From The Blog

Journey into Kiawah’s Wild Places

Do you want to see parts of the island you don’t generally get to see? The Kiawah Conservancy has put together some great Kiawah tours, available at your fingertips. There are a eight different tours, including a kayak tour of waterways, a look at Kiawah’s lovely ponds and wildlife, a scavenger hunt and more. There are two ways to participate: download the TravelStorys app from the AppStore or Google Play, or pick up one of the Naturally Kiawah Pathways self-guided tours brochures from The Sandcastle. Below, I highlight a few spots on the tour for photographers. If you download the app, it even includes helpful photo tips!

My first stop is Cinder Creek on Blue Heron Pond Road. This KICA facility has a kayak launch and a pavilion for private events but I’m there for the natural setting. The water here is calm and everything seems relaxed. A large bird makes a wide, swooping turn as it surveys the marsh. Under the shaded platform, a man casts his fishing rod and the marsh spreads out in front of me, golden in the summer sun.

Bass Pond itself is a sight to see: a wide expanse of reflective blue, surrounded by the rolling greens of the River Course. A trio of anglers were casting out from the dock. ‘Little guys,’ one says when I asked them if anything is biting. Sure enough a moment later, he brought up (and cast back)a wriggling fish about 3inches long. Turning around, I got a special surprise: two roseate spoonbills feeding in the marsh across from Bass Pond. The most recent issue of Naturally Kiawah, the Conservancy’s magazine, included an article on them and I am captivated by their incredible pink color.

The Marsh Island Park Tower is easily the most mysterious place I visit on this trip. Tucked off Governors Drive, a little walk takes you into another world. The marsh is popping
and there are even cacti growing there, right near the marsh. The tower is, of course, the centerpiece. As I climb, the world opens up a bit more. Cut into the field of green are little pathways where
creeks make their way to the Kiawah River in the distance.

Mingo Point is famous for the oyster roasts the resort holds there but the first thing I notice is the birds. There are so many birds fluttering around the numerous bird feeders, swooping in, chasing each other off, and twittering all the time. The birds fly into the shelter of the trees when they see me approaching. After I’ve stood there a minute, they get used to me and head back to the feeder. It only takes a minute for me to capture a blue jay looking right back at me, as if it’s posing for the camera.

Beyond some good images, I also come away with a better understanding of the reasons behind the Conservancy’s mission. The tour is a great way to seethe island in a new light and get a sense of why the organization is so passionate about conserving it. Get out there – it’s beautiful!