A Sight to Behold

Posted by on Aug 26, 2013 in Hilton Head Island, My Blog | 2 comments

A Sight to Behold

One of my favorite past times is birding in wetlands.  Waterfowl are especially interesting to me.  I enjoy their beauty and the way God programmed them to live, raise families and survive in nature. Early in my birding years, the first Anhinga I encountered literally brought me to tears.  I was walking around a lake on Hilton Head Head Island, SC, in the Sea Pines Forest Preserve.  Chasing after a rather elusive Pileated Woodpecker, I was patient hoping for the perfect photography opportunity.  I captured numerous “less than perfect” shots of the woodpecker and decided to walk to the shell ring area left nearly 4,000 years ago by Native Indians who traveled to our east coast.  This shell ring is amazing, but that’s another entire post for later. As I walked down the trail beside a lake, I glanced over at the water and the view literally took my breath away.  There sitting on a piece of an old tree sticking out of the water was a majestic looking Anhinga with its wings spread all the way out showing a gorgeous pattern of white stripes on it’s wings…very Native American looking design to me.  Once I cleared my eyes of tears, I began focusing in on the bird praising God as I zoomed and focused.  Such beauty, I thought.  Thank you, Lord!  The bird remained in that perfect position as I was amazed at the time he was giving me to photograph.  His reflection in the water was just lovely!  I had no idea what kind of bird this was but I DID know that I felt blessed to be viewing it.  Once I identified and researched the bird’s identity, I learned that they have no oil glands in their feathers so following  diving and feeding in the water, they stand fanning out their wings to allow their feather to dry.  Just a little nugget of information but such detail that our Creator went to in their life design.   Fast forward a few years and I see these interesting birds all the time now in low-country SC, Georgia and Florida.  I remember this first experience every single time I photograph these birds years later. Joy...

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A Place of Prayer

Posted by on Aug 28, 2012 in Hilton Head Island, My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

A Place of Prayer

Sometimes I step into a place, my soul quiets and prayers seem to lift up with just a simple breath.  These are places of reverence, of peacefulness offering veneration to our Creator with their existence.  For me these special yet simple environs often are where I am especially awed by God’s hand in Creation…the beauty of nature.  It could be an unexpected field of sunflowers framed by green trees and the bluest of skies or it might be a lovely old church in a quiet marshland setting. Last week as I was driving back to NC from FL, stopping along the way to experience some of the roads less traveled, I ventured off I-95 to Bluffton, SC.  Bluffton is a quiet Lowcountry town near Hilton Head, SC.  It is rich with history and one of the town’s churches, the Episcopal Church of the Cross, is on the National Registry of  Historic Places.  The church was consecrated in 1857 and sits on a bluff of the May River.  Bluffton was a Confederate headquarters in the Civil War and when Federal troops invaded the town, most of the structures were burned down.  Two churches were spared with Church of the Cross being one.  The Federal troops took the church bell but it was found later and rings today during services. Church of the Cross is a Gothic cypress building with lovely arched windows with pink glass from England.  Sitting right on the bluff of the river with the rich green marshland’s wildlife and sub-tropical vegetation as its neighbors, one quickly feels the ambiance  squelching any stress or hurried lifestyle.  Hence, I...

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American Bald Eagle

Posted by on Apr 6, 2012 in Hilton Head Island, My Blog | 0 comments

American Bald Eagle

The American Bald Eagle is, indeed, a symbol of strength and power .  This large bird with a wingspan of 7 ft. is a protected bird in America and one that is revered by many as our national bird.  To watch one fly, soaring seemingly effortless is a real treat birders but also for just about any nature enthusiast.  They mate for life and generally produce a nest of 2 to 4 eggs each year.  In recent years, many have been able to view live streaming videos of nesting bald eagles which is a joy to observe. I was on a birding trip on Hilton Head Island and had a private boat tour of the backwaters of Gilbert Creek.  My guide really wanted me to see an eagle so he led me right to one’s nest.  High up in pine trees, the nest was huge even looking from a distance.  I learned that the nests can weigh up to 2 tons.  The need for such a large & significant nest is that the juvenile eagles remain with the parents in the nest until about 4 years of age.  That’s a  lot of bird in a bunch of twiggy branches! Watching an eagle swoop down on its prey, grab it and carry it back to where it will be eaten, impresses me for a variety of reasons.  First, their eyesight is amazingly strong enabling the eagle to watch its prey from the sky and select just the right moment to go for it.  They can see forward and to the side without turning its head or even moving the eyes.  You might have seen videos of an eagle swooping down and grabbing a large, heavy fish for dining.  Another impressive characteristic of the eagles are the talons on their feet.  These are heavy, sharply curved hooks which are said to be able to apply 1,000 pounds of pressure per square inch in each foot.  The eagle can easily grab and kill its prey. The Bald Eagle can fly up to 100 miles per hour in pursuit of it’s prey.  Just look at those massive feet and imagine the power in the talons.  Talk about “grab &...

