Category Archives: South Carolina

Wading Bird Extravaganza

We found the mother lode today. Of wading birds, that is. A state managed wildlife area near us controls the water depth in these impoundments to “provide quality habitat” for various bird species. Some days you go here and see nothing. Today was nothing short of amazing.

Wading Birds
Wading Birds spread across the impoundment – click photo for larger view

At this time of year the water is kept low in various spots and the wading birds get access to an ample supply of easily obtainable food. There were so many birds it was hard to get a good shot of the group. In addition to those seen here Roseate Spoonbills, Tri-color Heron, Skimmers, and Great Blue Heron were well represented and all mixed in together.

Wading Birds
Wading Birds: Wood Stork, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Glossy Ibis, Black Necked Stilt  – click photo for larger view

Over the course of the three hours we watched this morning groups moved around to various areas of the pond or left, perhaps full and looking for a cooler spot to spend the rest of the day.

Wading Birds
Wading Birds – Snowy Egrets taking flight – click photo for larger view

Mysterious Water

The pond surface made beautiful reflections of the cypress trees.

Reflection of Cypress Trunk in Pond
Reflection of Cypress Trunk in Pond

The pond appeared quiet but there are many mysteries beneath the water. Frogs, bugs of all sorts, small fish and even an alligator can be seen here.

Reflection of Cypress Trees in Pond
Reflection of Cypress Trees in Pond

There is a small bench if you want to sit a spell but the mosquitoes and no-see-ums are hungry this time of year.

Pelican: Master of the Glide

Quietly and without any fuss Pelicans glide around the edges of the harbor. Generally moving at a slow speed, the shot is all about the angle.

Coming straight at me, this pair turned together like a pair of dancers.

Pelican Gliding Over Charleston Harbor
Pelican Pair Gliding Over Charleston Harbor – click photo for larger view

They veered off at the last moment, following the shape of the USS Yorktown and staying over the water. I was at the edge of the flight deck where the deck becomes wider.

Pelican Pair Gliding Alongside the USS Yorktown
Pelican Pair Gliding Alongside the USS Yorktown – click photo for larger view

This single Pelican was also following the edge of the Yorktown, a little higher off the water, with the  Charleston Peninsula as his backdrop.

Pelican Gliding Over Charleston Harbor
Pelican Gliding Over Charleston Harbor – Along Side of USS Yorktown – click photo for larger view

The Pelican’s large wingspan makes a shot against the sky work. The feather and chest detail show off nicely as he passed over me with just a tilt to alter his direction.

Pelican Gliding Over Charleston Harbor
Pelican Gliding, Feet Perfectly Tucked – click photo for larger view

Taken three days in May, 2017.

Will It Fit?

I always take a breath when I see cargo ships pass under the bridges around Charleston. The prospect of not fitting is an optical illusion at certain distances from the bridge.

Loaded Cargo Ship Leaving Port
Loaded Cargo Ship Leaving Port -click photo for larger view

MSC Karlskrona loaded and leaving port, has passed under the Ravenel Bridge on a gorgeous spring day. The SPA Wando Welch Terminal is visible in the left background.

Charleston, SC 05/05/2017.

Cloud Layers

“Stop the car!” As we approached Middleton Place the storm clouds were blowing away and fresh fluffy clouds were rolling in at a lower level over the plantation house.

Clouds Over Middleton Plantation
Clouds Over Middleton Plantation – click photo for larger view

There weren’t any people or animals in view to add or subtract from the scene in the few moments we were able to stay parked in the entrance. I would have liked the horse drawn carriage to pass by, but it wasn’t to be.

Middleton Place, SC 5/5/2017.

Morris Island Light Through Driftwood

This was a quiet January day at the north end of Folly Island, without even a gull in sight. This pile of driftwood marks the spot where high tide can trap you on the beach if you aren’t watchful.

Morris Island

This listing light, decommissioned in 1962, guided ships near Charleston Harbor. Once on shore, shifting sands have resulted in the light now being off shore, surrounded by sand bars. All remnants of the accompanying housing complex are long gone.

Click on photo for larger view.

Last Light at the Rookery

The water was still and the reflections sharp as the sun went down.

531a0981

Birds that had been squabbling an hour before managed to settle in as darkness approached. I’d like to know how much of that goes on after dark, but I’m not sure I’m brave enough to stay.

531a0983

Another pond with wonderful reflections on the way back to the car.

531a0998

Click on any photo for larger view.

Great Blue Heron Stick Flight

The flying is easy in the open as the male Great Blue Herons bring sticks to their mates.

Great Blue Heron bringing sticks to nest

Until they get close in.

Great Blue Heron bringing sticks to nest

Maneuvering around the trees that support their nests is a bit tricky. Sometimes they circle around several times before attempting a landing.

Great Blue Heron bringing sticks to nest

The mate keeps a watchful eye.

531a4964

Click any photo for larger view.

Magnolia Plantation Audubon Swamp, 01/11/2017.