Birding Notes

Reflections on birds and other wildlife on the edge of a southern woodland

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Great Blue Heron – Kiawah Island

A great blue heron, that almost spectral image of a prehistoric past, rises majestically out of the marsh on big, bowed, misty gray-blue wings, then settles some distance further on, disappearing into the confines of a ditch.
John Hay, "Migrants in Winter"

Last week we spent three days on Kiawah Island, off the coast of South Carolina, and enjoyed a welcome change of scene – from the woods and fields of the Piedmont, which in these last straggling days of winter had begun to seem gray and bleak and dreary, to the wide open expanses of the coastal marsh and the white sandy beach of a barrier island. With me, I took The Way to the Salt Marsh, a collection of essays by John Hay, whose eloquent writing about the marsh, beach and wildlife of Cape Cod turned out to be a good companion.

Much of Kiawah is a golf resort, but large areas of marsh and beach have been protected, and its habitat still attracts a wide variety of shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, songbirds and other species.

This time our trip was short, but we packed the days full and had a great time – thank you, Janet, Bruce, Rebecca and Maggie! Our generous hosts. And thank you, Clate, for lots of beautiful photos! (For a larger view, click on each photo.)


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