Category Archives: Animals

Wild Pig Getting a Drink

I’ve heard stories and read articles about South Carolina’s wild pigs, especially about how destructive they can be and how their population has exploded since the 1980s.  Depending on the source they may be referred to as hogs or boars. This is the first one I’ve seen and in quite an unexpected spot: a canal at the edge of an old rice field where I’ve often photographed egrets, herons and alligators.

Wild Pig
Wild Pig

There is still a little snow around the edges of the ponds, some of the non-moving water is frozen over and the dense grass areas have ice in them. This may have been the best watering spot he could find, even with the mud.

Wild Hog
Wild Hog

He sauntered away–I’m not sure he could have run if he needed to, being up to his knees in that mud.

Wild Boar
Wild Boar

Click on any photo for larger view. 

Day Out With New Camera: Bobcat

On my second trip out with my new Sony Alpha 6500, which was intended for landscapes you may have noted from my last post, we came upon a Bobcat at the Charles Towne Landing Animal Forest.  This South Carolina State run park includes a number of animals that would have been in the area in the 1600s when the first settlers arrived. The Bobcat is in an enclosure but he had chosen a perfect spot above his fencing to give us a barrier free view.

I had been taking test shots with various focus and exposure settings with the 18-110mm lens mounted.  Of course I wished I had the longer lens on, but I did want to see how the lens would perform and didn’t want to take a chance he would leave while I was changing lenses.

Bobcat at Charlestowne Landing Zoo
Bobcat at Charlestowne Landing Animal Forest; Sony Alpha 6500,  Sony 18-110mm f4  at 105mm

The Bobcat was asleep in the sun when we first saw him and it turns out I had ample opportunity to adjust the camera settings, drop the lens hood then the UV filter that wasn’t tightened enough, and take some photos with the shorter lens before he opened his eyes.

Bobcat at Charlestowne Landing Zoo
Bobcat at Charlestowne Landing Animal Forest; Sony Alpha 6500,  Sony – 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 at 210mm

He started stretching as I switched lenses. I should have changed to a faster shutter speed at this point but was still pleased with the images.

Bobcat at Charlestowne Landing Zoo
Bobcat at Charlestowne Landing Animal Forest; Sony Alpha 6500,  Sony – 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 at 210mm

After a look around the Bobcat dropped out of the tree and disappeared into the undergrowth.

Bobcat at Charlestowne Landing Zoo
Bobcat at Charlestowne Landing Animal Forest; Sony Alpha 6500,  Sony – 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 at 210mm

One Got Away

I did not see the Needlefish when I was taking these shots. The glare from the afternoon sun and the splash from the strand feeding Dolphin were what I saw in the viewfinder while I was hoping the Dolphin’s head would emerge through the water.

Fish Got Away
Fish Got Away

The fish’s jumping skills outran the Dolphin’s efforts to corner him near shore.

Fish Got Away
Fish Got Away

In a matter of seconds the the Dolphin turned back into the deeper water.

Dolphin Returning to Water
Dolphin Returning to Water

Synchronized Dolphins

The tide was coming in working against the river flowing out. A group of about a dozen Dolphins worked up and down the mouth of the river giving fleeting glimpses of fins, tails, and head bobs, mostly out in the middle of the river.

Pair of Dolphins
Pair of Dolphins

Dolphins hunt for food cooperatively and I have seen pairs and groups of 4 or 5 working together. Often it is hard to tell how many because they aren’t visible at the same time and can travel long distances under water. This pair showed off a few elegant moves before they went on their way.

Pair of Dolphins
Pair of Dolphins

Folly Beach County Park, SC.

Dolphins Moving Water

The bank of the river is very steep here which not only helps the Dolphin corral fish to feed on but it creates a funnel wave up the shore. I could hear the water coming and didn’t want to miss the Dolphin, but I think the funnel may have been a more interesting photograph. I’ll need to see this a few more times to get placed properly for the best shot.

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Feeding

He’s in there somewhere. Amazingly fast and agile, Dolphins create a swirl in the water as they zoom by.

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Feeding

The splash was quite dramatic as he made a turn, sending an incredible amount of water airborne.

