Monday, June 15, 2009

Painted Buntings at Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge (BPW #42)

Birding Hilton Head Island, SC and Pinckney Island NWR
Yesterday we got back from our vacation to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. The trip was way too short. We left on Thursday, June 4, and made it as far as Columbia, then drove to Savannah on Friday and spent the day there, staying at the River Inn that evening. Savannah is a beautiful, old city, and we loved it! But more about that later…right now I’ve got to tell you a little about Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge and the beautiful Painted Buntings I found living there.

A Painted Bunting on Pinckney Island National Wildlife 
Refuge near Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Can you believe the colors in this beautiful bird? These neo-tropical migrants look like they flew right off of an artist’s palette of pure pigment. And there were so many on the island! At one point they were practically dripping off the trees. I saw at least 8 while birding from the parking lot. I could also hear them everywhere. The first one I saw was just off 278 as I entered the park. I saw an Ibis in the grass and quickly pulled over to photograph him, but as I climbed out of the car, I heard a song resembling an Indigo Bunting. All it took was looking up in a tree in the direction of the song, and there he was. Literally, I had my life bird within 30 seconds of pulling into the reserve. This was going to be good….






Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is located on a series of small islands just before you cross over onto Hilton Head Island. It is definitely a destination spot for any birder. It is also a rookery with well over 1,000 Ibises. Also nesting in the rookery are many types of herons and egrets. I’ll be talking more about it every day this week and sharing all the wonderful birds I saw...truly an amazing place.

50 comments:

yen said...

must be a great place for birds watching and photography judging from 8 birds sighted within the car park itself.

Kelly said...

Yen...it is a fantastic place. The density of birds is unbelievable. I've never experienced anything like it. I want to go back!!

gwendolen said...

The Painted Buntings look very pretty. Pinckney Island sounds like a cool discovery, looking forward to read more about what you saw there, Kelly.

Tabib said...

Beautiful colourful bird, look like someone painted it.

Chris said...

Hi Kelly,
This might have been e real experience!! Wow, I envy you on this one ;-)
The painted one is beautiful and it makes me thing about our harlequin duck which looks like painted bird too. It looks like Picasso painted them with his brush or knife!! Gorgeous! and you got very nice shots, which helps a lot to get a nice day!!! I'm eager for your return there for more story of this kind.

NatureStop said...

What a great place and what a colourful bird.Really looks like it's been painted.You got great shots.Thanks for sharing.

Sue said...

Beautiful. Looking forward to more of what you saw there!

holdingmoments said...

Wow! A rainbow with wings was my first impression.
What a colourful bird. A real stunner.

Dave Lewis said...

Now THAT'S a pretty bird!

Abe Lincoln said...

Wow. It must be really nice to see this bird of many colors. I would end up shooting way too many pictures and then try to figure out which one to use when I got them all loaded on the computer.

Beautiful photography too.

Thanks for visiting My Birds Blog and for your comments there about the robins.

If you want to hear some fantastic sounds from three Italian teenagers, you should listen and watch this...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqUkUjeF4-c

Jayne said...

Oh. My. Just look at him. I'd have peed myself Kelly!!!

dAwN said...

OMY goodness..Wonderful photos Kelly!
I have seen these birds..but never in quanity..and never as close.
How fun!
how is the weather and bugs this time of year?

Roy said...

Now that's a colorful bird. And right at the entrance to the refuge! Great shots, Kelly. I can't wait to see what else you saw down there.

A friend of mine will be returning from Arizona today, where he's been since the beginning of May. He goes down there to help with bird counts at some wildlife refuge down there every year. He says he spotted 130+ birds, including being one of only 6 to spot a Gray-Collared Becard, and apparently this was the first report of this Central American bird in the US. So I'm waiting to see even more bird pictures (and Bob's a really good photographer, so it'll be a treat).

Rob Ripma said...

Wow, those are fantastic picutres!

They really are one of the most amazingly beautiful birds!

Richard said...

When God made this bird, He used all the left over colors. Great pictures.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh Kelly---they are absoltuely gorgeous. I cannot believe those colors. WOW!!!!!

You are so lucky to have gone to that beautiful refuge area. Can't wait to see more upcoming photos.

I'm sure you'll put this place on the 'visit again' places.

How did you get the name, Red and the Peanut??????

You will be 'featured' on my blog tomorrow.
Love you,
Bets

JRandSue said...

Fantastic shots I love the colours of the Painted Buntings,expertly captured on camera.Well done,by the way your Cornish Rex cat has a cousin which is the Devon Rex.
Both are expensive,not seen many in Cornwall.
The Cornish people are Celts like the Welsh the Irish and the Scottish.
The English are Anglo Saxon.
John.

Cicero Sings said...

A beautiful bird!

Uncommon Depth said...

I would love to see this bird in the wild! What a great opportunity to see and photography them.

Warren Baker said...

WOW!!!! Kelly, That is some bird, just beautiful - and well photographed to. Do they migrate ? Maybe one will blow in to my patch. :-)

Little Brown Job said...

Fantastic images Kelly, what amazing vivid colors.

