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Brown Pelicans

In the month of July, I participated in two seabird sanctuary tours with Eric Horan, a professional photographer and master naturalist from Beaufort, SC,

843-524-3037 or

On two separate trips we visited Deveaux Bank Seabird Sanctuary and Tomkins Island Seabird Rookery.  Actually the only way to view the birds is by boat as no one is allowed on either of the two islands.  Eric uses a 17 – 19 foot Carolina Skiff, which is perfect for the purpose.  Being a professional photographer, he is intent on positioning the boat to provide the best possible light.  As a naturalist, he is quick to point out each species and their expected actions.

Deveaux Bank Seabird Sanctuary’s 215 acres were established to protect nesting habitat for seabirds and shorebirds.  The island is located at the mouth of the North Edisto River in Charleston County, SC.  Some of the nesting birds include oystercatchers, black skimmers, brown pelicans, royal terns, laughing gulls, snowy egrets, great egrets and several shorebirds.

White Pelican @ lift off

We witnessed thousands of nesting birds during the three hour visit.  It was absolutely breathtaking to observe all of the action in such a small area as the Deveaux rookery.  My favorite images from Deveaux include a black skimmer feeding and laughing gulls attempting to take food from each other.

Tomkins Island is a five acre island constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the mouth of the Savannah River near Hilton Head Island, SC.  Annually there are more than 7000 pairs of nesting seabirds and shorebirds including brown pelicans, white pelicans, oystercatchers, black skimmers, egrets and ibis.

The day was a bit windier than the day at Deveaux but the bird action was fabulous, equal to the day at Deveaux.  During the trip we also spent time exploring the Calibogue Sound where shrimp boats were working.  The oyster bank, which is beautiful, is one of the largest in the area.  My favorite images from the trip included a white pelican at lift off, brown pelicans landing on an exposed tree root system and a Calibogue Sound MarshScape.

More images are available in the “Sea & Shorebird” gallery on my photography website  I would be honored if you signed by Guestbook.




  1. very nice Ernie. Not sure about the carolina skiff on a windy day.

    I am in cape cod with the wife and daughter> Just completed 45 minutes on the Elyptical and thought
    i would see what you are up to as the wife and kid snore away

    Big John your wing man

    • John,
      Good to hear from you. Thanks for tuning in from time to time. Hope all is well with you and your family. When you are next in Charlotte give me a call.

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