Strangers in a Strange Land
So there is more to holidays than food. We also had hikes to take, birds to watch, shells to collect.
As I mentioned before, we had rented a house on Edisto Island, near the town of Edisto Beach. The back of the house faced on to a tidal creek and salt marsh.
In the front, we had a vista of palmettos and dwarf palmettos, a dirt road, more salt marsh, the beach, and the Atlantic ocean.
It was a very unfamiliar landscape, and waterscape (though spellcheck indicates this is not a word), for us Midwesterners. We had heard that this was a great area for bird watching, and we were not disappointed, though our time for bird photography was rather limited due to Short Ones restlessness. (I should explain here that the title Short Ones is ironic. Short One the Elder is about 6′ 1″, Short One the Younger is 6′ 3″. I am 5′ 11″. So we spend a good deal of time accusing each other of being short. One of our favorite songs is Randy Newman’s Short People.)
We were especially interested in all the aquatic birds that we had never seen before. We saw plenty of Great Egrets, just as Les at A Tidewater Gardener had assured us that we would.
We also saw Great Blue Herons.
It was fun watching the Brown Pelicans diving for fish.
Then there were the Sanderlings, little shorebirds that were very comical to watch. Over and over, they would chase the surf as it receded, then run away as it flowed back again, each time with a kind of manic energy, as if in a panic. There were many ibis, with their odd curved beaks, but we couldn’t get a good picture.
We were most excited to see a Kingfisher, a handsome fellow that we had not expected to come across. Sadly, we did not get a picture, so I’m cheating by borrowing one from Birdingisfun.com.
In addition to the marshes and the beach, a great place to look for birds was the live oak behind our house, a very popular tree for winged creatures. We saw Northern Cardinals, many woodpeckers, and other birds I couldn’t identify.
We also went hiking at Edisto Beach State Park, which includes forests of live oak dripping with spanish moss. These don’t look like any woods back home.
Of course, we spent lots of time at the beach, though it was colder than normal and not exactly beach weather. Sadly, houses have been built all along the edge of the beach in town, which bodes ill for the future of both the beach and the houses. We spent most of our time walking at the beach closer to our rented house, which was about a mile away. There were no houses or other man-made structures, and often we were the only ones there.
This area is one of the best in the world for collecting sea shells, and we especially liked the whelks and sand dollars. A couple of times Judy and Short One the Elder picked up whelk shells that were still inhabited, and these quickly though briefly became flying whelks.
In addition to all of the above, we had a good deal of time for sitting on the dock and watching the sunset. Next post: Savannah and Charleston.