Donnelley Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
For us, the drive is about 50 miles. Donnelley is located off Highway 17 in the metropolis (ha!) of Green Pond, S.C.
The name Green Pond could very well come from the green build up that occurs on the water here. Donnelley and other WMAs in the ACE Basin and also those north of Charleston consist of former rice plantations, which had networks of canals used to carefully control water levels necessary for rice cultivation.
I snapped the above selfie before I got too sweaty!
The monopods were a good deals, costing around $20 each. They are very lightweight, giving easy mobility.
There we ran into fellow shutterbug Matthew Krausmann, who I would later learn is also a member of Charleston's Carolina Nature Photographers Association (CNPA).
Here, Matthew was looking for hummingbirds that might feed on tulips along the trail.
Boynton Trail is a spot I always try to visit at Donnelley.
The house is fun to photograph. I once shot (and videotaped) a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker that was inside and kept flying into a window pane until it finally escaped through an open one.
Painted Bunting near the Boynton Trail entrance, not far from the old house.
This is my favorite photo because it shows the bunting's green and yellow coloring on its wings.
On the trail, I asked him if he had any Painted Bunting sightings, and he said he had near the trail entrance.
I had never really used this ploy, and I don't have that app on my phone.
Sure enough, it worked! A bunting appeared on nearby branches and even swooped down a couple times on the post where I placed my phone.
The tactic, to me, felt a bit deceptive. But I know many birders (and hunters too, I presume) use the approach. It does work! And Alesia got some nice images too with her camera.
It would be good on this hot summer day too, even at late morning/noonish when we arrived on the scene.
This picture shows a male Red-winged Blackbird (bottom) and two females of this species commonly seen in the ACE Basin.
A couple times we saw Summer Tanagers along the trail, but I was unable to get a good photo. I did briefly try playing on my phone the call of that bird, but didn't have the success as we had attracting the Painted Bunting.
Eastern Kingbird was another bird spotted in one of the marsh areas.
Eastern Wood Peewee was another neat bird to photograph out in the wild.
Black Vulture perched on a live oak tree by Donnelley's lodge house.
Black-crowned Night Heron on one of the wooden trunks used to control the flow of water in and out of the old rice fields.
The trunks are still used today, not for rice, but to help keep the many waterways full of the plants and other food sources that keep the variety of birds that live and pass through happy and healthy.
During the day, they roost and just chill a lot of the times.
I always enjoy coming across night herons, one of my favorite types of birds.
Fox Squirrel that we saw from the car along one of Donnelley's main roads. It seemed as curious about us as we were of it.