Boynton House

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.

Boynton House
Boynton House guarded by a magnificent Live Oak

Once part of a thriving cattle farm the house was abandoned ages ago, and other than the occasional mowing is being left to rot.

Boynton House
Boynton House

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.

Boynton House
Boynton House

These images were taken at the end of April and by mid-summer I expect even less of the house will be visible.

Wood Ducks in Cypress Swamp

Perched on a log a group of male Wood Ducks were just hanging around, doing some stretching.

Wood Duck
Wood Duck Stretching

At least three were lined up on this log and a few more were in the water behind this clump of trees.

Wood Duck
Wood Ducks

Time for a swim, one by one they took to the water.

Wood Duck
Wood Duck

There is an open pond at the edge of the cypress swamp and this fellow was going off on his own.

Wood Duck
Wood Duck on Pond

Old Shed Transformation

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.

Old Shed in February
Old Shed – February 1, 2018

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.

Shed Covered with Trumpet Vine
Shed Covered with Trumpet Vine -May 21, 2018

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.

Trumpet Vine Closeup
Trumpet Vine Closeup

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.”
— Wikipedia.
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.

Canada Goose Goslings

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.

Canada Goose Gosling
Canada Goose Gosling

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.

Canada Goose Goslings
Canada Goose Goslings

They stayed surprisingly close to the boardwalk even as we approached, but before long the adults steered their charges back into the water.

Canada Goose Goslings
Canada Goose Goslings

Click on any image for a larger view.

Insects on Irises

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.

Bee on Iris
Bee on Iris

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.

Insect on Iris
Insect on Iris – click on image to enlarge

A small spider crawled all over the petals of this delacately colored bloom.

Spider on Iris
Spider on Iris

Meanwhile a Skipper was touching all the parts of the next flower over.

Skipper on Iris
Skipper on Iris

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.

Dragonfly on Iris
Iris Border with a Dragonfly

Three Disappointed Anhinga Chicks

These three chicks really look like Anhingas now, with the classic black and white “piano key” feathers on their wings.

Three Anhinga Chicks
Three Anhinga Chicks

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.

Three Anhinga Chicks
Three Anhinga Chicks

Just as well, because she kept right on going.

Three Anhinga Chicks
Three Anhinga Chicks

And going.

Three Anhinga Chicks
Three Anhinga Chicks, mother Anhinga passing by

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 Hungry Egrets

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.

Great Egret with Three Chicks
Great Egret with Three Chicks

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.

Great Egret with Three Chicks
Great Egret with Three Chicks, watched by younger chick in the nest above

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.

Great Egret with Three Chicks
Great Egret with Three Chicks

The adult flew off leaving the chicks to chew on each other.

Three Great Egret Chicks
Three Great Egret Chicks