Archive for the ‘Lowcountry area’ Category

Wood Storks in My Backyard

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

I saw a recent article in a Charleston newspaper proclaiming: “Wood Storks Stage Comeback.”  Apparently there are now over 150 breeding pairs in the Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve about 10 miles south of Charleston.  Now there are 40 pairs of Wood Storks that have established what may be the largest urban breeding colony in the region in Dill Sanctuary, on the Stono River on James Island, five miles from downtown Charleston.  Here’s a snippet from the article (which is no longer available online):

Incongruously, up close on the ground, the stork’s wrinkly head might be uglier than the macabre vulture it’s related to.

“It’s not a handsome bird,” said Andy Harrison, a member of Charleston Audubon.

Like the bald eagle, the stork has become a bellwether of the potential of preserving coastal environment as the Lowcountry develops. Its success gives conservationists hope for the return of fabled wildlife such as the whooping crane lost more than a century ago.

A generation ago, the stork bird had all but disappeared. An estimated 40,000 breeding pairs in the Southeast in 1930 were decimated by the loss of their nesting habitat and shallow feeding waters. In 1981, only 11 pairs were counted in South Carolina.

But recent counts put the number of wood stork pairs in the state at more than 2,000, the largest colony in the United States.

I feel fortunate to have had several of these magnificent (but admittedly UGLY!) birds visit our back yard over the past year.  Here is a picture I took from my office window of two of them that were having some “quality time” on the bank of the lagoon behind our house: (more…)

Marbled Godwit and Gulls on Hilton Head Island

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

I took this video of a Marbled Godwit along the shore of Port Royal Sound during spring migration this year.  We were at Mitchellville Beach Park on the north end of Hilton Head Island and saw a lot of migrating shorebirds that day – this is a real birding hotspot during spring and fall migration!

I was using a small hand-held digital camera and it was a windy day, so the audio has some wind noise and the picture is a bit unsteady at times since the wind was blowing me around.  But I think it still provides a great closup look at a Marbled Godwit feeding along the shallows of the Port Royal Mud Flats.

Turtles Stage World Cup – “Fishball 2010″

Monday, July 12th, 2010

While the eyes of the world were on the World Cup final game in South Africa, the Yelllow-bellied Slider turtles in the lagoon behind my home staged their own version of the  “World Cup” by pushing around a dead fish floating on the surface.  Welcome to all the exciting action of “Fishball 2010″!

G-A-A-O-O-O-O-O-L-L-L!!!!

Little Blue Heron – Nature In My Back Yard

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Our family was biking through our neighborhood when I spotted a good-sized bird in the bushes between the road and a large lagoon.  Fortunately, I had my little pocket digital camera in my shorts pocket – a habit that I’ve found to pay big dividends for this blog!

I pedaled past, parked the bike, then snuck back around the bushes to get a better look – it was a Little Blue Heron!  I snapped a picture, then tried to ease my way closer to get a better shot – here is the result:

Little Blue Heron - Nature in My Back Yard

Little Blue Heron - Nature in My Back Yard

What a beautiful bird – and to think that most people driving by would never see or appreciate it!  What a wonderful place the Lowcountry is!

Video Tour of Fish Haul Creek Park and the Port Royal Flats on Hilton Head Island

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

The northeast end of Hilton Head Island where the Port Royal Sound empties into the Atlantic Ocean is a “hot spot” for shorebirds to gather, especially during spring and fall migration. The Town of Hilton Head Island has preserved a large area of land along Port Royal Sound as part of Fish Haul Creek Park, which includes a tidal creek, marshlands, maritime forests, and a stretch of sandy shoreline.

This video provides views of the area from the shoreline, looking first up into Fish Haul Creek and its marshland area, then going around the shoreline and the “Port Royal Flats” area where hundreds of gulls, terns, skimmers, sandpipers, pelicans, herons, and egrets gather to feed, rest, and “hang out” on the sandbars.
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