American Holly

American Holly
American Holly

Sunday, April 20, 2014

My South Carolina Visit to a New Friend, Part IV, A Walk on the Beach

For the morning of the last day of my visit, Laurel wanted to share her favorite area on Edisto Island Beach.  To get there we had to cross an inlet that cannot be crossed easily except near low tide. We had to get across it, then enjoy a few miles of walking in mostly solitude with feeding birds while enjoying the clouds and water.  Then we would have to rush back to make the crossing again before the tide got too high.

My camera wasn't working and I thought it might have died. Laurel offered to share her little camera with me - she wasn't taking her expensive one where it could possibly get wet; but I told her, just to let me have her pictures.  (The camera just needed a charged battery and is working fine now.)

So, once more we got up early and had coffee and a wonderful smoothie.  Laurel put things like yogurt, kale and pineapple in it and it was both delicious and filling. Then we drove to the beach, only a few blocks from her condo. and started our walk.  We were there, under cloudy skies, just before sunrise time, and only a man walking his dog was sharing the lovely view with us. In a few minutes of walking we got to the inlet.  Laurel waded in and checked the water level, but it was still quite high.  But in a few minutes she waded across and then told me to come over on the same path.  Did I mention that Laurel, like most people are, is taller than me?  The water reached her just above her knees but hit me closer to my mid thighs.

Coming across the inlet

But I made it across and we continued down the beach, this time behind expensive homes that had the only land access.  We saw few people the entire trip  but one couple had clearly come from the one of houses. They were in long, dry pants.  The sun was working hard to drive off the clouds as we crossed the inlet. It made the mudflats shiney and backlit the birds.   We looked for treasures -  shells, coral, beach glass and birds. More and more birds arrived and  began feeding. My favorites were the oyster catchers but we saw gulls. terns, plovers and sandpipers.


Walking under a watery sun

Willet

Oystercatcher

Terns and gulls 
Heading back

Ruddy turnstone

Wilson's Plover

All too soon, it was time to head back.  After Laurel told me the time when we would have to turn around, she wanted to add another 10 minutes to the outgoing trip.  I negotiated for just five more minutes. Even with that small amount of extra time,  the water was higher and I ended up getting wet to my waist. But I had on paddling clothes and they were dry by the time we go to the car.  The accessible beach had come alive with people looking for treasure, walking dogs, hauling their gear for a day of fishing, taking a brisk walk, or just strolling. A few brave kids were wading in the cold water.

This was STILL not the end of our adventures. We managed to get in another paddle in the evening - this time up Bay Creek into Scott Creek.  We paddled by the State Park and were finally stopped by the highway which prevents the water from going further inland.  We didn't take any pictures on this trip since we didn't expect many birds.  We went up just before high tide and then raced home in front of threatening clouds.

The clouds waited until we go home to drop their load.  It rained off and on through the night and most of the way back to Okefenokee the next day.  This made these adventures all the more miraculous - we were under an 80% chance of rain every day but had some sun and no rain directly on us, although we drove through a few showers while birding.

Thus ended day three of my visit.  Thanks again, Laurel, for giving me such a wonderful time and letting me use your beautiful pictures.