Sunday, March 19, 2017

Hilton Head Getaway Includes Birding Adventure

An end of Spring Break treat was this weekend's getaway a couple hours down the South Carolina coast to Hilton Head Island.

Among the abundant visitor material, Alesia came across the Mitchelville Civil War era freed slave historic site. I'll detail its interesting and important story later, but am posting now to get out a couple bird photos I took today at the Mitchellville site.  Wilson's Plover or Least Sandpiper is the question gnawing at me. Or maybe these birds are something else. I again turned to my go-to bird identification source:

After posting these two photos on the site's bird identification forum, I soon had a few responses, each of which told me these birds are Least Sandpipers.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Old Charleston Church an Exciting New Find!

Charleston is known as the Holy City for good reason. Look at skyline and several tall church steeples can be seen.

From its 17th century inception, Charleston has been very religiously tolerant. Only a small number of people were needed to form a church.  Today, the city benefits from this benevolence with a treasure trove of churches of many faiths.

I maintain a separate blog for my College of Charleston First Year Experience course, "Beyond the Grave: What Old Cemeteries Tell and Teach the Living." I want to share two recent posts from my Charleston Beyond the Grave blog that deal with Charleston's religious richness.
St. Mary's is on Huger Street near King Street

This past Sunday Alesia and I attended Mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church in the Holy City. Gorgeous inside, St. Mary's also has a lovely, historic and interesting graveyard that wraps around the building.

Here's my post from this enlightening experience!

Another treasure trove, this one of historic information, is Ruth Miller who has spoken twice now to my "Beyond the Grave" class. She is a longtime Charleston historian and tour guide. In this post I wrote, learn (as I did) of Charleston's many religious firsts and distinctions.
Ruth Miller and yours truly after her fall semester talk (photo my Megan Wright) 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Preaching to the Choir at Charleston's Audubon Society

I knew there would be kindred spirits when I spoke to Charleston's Audubon and Natural History Society on March 8.

There was an impressive turnout for my talk, which take place in an auditorium in Duckett Hall on the campus of The Citadel.  Many thanks to Paul Nolan who coordinated my visit and did a lot of advance publicity work.
Alesia took this photo at my March 8 Audubon Society presentation
The presentation centered on my passion for nature and birds- and particularly my nature and bird photography.  I collected my thoughts, fondness, tips and tactics about this hobby in my new book, "Nature-ly Fun: Bird Photography From A to Z".

My book signing before and after the talk went very well too. Audubon is an organization Alesia and I are talking about joining. I touted the many things I've learned being a member of the Carolinas' Nature Photographers Association (CNPA) and can see the benefits of also being part of the local Audubon group.

Explaining the "A to Z" concept of my new bird/nature photography book
Thanks again for the hospitality and attentiveness Audubon Society members!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Magnolia Cemetery Class Visit A Sunny Delight!

The students and I at the massive Smith Pyramid

A highlight of the special course I teach at the College of Charleston is taking my students to Charleston's beautiful and historic Magnolia Cemetery

We went last Saturday and what a glorious day it would be!  

Check out the post I wrote on my blog for this course, which is called, "Beyond the Grave: What Old Cemeteries Tell and Teach the Living." 

My students each did their own posts on the blogs they created for my course. Here are a few of my favorite student-written posts about this visit: Bridget McElroy, Stephanie Owens, Nina Piacentine, and Jorden Falker.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"Hoodie" Delights at Magnolia Cemetery!

A stop this past Saturday at Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery on the way home from some downtown activities resulted in a bounty of bird photographs.

I was pleased to see so many Hooded Mergansers in the front lagoon. For years now, they have migrated here from their northern climes, coming around October-November. They'll stay until March-April before returning home.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sapsucker Surprise at ACE Basin Refuge!

A sunny and mild winter day at the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area in the ACE Basin (Green Pond, S.C.) would deliver a Sunday sapsucker surprise.

Like the other state Department of Natural Resources WMA near the South Carolina coast, Donnelley is vast, comprised of thousands of acres of protected property that can be driven or walked (or both) for a quick visit or all day excursion.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cooper's Hawk "Lifer"- Right in My Backyard!

On Sunday, Alesia alerted me to a hawk in our backyard, checking out the busy feeders, no doubt. I grabbed my camera and was able to take several photos through a window before the hawk flew away. 

Initially, I thought this was a Red-shouldered Hawk. But after posting this picture on Facebook, including the site for the Carolinas Nature Photographers Association (CNPA), a couple fellow birders said it may be a Cooper's Hawk instead of a Red-shouldered.  My friend and neighbor Richard pointed out the long tail, which is distinctive to the Cooper I now know.  

So I went to my go-to source for such questions:'s Bird Identification Forum.

Nice to have another "lifer" bird- especially in my own backyard. And thanks to the birding community for the identification assist!  

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Amsterdam Kizoa Slide Show

Previously, I posted my "Birds of Amsterdam" pictorial, showing 15 or so different types of birds I photographed during a visit to The Netherlands in December.

This post shows many of the other things Alesia and I took in during the three days we had to sigh see in this interesting old European city.  

I decided to put my shots together using the free Kizoa platform, which I like very much and have my college students use for different projects each semester. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Birds of The Netherlands

In December I made a short visit to Amsterdam where Alesia has been working with her consulting job. What a thrill for me to head back to Europe for the first time since being born in what was then West Germany more than half a century ago!

We had three days to explore the ancient city and really packed in a lot. Visited Museums included the Rembrandt House, Van Gogh, Dutch WWII Resistance, Jewish Holocaust, Maritime, and "Our Lord in the Attic." Each was so amazing and interesting.

Amsterdam's public train, tram and bus systems are really good. And kudos to Alesia for purchasing for us I Am Amsterdam cards, which for one set fee gave us hassle (and Euro) free access to all transportation needed and dozens of Amsterdam's best sites and attractions.