Kiawah

Return of the Osprey!

We spent a long weekend at Kiawah, to join some family celebrations in nearby Charleston. I took the opportunity to do some photography, as I often do here, out on the beach and along the winding roads of the island neighborhoods. Indeed, I just switched to a new camera, the Canon R5 – about which I’ll write later – so this was a great chance to learn how to use it.

The full gallery includes a variety of photos, but the highlight was a visit to an osprey nest (the same one we photographed last June). Mama Osprey and two fledglings peered out from the nest, while Papa Osprey watched closely from a nearby tree.

Mom and two chicks in an Osprey nest, Kiawah.

Ace basin birdlife

A day in the wildlife refuges of coastal South Carolina.

During my visit to Charleston, my father and I spent several hours exploring the wetlands of Bear Island WMA and Donnelly WMA – two beautiful wildlife management areas in the “Ace Basin” south of Charleston. I snapped nearly a thousand photos, and present the best two dozen in the gallery. Below, a blue heron settles in near an island, where an anhinga dries its wings; these two had an altercation earlier… read on for the drama!

A great blue heron searches for fish –  at Donnelly WMA, South Carolina.
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Provost Dungeon

A historic site recognizing another use of the term ‘provost’.

I spent the weekend in Charleston, SC for a retreat with provosts from several peer institutions. Just a few blocks away was a historic building, c.1771: The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon.

David visits the Provost Dungeon at The Old Exchange in Charleston, SC.
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Happy new year!

Time to head home.

After two weeks with family here in Kiawah Island in South Carolina, it’s time to head home. We’ve had beautiful weather, allowing time to explore the sands and lagoons of this beautiful island. I’ve added to the gallery more photos of birds and scenery. It was foggy on the beach at sunrise this morning, so I’ll share this photo from Christmas morning.

Christmas Sunrise at Kiawah.

Foggy morning

Fog at sunrise.

Kiawah Island has been sunny and warm every day, but one consequence is the dense fog that settled over the island this morning. I was out on the beach at sunrise, but it was invisible. After a long walk I found driftwood to provide some foreground interest, just as a jogger passed by.

Driftwood on the Kiawah beach.

South Carolina

From the mountains to the sea.

From the mountains of Switzerland to the beaches of South Carolina… we are here at Kiawah Island for two weeks. On the first morning I enjoyed sunrise on the beach… and in the afternoon, some bird watching near the wetlands of Cinder Creek.

A red-shouldered hawk near Cinder Creek, Kiawah.

Schutzenfest

A longstanding family tradition.

Our family gathers for Thanksgiving in a meadow on Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina, for a feast and family reunion. In recent decades it has been held every year, on even years – but last year we had to postpone it due to the pandemic. So it was with great excitement and relief when the family gathered again, this year, reconnecting after three years. Only 80 attended this year – whereas almost 120 appeared three years ago – but it was a beautiful day, with fine weather and fine food and fine family.

Lunch was a potluck event, with an incredible spread of salads, sides, meats, and desserts.

Family lines up for the Thanksgiving feast.

The meadow is surrounded by oaks adorned by Spanish moss, adjacent to a pond filled with brilliant green duckweed.

Spanish moss on the oaks at Wadmalaw.

After lunch, a skeet-shooting contest.

The skeet-shooting contest at Wadmalaw.
Spanish moss on the oaks at Wadmalaw.

Hoppin’ John

A southern tradition.

We celebrate New Years’ Day with two traditional foods from the South Carolina Lowcountry: Hoppin’ John and Collard Greens. These classic dishes were inspired by African traditions and have been a New Year’s tradition in the Carolinas for at least a hundred years. Pam (who grew up in lowcountry South Carolina) made a wonderful meal for us this year, guaranteeing us good luck and financial prosperity: “Eating those two dishes will ensure prosperity in the new year, and the collards represent greenbacks and the black-eyed peas coins. Or so they say.” [Moss 2014]

A small serving of collards (left) and hoppin’ john (right).

In preparing this post, however, I looked around a bit and found that fascinating article ([Moss 2014] from a Charleston food writer in 2014) about the history of Hoppin’ John… providing interesting background on the African origins of this dish, and how the commercial evolution of the key ingredients (bacon, rice, beans) mean it’s difficult to really accomplish the original quality of this dish. Next time, we’ll strive to find the original ingredients and see how it turns out!