

American Oystercatcher Flying Over Surf

This American Oystercatcher had been standing in the surf. He got a running start then smoothly took off with one full beat of his wings.

American Oystercatcher in Flight
American Oystercatcher in Flight

It was just after dawn and he was flying directly into the sun, which I think must not affect birds’ eyes the way it does mine.

American Oystercatcher in Flight
American Oystercatcher in Flight

The incoming tide created a nice series of waves behind the bird.

American Oystercatcher in Flight
American Oystercatcher in Flight

He let out a  squawk for good measure before he disappeared down the beach.

American Oystercatcher in Flight
American Oystercatcher in Flight

Ruddy Turnstone

Their calico-cat like coloring sets these shorebirds apart from the others, but their behavior on the beach is a lot like the pipers and other “peeps.”

Ruddy Turnstones on Beach
Ruddy Turnstones on Beach

Standing around in small groups or on their own, they wait for the ocean to reveal something to eat.

Ruddy Turnstone on Beach
Ruddy Turnstone on Beach

Walking along the edge of the surf, this Ruddy Turnstone was proactively looking for a snack, racing ahead of the flowing water.

Ruddy Turnstone on Beach
Ruddy Turnstone on Beach

Botany Bay Island, August 4, 2019.

Tern and Chick

A large portion of the marsh behind Botany Bay Beach is cordoned off to keep humans from interfering with breeding shore birds. Their nests are nothing more than depressions in the sand and aside from the obvious egg destruction by human feet many of these birds just don’t like to be disturbed by man or his pets while raising their young.

Breeding season was over when I took these images but a few young stragglers were on the beach on August 4th.

Tern at the Shore
Tern at the Shore

This young tern didn’t seem to know what to do. The sun had just come up and he probably should have been looking for breakfast.

Tern Chick at the Shore
Tern Chick at the Shore

An adult was nearby, but I didn’t see them interact.

Tern at the Shore
Tern at the Shore

This may be the same young bird, I spotted a bit further down the beach.

Tern Chick at the Shore
Tern Chick at the Shore

Willet and His Shadow

Willets are shore birds that tend to mind their own business and with their sand coloring it is easy to miss them. As the sun was coming up this one decided to take a stroll away from the water and there was a bit of contrast between him and the hard packed sand. The line shadows behind him were created by a dead tree standing in the ocean surf.

Willet and His Shadow
Willet and His Shadow

Then he took off, first showing me his patterned underwings…

Willet and His Shadow
Willet and His Shadow

…then revealing a nice view of his the upper side of his wing, and a cool shadow.

Willet and His Shadow
Willet and His Shadow

I didn’t capture his shadow in this last image but I did like the driftwood background as the Willet flew away.

Willet and His Shadow
Willet and His Shadow

Botany Bay Island, SC, August 4, 2019

Ruddy Turnstone: Driftwood Framing

My position and timing were big factors in capturing these images of a Ruddy Turnstone exploring a barnacle covered tree.

Ruddy Turnstone on Driftwood
Ruddy Turnstone on Driftwood

The incoming tide was pretty calm, creating just a small splash behind the bird.

Ruddy Turnstone on Driftwood
Ruddy Turnstone on Driftwood

The bird was in almost constant motion, not waiting for the perfect combination of splash, his position, and my readiness.

Ruddy Turnstone on Driftwood
Ruddy Turnstone on Driftwood

Botany Bay Island, SC, August 4, 2019