Kayak Spotted in Clemson

P5010006

Found on May 1 while at the Carolina Bird Club meeting. I hoped to meet the owner to discuss features and performance characteristics, but never did. Just look at the long waterline length on that thing; it’s got to be fast! If anyone knows what kind it is, leave a comment, please. Wood strip boats are beautiful pieces of art.

Published in: on May 30, 2009 at 8:28 am  Comments (3)  

The Four-Day Weekend, Part 2

Saturday and Sunday happened in usual fashion, except that I did go see Angels and Demons on Saturday afternoon. It was a very suspenseful and high action movie that I enjoyed, but I always find the gratuitous killing of many law enforcement officers to be a disturbing thing. I worshipped and rested Sunday, and then…

P5250027

That’s right, I finally made it back out in the kayak! And it was such a beautiful day for it. This was Monday, Memorial Day. I’m in the QCC Q700X, and Debra is in the LL Bean Calypso.

P5250030

P5250035
Kayaks are great vehicles for getting up close to whatever’s growing along the shore.

P5250052
Being in a small boat on a river with dark edges is a perfect blending of relaxation with adventure. These places make me breathe easier.

P5250053
And this trip was our first chance to kayak in the rain together.

P5250055

P5250057
In all my time on this river, I’ve never seen other paddlers unless they were in my group. So it was a pleasure to encounter canoeists and kayakers throughout our trip this time out. The combination of holiday plus the lilies in bloom upstream at Landsford Canal State Park brought the paddlers to the river.

P5250059
This channel, sliding through shade between two parallel islands is a favorite part of the Catawba for me.

P5250062
Here is a closeup of a very small lily colony, located a mile or two downstream from the state park. The large colony of them at Landsford Canal (see recent posting for photos) is reputedly the largest concentration of Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies in the world. Of course, while the phrase “in the world” is accurate, better perspective is given when one realizes that their entire range is limited to just three states — South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.

P5250069
Back at the house, grilling happened, but rain made me relocate the cooking under the garage roof.

P5250071
Giving thanks usually comes at the beginning of the meal. But sometimes it comes while cooking, or lighting the fire, or buying the pineapple, or discussing the menu, or riding home wet, or glancing around to see her on the water.

Published in: on May 29, 2009 at 8:11 am  Leave a Comment  

The Four-Day Weekend, Part 1

I picked up Debra at 3:55 AM on Friday morning, and we headed for Lugoff. Lex was waiting when we got there, and we started loading his car with all our equipment. We were on the road again before 5:00, heading to Florida. The three of us were taking our best shot to see the Greater Sandplover, a stray bird that normally lives in Asia and Africa. This individual is only the second ever recorded in North America, and we hoped it would still be there. Storms with gale-force winds and abundant rain earlier in the week had made finding the bird difficult for some other birders, and rainy, windy weather was still partly in the forecast.

At 10:15 we pulled into Hugenot Memorial Park and found a place to leave the car. (This is located east of Jacksonville, out on the coast of Duval County.) We grabbed our scopes, binoculars, raincoats, and started walking. Other birders were standing around a large group of mixed shorebirds, and we knew we were in the right spot. The bird had been cooperative all morning for those who were there earlier, so we had good hope. We didn’t have to wait. It was among several hundred plovers and sandpipers, but with a little pointing and scanning, we all picked it out and had leisurely, upclose scope views. That was nice. Here’s a picture of the scene (the Greater Sandplover is in this group, but too far for the camera to show detail):

P5220011

We continued there for a few more hours, enjoying the bird and the people who came long distances to see it. One gentleman had just flown in from Rhode Island to see it; he liked watching the bird through the scope. As we stood there searching the birds for something different, a Red-necked Phalarope flew in, and we got great scope views of this normally pelagic species. That, also was a new one for me.

P5220012
Lex

P5220013
Debra

P5220016
Lex and me

On the walk back to the car after noon, rain started, and wind pelted us with sand. We were gritty and soaked on the way to find something to eat. Not knowing the area, we solicited recommendations from the locals. Both people we asked said the Sandollar was the place to go. We did, and it was worth it. Debra tried the cashew-crusted curry grouper; Lex and I had grilled mahi with dill and caper sauce…all of it very good food!

I saw two guys come to the buffet line and recognized them as birders from Tampa who had shared part of the morning with us. I walked over to see what else they had found after we parted, and they told about finding Leach’s Storm-Petrels over the surf at Little Talbot State Park. That is another pelagic species not normally seen from land. So after finishing at the restaruant, we headed up A1A to Little Talbot.

P5220023
I find it hard to take unblurred photos of armadillos; they’re deceptively quick.

If you are ever in the area, pay the small entrance fee and just drive through this unspoiled fragment of coastal Florida. It is a beautiful place. We parked and walked up onto one of the boardwalks so we could scan the ocean. After a little while I found dark slivers of movement cutting over the waves. As they came closer, even flying over the beach itself, we were able to get positive identification as Leach’s Storm-Petrels, my third new bird for the day. It has been a long time since I got three new birds in a single day east of Texas.

It was mid-afternoon, and we had seen what we came to see. So we drove back home. I only had two-and-a-half hours of sleep the previous night, but the adrenaline kept me going all day. We made the vehicle transfer back at Lex’s house, drove to Lancaster, dropped Debra off, transcribed my bird records, and I was in bed by 12:15. That was a great way to spend a Friday!

Published in: on May 28, 2009 at 10:02 am  Comments (1)  

Walking at Landsford Canal State Park

This was May 16, the day before the annual Lilly Festival at the park.

P5166097

P5166099

P5166107

P5166115

P5166117

P5166122

P5166132

P5166133

As Debra and I started the long walk back to the truck, rain came, soaking us thoroughly the whole way. That was fun.

Published in: on May 27, 2009 at 12:07 am  Comments (1)  

Let Me Share a Secret Family Recipe with You

P5160009

Grill a bunch of stuff.

Chop it all up.

Serve it with chips.

Published in: on May 26, 2009 at 7:05 pm  Comments (3)