Tag Archives: Coastal Expeditions

Congaree National Park, Big Tree Adventure

In early May I went on a combo boat – hiking trip with fifteen enthusiastic adventurers into the Congaree National Park, about 18 miles southeast of Columbia, the SC state capital.

Congaree River
Congaree River

After traveling up the winding Congaree River from the Bates Bridge Landing we went into the forest to see some amazingly large, and old, trees.

Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park

Very big trees!

Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park

Photography in the forest that shows the relative size is hampered by–the forest.

Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park, Cypress Knees Everywhere

We ate our lunch with a couple of the biggest, including this one.

Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park, Cypress Knees that were several feet tall

Much of the forest floor was muddy, and slippery. And yes I fell. Holding my camera high

Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park

From the park website (nps.gov/cong/index.htm)

Congaree National Park has the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States

May 4, 2022

Brown Pelican Flyby

This Brown Pelican buzzed our boat on our way out to Bird Key Stono.

Brown Pelican Flying By
Brown Pelican Flying By

With a long steady swoop he caught up to us.

Brown Pelican Flying By
Brown Pelican Flying By

The local birds have learned that boats can mean scraps from fisherman/shrimpers.

Brown Pelican Flying By
Brown Pelican Flying By

He gave us the look then dropped into the water. Too bad for him that as bird watchers we had nothing for him.

Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican

June 2, 2022

Dance of Light

Working with images that have sparkly water is a challenge and I don’t take nearly as many as I used to, knowing they’ll likely get deleted.

Ruddy Turnstones on Sand Bar
Ruddy Turnstones on Sand Bar

This day on our water trip to see the baby pelicans our captain commented how he always liked to see the sparkles, and how the light dance on the water appealed to him.

Ruddy Turnstones on Sand Bar
Ruddy Turnstones on Sand Bar

A pair of Ruddy Turnstones on a just exposed sandbar gave me a bit of a subject so I took a few shots.

Ruddy Turnstones on Sand Bar
Ruddy Turnstones on Sand Bar

A little further on a clump of grass growing from another sandbar caught my eye.

Grass Isle in Sparkly Water
Grass Isle in Sparkly Water

Kiawah River
June 2, 2022

Brown Pelican Chicks

Ted and I went on the same guided boat adventure as last year to see the juvenile Pelicans at Bird Key Stono Seabird Sanctuary. This trip was much earlier in the young birds’ lives as they are still in the nests.

Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono
Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono

These pictures are taken from a bobbing boat; I did learn from last year and upped my shutter speed to 1/1600.

Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono
Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono

There are thousands of birds on this island right now, and as you might expect there were always some in flight. The parents have to go for food, and swoop in and out constantly.

Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono
Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono, Maybe a Cloudless Sulfer flying over

The chicks are still in the nests, which are collections of sticks/reeds, with the young being protected by an adult from the sun. As you can see in the center top a few are starting to move around.

Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono
Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono, Dragonflies

Laughing Gulls are also nesting here and were flying all over, constantly chattering.

Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono
Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono

June 1, 2022

Bird Key, not much more than a sandbar, is a barrier island that sits in the mouth of the Stono River, between Kiawah and Folly Islands.

Cave Swallows

I recently went on a boat trip that passed under this bridge that was hosting swallow nests.

Cave Swallow Nests
Cave Swallow Nests

The Merlin Bird ID By Cornell Lab app identifies them as Cliff Swallows, an uncommon bird in SC.

Cave Swallow Nests
Cave Swallow Nests

There wasn’t enough light to really see the colors, these were taken with my short lens, and these little guys were speedy!

Cave Swallow Nests
Cave Swallow Nests

The nests were pretty fascinating, too, more of an engineering marvel than the bridge.

Cave Swallow Nests
Cave Swallow Nests

Santee Delta By Boat, Wood Ducks

Our guide on the Santee Delta trip was an excellent bird spotter, and saw this small flock of Wood Ducks coming in for a landing.

Wood Ducks Landing
Wood Ducks Landing

Taking pictures of a small moving bird from a small moving boat gives so-so results, but it was fun to see them.

Wood Ducks Landing
Wood Ducks Landing

The ducks, or at least one of them, seemed to think they’d better fly right back out.

Wood Ducks Leaving
Wood Ducks Leaving

And of course the rest followed along.

Wood Ducks Leaving
Wood Ducks Leaving

This section of the river was lined with grass and reeds, a perfect spot for Wood Ducks to hang out.

Wood Ducks Leaving
Wood Duck Leaving

Santee River Trip with Coastal Expeditions
November 8, 2021

View my other Santee Delta trip posts

 

Santee Delta By Boat, 1

The first week of November we took a boat trip in South Carolina’s Santee Delta, about half way between Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

North Santee River
North Santee River

We starting at a public boat landing where US Route 17 crosses the North Santee River and headed up river. These images were from the first stretch of the river.

North Santee River
North Santee River

Once we passed a few docks with moored boats it was easy to imagine our boat of ten folks as the only humans for miles.

North Santee River
North Santee River

A variety of trees line the river bank, and were in various stages of color and leaf loss.

North Santee River
North Santee River

Santee River Trip with Coastal Expeditions
November 8, 2021