All posts by Ellen Jennings

Skinny Tree at Rest

I would never be surprised to find the Skinny Tree had succumbed to the elements and fallen into the pond. Happily, it made it through another wading bird nesting season,  providing a start to one Great Blue Heron chick in the top nest and five or six Great Egret chicks in at least two nests lower down.

All sorts of birds will use the tree as a perch for the next several months for fleeting moments. Come December the cycle will start again again when the Great Blue Herons start staking out nest sites and hopefully this tree will be around to participate.

The Skinny Tree, Ravenswood Pond
The Skinny Tree, Ravenswood Pond

It appears that the duck box has no bottom, so any Wood Ducks looking for a nesting spot will have to find another location.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston, SC
July 23, 2021

Juvenile Alligator Passing By Another

It is common for female Alligators to have multiple age youngsters in her care, which may include some hatched from other nests as well as her own. These two from a pod that included three ages/sizes are a good example.

Alligator on the Move
Alligator on the Move

I stayed focused on the moving Alligator, wondering if there was going to be some action.

Alligator on the Move
Alligator on the Move

There was not; the moving Alligator just plopped down. In addition to seeing the size difference in their heads, you can see the smaller Alligator’s tail just under the larger one’s chin.

Juvenile Alligators Sunning
Juvenile Alligators Sunning

Make Way – Wood Duck Ducklings

I was quite surprised to spot young ducklings last week at Ravenswood Pond, thinking the season was past. I continued on my walk not expecting to see them again as they tend to make a beeline for the other side of the pond.
Wood Duck Ducklings
Wood Duck Ducklings

But, when I passed back by the ducklings were up near the shore. They quickly headed back out into the pond.

Wood Duck Ducklings
Wood Duck Ducklings

Which way?

Wood Duck Ducklings
Wood Duck Ducklings

They regrouped and stayed together for as long as I could spot them.

Wood Duck Ducklings
Wood Duck Ducklings

The mother didn’t show any concern.

Female Wood Duck
Female Wood Duck

For context, here is a pulled back view. Those ducklings are out there somewhere, tucked under the vegetation somewhere between mama and the juvenile Little Blue Heron.

Wood Duck - Where Are the Ducklings
Wood Duck – Where Are the Ducklings?

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks at Pond Edge

This is the opposite end of the pond where I photographed the Sunning Juvenile Alligators on Sunday. When the pond is filled this area is all under water.

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Adult and Juvenile Gallinules

Several Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks duos were in view and working the pond edge, along with some juvenile Gallinules.

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks
Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks

This pair was was off by themselves.

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks
Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks

Evidently they had no where to be and plopped down.

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks
Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks

Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, SC
July 25, 2021

Sunning Juvenile Alligators

Most of the water was let out of this pond earlier this summer leaving a narrow depression of water and a nice edge for young Alligators to enjoy the morning sun.

Juvenile Alligator Sunning
Juvenile Alligator Sunning, 3 to 4 feet long ( 0.9 to 1.2 meters)

A few more were milling around in the water.

Juvenile Alligators Sunning
Juvenile Alligators Sunning

And a few more were in the reeds on a little raised island. I didn’t see the mother but know she wasn’t far off.

Juvenile Alligators Sunning
Juvenile Alligators Sunning

Based on the location and territorial habits of Alligators these are likely some of the youngsters I photographed last fall, seen here stacked up around their mother.

Alligator Mother and Young
Alligator Mother and Young, October 2020

Turkey Vulture, Flying Low

This is the same Turkey Vulture I’ve featured in recent posts as part of the the educational and flight demonstration program at the Center for Birds of Prey, this time showing off his flight skills.

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture Ready to Go!

Turkey Vultures are impressive with their flight skills, easily making sharp turns, using their wings to full advantage.

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture In Flight

It was very cool to see this one glide just above the ground, with seemingly little effort.

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture In Flight In Flight

The Center for Birds of Prey,  Awanda, SC
June 24, 2021

Previous Posts:

Turkey Vulture, Wings Out

Turkey Vulture, Up Close

Bottlenose Dolphins Mating

Like nature shows on tv, our nature boat trip to Bird Key to see the Brown Pelican chicks included some mating. This time is was not birds, but Dolphins.

Bottlenose Dolphins Mating
Bottlenose Dolphins Mating

Our boat captain and guide spotted a pod of Dolphins on our return trip up the Kiawah River. He was quick to say he thought we’d also see some mating based on his interpretation of what we were seeing.

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Bottlenose Dolphins Mating

From our distance on a bobbing boat it was hard to say for sure, but scenes frozen by the camera tell the story. Before you scroll on I’ll tell you that even at a distance they are graphic. And amazing.

Bottlenose Dolphins Mating
Bottlenose Dolphins Mating
Bottlenose Dolphins Mating
Bottlenose Dolphins Mating
Bottlenose Dolphins Mating
Bottlenose Dolphins Mating
Bottlenose Dolphins Mating
Bottlenose Dolphins Mating
Bottlenose Dolphins Mating
Bottlenose Dolphins Mating

The gestation period for Bottlenose Dolphins is twelve months. Tune in a year from now and we may see a calf.

Bottlenose Dolphins Mating
Bottlenose Dolphins, other individuals from the pod were not far off during the mating

Kiawah River, SC
July 12, 2021