Thursday, July 22, 2021

Nature Nuggets Out West Near San Digeo


July 9-12 was a busy wedding weekend across the country near San Diego. My nephew David and his lovely lady Sophia tied the knot during a beautiful outdoor ceremony at the Milagro Winery in Ramona, Calif. I will share a few wedding photos later in this post. 

This West Coast getaway was also a chance to enjoy some different scenery. And that included photographing Acorn Woodpeckers, a lifer bird for me. 

It wasn’t long after we settled into our resort room that I noticed a few of these birds up in palm trees around the property. It took a day for me to get some decent photographs. I thought and hoped this was a different type of woodpecker than what I see regularly in South Carolina (Red-bellied, Downy, Pileated, even Yellow-bellied Sapsucker).

Some bird websites describe the Acorn Woodpecker as "clown-faced." I don't think he likes that description! 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Edisto Beach Offers 4th of July Fun


You can’t beat the beach for a relaxing and patriotic Independence Day! 

We headed to Edisto Beach where the sun was out and so were American flags as far as the eye could see. 

We did our part by bringing a small flag. 
The rules at this beach allow people to bring alcoholic beverages, unlike the ones closer to Charleston. Many people on this day were drinking beer held in koozies. 

Edisto Beach does prohibit glass containers. Plastic bottles of water are allowed, again unlike other area beaches. 

Flags also adorned some of the pleasure craft that cruised along the beach. 

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Special Red Bird Highlights ACE Basin Trek


Our trip Saturday, June 26 to the Hollings National Wildlife Refuge didn’t start well. As soon as we parked here a downpour began. Would we have to turn around and go home after the hour-plus drive? 

We took cover and waited for a bit in hopes the rain would cease. And it did before too long. This photo was taken a few hours later after our nearly four-mile hike around the ACE Basin sanctuary. 

A fortunate decision was to begin our walk through these woods that served as a canopy protecting us from rain that continued for several minutes once we got going on the trail. 

Fortunate also because within minutes a red bird caught my eye off to the left. 

At first I thought it was “only” a Northern Cardinal. 

I quickly realized through my camera lens that this was no Cardinal. This is a Summer Tanager. Not your every day bird, though some folks have had them at their backyard feeders, 

One tell is the light-colored Bill. A Cardinal's is black. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

More Owls (and a Hawk) Oh My!


The morning wasn’t starting well. A certain cat of ours who will go nameless used the small rug in the kitchen for his business best done upstairs in the litter box. So I took the rug out to the front porch and was spraying it with the hose when I heard that distinctive hissing sound. Distinctive because in recent days and nights i have seen and heard Barred Owls making this noise. 

So I look up and what’s looking at me but a Barred Owl up in a tree not far from where I was spraying the rug! 

So I go inside and grab my camera. I’m getting some nice photos of the owl when a second one arrives at the scene. In the below photo you can see the pair. 

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Big Talk at Summerville Church on My Graveyard Research!

It was a treat and honor to be the guest speaker Friday, June 25 at Bethany United Methodist Church in Summerville. About 50 members of the church’s Happy Hearts group attended their first get-together in more than a year due to the pandemic. 

My general theme was “How the Holy City Became So Holy.” I’m deep into writing a new book about Charleston’s 14 existing old churchyards, including the KKBE synagogue’s Coming Street Cemetery. Many thanks to Dot and Dick Prevette for the invitation and to Danny Trump for the audio-visual assistance. I can be contacted regarding my books and future such presentations at 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Last Day of Spring- Summer is Here!

More beach scenes from the comfort of my chair set firmly in the sand at Station 17 on wonderful Sullivan’s Island, S.C. This was on Saturday, June 19, the last day of spring. Summer began officially the next day. 

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Owl Encounter a Rare Delight

Owls are notoriously nocturnal so spotting and photographing one during broad daylight was special and memorable. It was around 4 p.m. one day last week when I went out my front door and caught a glimpse of a large dark bird flying across the street and landing on a tree near my driveway. I thought it might be a vulture so what a surprise when it turned its face toward me!

It was preening at first with its back to me. When our eyes met and I saw the distinctive round face I quickly went inside to get my camera and invited Alesia to come see too. 

From a few past owl encounters, I figured it would still be there and that I’d be able to get lots of pictures. I was right. 

This is a barred owl. Lately, on local And statewide bird and nature Facebook sites, I’ve seen a number of Barred Owl posts.

I shared my photos on a few of these sites and have received lots of kudos, especially on my neighborhood Facebook. People just love owls! A neighbor, the next day, came to my house with a letter introducing herself, sharing her interest in bird photography, especially owls, and asking me to let her know if/when I see owls in the future. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Alligator Comes A Calling!


Well this was a first! Living in coastal South Carolina on a golf course with several man-made ponds, including the one that adjoins our backyard, we are used to alligator sightings in the waters, and their comings and goings slithering across yards and streets. 

But Sunday night was a first as far as one coming a little too close for comfort! This youngster came to our front porch. I spotted the reptile through a window around 7 p.m. when going up the stairs by the front door. 

I soon brought in the frog ornaments you see at the top of the steps. Maybe it thought they were real and would be an easy meal? I don’t know how gators think! 

The size indicated to me that this was a juvenile. Looking for mama or other family? 

It didn’t get closer to our porch. It stayed here for a couple hours. And fortunately was gone by the morning. 

Sunday night I shared these images on my neighborhood’s Facebook site called “Coosaw Creek Living.” Within hours fellow residents posted half a dozen recent pictures of what looked like this and other alligators on the move. 

This is part of living where we live. Don’t bother them and they won’t bother you, I say. But do be careful to always keep your doors and garages closed! 

Monday, June 7, 2021

Memorial Day 2021- Begins Summer and Our “New Normal”


We returned on Memorial Day to our favorite spot on the beach at Sullivan’s Island. It would be another memorable visit and a nice unofficial start to summer. 

And with great relief, things continue to return to some normalcy after nearly a year and a half under the deadly and disruptive COVID-19 pandemic

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Folly Beach Fishing Pier Update


We hit Folly Beach on Friday of the long Memorial Day weekend. It was our son Joseph’s birthday and he came down from New York City to spend his special day with us. 

I also wanted to see what was going on with the landmark fishing pier that opened in 1995. What’s going on is that it’s coming down. 

Charleston County Parks and Recreation, which oversees the pier, announced last year that the structure would have to come down. But the good news is it will be replaced by a better pier with concrete pilings and other improvements and amenities. 

The current pier's wooden pilings are not in good shape. They've been infilitrated by destructive little critters called shipworms or marine borers.