Friday, June 25, 2010

Bull Island Clouds

Visited Bull Island this week, one of my favorite Lowcountry places. This remote barrier island, north of Charleston, is only reached by ferry or private boat.  Temps were in the 90s, humidity was high and the bugs were plentiful along the trails, but I still had a blast.  Swimming in the ocean there felt great and there were lots of shells to collect, including sand dollars and whelks.   

Interesting cloud formations on this day made for even better photo opportunities.  I definitely recommend an excursion to Bull Island.  Here's a link with all the information about where it is, how to get there and costs:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Weird Water Creature!

A few months ago Alesia and I came across this unusual sight near Charleston's Waterfront Park.  It seemed to be emerging from the harbor.  From a different angle the "monster" appeared headless!
There was just something in the air that day and night that was making the natural word very unnatural!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I'll photograph butterflies when I have the chance.  Here are two I spotted recenlty, the first in my backyard and the other on the campus of Northwestern University.  Thanks for my birding (and butterflying) friends Suzanne and Sal for the help identifying this first one as a Palamedes Swallowtail and the second as a Mourning Cloak.   

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Northwestern University Birds

During a very pleasant walk around my grad schoool alma mater Northwestern University I encountered a delightful variety of birds.  The flashy yellow one caught my eye and I did my best to capture its image from a pretty good distance.  Peterson Field Guide and Google images helped me identify this beauty as an American Goldfinch. 
It was a nice surprise to see several Red-Winged Blackbirds in a couple places around campus.  Used to see these all the time at the old Kings Grant golf course here in Summerville, S.C.  The males are distinctive by their red and yellow epaulets.  The other bird pictured on the fence I believe to be a female Red-Winged Blackbird.  The females don't have the flashy markings of the male. 

I also enjoyed seeing a number of American Robins.  They are quite busy birds and are approachable, allowing me to get fairly close for my photos. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Purple Martin Houses

Came across these purple martin houses at Chicago's Lincoln Park right on Lake Michigan.  Loved the big puffy clouds and knew some good pictures could be made here!  The park offers ample waterfront walking and great views of the big city.  This part of Lincoln Park also has a small bird viewing area. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

House Sparrow "Mud Huts"

Came across an unusual nesting site this week while visiting my graduate school alma mater Northwestern University in Evanston, Il. outside Chicago. A colony of house (or English) sparrows had built mud nests on one of the school's buildings. It was quite a flurry of coming and going among the small colorful birds. Several other passersby stopped at the surprising site. The source of the nesting material seemed to be the nearby creek or reservoir embankment. House sparrows are common in downtown Charleston too. I think I impressed a few other watchers by being able to identify the resourceful urban dwellers!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Carolina Wren Nest

In April Carolina wrens moved into a nest on our porch. The babies were really packed in there, four or five of them! The Carolina wren is the state bird of South Carolina.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

Spotted a few yellow-crowned night herons yesterday at Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston. I was able to get pretty close to this beautiful bird. It flew away but only to another nearby tree where I got the neat shot of its head poking up over a branch.  Love the night heron's big eyes! 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Container Ships and Lighthouses

To me it's always an amazing site to see the huge container ships coming in and out of Charleston Harbor. 
When they enter and depart the harbor near Sullivans Island you're struck by the sheer size of the vessels.  From this point on the beach you also get an upclose view of the Sullivans Island Lighthouse.  Built in 1962, it was the last major lighthouse built by the U.S. government.