I don't know if you have ever seen a roseate spoonbill. The sight of one is breathtaking. It is an endangered species, a pink wading bird, that was almost wiped out in the 19th century by hat makers who used its plumes in their creations. Herons and egrets also were decimated by fashions of the day.
Thanks to the founding of the Audubon Society and the creation of National Wildlife Refuges these lovely birds are becoming less rare.
We have old photographs of my great-grandmother and her friends decked out in gigantic hats with feathers galore adorning them. When I was small, I always wondered how one could sneak up on a bird and pluck its feathers. Later I learned they were plucked clean by plume hunters after having been trapped or shot. Something like torture I would think.
I saw my first roseate spoonbill in the Buckingham Landing marsh across from Moss Creek about 15 years ago. I thought I was seeing things. It was feeding with a group of woodstorks who also were on the endangered list at one time. It was a small pink figure that seemed to feel quite at home in the marsh with none of its kin around.
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If you visit Buckingham Landing or the Pinckney Island Refuge area in the early morning or evening you might be in for a treat. Roseate spoonbills have also been sighted at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.
As an aside, the woodstork, an adorable bird that reminds me of Groucho Marx, is the Bluffton Town Bird an honor it shares with the infamous Mr. Buzzard.
This is such a wonderful time of year to be outside. You never know what might see, so take your binoculars with you.
* If you like horseback riding and would love to have a glorious time, Sea Grass Stables at Melrose on the Beach on Daufuskie Island is waiting for you. Sea Grass Stables offers beach rides, carriage tours and what could be most fun of all, hay rides. In fact, a hay ride I think would be grand for a birthday party.
The Daufuskie rides last about 90 minutes and meander through all kinds of wonderful scenery on that mysterious island. Details: 843-341-2894
* If you are between the ages of 12 and 19 years old and would like to learn how to fly a plane the cadet life in the Civil Air Patrol might be for you. Ten percent of all Air Force Academy cadets got their start with this organization. The Low Country Composite Squadron meets from 6:15 until 8:30 p.m. Thursdays at General Aviation on Hilton Head. Details: 843-321-1919 or email firstname.lastname@example.org