Cypress Knees, Woodpeckers and Eagles

Trip Start Jan 20, 2012
Trip End Feb 11, 2012

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Where I stayed
Marriott Surfwatch
What I did
Beidler Forest

Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Monday, January 23, 2012

We left Charleston yesterday, after all of the election hoo-haw had calmed down.  As far as I know, no teapartyers have followed us.  After a traditional Waffle House breakfast, we drove in the drizzle to the Audubon Center at Beidler Forest.  This is the largest stand of virgin cypress and tupelo gum trees in the United States.  In spite of the chillly, gloomy day it was spectacular.  Look at the pictures - for you northerners that don't know what a cypress knee is, they are those things sticking out of the water that look like tree stumps.  They really are the roots of the cypress trees.  One of the cypress trees we saw was 1000 years old.  Not a lot of wildlife this time of year, but I did get two bird pics,  The first is a Downy Woodpecker.  My new camera is amazing because this was done with the 30X zoom lens.  That bird was high and far away.  I couldn't tell what kind of woodpecker it was until I blew up the picture. They have numerous red-shouldered hawks in the forest, which I clearly heard, but couldn't spot.  I also spotted a very strange looking owl-you explain it.  On the way to Hilton Head, just off the Island, we spotted a bald eagle which followed our car for while, escorting us onto the island.  We were greeted, as usual, by many roosting cormorants on the high power towers.  The osprey platform and nest that used to be on one of these is no longer there.

When we got to Surfwatch and they didn't have the villa they promised.  Ken used his best persuasive powers and reminded them of the telephone conversation they had had last week and we are now in the nicest ocean view villa with two splits of champagne and a $50 gift coupon. 

It has been very foggy but pretty warm here so no pictures of the salt marsh today- but they will come.  Most of the day we couldn't even see the ocean.  Hope it clears up for better birding, but they say it is going to be like this for much of the week.   Will have to go and see the ducks, they are further inland so it should be less foggy.

Check out the beautiful cypress knees in the pictures.  They look like little gnomes to me.
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