January brings crisp cool air for photography… The days may be getting longer, but mornings are still dark.  The sun will be at its latest rise of the winter at 7:22 am January 5-12.  Winter holds us firmly in its grip.  January might bring a fierce freeze like it did in 2018, or foggy mornings that create frost on the branches, exposing the structure.

Ducks are regular winter visitors.  Bufflehead and Hooded Mergansers dive in impounded wetlands and smaller waterways. (for hints on telling them apart, click either of those links.)

It's Bald Eagle Nesting Season in the Lowcountry

Since 2012, we’ve had a pair of Bald Eagles nesting on the island.  This playlist takes you all through the 2021 season.

Plenty of Winter Visitors to Watch

Ruby Crowned Kinglets arrive in fall and can be found flitting around Eastern Red Cedars, Oak Trees, and Groundsel trees.  These tiny greenish songbirds make a scolding ctch-ctch-ctch in the winter.

Ruby Crowned Kinglet
Pine Warbler

Yellow Rumped Warblers are also everywhere this month!

Yellow Rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow Rumped Warbler

You might find an insect with curious properties

Southern two striped Walking Sticks can shoot a noxious substance from their eyes to deter predators.

Moon snail Collars (and other treasures) wash up on the beaches

Full moon tides and onshore winds can bring incredible treasures to the beach.  One is a plastic-looking gasket shaped wheel you might find on the beach.  Don’t throw it out!  It’s an egg case for Moon Snails!

Tiny moon snails can still be seen on this collar
eggs of a gastropod (maybe periwinkle) cover a sea whip
Plume Worm Tubes
pen shell
pen shells
redbeard sponge
redbeard sponge with long-wristed hermit in a dwarf olive shell

Some Birds of a Feather Feed together

We had an extraordinary chance to watch some snowy egrets and a Bonaparte’s gull engage in some mutualism in terms of feeding behaviors.

Screech Owls are Setting Up Territories

We have several bird boxes on the island that are inhabited by Eastern Screech Owls during breeding season.  Males may establish a territory: staking out a box and occupying it during the day, sunbathing in the afternoon, and leaving in the night to hunt.

Flocks of Shorebirds Hang out at the Corner

Tree Swallows Swarm the Wax Myrtles

Tree Swallows gave us our closest experience to a Murmuration, as they fly in fascinating formations around the Wax Myrtle, dipping and swooping to grab an insect off the water or out of the air.