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Kelly.
Your right, that is some bird. I don't think the maker of this bird could have added any more colours it he/she wanted to :-)
Nice photo's Kelly.

Phil and Mandy said...

Hi Kelly, what a gorgeous bird that is, I would love to see one of them in the feathers!

Tim Rucci said...

Whoooooaaaa! Unbelievable stuff, Kelly. Those photos are amazing, and what a story to just happen upon them like that.
I've gone to several places over the past few years looking for painted buntings, but have never gotten half as good an opportunity for photos as you did. You've gotta be close even with a long lens. I've seen a few of them, but never this close and never with a good setting. I can understand why you didn't want to leave. Great job!

Roy said...

Hi Kelly,
that Bunting well the word 'unreal' hardly covers it. Unbelievable.

Jenny said...

Stonking photos Kelly. They really are rainbows on legs. I've seen them in the USA, but at quite a distance so these photos are a real treat, thanks! (-:

Andrea said...

So perfect he almost doesn't look real. Amazing colors.

Montanagirl said...

Absolutely stunning photos of the Painted Bunting. You get to go to such wonderful places!

Heather said...

Wow Kelly, I was jealous about this when you told me about it, but now seeing it, I'm even MORE jealous! Holy cow! What an incredible, beautiful, colorful bird. You are so very lucky to have seen them, and captured such great shots!

ShySongbird said...

What a beautiful exotic looking bird Kelly and so well photographed.

Kelly said...

...it looks like I got a more powerful lens, but I didn't. I was just that close. This fellow flew into the weeds just off the path. He was about 12 feet from me. I'm sure you know how I felt...adrenalin pumping like crazy because such a gem dropped in my lap. I took sooo many photos. If you want to see Painted Buntings this island is the place to go. I came to the island specifically to see him, boy was that ever the right decision!

Shellmo said...

Such gorgeous vivid photos of this bunting! Never seen colors like this!!! Excellent!

Gabrielle said...

OMG Kelly - what amazing luck! (And then skill to get such great photos) That's just one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that will stay with you forever. I'm ready to pack up and head to Pinckney Island to get me some painted bunting!

Unseen Rajasthan said...

This is a fantastic place!! The bird is so beautiful and i appreciate the way you have captured them in camera..Great and amazing shots..Also I Have Started My Own Website And Would Like You To Have A Look At It.I Would Love To Have Your Comments On That Also.Unseen Rajasthan

Bhuvan Chand said...

The CIC organised at its recent General Assembly an international competition on wildlife photography, with the title “Mammal Predators in Their Habitats”. For complete report http://lifeofearth.org/topics/wildlife

Tutta la Storia said...

They don't even look REAL! I've never seen anything so gorgeous!

nefaeria said...

What fantastic photographs, and such a pretty bird!

Zindagi said...

Hey i just landed to your blog by chance but i must say that i am lucky to find your blog its just amazing. All pics are lovely.

Nice to meet you.I am new to blogs and itsreally great I'm loving it

JKoenig said...

It is hard to believe a bird so colorful is actually "real." God certainly has a great imagination. Wow!

What magnificent pictures too, plus you are great at telling your story. I just discovered your blog, and look forward to seeing more of it.

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Amazing photos, Kelly! I've never been to Hilton, Head, but if I ever get the chance to head that direction, I'll be making a stop at Pinckney first!

Mary said...

Painted Buntings have to be one of the most glorious little birds ever created! God must have spilled the paint bucket on that one! I would love to see one sometime.

Dorothy said...

Hi Kelly,
I came over from Betsy'e blog. It's great to see the Painted Buntings! I think I would just faint if I saw such a pretty bird! You wouldn't call me a real 'birder' because I don't know enough about them, but I do just love photographing birds. I have seen several this year that I had never seen before, which is always very exciting to me. Come over and visit when you have time.
♥ Dorothy

BirdingMaine said...

It always amazes me when I see a Painted Bunting, as if it fell into a rainbow.

Very nice photos!

Jen said...

Hey Kelly-
My visit here is via Betsy and George. Glad you had a nice visit.
Fabulous Painted Bunting-wowee!
I'm down the road a piece from you in Northern KY. ;)
now, I'll go check out more of your blog.

Janie said...

I came over from Betsy's blog. Love that painted bunting. Your pics are marvelous.

Barb said...

Hi Kelly,
Visiting you from Andrea's blog. Your photos are gorgeous. The bunting's color is dazzling!

Susie said...

Hey Kelly, thanks for visiting my blog and for your sweet comments. We've been to Savannah before and loved it. It is a great old city.

You certainly captured a gorgeous bird. I would love to see one of these.

Elaine said...

Kelly, thanks for visiting my blog and your kind comments. These painted buntings are absolutely gorgeous and your photos are stunning! I've been looking back at some of your photos and they are simply outstanding. I can see I'll have to come back another day and spend some time.

HBFG said...

Absolutely breathtaking colors! Nature is amazing me every day again and again and again........... :))

Amanda said...

You are so lucky to have seen these birds. My mom has a few that visit her feeder in louisiana. GREAT CAPTURE!!