Survived the Mosquito Squad! Then, Rum.

Onward and upward with the travel fun! We are spending mornings in the condo, since Anita is still working, just not all day. No rest for the contractors, you know. That gives me time to blog, and well, I did a bit of work today, because our Hearts Homes and Hands business got its licensing approved, so I had to share that on the social media! We are so excited!

Low tide in low country.

As for yesterday, we still had it in our minds that we wanted to walk and walk, so we headed over to another island, and visited the Pinkney Island National Wildlife Refuge. Now, this is a naturalist’s paradise!

Datura in a butterfly garden. Look at the little wasp!

It had everything I love, including swamps, wetlands, coastal forests, and ponds. My iNaturalist account got quite a workout, and I’m still not finished uploading things.

Marsh periwinkle.

I really enjoyed the little crabs that scuttled along the wetland areas, since we were there at a pretty low tide time. Little marsh periwinkles were all over the reeds, too.

Spot the crabs.

The ponds were great. We were in awe when a large flock of white ibis flew right by us and landed in some trees. We could hear their wings and feel the breeze they stirred up. We got to observe three groups of them, and I was very happy my new binoculars arrived so that I could see them better. (I will keep this pair in Austin, so they are not a waste.)

White ibis in flight.

Another bird we saw many of was the common gallinule, a bird I remember from Florida. There were large groups of them, ranging from adults to tiny babies, and they made so much noise!

Yes, it’s sideways. It’s a native pea.

We went to the Osprey Pond, which is farther than most people go, and, while we enjoyed seeing beautiful birds there, we ran into an immense horde or mosquitoes while walking along the very wet grass trail behind the pond.

Look carefully and you will see ibis in the trees.

And to top it off, we found that the train just stopped, so we had to go BACK through the hordes. Anita and I were NOT amused, even though I did get to see this downy lobelia WAY in the woods.

This beauty really surprised me, though I had to snap it quickly to keep the bugs from settling in for a long sip of my blood.
Here’s the best gallinule picture I got.

At some points, I had at least a dozen mosquitoes on me, but I ended up only getting one bad bite, on my back, where the strap to the binoculars made it easy to get me. Ugh.

Nonetheless, we saw many beautiful things, including these birds:

  • White ibis
  • Common gallinule
  • Great heron
  • Blue heron
  • Tri-colored heron (so beautiful)
  • Red shouldered hawk
  • Cardinals
  • Savannah sparrow
  • Yellow-rumped warbler (correct ID by me!)
  • Crows
  • Eastern phoebe
  • Pileated woodpecker
  • Olive-colored female mystery warbler

Not bad, huh?

We deserved a reward

After all that walking, we decided a trip to the Hilton Head Distillery was in order. What a pleasant time that was. I’d never been on a distillery tour before, so I enjoyed seeing all the stills and learning how the process works.

The beautiful stills.

I asked too many advanced questions for the nice lady, though. Oops.

Aging rum.

But, we had a blast with nice folks from Kansas City, and found their products much to our liking. In fact, their gin is the only gin I ever tried that I actually like. The botanicals are much more prominent than the juniper. It has honeysuckle and magnolia flower essence in it from nearby plants.

My flight, with my choices highlighted. The espresso rum was too good.

The rum was great, and just for fun, I bought honeysuckle whiskey. For seriousness, I did get some of their aged rum. The place is only a few years old, so it isn’t aged all that long, but it’s smooth.

Back at condo-land

Busy little birdies.

We came back to our home base and had a simple dinner at the outdoor bar thing, then could not resist another walk on the beach at sunset. This time we found a jellyfish and another horseshoe crab, but mostly we enjoyed the little sanderlings as they ran around catching the ghost shrimp from their holes.

This little feller is a speckled crab.

The water and sand sure feel good on tired feet (unless you step on a sharp shell). This is all working out well.

More sanderlings.

Today we go back to the islands for a boat tour. I am pretty excited.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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