What Do You Hear?

The past couple of days we’ve seen waves and waves of sandhill cranes fly over. I got some pretty photos.

What’s really been fun in that they keep flying by after dark. We’ve been working on projects in the garage for the past two evenings, and it’s been a true joy to listen to their clacking sounds.

When the cranes stop, the owls take over. On a crisp evening like tonight, with all the stars out, it’s great to be in Central Texas.

Ranch Return. Ahh.

Being away from nature for a week was hard on me! I was so glad to come home to the ranch and see familiar sights. The trees, the cattle, the birds, my dear pets. It even smelled like home.

Back exploring with my buddies.

I got to check out what has changed and what’s new this evening. I also got to walk the dogs through beautiful autumn light. Here’s a report!

The old cedar elm at sunset.
Continue reading “Ranch Return. Ahh.”

We Invade the Plantation

Yesterday was a bit more of the same vacation stuff as the rest of the week. We have a routine where Anita works all morning (that’s why I have time to blog; otherwise I’d be doing activities) and then off we go. I made a lunch with our eggs and turkey and cheese all scrambled together, making me glad we got the grocery delivery package when we got here. That way, most days we don’t have to eat out but once.

We See Sea Pines

One of the negative things about Hilton Head Island is that lots of it is not easily accessible unless you live there. It’s divided into “plantations” (which were actual plantations with all the sadness that went with them), and they are gated, so only the well-do-do who live there can get in without a pass.

Entrance to the preserve we visited.

Luckily, for $8 they will let you into Sea Pines, so we made the most of it and drove all over the place yesterday. There’s a large forest preserve in the middle, which the developer of the property kindly deeded to the residents. We trundled through there and really enjoyed the boardwalk area with lots of labeled plants and interesting terrain.

Anita in her Halloween shirt enjoying the boardwalk.

The land was reclaimed from being a rice plantation and now actually provides drinking water. That’s a great story. We saw a couple of alligators and lots of birds, plus some huge trees that survived Hurricane Matthew.

Continue reading “We Invade the Plantation”

Ahoy! We Set Sail!

Admission: we were not on a sailboat, we were on a ski boat, but nonetheless, Anita and I had a glorious time with Boat Captain Scott out on the waters surrounding Hilton Head Island yesterday. We spent two action-packed hours as our guide took us to beautiful spots filled with birds and dolphins. It was a very high tide, so we could get into all sorts of tight spots, too.

When the son did come out, it was very sparkly.

It was a gray day, so none of the photos look spectacular, and of course most of the birds were way too far away for photos, but I sure got my money’s worth out of the binoculars, which I was gracious enough to occasionally share with Anita, when I wasn’t all mesmerized.

What was your favorite, Suna?

Thanks for asking, hypothetical reader! By far my favorite sight was all the little blue herons in the marshlands. They were harder to spot, but so blue! Of course I couldn’t get pictures, but here’s what they look like.

By Sandhillcrane – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75471386

There were dozens and dozens of great egrets, a good number of great blue herons, and a lot of sweet snowy egrets. The marshes were crammed with them. We also saw two tricolored herons, so it was a good day for that family.

Continue reading “Ahoy! We Set Sail!”

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.

Continue reading “Survived the Mosquito Squad! Then, Rum.”

What’s Prettier Than a Beach Sunset?

Nothing. At least that’s what we think. But, since Anita and I walked and walked in a beautiful area all day yesterday, I think I’ll share some photos of other things we saw. But, first…

The Horror!

I set off on a long walk through a lovely area and didn’t bring my phone! What a horrible discovery. My panic was averted when Anita pointed out that she happened to have a phone with her, and that it also took photos with GPS coordinates on them. So, she became the official walk photographer.

These are ringless honey mushrooms, Armillaria tabescens.

While our walk along Pope Avenue was mostly populated by non-native plantings, the sides of the path had all the native stuff I was interested in. The mushrooms were really interesting, especially the one I’m glad to have turned over, because then I could see the yellow bumps it has instead of spores. That was a winner. It’s a Red-cracking bolete (Xerocomellus chrysenteron).

The way out didn’t win me any exercise points on The Watch, because we stopped constantly. We spent a long time trying to decide if an animal we saw in the duckweed was a turtle or a frog. Whatever it was, it was really fun to watch it bobbing around.

Continue reading “What’s Prettier Than a Beach Sunset?”

I CAN Relax, So There!

We all know that I am a busy little bee (speaking of which, look at the beautiful carpenter bee, one of many we saw on some non-native heather today).

Beautiful carpenter bee.

This week is my annual week in Hilton Head, and I vowed to actually rest and not cram every moment with work or stressful activities. Today was the big test.

Anita demonstrates a relaxing beverages.
Continue reading “I CAN Relax, So There!”