New Year’s Sea Fog

It’s a new year! For lots of people, it means time to take on new things, to improve upon some aspect of life. To me this time, it’s the calm before the storm! Relative calm, I suppose since I just caught up on blogging and photos.

Washing Away a Great 2010!

Yesterday being the first day of the New Year, we hit the beach in search of sea fog and found it!

Sea Fog at Breach InletSun and Sea Fog

The Clouds Break, but the Fog Thickens

The last day of the Old Year, we found some birds even against the hardest efforts of all the dogs on the beach! [There were so many! Chasing everything! I guess since it was a people holiday, it was a dog day as well!]

Did the gull swallow a melon?!

Mergansers at Pickett Bridge

 

A Female Bufflehead Diving

Snowy Egret Making a Splash!

A Yellow-rumped Warbler

Sorry that was quite the photo flood! I can’t resist just one more bird photo though:

Happy Second Day of the New Year!

Beverly and I Go to the Santee

Beverly (@BeverlyEverson) and I went to the Santee Coastal Reserve [mentioned in: Shuddersome Santee and A Gator-filled Santee Coastal ] to see what we could see–and we saw a lot!

It seems a little surreal to meet people through social media–like listening to Lady Gaga–but I am so glad that Twitter was there to be the medium through which Beverly and I met! She is such a wonderful, nice person with great stories, knows a lot about photography, wildlife, and Black Friday deals!

We started out on the boardwalk, spotting a wren that kept dashing between the boards and popping back up to see if we had left yet. We heard a ruckus in the cypress swamp and eventually decided that it was a very large flock of robins. Seemed odd for them to be there, but judging by the noise, they either agreed or were having the time of their lives.  No alligators this time. The temperature was at or near 70, so it would have been a little cool in the shade for the reptiles anyway, I suppose.

After checking out the boardwalk, we headed towards ‘Alligator Alley’, spotting some grebes, egrets, ibises, terns, and a pair of ladies catching blue crabs [they were good at it!].

Beverly under a towering live oak after sneaking up on some egrets and ibises.

Grebes are amazing to watch–one minute they are there, the next they are submerged with barely a ripple–rivaling the best submarines we’ve got!

Terns are funny to watch, too. They circle around looking for fish, but do so while making a whimpering call. They sound so timid and lost!

We walked on towards ‘Alligator Alley’ and found some other lovely birds. One was an egret hiding in the shadows. I look forward to seeing Beverly’s photos of this bird [I unfortunately set my exposure comp up and shot like that the whole day, I think starting here!]!

As we walked on, we came upon the first large marsh area with a hunting blind set up and plenty of ducks [and coots] to hunt. Luckily and hopefully, no one was there. I have truly never seen so many birds aside from Sandhill Cranes in one spot!  They dotted the sky, filled the marsh, and were all so jumpy!

Farther down the path we found a lovely large fellow soaking up the late Fall rays. I assume he wasn’t heated up enough since he sat there the whole time, or perhaps he just knew how large he was!

Then we hit ‘Alligator Alley’ and they were there in force! These were a bit smaller and much more jumpy. I think there were six or seven on the far bank and close to us at least one splashed–less than ten feet away! It’s a gauntlet of gators and it’s where we turned around.

On the walk back, we spotted perhaps the same egret and the same grebes, but the ladies catching crabs had left.

It was such a fun day with such wonderful company–I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend the day!

[I learned about spot metering from Beverly…but it’s that ornery exposure comp that got me!]

For the Birds: Pickett Bridge Recreation Area

We were told about this area because a coworker of my husband’s likes to do storm photography here.  The place is a little busy and there are a fair amount of dogs, runners, and bikes, but I’ve seen a decent number of birds here, regardless.  

Because of the raised walkway, or more precisely, the fact that it’s a raised road that used to be a bridge to Sullivan’s Island, you can’t get any eye level shots of wading birds unless you are willing to take a slip and sit in the old oyster beds.  It isn’t the largest area to walk around, either, but if you have a half an hour, there are some nice views of the harbor and plenty of birds during low tide. 

[Not pictured below, two oystercatchers and a flock of 20 white ibises that were conveniently there when my camera wasn’t]

Willet wandering. There wasn’t much contrast between it and the water because of the gloomy day.

Tricolored Heron making a splash.  If it caught anything, it was small.

Same Tri looking lovely despite the weather. I observed one canopy foraging as well, but I won’t torture anyone with those shots.  It was too dark and gloomy to get a decent shot without too much noise.

Snowy Egret in action

 Boat-tailed Grackle being a showboat

Hooded Mergansers Bathing

Female Bufflehead without an escort

Great Egret in a muddy world. I thought he’d be a good model to practice photographing white objects on; obviously, I’m still learning.

Tricolored Heron, again, but I find the colors in this one striking

Osprey cruising through. Such long, lovely wings, but I wasn’t ready for him, so he’s a bit blurry.

Juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

An egret fight.  Oddly, the Great Blue broke up the fight, the two hoodlums went to the other bank and peacefully sat next to each other.  The whites are blown out, so don’t stare too long or you’ll lose your vision.  Sorry.

There’s likely no bird in this picture, but this was the first cruise ship in Charleston Harbor this year.  It was even on the news.  I saw an older couple out with binocs looking over the salt marsh while I was taking pictures of those mergansers and I was curious what they spotted, but didn’t want to crowd them so I sauntered off a little ways.  I didn’t see anything…except the ship…huh. Shipwatchers, or shippers.