Monday, December 30, 2013

Hilton Head Island Delights!

My family and I spent Thanksgiving on Hilton Head Island. During our short stay we saw some area attractions we had not visited before. They included the iconic Harbour Town Lighthouse.
We visited Harbour Town the day after Thanksgiving. The weather was bright and crisp and the vibe festive with lots of people at the many shops, restaurants and other sites near the lighthouse. I somehow smudged my camera lens and have several pictures with the blur you see in the photo below. But it gives the lighthouse a neat effect, don't you think?
You can, for a fee I think, go to the top of the lighthouse. We didn't do that but it looks like a great view from up there.

This Boat-tailed Grackle (female) was hanging out, looking for human handouts most likely.
From left: Patrick (me!), Alesia and Joseph at Harbour Town. We were with Alesia's brother Blake and his girlfriend Lisa.
We paid the $5 fee (per car, not person) to get into Harbour Town. Before going to see the lighthouse we visited the Sea Pines Forest Preserve. It was a neat place with lots of trails, boardwalks, a few water spots, and a decent variety of birds for late November.  
On this day, the best birding (above and below) was on residents' property adjoining the preserve. The shot below has Black Vultures, Wood Storks and Great Egrets.
A group of Great Egrets (below) has many unusual names, including "wedge," "skewer," "congregation," and "RSVP."
The signature pose of the Anhinga drying its wings:
A couple huge alligators sun themselves on the bank.
Below, a beautiful Great Blue Heron at the Sea Pines Forest Preserve:
Up close and personal with a Great Blue Heron!
An American Coot with a tasty treat. How about the Coot's fierce red eyes and red mark on the base of its bill?
One of my favorite wading birds, the Wood Stork:
I like the turtle and the red leaves in the water behind it.
We stayed at the really nice Marriott Harbour Point Vacation Club Resort located on Shelter Cove. We enjoyed great views from our window and along the finely landscaped grounds.
 Temperatures in the low-30s didn't deter these watermen from making their rounds.
The Harbour Point hotel was in an excellent location, being within walking distance of fine dining, shopping, and boat-(and fishermen-) filled waterways- again despite freezing temps.
Fishing was good for those who went out with this charter crew.
These Brown Pelicans were nearby hoping for some scraps from the fish cleaning going on above them.
 I thought this was a really neat sculpture in the Shelter Cove shopping area. A plaque says Neptune here (god and/or king of the ocean) is the "world's largest figurative sundial."
 Neptune in the holiday spirit!
At the marina, I spotted this Osprey high up a tree feasting on a flounder.
Soon, a pair of Crows wanted some of that flounder. But the Osprey wasn't interested in sharing.
Back at the marina, a Great Blue Heron strikes a stately pose.
All in all, so much to do and see on Hilton Head Island, including a fine meal at Robert Irvine's Eat! restaurant.
Yum...and more yum!

Ending this post with what brought us all together on Hilton Head Island for Thanksgiving 2013- family. It was great to see everyone!

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