Winter Beauty

One of the lovely things about living in South Carolina is seeing plants in bloom throughout the year.

Winter Lily

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston maintains a huge variety of plantings, most in a less formal style “where humanity and nature are in harmony.” Surprises are at every turn and this Lily was holding court in a small clearing near a massive oak brought down by hurricane Matthew.

Click on photo for larger view.

 

Flexo-neck Anhinga

Or, “how’d he do that?”

It is mystifying to watch the larger birds scrunch their necks so they look like spirals, partly because it happens so fast and a turn of the head makes it look like a bad yoga position.

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One turn to look the other way.

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Then his head is down like a corkscrew. The rest of his body never moved as if it wasn’t attached.

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Old rice fields at Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC 1/4/2017.

Blue-winged Teal Pair

I was sitting on a bench at the edge of the swamp watching a Great Blue Heron when this pair of Blue-winged Teals swam by.

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The pair mostly stayed together, only rarely separating for a solo photograph.

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The Great Blue Heron can easily see over the vegetation, watching for lunch as more Teals swam behind him.

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The Teal pair quickly did a U-turn when the open water ended near where the Heron stood and went back where they came from.

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Magnolia Plantation Audubon Swamp, Charleston, SC.

Turtles Extreme Posing

On Sunday I posted photos of turtles posing on an Alligator ramp and logs to sun themselves out of the water. Yesterday in the same spot an Alligator was using a turtle as a head rest and more turtles were clambering to join the group.

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Further along in a different pond a similar activity was taking place with a much larger Alligator, only this time the turtles were on top.

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Do they have no suspicion that they might be lunch?

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We returned by this spot about an hour and a half later to find the Alligator had changed position but at least one free-loader was still in place.

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The nature guide at Magnolia Garden identifies these turtles as Yellow-bellied Sliders.

Click on photo for larger view.

Great Blue Heron: Foggy Morning

This Great Blue Heron was speaking to its mate on a recent foggy morning at the rookery.

Great Blue Heron

No one came so he/she took a trip around the pond, returning to repeat the ritual. I had my shutter speed set too low to get any flight shots.

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The Great Blue Heron’s neck feathers were on full display to help with mate attraction.

Great Blue Heron

Most of the pairs and singles were quiet by their nests for the hour we were there, seen below. There were a few Anhinga in the tree, too.

Great Blue Heron Rookery

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Magnolia Plantation Heron Rookery, January 16, 2017.

Turtles Posing

Singly or in groups, the turtles around the swamp like to climb onto about anything that protrudes out of the water on nice days.

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This one came up through the duckweed leaving a shiny green coat.

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They seem oblivious to the activity going on in the water around them, be it another turtle or an alligator.

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This alligator platform was fair game for the turtles while it was in the shade. As the sun comes around they will likely get pushed off.

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Click on any photo for larger view.

Audubon Swamp, January 2017.