Friday, May 14, 2021

Does a Bear....

So far we  have had a lovely Spring, a real spring.  *Knock on Wood*.  
The dogs are both doing better....thanks for all your well wishes they are my family, my children.  

I discovered this...Sunflower hearts do not just digest unless you chew them...I give my dogs sunflower hearts, but saw in their stool the whole seed  undigested, so now I roll the seeds with a rolling pin to crush them up. Anyways just wanted to share that for all the dog people out there.  

The highlight of my week was the day I drove to Santee Lakes and the Wildlife Refuge there.  It's one of the places I had hoped to use my bike to make getting to the birding area quicker but as it turns out BIKES not allowed there.  

ITs not a long walk and it's always's just once you get back to the area where the ponds and canals are its A HUGE open area and it's at least 5 miles of walking and if you double back like I do it's actually more... here is my path in red ... And the Approach (Outlined in blue)  is 1/2 mile so it would be nice to pedal that last half mile...but it was not humid and there was a brisk wind of about 12 mph steady! 

I actually took the hiking path on my way in, its a nice woodsy trail, skeeters, yes. 


And a Boardwalk where a Prothonotary Warbler would not show  himself...but was calling along with a Carolina Wren, take a listen...

I exited the trail into the field and admired the flowers...

The grassland is quite large, and right away I could hear grassland birds 

Like the Blue Grosbeak, here is the female, saw the male too..

But he flew off pretty fast and I got only a blurry moving shot of him...the service road is the main way to get around the area once you exit the woods..

And the edges are filled with treats..

YUMMY and so very sweet

And I was not the only one who thought so...Check this out...AND Yes it is what you think it is, I have been asking the Universe for an intimate encounter with 3 things...
a Beaver, Mountain Lion, and a Bear.  I got the Beaver not long ago and this is pretty close for the Bear wouldn't you say it was fairly fresh probably dropped  the evening before...

 compare to some photos on file link below LOOKS the same to me.

My next find was the Male and Female Dickcissel...I have found them here before in the Spring..

excellent grassland birds, and I think there was more than just this pair but I only reported the pair.  Because it is still listed as Rare, but honestly you can find them here you just have to know where to look.  Rare does not mean never. 

Santee Lakes is a huge man made project...and it brings in all sorts of water loving birds, and that includes the Osprey.  I saw several hunting out over the ponds, canals, and the lake...

This one dove in and got a fish..

I continued back toward the marshy area of the ponds and the canals...and found some wading birds...

The first odd couple I found was a Little Blue Heron and the Snowy Egret on this little bit of a mound, they were def together...

And this very light colored Great Blue almost looked like a crane from the back..

I spotted movement at the edge of the canal...and out stepped a Yellow Crowned Night Heron..

I was pretty tired and thirsty by now If you check the above map again I had made it up to that sharp L looking part of my red line upper left.  In that area is an old pumping has a cement pad and some shade so that's where I had my break  I only brought crackers and a trail bar  along for the hike and water of course, and left my Pnut butter sandwich in the van to eat on the way home.  

Not the prettiest picnic spot I've ever had for sure but the view was good...once I sat down

The spot worked out perfect for me  rest and take a break and hydrate in the shade and out the wind for 20 minutes...

Interesting contraption...reminds me of the a Star Trek Dashboard sort of..

Back on my feet and more exploring to do, found a small gator, didn't see any big gators guess they were out on the big lake..

The Snowy Egret looking good...

The mud flats gave me a couple good finds, the Lesser Yellow Legs and the Least Sandpiper...the second odd couple of the day...they were def together!

Love these Pickerel Rush flowers...saw a lot of it on this hike...

Also in the muddy areas several Solitary Sandpiper poked around 

And a Spotted Sandpiper..

A group of Black Vulture had a gathering on the ground at the end of this canal...

They were picking something out of the grass...

I got to the area of what the birders call the North Pond

I looked for but did not see or hear the Limpkin that has been reported here...I didn't try too hard because it would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack and I saw many of them in Florida, I went more for the obvious like the Common Gallinule, right out in the open...

And the American Coots...floating around with the lily pads...
Also seen  in this area was Anhinga, Double Crested Cormorant and Belted Kingfisher.

Anhinga in a Cyprus tree...

And Red Wing Black Blackbird is all over the entire area here is the Female 

And my next Odd Couple, the Ring Necked Duck with a Gadwall Female? (I think I see white tips on wing)  Just didn't look like a Mallard, they were together when he would dive under she would wait for him to resurface...

the Ring Necked Duck

Another Great Blue Heron in stealth mode...

And up in the air a Caspian Tern, large size tern, more black on underwing, and a tiny black tip on the orange legs...short wedge shaped tail. 

Soon I made my way around the backside of the area and picked up the pace to the Blind because I wanted to have a water break and  a little rest before the 1.5 mile push  back to the van..

