May 9-10 Turtles & Birds, oh my!

May 9

Happy Birthday to my sister, Diana Fox.

Edisto (ED isto) is a barrier island and still recovering from Hurricane Matthew. The whole beach campground was destroyed and hasn’t been rebuilt – to date. This beach town reminds us of Dauphin Island, AL. This is a family place that hasn’t seen the huge commercial development or beach hogging condo-towers of most of the rest of the southern coast and gulf coast. Bike trails, people walking, one grocery, one gas station, a couple of gift shops and lots of houses that have been here a long time and weathered many a storm. There are pathways between beach houses for folks to get to the beach, even!

Loggerhead turtles nest here and are in the process right now. There is an active SC Marine Turtle Conservation Program whose volunteers and staff are busy trying to keep the loggerheads from heading to house lights instead of back to the water. 120 turtles, including a bunch of mother daughter pairs are nesting. Some turtles next several times in a season. Each one is tracked and their nests are counted over the years. One turtle has been nesting here since 2012 and has built 7 nests!

In 2008 someone brought a badly injured female whose carapace had been cut by a propeller in to the Marine research and . She was healed and finally released in 2013 and scientists have found evidence that she came back here to nest last year.

It’s really a tragedy that the entire Marine Research Sea Grant Program, is threatened by a cut of 30 million dollars here in South Carolina alone ($74 billion nationwide) when all “Non-Defense” funding was cut drastically by FY17’s Security Supplemental Budget . The work they do protecting coastal and other species and teaching humans how to enjoy and not destroy the environment plays a critical part in keeping our planet healthy.

May 10

We got the rig moved to the new site and cats tied out. They approve of this site as much as the last one and immediately began exploring in the brush surrounding the RV.

We headed out to the Interpretive Center on our bikes, with the intention of bike birding. Bike birding is when you cruise along, eyes glued to the layers of bird habitat; ground, up to 8’, 8 to 20’ and the top story of trees. When one spots a bird, scratch to a halt, stand supporting the bike and get those binoculars up! Today’s ride netted us Carolina Wren, Eastern Kingbird, Black and White Warbler, Painted Bunting, Carolina Wren, Eastern Blue Bird, Turkey and Black Vultures, Red Bellied Woodpecker, Great Egret, Laughing Gull, Wimbrel, Canada Geese, Brown Pelican, Osprey and Red-Winged Blackbirds. The Red Trail takes you through lots of different habitat, as you can see.

The Interpretive Center holds displays showing local sea and pluff (the marshy mud) creatures around every turn. Interesting information on local culture, plantation culture and farming the Edisto Island area. Lots of Islands – on maps they show as solid land but they are considered islands because one can’t get across the marsh pluff without a bridge. The Center is made of as many recycled materials as possible, situated in a way that would least disturb the environment and is surrounded by permeable concrete (to trap water and let it filter through the soil rather than run off into the waterways).

Great Day!