For the Birds

It was a warm day here in South Carolina yesterday...one of the warmer days of our trip...and it was very nice. We spent the day relaxing, and mostly, we just hung out at the campground. In the morning, we headed into town for a short trip. We needed to replace our old Brita pitcher. When I say "old," I'm not kidding around. It has a crack in the side where a dinosaur stepped on it one time. Now, we can no longer get filters for it, and so a new one was on our list.

Here's where the enablers come in: I've been corresponding with my friend Wendy about in-a-mug recipes, and that got me on the hunt for some mugs with straight sides. The ones that go with our Corelle set have a tapered bottom, and I was sure and certain that I needed different mugs to properly microwave the in-a-mug desserts. And, honestly, who needs a reason? So, anyway, we were hunting for mugs, and we found some we liked at the state park gift shop.

Mine is the one on the right. Mike liked the one on the left. (Do you think there's a double entendre at work there?) Anyway...they're cute. they have little designs on the inside too.

Also, we found a shot glass there. This might be one of my favorites of the whole trip.

Although it has some stiff competition in this one from New York City...I really like this one, probably because I was so excited to see the Statue of Liberty.

Oh yes, and then there's this one...speaking of double entendres.

So anyway...mission accomplished. Back at the campground, our neighbor put out a bird feeder. Within the hour, the birds found it, and we were able to see our first cardinal of the trip. I'd seen cardinals before, when we lived in North Carolina. This was Mike's first one. He was cracking open a seed.

In this one, he's eating the chewy inside.

Also, I caught this bird, which I think is a Brown Thrasher.

Later in the day in the afternoon light, we headed back to the causeway. I had my telephoto lens in tow, and I was hoping to get some more pictures of the large birds there. We saw more of the snowy egret. He was the most active of the fisher birds.

And things were going along well until this intruder showed up. There was some squabbling over whose fishing grounds these really are. This one is a Little Blue Heron.

He ruffled the feathers of the Snowy Egret considerably.

Standing nearby watching the fuss was the Great Blue Heron.

After a while, we drove a short distance to where the Marsh boardwalk was. It's really beautiful out there in the afternoon. The marsh grasses glow golden in color.

At the far end was another Great Blue Heron. He had his own perch there and was enjoying the privacy until a photographer showed up.

Here, we could see oyster beds. It was interesting. We'd seen these "cluster oysters" in the seafood market where we bought fresh oysters the day before.

As it turns out, oyster shells are recycled here (and we've seen the signs leading to recycling centers) and then used to generate new reefs. This is in an effort to reinvigorate the oyster beds in the area.

Also, we could see what I believe is a blue crab moving beneath the surface of the water. I was hopeful of seeing a fiddler crab, but we saw none. You can also see the little minnows swimming around there. That's what the birds are after.

If you'll recall my photo from yesterday's post,

the area on the left side of the image is fresh water. There, you might find alligators. We've seen none. On the right side of the image is salt water, and so it is subject to tides. The large birds show up at low tide when they can do their fishing. From the marsh boardwalk, we could see the tide flowing out here in the image below.

I moved in closer to get a better shot of the blue heron. He was really in no mood for photography, however, and so he flew off his perch into an area where I would have to shoot directly into the sun.

Beside him was another Snowy Egret.

Eventually, he moved into a spot where I could get some more pictures of him.

After that, we got back in the truck and drove on down the road a little way to some beach access. You can see where the tide has gone out. It made for a nice smooth surface to walk on.

Would it surprise you to know that the Atlantic ocean looks exactly the same in South Carolina as it did in North Carolina, and in Virginia, and in Rhode Island? Looking south, we saw this:

Looking north, we saw this.

Behind us was a seagull making quite a racket.

I think it embarrassed him when I took his picture.

He flew off closer to the water.

Are you still here?

It was getting close to dinner time, and so we headed back, shucked our oysters, and enjoyed our Oysters Rockaway. These happen to be Virginia oysters. They're a little smaller than the oysters we find on the west coast in Oregon. They were delicious.

Later, we sat by the campfire. I interrupted that interlude to mix up the mug brownies. It took about ten minutes to make them and bake them in the microwave. I plopped a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and YUM! Thanks for the recipe, Wendy!

You can find it right here, but please note that the measurement for the cocoa powder is wrong. On Wendy's advice, I used just 1 tablespoon. Also, the recipe is for a single serving, and so I doubled mine and mixed it up in a bowl before pouring it into the mugs.

Today we're heading on south to a state park near Charleston. We'll be there for the next four nights. We've been lucky with cell phone and internet service most of the trip, but it's always a guess whether we'll have it at our next stop.

13 comments from clever and witty friends:

DeeDee said...

Wow, you all really got some great bird watching in yesterday! That's my favorite thing about the Carolina coasts, they are teeming with gorgeous wildlife. Although I could do without seeing gators. The pictures are lovely. Thanks for sharing!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

What a fabulous slow day to enjoy!! Love the new mugs - and the yummies inside.

Lana Ku said...

Your bird pictures are fabulous. And how exciting to get the crab photo. I lived on the Texas gulf coast for 15 years and really miss the herons and egrets, sandy shores and sea life. They would often sit on my dock looking for fish and sometimes just stand in the yard. I've never been to the Carolinas, but I'm really wanting to visit now.

Gail in Vegas said...

The photos of the birds are fantastic! It's also impressive that you know the names of so many birds. Hope you continue to enjoy your trip and know that many of us are enjoying it through your posts!

Sally Trude said...

I'm so glad you finally got to see a cardinal. I was starting to worry. Molly says to tell Smitty that they taste just like chicken (as if she'd know...). The other bird pictures are fantastic too, but apparently Oregon is too blue for a cardinal.

Sarah said...

Fantastic bird pictures but, heavens, it took a long time to get to the mug recipe. Looking forward to more recipes...
So, no Cardinals on the west coast? Guess I never thought about it before. They are my favorite!!

WoolenSails said...

Love your new mugs, those are fun. Love seeing all the photos and places you are visiting, I really want to hook up and take off, and head south, lol.


Brown Family said...

You got some very nice photos of the birds. Thanks for telling me the difference in the two egrets!

Robin Klein said...

Great photos! I believe the 15th photo is a her on not egret. Never get close to these birds. The will peck your eye out faster than you know it's happening. The egrets walk all over our yard but even cats know not to go after them. Look forward to more :)

piecefulwendy said...

Oh my goodness, those mugs are perfect! Hahaha! I need a Gator shotglass, since my daughter is now in grad school at the Univ of Florida (Gators) in Gainesville. Anyway, so glad you enjoyed the recipe. I've never thought to double the recipe in a separate bowl; I just mix up two mugs (I've always done things the hard way). Mike's first cardinal, really? I didn't know there were no cardinals in Oregon. We get them here quite often, and had a pair at our feeders for quite awhile. You got some great photos of the birds!

Lynette said...

You have the best bird shots in this! That seagull sequence really cracked me up.

QuiltGranma said...

I agree, the bird pictures are wonderful! as well as your choice of mugs, so appropriate! Looking forward to seeing what you see tomorrow.

quiltzyx said...

You are a birdparazzi now! But I won't tell....

Fun, new mugs - perfect for the brownies. I will have to try that recipe. I've had the chocolate cake in a mug, but found it a bit dry. Brownies sound better anyway.