There is a bench inside for sitting took off my shoes and picked all the seed heads off my socks...and had more water and another handful of blackberries...

There is this nesting tree here with 2 young Heron's inside...

Socks an hands cleaned, headed back out in the large open grassy areas where a large flock of Bobolink flushed in and out. it's hard to get good photos as they are perched on windy swaying branches, the male

with his Golden head and the Female...who is just as brilliant...with her mello yello

Along the service road back to the parking area and  about 1/2 a mile in under the forest canopy, I found 2 more Yellow Crowned Night Heron, one on the road edge

and one just in the marshy area...

and a little pick me up...

It was a super fun day...In my next post I will show you my new bike rack this post is too long to add it here...NOW if we just had gas to go someplace our gas stations ran out of Gas on Wednesday and so far they still are...So I have to be content to do what's within walking or biking distance for now...hope everyone  has a good week. Ciao!

Every day is a new Adventure.


  1. Hello,
    Great outing and report. Wonderful variety of birds, The YC Night Heron, Bobolinks and the Dickcissel are some of my favorites. The female Blue Grosbeak is pretty. I would like to see a bear, from a distance. We filled up our gas tank right before we heard the news about the pipeline closing. I hope they are back o normal now that they have re-opened. They should have planned for this years ago.
    Happy birding, have a great day and a happy weekend.

    1. Thank you Eileen, I can't understand why such a facility is not on a closed system, I mean on the internet, that is just insane..ONE station received gas I waited in line today it reminded me of 1975 and the gas shortages, we were limited to only 10 gallons each.

  2. What a great day out Sondra and I can get the sense of enjoyment you had from it. Glad that all is going OK. As Eileen says a great report of what birdlife is in that area. Some great photos too and your recording of the birdsong was lovely.
    I'm always amazed how much your season is ahead of us, our blackberries wont be showing for another 6 to 8 weeks.
    I'm guessing that bear poo would be a black bear? They can be big too so I wouldn't want to get too close.

    Have a good weekend.

    1. Hi Dave, yes Black Bear we actually had one in our downtown area back in made the Im pretty far down on the globe at just south of the 35th Parallel. Our birds are already feeding young, You also have a good weekend.

  3. Hi Sondra,'s really pretty there...the blackberries are just now blooming here...and it's turned off they call it 'blackberry winter'...
    ~Have a lovely day!

    1. Hi, The blackberries were sooo sweet since they are completely sun ripened and they are growing low on the ground...I've never heard that term Black Berry Winter, I like it!

  4. Um -- that's close enough for a bear encounter don't you think? (I've been closer than that more than once, but still...) And uh, are you sure those odd couples are legal in your state? (Ha, not really funny, but sorry, couldn't resist. ) The scenery is absolutely beautiful and I love your birds. Of course. Wish I could recognize them by their song like you can. I am bad at recognizing sounds anyway.

    1. Hi Sallie, it would be nice just to get a photo...Im pretty sure a bear would skedaddle if he saw he coming. HA yeah those odd couples dont get much respect in this state. I do find it harder each year to recall what Im hearing when the migrants arrive Have a great Saturday.

  5. Really nice day for you with lots of lovely birds to see once again. Yes the scat is surely bear, saw plenty of it in the mountains. Better not eat all his berries haha.
    We hit 100 yesterday so soon I will be locked in again. Going to get as much porch time in the mornings as I can. Still hearing the bird I mentioned last time but still have not located it.
    What's up with these gas shortages we all know thats bunk!

    1. Hi Jo, make a movie of the bird song, maybe I can help with an ID, although birds there different from here for sure. The Gas thing, does sound fishy but they claim it was some foreign hackers who stopped the flow by taking over the computers that run the thing....NOW to me that should be on a closed system not on the Internet, they claim they paid $5 million ransom to get it flowing again...All I know is only one gas station was open yesterday they all ran out on Wednesday so I hope they will get deliveries, until we get a better way to run cars we're stuck. I thought we'd be like the Jetsons by now. Have a great weekend

  6. What A Lovely Adventure - Well Captured As Well - Keep On Keeping On

    Big Hugs

    1. Thank you Travis, hope your weekend is a good one. TC

  7. Bear poop aside what a great visit (although I think i'd be a mixutre of excited and slightly terrified to think a bear had been so close so recently!).I love the night heron, such a stunning bird. Honestly your posts make me want to move continents!

    1. HI Pam, I did keep the eyes on the back of my head open after finding the poop pile! LoL...I do want to see a bear just to observe and enjoy the nature side of it...not the business end where the teeth are. I think you would love the nature we have...but the politics not so much.

  8. Exploring as always....we love seeing this. Thank you for sharing! Hope the gas situation improves too!

    1. Hi Jennifer, The gas is flowing again, but still some shortages. The price is creeping up there too. Summer rules now with heat and humidity.


Comments are appreciated, and reciprocated!