Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Birds of Pinckney Island

I recently visited Pinckney Island, South Carolina to photograph their nesting birds. Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and encompasses 4,053 acres with a 7.8 mile main hiking trail. It is located between the mainland and Hilton Head Island and was established to provide a nature and forest preserve for aesthetic and conservation purposes.

I hiked 1.2 miles on a very well packed gravel road and spent about four hours photographing at Isbis Pond. There were literally hundreds of birds of different kinds all nesting on this small, (about one acre) island, within a fresh water pond.  As I was shooting, I kept hearing alligators calling to each other. Their calls sound like someone trying to start a gasoline motor. I inched up to the edge of the pond and no matter how close the alligators seemed, I never actually saw them. I am certain, however, I was near at least six or seven calling gators.

Although the park is free, I paid dearly. I walked through some six-foot tall grasses to capture different camera angles and discovered, about 24 hours later, I was covered with chigger bites. A Southern specialty, I understand. Not as itchy as a mosquito bite or poison ivy but still itchy and we are talking at least 100 bites. Worth the trip. Stay out of the really tall grass; an easy option I ignored. Worth 390 photos? I think so.


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