I'm headed to Murrell's Inlet SC for the Atalaya Festival this weekend. It's a 3-day show held in the beautiful setting of Atalaya Castle, a once private home that was built to look like a Moorish castle and is now a tourist destination. Clicking the link shows you a bird's eye view of the castle and its floor plan. Pretty impressive for a private home! Artists are set up both in the interior rooms of the castle and in the inner courtyards. The castle is on the grounds of Huntington Beach State Park, which has the wonderful combination of being right on the ocean as well as having a wide expanse of marsh and ponds for bird and alligator watching.
When we were there last year there was much excitement around the pond over sightings of roseate spoonbills, which are not supposed to be this far north. We spoke to several pro birders who told us tales of chasing all over South America looking for these birds, and here they were just chillin' right before our eyes just a few feet away. They were there each evening after the show, always in the same spot, within easy viewing/photographing range. It was lovely watching them until after the sun went down, when they flew off to who-knows-where. I love their pink reflections!
I like doing this show because even if sales aren't good, we can either walk on the beach or watch the birds coming home over the marsh in the evenings - the waves, the breeze and the birds blow any disappointment away. I'm hoping the spoonbills will be visiting again this year!