Skip to main content

South Carolina Bobcat
Surprise shot walking back from the beach one morning

My family likes to make most of an opportunity and living in DC puts us living on the East Coast for the first time ever. That's saying something for a military family that has moved as many times as we have. My boys, like my father before them, counts how many states they have visited and so, with the Virginia and Maryland under their belts, we decided that we would help them add a state or two before leaving the area next summer. Thanksgiving afforded us an entire week to head out of town and so we did... to Charleston, South Carolina. It was a little more than a 9 hour drive. Not close but much easier with teenagers than with young toddlers and we drove much further in one day when they were tiny. So this was manageable. Charleston offered a lot - the coast for my budding marine biologist, birds for his dad and I, and a chance to just get away from the grind of DC for our oldest. He's been studying hard and just needed a break!

Photobucket
Not birds, but awfully tasty
We rented a house on John's Island. It backed up to the marsh, had two kayaks and a canoe for our personal use, a kitchen big enough to cook in and heat a turkey breast in a crockpot for Thanksgiving Day. We were close enough to Charleston to enjoy brunch at Husk, an excellent restaurant that specializes in local cuisine. Let me just say that they had the best shrimp and grits I have ever tasted. And we were a little further than we liked for the tour we didn't want to miss - a ferry ride out to Bull Island. We drove an hour from the house to make the 9am ferry one morning and spent the day out on the island. This diary will cover birds in one location - from the kayak at John's Island. I will have to write a Part 2 for the Ferry trip!
Photobucket
First bird of the trip,
White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) in first fall plumage

Kayaking at John's Island




Photobucket
The crabbing dock in evening.

My family loves the beach and though we have visited the Atlantic Coast, we haven't had a lot of opportunity to explore it. Knowing that it would be a lot colder further north, I chose to head south. My husband spent a long summer in North Carolina working on a mission for the USAF so I needed to take us further south than Wilmington. Neither of us had ever visited Charleston so we figured, why not?

One of the reason's I chose the house was it's proximity to the water. The crabbing dock was not even a two minute walk away. The kayaks were in the garage and took only a few minutes to roll on their wheels to the dock and we were on the water, exploring the seaside marshes of South Carolina. Granted, we had to learn how to judge the tide. First day out we fought the tide coming back in... great for an upper arm workout but not so great for photos. It was impossible to stop paddling and shoot without being taken back out by the tide! And that's with a seventeen year old manning the back paddle. But that turning of the tide also meant we got to see dolphins as they came inland to fish.

Photobucket
Dolphin! Talk about a hard creature to photograph.
We saw more herons that anything else but seeing so many birds also meant that we had chances to take unique shots. It wasn't always easy... I've not done much photography from a kayak before. Zoom lenses and moving vehicles are not always great partners but I think at the end of the day, we managed to figure it out!

I've decided to give you birds as they show up in my bird book - by groupings! Let's begin with Gaviiformes:

Photobucket
Common Loon in winter plumage (Gavia immer)

And then onto Pelecaniformes:

Photobucket
Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis)


Photobucket
Brown Pelican grooming... love that beak!


Photobucket
Coming in for a landing! Check out those feet!


Photobucket
Check out the feathers on the wingtips.


Photobucket
Juvenile Double Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)


Photobucket
Where's Waldo the Pelican amongst the Cormorants?

Shall we try Ciconiiformes?

Photobucket
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)


Photobucket
Great Blue in flight.


Photobucket
One more in flight with a good view of wings.


Photobucket
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)


Photobucket
Snowy Egret with more prominent crest.


Photobucket
Egrets as far as the eye can see!


Photobucket
White Ibis, immature (Eudocimus albus)

Falconiformes

Photobucket
Osprey (Pandon haliaetus)


Photobucket
Somewhat fuzzy closeup - digital zoom is great but hard from a kayak


Photobucket
Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) that we saw while walking on the beach.

Charadriiformes

Photobucket
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia) or according to Matching Mole, maybe a Dunlin. Have an opinion?


Photobucket
And another Spotted Sandpiper Ruddy Turnstone; I just love how you can't see so much of his beak.


Photobucket
Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus)


Photobucket
Marbled Godwit in winter plumage (Limosa fedoa) hangin' with the Spotted Sandpipers.


Photobucket
Marbled Godwits in flight.

Photobucket
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)


Photobucket
an unknown Gull... I have such a hard time with these guys.


Photobucket
Royal Terns (Sterna maxima) in winter plumage


Photobucket
Royal Terns and some perspective; we kayaked almost to the ocean.

Photobucket
Pretty sure this is a juvenile Common Tern(Sterna hirundo) Juvenile Skimmer caught just above the kayak paddle. Lucky shot!

Photobucket
unknown Tern. Anyone have a clue? Matching mole says it's a Forster's Tern.

Photobucket
Terns in flight... one of the joys of kayaking is the ability to get under birds.


Photobucket
Sea birds from a distance, more terns, perhaps?

Coraciiformes

Photobucket
Male Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon)


Photobucket
Another male in profile.


Photobucket
Searching for prey, upstroke
Photobucket
and downstroke.



And finally a single Passeriformes:

Photobucket
Female Red-winged Blackbirds... I just love the one on the left perching on two strands of grass at once.

And just a few scenic views:

Photobucket
Morning view of the beach from the viewing stand near the crabbing dock.

Photobucket
Just a glorious afternoon on the water.

Photobucket
Gorgeous sunset as seen from the crabbing dock

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site