The last two days, I’ve headed out to get photos away from “home base”.

Yesterday a photo friend and I went to the Savannah Wildlife Refuge. I had never been, and was not sure what it would be like. We arrived and found that it was about a four mile drive, with scattered places to park along the way so you can get out with your cameras and binoculars. I don’t know if there were paths for walking other than the road, but didn’t see any. Basically it’s a huge area of “lowcountry”: swampy land, trees, bushes, and basically pristine areas for birds and animals to live. I find it interesting that as you look over the flat marsh, you can see Savannah industry in the distance. I worry a little about the water quality, and I guess there are / have been issues.

As we were driving around, we bumped into a grouping of cars which turned out to be an Audubon group from Hilton Head. They all had their fancy binoculars and bird identification books, talked “BirdSpeak”, and had spotted lots of birds which I would have never seen without their help. Next time I go, I will have binoculars of my own! One of those things this group has spotted was a bald Eagle, which is my photo of the day for yesterday. He was high in the tree, and even with my 100-400 lens, it is not a close up. Plus – he was sort of hiding behind parts of the tree. But – I’m always thrilled to get a picture of one of these majestic birds:

365 photo #20

We soon broke away from the Audubon group to do our own thing. Besides the Bald Eagle, we also saw: (to become my bonus photos for yesterday. Click them to see them larger in my flickr account)

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1. Great Blue Heron … becomes part of this branch!
2. Red Tailed Hawk (I think)

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1. Ibis
2. Loggerhead Shrike – whose beauty gives little clues to his predatory behavior. As taken from Wikipedia: “The bird waits on a perch with open lines of sight and swoops down to capture prey. Its food is large insects and lizards . Known in many parts as the “Butcher Bird,” it impales its prey on thorns or barbed wire before eating it, because it does not have the talons of the larger birds of prey.”

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1. duck – I do not know the kind
2. Coot (There were SO MANY of them!!)

Today Ray and I decided to go over to Beaufort – about a 45 minute drive from Hilton Head. It’s an historic southern town known for it’s antebellum architecture. The town is full of boutiques, although with the economy as it is, there are more empty stores than we remember in previous years. It’s also a military town with Parris Island and the Marine Corps air station not far away. Ray and I enjoy going over there — usually for lunch, and to walk around town, as well as the park behind the shops which abut the marina and river. I didn’t take too many photos this time, but the view of Main Street as we exited the parking lot in town is my photo of the day:

365 photo #21

Bonus photo: