A few Canada Geese were making their presence known with some squawking and flapping. This one skidding across the pond was taking issue with something. Several pairs had young in the area and others, along with some ducks, were just hanging around seemingly minding their own business. But who knows how a goose feels about that?
Several Peacocks have the run of Middleton Place, a historic SC Plantation and Museum. They mostly stay in the barnyard area and on my last visit I spotted just this one sleeping on top of a rabbit hutch.
He opened his eyes to watch me watch him but he showed no sign of getting up.
Nature is working on reclaiming the Boynton House located in South Carolina’s Donnelley Wildlife Management Area. Managed by SC Department of Natural Resources, the front lawn is kept roughly mowed as this is a parking area for one of the managed nature trails.
Once part of a thriving cattle farm the house was abandoned ages ago, and other than the occasional mowing is being left to rot.
This view of one end of the house shows the vegetation encroaching on the back of the building. The other end was completely covered with vines. I was standing in a sea of poison ivy to take this image and decided I didn’t need to see the back and retreated.
These images were taken at the end of April and by mid-summer I expect even less of the house will be visible.
Perched on a log a group of male Wood Ducks were just hanging around, doing some stretching.
At least three were lined up on this log and a few more were in the water behind this clump of trees.
Time for a swim, one by one they took to the water.
There is an open pond at the edge of the cypress swamp and this fellow was going off on his own.
I was intrigued by this old shed on the grounds of Swan Lake Iris Gardens when we visited in early February. The boards and vines made an interesting collage.
On last week’s visit I was delighted to see the shed covered in trumpet vine and looking somewhat like a Chia Pet, with an elephant trunk.
I’m not that familiar with Trumpet Vine and don’t know how the blooming process goes. There were just a few blooms fully trumpeting and I wonder if this shed will be covered with blossoms. Trumpet Vine is a favorite of humming birds but I didn’t see any.
If you aren’t familiar, “Chia Pets are American styled terracotta figurines used to sprout chia, where the chia sprouts grow within a couple of weeks to resemble the animal’s fur or hair.”
What seemed like a fad, these do-it-yourself kits have been around since the 1970s. Everything from cats and dogs to political figures have been represented. The jingle is now rattling around in my head.
A Canada Goose family was wandering through the edge of the cypress swamp, with the goslings foraging for food under the watchful eyes of their parents.
It was a cloudy morning and there was a full canopy above us so the images had a very high ISO. I reduced the noise and clarity which gave the youngsters a soft look that I found appealing.
They stayed surprisingly close to the boardwalk even as we approached, but before long the adults steered their charges back into the water.
Click on any image for a larger view.
It was a dull day and my images of the Japanese Iris border at Swan Lake and Iris Gardens didn’t amount to much. The insect activity on the iris flowers was much more interesting.
Here a bee is backing out of the flower center after adding to his pollen cache.
He buzzed around the back of the flower and if you zoom in you can see one tiny leg sticking out from the right side of the stem under the petal stem. I didn’t see the second insect on the petal until I was developing the images.
A small spider crawled all over the petals of this delacately colored bloom.
Meanwhile a Skipper was touching all the parts of the next flower over.
This is a section of the Iris border that is on a pond. There is a dragonfly perched on a frond just left and below center–another one I spotted after I got home. I expect there was more insect activity that wasn’t as obvious.
These three chicks really look like Anhingas now, with the classic black and white “piano key” feathers on their wings.
Like the wading bird chicks in nearby nests these older chicks are spending more time interacting with each other as they wait for the parents to bring food. These three were so busy they didn’t even notice when one of the parents was on its approach.
Just as well, because she kept right on going.
I don’t know what made her abort her landing, but she circled around the tree for a second try and successful touch down.
Three Great Egret chicks worked to get food from the parent that has just returned to the nest. The chicks’ pulling on the adult’s beak stimulates regurgitation.
This time it didn’t seem to produce anything and the adult’s neck had an odd kink in it…maybe what he just ate wouldn’t come back.
They gave it another try. If there was any food produced it was pretty small. These chicks’ beaks are nearly as big as the adult’s, and look as sharp.
The adult flew off leaving the chicks to chew on each other.
Surveying his realm, this single Black-crowned Night-Heron was on a small island in what was an active Little Blue Heron rookery last year. This year he seems to be the only wading bird using it.
Shortly after I took this picture he dropped down into the center of the island out of sight, presumably to a nest.