Ted and I have been visiting the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area regularly for almost three years. Somehow we always take the same few routes. The place is huge, just over 8000 acres, and yesterday we tried a new walking trail which starts in some woods overrun with mosquitoes then opens up to this!
The puffy clouds reflecting in the old rice field ponds were the perfect touch for some landscape photos. Several walkable dikes wind around the ponds and we saw a wide variety of birds, a few Alligators, and two Armadillos. And not another human being.
This is one of the short white bridges at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, as opposed to the “Long White Bridge” where tourists and brides pose for photographs. Around the corner on the same pond and much less visited. Except by the wildlife.
A Snowy Egret was striking a pose on a pylon overlooking a full creek. This was about the only wading bird activity I saw on this trip.
The water was very high on both sides of the dike leaving the “Spoony Tree” standing in water. The pond level was too high for wading birds to feed.
For comparison here is the tree a couple months earlier when there were some Spoonbills around and a few Alligators lounged in the shallow water. The dirt around the roots has washed away and the tree appears dead. It won’t be a surprise to find out this tree has fallen over.
Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, SC
First two images: 6/18/2019
Third image: 4/18/2019
Built in 1905, The Gibbes Museum of Art refers to the dome that crowns the Rotunda Gallery as “Tiffany Era.” It seems the sought after Tiffany markings are not to be found based on the museum’s news articles about a recent renovation that included cleaning the dome.
I took the image above standing on the big fleur-de-lis in this next image and looking up. I wanted to lay on the floor but thought it might be frowned on.
The floor is tile, that was (gasp!) covered in brown linoleum along with the beautiful woodwork being painted white sometime in the 1950s or early 1960.
This view out the huge windows in the front shows a hint of the neighboring Circular Church, another architectural beauty in Charleston.
This Black Swallowtail Butterfly flitted along on the outside of the plants lining the walkway as I went along the edge of the pond, obscuring my view. Finally he landed in a fern and seemed to peak through the fronds.
He then moved to a more open area and spent some time on this statice type plant.
The plant was down an embankment putting me even with the Butterfly for part of his feeding.
The area just beyond these plants has recently been flooded as part of a plan to make an additional pond near the heron rookery. Next year the vegetation will likely be very different here.
A year ago I captured similar images of butterfly and plant at a different pond about 25 miles (40 Kilometers) from this spot and thought the plant to be Brazilian Vervain (Verbena brasiliensis). Black Swallowtail Butterfly is the post if you’d like to compare.
Little Blue Herons will perch on logs or rocks to search for food rather than wade if something solid is available. With the water completely covered in duck weed it’s hard to say how deep it is.
This pond has had a lot of water level changes, up and down, this spring which has freed a number of fallen tree branches that had been hung up on the edges. This Little Blue Heron took full advantage of a log as a hunting spot.
I couldn’t make out what he was plucking out of the water but it seemed to satisfy him.
This is a long named bird and long named plant! The Powdery Alligator-flag doesn’t look like it would have much to feed a Hummingbird but this one spent several minutes investigating this single stalk.
After circling a few times she perched for a short rest.
I was able to move to a slightly closer spot, then a cloud covered the sun. And as is the way with Hummingbirds, zip and she was gone.
I haven’t seen many frogs around the various ponds I visit. Usually I just hear the splash as they disappear. I heard this one and his pals in a croaking chorus long before I got to the pond. I finally spotted him near the edge of the water. At least two others were answering in the deeper reeds.
He was huge! Bigger than my hand.
This is a bit further out in the pond, which is the same pond that the Barred Owls hunt around. The frogs might live longer if they didn’t announce themselves with such enthusiasm.