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Feeding

There is at least 1000 feet of river shoreline where the Dolphins were feeding this day, and with their speed it was tough to choose a place to stand.

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Feeding

Dolphins

I have frequently seen Dolphins in the ocean, rivers and creeks while out photographing in the greater Charleston area. Except for one frenzied experience in May I had only seen glimpses and teases of the promise of getting a Dolphin photo that included more than a fin.

Dolphins playing in the river
Dolphins playing in the river

Yesterday that changed when we watched six or eight Dolphins interacting in the mouth of a river. This group rose and dove around each other, with the juvenile often nudging up against one of the adults.

Dolphins playing in the river
Dolphins playing in the river

Following their swimming pattern helps to be looking in the right place for their next appearance but they are quick to change direction.  Occasionally did something totally different!

Dolphins showing off in the river
Dolphins showing off in the river

Several of the adults stayed in the periphery of the group and also took some time for feeding along the river edge, which will be another post.

Dolphins playing in the river
Dolphins playing in the river

After about a half hour the group moved further from us then disappeared around a corner.

Wind Up My Nose

Ah, the wind…

The wind at the beach got the approval of this Basset Hound.

Basset Hound at the Beach
Basset Hound at the Beach

I think of these hounds as being plodders, but this fellow broke into a joyful run down the beach with all four feet off the sand. A senior citizen, he soon returned to a stately walk and was happy to rest when his people sat on a chunk of driftwood.

Basset Hound at the Beach
Basset Hound at the Beach

Dolphin Frenzy

A big splash got our attention as we were leaving the USS Yorktown at the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum this afternoon. I thought it might be an Alligator, then saw a high splash of water.

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Making Big Splash – click photo for larger view

The dolphin made his way up and down the stretch of water that sits between the museum boats and the shore, splashing as he went. Fortunately for me there is a dock that runs parallel to the shore and away I went to follow the unfolding drama.

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Feeding – click photo for larger view

A large fish started jumping out of the water trying to stay ahead of the dolphin.

Dolphin Feeding
Fish Trying to Out Jump Dolphin Feeding – click photo for larger view

He got caught!

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Caught the Fish- click photo for larger view

Then got away!

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Feeding – the One That Got Away- click photo for larger view

Undeterred, the dolphin tried again while a Snowy Egret decided to relocate further from the action.

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Splashing Water Over Snowy Egret- click photo for larger view

The volume of water and waves the dolphin splashed up was incredible to watch.

Dolphin Feeding
Dolphin Making Big Splash – click photo for larger view

Delicate Diner

After picking this treasure directly off the tree with a resounding “snap” the squirrel settled in and delicately ate it. He slowly turned and savored the nut/seed showing off some pretty serious claws.

Squirrel Eating
Squirrel Eating – click photo for larger view

It was surprising to see him so still for so long as most squirrels I see are running and jumping around in a chaotic way. What nature photographer hasn’t had a fright when a squirrel suddenly careened across their path?

Squirrel Eating
Squirrel Eating

 

Spring is for Lambs

New lambs have arrived at the Middleton Place barnyard. Cute is the only word for them. Ranging from one day to one week old, these lambs were in a pen with their mothers, all trying to figure out how the world works.

Pardon me while I squeeze under you – click photo for larger view

The whole group was in constant motion and regrettably I should have taken these shots at a faster shutter speed.

Lambs at Middleton Place – click photo for larger view

In the photo below the youngest lamb, in the back, is less than 24 hours old. The three in the middle, perhaps triplets,  mostly stuck together and practiced their “bahhing” for awhile.

Lambs
Lambs – click photo for larger view

A pair of farm workers were making some repairs to the pen, probably to prevent escapes under the fence by the new tiny occupants. The little guy below was most interested in what they were up to.

Inquisitive lamb – click photo for larger view

This mother sheep had plenty to say, too.

Bleeting Sheep
Bleeting Sheep – click photo for larger view

The farm’s adult sheep are looking a little bedraggled and will be shorn this weekend.

Middleton Place Barnyard, SC, May 1, 2017.