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Reflecting on Kiawah’s Birds – WPC

“Every bird at the marsh fills us with a little light.”

Lynn Thomson


Kiawah is well-known as a birder’s paradise. Because our birds spend much of their time in the marshes and lagoons, reflections can be found most any time of day. Over the years my lens has been drawn to many of these beautiful creatures’ reflections, some of which I’m sharing this week in response to Nancy’s Reflecting challenge.


“Darkness evaporates and the singing birds come from nowhere.”

Amit Ray

The capture above was featured in a local Kiawah publication in sepia. Although I prefer that version, I thought I’d be consistent this week and include the original in color. I’ve always liked the way the light is filtering through the bird’s wings.


“I would like to paint the way a bird sings.”

Claude Monet

Pelicans are plentiful here on Kiawah and are often seen soaring overhead in “pelican patrols”.  It’s quite unusual, on the other hand, to find a single bird paddling through one of our lagoons. Interesting creatures, brown pelicans were nearly pushed to extinction before controls were placed on harmful pesticides. They’re a wonderful example of how nature can be affected by the actions of man, both positive and negative.


“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”

Robert Lynd

Sometimes particular moments become frozen in our mind’s-eye. I can remember quite clearly the day I captured this image. It was the first time I’d seen a lagoon being drained – a fairly infrequent maintenance event here on the island.  It turns out that when the lagoons get quite low, the birds flock to the site for what I can only assume are easy-pickings for their powerful beaks. Happily, a photographer friend was also shooting that day and very generously loaned me her 500mm lens for a few shots. As much as I loved shooting with it, I fear I’d be out of action for way too long if I tried to carry it around for any length of time.


“Wherever there are birds, there is hope.”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

I was inspired to feature the beautiful birds of Kiawah by a session with a good friend this week.  My thanks to her for the stroll down memory lane – which coincidentally led me to this week’s response. My best wishes to all for a week filled wtih beauty.


105 thoughts on “Reflecting on Kiawah’s Birds – WPC Leave a comment

  1. Exceptional images, Tina. You are so lucky to live in this bird paradise! BTW, have you seen or shot any Painted Buntings there? I heard that they are plentiful in the spring but I didn’t see any when I was there a week ago or so…

    • Thanks Andy – nice to see your name pop up again. Know you’re a PGH guy but did you watch the Derek Jeter number retirement ceremony today? All the yankee greats were there. Fun.

      • I did see it…not too many like him, great player and class act all the way. Would like to see him manage the Yankees one day.

  2. Wow! These are absolutely gorgeous, Tina. Every time I see your photos, I keep telling myself I’ve got to get an actual camera (just using my old iPhone5 now)! Some of your birds are just pearlized; they just glisten. Love these!

    • Thanks so much Linda – I find iphone photography much more difficult than using the power of the DSLR but it sure wins the weight and availability contests!!!! Each release has a better camera than the last tho, so I just may have to trade up and try more often!!

      • I keep wanting to upgrade my iPhone but can’t bring myself to pay $700-$800 for one. Ridiculous, since I primarily use it for the camera! But as you say the convenience and availability can’t be beat!

  3. Your capture of the reflections is simply stunning! Great collection from your preserve. We are planning to come to Raleigh this fall, then drive south to Miami, stopping along the way. Is your preserve anywhere near that route?

    • Thanks so much John. For your trip you’ll take 77 to 26 and then hop on I-95. For us you’d stay longer on 26 toward Charleston (about a half-hour) and we’re about 45 minutes south of that so maybe a 2-hour diversion? Charleston is a fabulous city which I highly encourage you to visit. Savannah is also beautiful. Both cities have wonderful nature preserves all around them. Send me an email at and I’ll send you some suggestions if you’d like.

  4. Fantastic T!
    You would enjoy the reflection sculpture works by Grainger McKoy of his low country birds. The low country skimmer is incredible! Just saw this exhibit at the Gibbes Art Museum in Charleston and if you go to their website it is under Animals in Contemporary Art.

  5. Your bird photography is stunning – so many gorgeous reflections here Tina. You live on a nature reserve it seems, I can’t imagine there are any houses on the island ;-D

    • LOL, there are tons of houses but happily our Review Board has mandatory rules for how much of your homesite you’re allowed to build on (33%). That ensures that much of the island looks quite undeveloped and there is a ton of foliage and water water everywhere to keep our critters happy.

  6. Beautiful, beautiful bird shots and that one night on the marsh is spectacular. Birds and silence…some of them can stand still for such a long time. Like that blue pelican. So regal 😊

    • Thanks Mabel – that was a very challenging shot so it’s nice it’s generated so many lovely comments. Funny about the pelicans, they look so clumsy but are quite regal when they fly.

  7. This is a great place for bird viewing! You were at the right place at the right time several times. I enjoyed seeing how the reflection changed when the water was moving.

    • Ah but sadly they would disappear instantly if you got close enough! Here on our island they are somewhat accustomed to people but not enough to get THAT close! Thanks for stopping by T.

    • Interesting comment Sally – one of the things that strikes me about these birds is that within each species they look very much the same and yet are very different. Glad you mentioned their individuality.

  8. Stunningly beautiful, dear Tina. A wonderful take on the challenge, congratulation. I now can clearly see the resemblance to our marshes as far as the wetland is concerned. Your birds are far more exotic, though!

  9. Tina, you win the prize for not only having the perfect photos to align with the photo challenge each week, but being able to pull them together (so quickly!) with some inspiring prose as well. These are just beautiful. I miss those landscapes and creatures in the marshes of SC and GA!

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