Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Memorable Memorial Day Weekend Beach Visit

 Sunday we wanted to hit the beach for the first time this year but feared fierce traffic delays and mobs of fellow sun worshipers at beaches closer to Charleston.

So we made the just more than an hour drive to Edisto Island and we’re glad we did, finding the traffic light, and parking easy close to the sands.

The beach here was pretty crowded but the tide was going out so “social distancing” was not a problem.

The skies were clear with temperatures in the low 80s. Just a pleasant few hours all around. We didn’t want to get too sunburn so we’re careful not to stay too long. The large American flag near where we set up our chairs added to the positive Memorial Day vibe. And the water was very refreshing too!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

ACE Basin Excursion- “At Least (Bittern) A Lifer” Bird For Me

What better way to celebrate the end of another school year- and what a strange one it has been thanks to the coronavirus pandemic- then to head south to one of my favorite Lowcountry nature preserves.

It’s a long drive (59.5 miles from my house to this entrance sign, taking about one hour 10 minutes) to the Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, but well worth it to experience a vast protected preserve interesting in its layout and teeming with wildlife, especially alligators (avoid these) and multitudes of bird species.

The trip was a pleasant one as I drove with my window and sunroof wide open on a very mild mid-May day.

The time flew by as I listened to a favorite podcast (“Civil War Talk Radio”) that I hadn’t heard in a few months since school was closed as COVID-19 began to hit and shut down America.

It was only 60 degrees when I arrived at 9:30 a.m. at Bear Island (official location is TiTi Road, Green Pond, S.C.).

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Birding COVID-19 Style?

It wasn’t intentionally a “shelter at home” precaution but the ongoing pandemic safety measures gave me more time to think about taking some neat bird photographs without even having to go outside.

Our new hummingbird feeder purchased at Wild Birds Unlimited is located on a window along our back porch, attached to a colorful frog figure we have had there for years.

The window is also perpendicular to our sunroom where our main television is located.  The TV is in the same line of sight (through another window) of the hummingbird feeder.

As the precious little birds started to become regulars at the feeder we would see them coming and going at all times of the day.

And soon my photographer mind hit on the idea of trying to take quality close up pictures of the male and female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

I know from experience that these tiny creatures are very fast and difficult to photograph. Previously we had a hummingbird feeder in a different back porch spot. Sitting as still as possible in a chair on the porch I patiently tried to get decent still images of these flighty birds with some success.

But I knew this new inside-to-outside shooting set up could be much more efficient and successful.  I had recently cleaned all the windows so I gave another cleaning to the window through which I would be shooting. And I took off the screen.

I was able to get a nice clear tight focus on the feeder, and steady too thanks to the tripod. I set the timer on my Canon SX50 to two seconds, knowing this would help with steadiness and focus (pressing the button to take a photo moves the camera slightly).