I liked the green reflection from the distant trees in this old rice field canal. A storm was brewing and the sky had become dark eliminating the more common blue reflection. The water was so still it looked solid.
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.
Cypress Gardens, a 170 acre preserve in Monks Corner, was on our list of places to visit when we first visited South Carolina in January 2016. Unfortunately, it had been completely destroyed in October 2015 by the “thousand year flood.” Promises to reopen over the next three years were changed as setbacks to repairs came with Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Tropical Storm Irma in 2017 and the January snowstorm of 2018.
At long last Berkeley County has overcome the weather and bureaucratic delays, reopening the park in April. After giving them a few weeks to work out the kinks we’ve now had our first excursion there and fittingly, it started raining as we pulled into the parking lot.
Not deterred we started with a guided boat ride through the black water swamp to get a feel for the park layout. It was neat being down close to the water surface and another time I’d take the self-guided (paddle yourself in a small flat bottom boat) so I could stop where I wanted.
Plants are being allowed to come back on their own but the management actively is removing the thriving duck weed and creating compost from it.
We saw a few alligators including some under a year old, snakes and song birds. Hopefully wading birds and other wildlife will return as the landscape heals.
A few small islands throughout the swamp had cultivated flowers. I don’t know if these somehow survived all the weather events or have been recently planted.
Walking trails around the swamp and into the woods, a butterfly house, a combo aquarium/reptile center, and numerous gardens round out the attractions.
This time of year the sun is not at the best angle for showing off the shrimp boat rigging but the expanse of orange sky was still pretty nice.
The sky was a beautiful orange glow behind a Laughing Gull perched on a dock piling.
This is a somewhat artsy presentation of the Ravenel Bridge through a monument at Magnolia Cemetery.
Charleston’s Ravenel Bridge is part of the landscape seen from the back of Magnolia Cemetery. The Cooper River runs under the bridge and creates the marsh that edges the cemetery, which is just barely above the level of the river.
A storm was predicted for the morning I was there but the clouds drifted higher before anything dramatic looking happened.
May 3, 2019
This tree hangs over a pond at Charleston’s Magnolia Cemetery. It made a perfect perch for a Yellow-crowned Night-heron to watch the water.
These images were taken 4/5/2019 as the water was dropping in this pond. Repairs were being done to the pond out-flow and adjacent road that required the water to be lowered.
It was fascinating to see what had been under the two to three feet (up to one meter) of water. This first image is an alligator ramp that is the same one seen in Wood Stork King of the Ramp.
The reddish material is Mosquito Fern. Next is another Alligator ramp that had just barely been sticking out of the water on the high end.
Lastly, this is a view of a bridge that connects a couple of the pond’s islands as part of the path around the pond. Great Blue Herons can easily walk under the bridge.
As of last week management is adding some water to this pond. Unless we have a big rain I expect it will be weeks and maybe more before the water is back to the previous level.
When I first saw these flashes of white from the road I thought they were birds. It was a nice treat to find water lilies, even though I couldn’t get very close.
There was a small grouping of lilies closer to the dike that runs along the side of the pond.
A stiff breeze was flapping the lily pads out of the water in an open area where a single Cormorant was fishing.