Category Archives: Nature

Gathered Around

The Cormorants were content drying their wings on the Alligator ramp as a murky sun warmed the afternoon. A Great Blue Heron came along and disrupted their peace.

Gathering Spot
Great Blue Heron coming in, Cormorants holding their territory

The Cormorants did not surrender their ground despite some posturing from the Great Blue.

Gathering Spot
Great Blue Heron puffed up

An Alligator popped up to see what was happening as I continued along my walk.

Gathering Spot
Great Blue Heron, Cormorants, and Alligator

Sunset

My sunset photographs rarely do the real scene justice. Often it is because there is nothing in the foreground to make a good composition. These dead trees on a nearby beach are a little something but I didn’t get a great angle.

Sunset
Sunset

Knowing the right spots for the time of year is a help. So is luck. Now that we are in our second year in South Carolina I might do better with the locations. For the luck, all you can do is get out there.

Sunset
Sunset

This evening the sunset was spectacular. Really.

Sunset
Sunset

Taken 11/14/2017, Folly Beach, SC.

Young Alligators

I counted at least six young Alligators hanging out with their mother. They were being very still and and the mother was under the water when I passed by going along the edge of the pond. When I returned a few minutes later I heard the tell tell “mewing” sound of one of the young calling.

Young Alligators in the Pond
Young Alligators with Mama in the Pond

Standing still for a few minutes I started to see them move around and the mother rose to a protective position. They were about 12 inches long and sometimes their heads bobbed out of the water and other times you could just see their tails switching the duckweed around.

Young Alligators with Mama in the Pond
Young Alligators with Mama in the Pond

It was almost sundown and time for them to be settling in for the night.

Smithsonian Gardens: Green Wall / Brown Wall

I first became aware of Green Walls when Liz of the New Zealand based blog Exploring Colour posted about an installation in Balclutha, NZ. It is an impressive sight that uses mostly native plants and made an otherwise utilitarian looking space inviting.

Read Liz’s post with photos of the entire wall at Green Wall in Rural Town Centre and close ups of the plants at Green Wall (Part 2).

Just a couple weeks later at the Smithsonian’s Mary Livingston Ripley Garden in Washington DC I was surprised to find a short Green Wall. Much smaller than the Balclutha version  with smaller plants, the colors and textures were a visual treat.

Green Wall
Green Wall

Although not called a Brown Wall, that is what I would call this next construction, or perhaps an Insect Condo as a sign indicated was its purpose. I didn’t get close enough to see if it had occupents but it did look inviting.

Home for Insects
Home for Insects

Maybe this sign would slow down a stinking thief. I wondered if the gap in the Green Wall was due to theft or plant failure.

Sign: Don't Steal
Sign: Don’t Steal

I found this sign more to my liking. #SmithsonianGardens

Smithsonian Gardens Photography Encouraged
Smithsonian Gardens Photography Encouraged

Great Blue Heron In Flight

A Great Blue Heron looped around me twice, going in and out of the early morning sun across a variety of marsh backgrounds. He started to touch down then decided that wasn’t the spot.

Great Blue Heron in Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight

He was on a leisurely flight, surveying the area and looking for a spot to have to himself.

Great Blue Heron in Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight

Elegant in flight the heron glided across the trail I was on with little effort, finally banking sharply and landing out of sight in the next pond.

Great Blue Heron in Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight

Great Egret Silhouette in Tree

I’ve seen all sizes of birds land in this dead tree, from swallows to eagles. Sometimes they share, but this Great Egret had it all to himself. It is protected on a small island created by canals at the edge of two old rice fields. Humans can’t get to it and it has a  360 degree view over several impoundments, useful for scoping out a bird’s next meal.

Great Egret in Dead Tree
Great Egret in Dead Tree

This was taken shortly after sun rise just about into the sun.

White Pelicans in Flight

I’ve tried to stop taking  bird in flight shots unless they are really close as I just end up disappointed and deleting them.

However, when this flock was coming, I took the shot. Lots of them actually.

White Pelican Flock
White Pelican Flock

We had seen a large number of these Pelicans as the sun was coming up. This was about an hour later and hundreds more passed over us in a few waves over several minutes.

White Pelican Flock
White Pelican Flock

In the next photo you can pick out a couple of Cormorants in the mix. I’m not sure if they were flying with the Pelicans or if the Pelicans passed them.

White Pelican Flock
White Pelican Flock

We were hoping the flock might land in a nearby pond, but they kept on moving at a pretty brisk pace.

White Pelican Flock
White Pelican Flock

Click on any photo for a larger view.