Quick Trip to Donnelley and Beidler

Alligator B&W
Alligator at Donnelley Wildlife Management Area

I did it. I pulled the trigger on a new super zoom telephoto lens for my camera. I have a very old Celestron C90 telescope that I can use with my camera and a T-Mount. The magnification is amazing, but it’s almost impossible to focus properly, and I have to put my camera in full manual mode. That makes it difficult to use for wildlife photography.

Nikon D50 attached to Celestron C-90

About this time last year I had rented a Tamron 200-500mm lens and we made a rainy trek down to the ACE Basin and Beidler Forest. Even though it rained most of our trip, I got some great shots that weekend, and enjoyed using the longer lens. I started saving my pennies so that I could get one.

I didn’t get the Tamron, but found a Sigma 150-500 that I liked that also had image stabilization. It arrived last week.

New lens - Sigma 150-500mm

Since it was the start of Laura’s spring break, we decided it was time for another Lowcountry birding trek to get the new lens a trial run. We repeated our trip almost exactly except without the rain, visiting the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area in the ACE Basin on Monday and the Francis Beidler Forest on Tuesday. Continue reading “Quick Trip to Donnelley and Beidler”

The Curse of Boynton House

The Curse of Boynton House

Boynton House sits abandoned and forlorn in a remote corner of the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, part of the ACE Basin. It was once the main house for a vast rice plantation. Now the wooden filigree is falling apart, and bat guano fills several of the rooms. On this particular trip, we also found out that it is cursed.

Normally we do a paddling trip the second Saturday of each month with the Lowcountry Unfiltered group. This time we decided to do something different. One of our members, Rob Dewig, has a new job with the Colleton County Museum. We wanted to check out his new digs. We also planned to do a bit of bike riding in the ACE Basin.

I got up far too early on Saturday morning and drove on down to the Lowcountry. Five other hearty souls joined me at the main kiosk for Donelley. It sounded like a disciples convention – Thomas (me), Matthew, James, John, James, and a young guy whose name starts out C-h-r-i-s-t. (Christian, Jimmy’s son). Yeah, we were in for trouble of Biblical proportions. Continue reading “The Curse of Boynton House”

ACE Basin

Donelley House

Our visit to Beidler Forest only took up half of the day, and we were ready to see more wildlife. Therefore, we cut across the country down toward the ACE Basin and the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area. Donnelley is only one small section of the ACE Basin. To the east is the Ernest Hollings National Wildlife Refuge. However, we prefer Donnelly because it’s a bit easier access, and it tends to be a bit quieter.

We entered from Bennett’s Point Road and immediately got turned around. We were taking a different direction, but eventually wound up where we wanted – at the old farm house that serves as a landmark for the rice field hiking trails.

Continue reading “ACE Basin”