A Hoot of a Paddle–Thursday–May 3, 2012

Today we planned to paddle one of our favorite places The Waccamaw Wildlife Management Refuge.  It is very close to Huntington Beach and the access at Enterprise Landing is great.  The only thing you need to manage is the timing.  This is a tidal paddle.  To paddle with the tides into the Refuge and return to the landing with the tides, you need to put in about 2 hours before high tide.  This morning that meant getting on the river by 8:30.

We are morning folks, so that is not an issue. We arrived at Enterprise Landing and were on the river just a few minutes after 8:30.  Now lets just hope Nancy figured the tides correctly;o))

Enterprise Landing on the Intercoastal Waterway

The Intercoastal Waterway

We paddle directly across the waterway to enter
the National Wildlife Refuge

We had just begun to paddle into the refuge
when Nancy said she saw a big brown blob
head into the trees on her right. 

So over we paddled….

Our first view of the brown blob…

a Barred Owl !!!
A FIRST for us :o))

We paddled closer... 
The owl just stared at us!!

We really thought it would fly as we paddled closer.

However, it didn't move.

We were as close as we could get
and all it did was look down.

We hung around for quite some time,
hoping it would fly so we could see that.

It wasn't ready to go anywhere;o(

Eventually, we headed on our way further up the waterway.

It is a beautiful paddle with great old trees and Spanish Moss.

One thing we love about this paddle at this time of the year is
seeing all the Osprey nests.  We saw about 6-7 and we won't post all
the photos....Just some of our favorites:o))

Momma Osprey was on the nest and Dad was standing guard.
When we got close,
he took off in an attempt
to divert our attention to a different location.

It worked!!
Beautiful Bird

Just as beautiful were the views along the waterway!!

Water Hyacinths

Their color was spectacular!!

We continued our paddle with the tide.
So far, so good...the tide is with us!!
To appreciate this next photo, you have to imagine
the wonderful silence and solitude we were experiencing.

Just us,
the scenery,
the birds


As we came around the corner
there she was headed right at us;o((

I'll spare you the photos of her
two, just as large, traveling companions!!

However, as soon as they were out of sight and sound range,
we had the waterway back!!

A couple hours into our paddle, as if on Que,
the tides changed and we headed back towards the landing.

We tucked in amongst the trees to enjoy a little lunch.

Large Turtle catching some rays!

As we came upon this pair,
we thought it was mom on the nest
dad standing guard...

However, as we got closer,
Dad took off to finish his lunch.

Mom was left to defend the nest.;-(

She was more than up to the task
and made it clear we should move on!!

Once we were at a safe distance,
she settled back on the nest :o))

Osprey lay their eggs from mid April to early May in this area of the country. It takes 35-40 days for them to hatch.  That means there should be chicks in the nest about June through early July.  Hopefully,  we can get back out here then to see the little ones!!

Arriving back at Enterprise Landing
What a wonderful paddle we had today. 

Perfect weather, amazing wildlife, beautiful scenery


  1. Yea Nancy - tidal chart reader extraordinaire!!
    (remember the time David read it backwards at Crooked River and nearly drowned me??)
    What fabulous shots of the owl and the osprey. Looks like a great paddle prefectly timed. Wish I'd been there :-)))

  2. Owls are fascinating, aren't they! I miss seeing them at Cedar Key! I could watch birds for HOURS!!

  3. How cool was that owl! I would love to see one some day! Loved your paddle and your title :-).

  4. Another vote for the owl picture! How very cool! What a great paddle.

  5. They are pretty, but the water hyacinth is an non-native, invasive species. It is illegal to have it in your possession in South Carolina.

    Great shots of the owl. So nice of it to stay in place for you to photo.

  6. Absolutely love the owl picture! I've never seen an owl in the wild. Our time will come!

  7. Did the Titanic rock your world? You'd think they would watch their wake.

    Love the owl pictures, what a great find!

  8. You take such wonderful action shots of the wildlife you encounter. Any pictures we take of birds flying just look like blurs. Do you think it is our camera or the operator? Love the picture of the owl!

  9. Wonderful pics of the owl. So majestic looking.

  10. The owl is such a mystical bird. I guess you weren't a threat to him. Love the osprey too. Nice paddle.

  11. The owl is such a mystical bird. I guess you weren't a threat to him. Love the osprey too. Nice paddle.