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Gettin’ High

Posted by on Dec 2, 2011 in Birds, Hilton Head Island, My Blog, Shore Birds, Think About This | 0 comments

Gettin’ High

God’s creativity in designing nature for our living and enjoying truly amazes me.  I remember driving back from a little shopping trip in Salisbury, NC with my mother.  I was in my late teens.  We had just passed by a field green with the fresh birth of the sprouting crop, and I said to my mother, “Mother, you will never have to worry about me smoking pot or taking drugs to get high, because all I have to do is just look at the green field over there and I feel high as can be!”  It’s so true for me…I am inspired by nature’s beauty whether it be majestic mountains, the vast ocean, wildflowers or birds and sea turtles.  It ALL gives me great joy, peaceful feelings and reminds me of how great God’s love for each of us is! I especially enjoy the contemplation on His inspiring artistic creation of how it all works together.  I’ll have to admit, though, too much focus on the food chain itself gives me a little nudge over to the “Oh, I DON”T want to see THAT.”  I recall watching a bird cam video of a robin’s nest with three little heads with gaping mouths to get the worm the mama robin would bring back to nourish her babies.  Away the mother robin flew to get more and without warning a squirrel jumped on the nest and began to kill and devour the babies.  I saw it before I could turn away.  As grossed out as I was I reminded myself of that was just a part of nature. So, God made the cat’s tongue rough so that it could gather hairs as it cleans itself.  He created the chameleon with a body that could adapt to changing its color to blend in with its environment for protection from its predators. The birds that I love so and give me so much enjoyment also can alert us to coming weather changes.  These are the things of which we are aware, but just imagine all that exists about which we know...

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Graceful Comorant

Posted by on Nov 30, 2011 in Birds, Hilton Head Island, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

Graceful Comorant

On my recent trip to Hilton Head Island, SC I had many opportunities to photograph a somewhat common shore bird, the Comorant.  The Comorant is a large, dark shore bird usually seen along the Atlantic coastline and inland waterways, rivers and lakes, etc.  These birds have webbed feet and long, usually pointed, bills referred to as a hook.  They swim fast underwater catching fish.  Comorants are unlike many other waterbirds and don’t have oily feathers.  They are often see with wings outstretched drying their feathers.  The have long bodies and long necks.  I think the precisely designed blondish neck against the black body is lovely and they are quite graceful drying out their feathers after a dip in the lake for dinner.  Quite entertaining to...

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Beautiful Hilton Head Island in the Fall

Posted by on Nov 28, 2011 in Favorite Places, Hilton Head Island, My Blog | 0 comments

Beautiful Hilton Head Island in the Fall

I just returned from a terrific birding weekend in Hilton Head Island, SC.  Such a beautiful area so rich in history and preservation of nature.  I will post a slide show of my photography soon but wanted to share this lovely scene at the Sea Pines Forest Preserve.  Rich with island vegetation and wildlife, the preserve is a wonderful nature outing for visitors of all ages.  One can view everything from all types of water fowl, forest birds, alligators, turtles and picturesque scenery.  There is also the nearly 4,000 year old Indian Shell Ring, a gathering place for the tribes.  Come back to visit, there’s so much more for your...

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My Hero…the Brown Pelican

Posted by on Nov 18, 2011 in Birds, Favorite Places, Hilton Head Island, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

My Hero…the Brown Pelican

Back in the 1950s when we still used the very harmful pesticides with DDT, the beautiful and resourceful Brown Pelican rose high on the endangered species list.  Our unthinking, wide use of  this pesticide nearly robbed us of a most entertaining water fowl.  Thanks to our awareness of the danger of DDT to our environment, today we see strong colonies of this shore bird.  They are the reknown “come-back kid” for us all to enjoy.  They are quite fun to watch as they fly over the water, spot a fish and dive within seconds to retrieve its dinner.  The fish is history!  I got this photo at one of my favorite birding spots in Hilton Head Island, SC.  Preparing for another short birding trip there very...

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Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge

Posted by on Nov 3, 2011 in Favorite Places, Hilton Head Island, My Blog | 0 comments

Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge

I enjoy birding in the area of Hilton Head Island, SC.  One of my favorite areas to view an abundance of birds but also the lovely trees and plant life is Pinkney Island.  Just about 5 miles from the coastal area, it is surrounded by salt marsh and tidal creeks.  There is forest land and brush growth that makes a desireable habitat for shorebirds, waterfowl, alligators, etc.  Egrets, heron and white ibis are plentiful on the island.  It’s fun just to walk, experience, view and photograph.

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Great Blue Lifting Off

Posted by on Nov 3, 2011 in Birds, Favorite Places, Hilton Head Island, Shore Birds | 0 comments

Great Blue Lifting Off

I really like this shot…we can see such detail.  He’s certainly quite focused! The Great Blue Heron is graceful and a joy to photograph!

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Great Blue Heron

Posted by on Nov 2, 2011 in Birds, Hilton Head Island, Media home, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

Great Blue Heron

I love spending time at the shore…just about any shore!  My preference is a wide sandy shore conducive to walking and discovering.  Enjoying the gifts of nature inspires me and, for me, bearing near the ocean enables me to commune with our Creator like nowhere else.  I especially enjoy exploring the backwaters where wildlife is in abundance.  One of my favorite shore birds is the Great Blue Heron.  I see gracefullness, sharpness of focus and a very precise hunter.  I caught this pose on a somewhat windy day in the back waters in Hilton Head, SC not too far from Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge.  This one photo meant a great day birding for...

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