New calendar a snapshot of bird life in Beaufort County

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comDecember 13, 2012 

  • Purchase the calendar online at or at the following locations:

  • Planning Department, Room 115, in the Beaufort County Administration Building, 100 Ribaut Road, Beaufort.

  • Beaufort County Open Land Trust, 1001 Bay St., Beaufort.

  • Coastal Discovery Museum, 70 Honey Horn Drive, Hilton Head Island.

  • Beaufort Book Store, 2127 Boundary St., Beaufort.

  • Beaufort Chamber Gift Shop, 701 Craven St., Beaufort.

  • Fordham's Market, 701 Bay St., Beaufort.

  • Beaufort Marina, 1006 Bay St., Beaufort.

  • Maye River Gallery, 37 Calhoun St., Bluffton.

  • Beaufort, Sun City, and Hilton Head Audubon clubs.

Mr. Charlie is a great blue heron who knows the good fishermen from the bad on the pier at Hunting Island State Park.

He keeps a sharp eye on the lines that visitors to South Carolina's most popular state park cast into Fripp Inlet. He eases over when he sees tight lines. And he knows to stand closer to the anglers who do the most reeling.

Charlie's been accused of petty theft. If you leave your cooler untended, he may fly away with a bag full of bait shrimp.

Charlie walks the 1,120-foot pier, mixing with people like few other great blues do. He's been there, off and on, for at least four years.

"Charlie is well-known," said pier regular and birder Ken Scott of Lady's Island.

Now he's the cover boy of the new Beaufort County Rural and Critical Lands calendar, which for 2013 celebrates birds and their habitats in the county.

Charlie was captured on the pier railing, the Fripp Island Bridge in the background, and his serpentine neck looking like an impossible place to stuff a whiting or spot.

Pat Roche of Sun City Hilton Head took the cover photo. It's not her first one in the calendar, and she said she feels a little guilty sometimes because all she uses is a Kodak point-and-shoot camera.

"It was just the right place, right time, right everything," she said. She's a member of the Sun City Photo Club.

More than 200 pictures, all taken in Beaufort County, were submitted for the calendar. Since 2006, it has been a tool to show the importance of land preservation in a fast-growing county. The calendar includes a list of each land or development-rights purchase since 1998, with $131 million spent to preserve 21,719 acres.

This year, it zooms in on the connection between land preservation and the 250 species of birds that live here full-time or seasonally, or stop for sustenance along the Atlantic Flyway. Proceeds from the $15 calendar go to the county's land preservation program, just like the $25 million bond referendum approved by voters in November.

"Look up and imagine a world without birds," Ken Scott says in the calendar. He'll be looking up a lot on Saturday, leading the Lowcountry Coast Christmas Bird Count for the Fripp Island Audubon Club.

"The only limitation on birding is the number of hours in the day," says Chris Marsh, executive director of the Lowcountry Institute on Spring Island.

But the calendar is not about words. It's about pictures, like Mary Kay Taylor's eagles, Sue Jarrett's anhingas, Zeke Jordan's gobbler, David Shipper's hummingbird and Dick Henry's two great egrets.

And Mr. Charlie, the hustler of the Hunting Island pier.

Follow columnist David Lauderdale at

Related content:

Where to purchase the calendar

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service