I heard the crunching and knew from the Alligator’s raised head and tail position he was eating something.
They were close enough to be in the same frame, but I did not get both the Alligator and Green Heron in focus.
The Green Heron was going about his business, picking small snacks from between the water plants and the Alligator paid no attention.
An Alligator frequently occupies this spot in one of Magnolia Plantation’s garden ponds. I had stayed out on the dike longer than I had intended on this afternoon and it was nearly sundown when I headed for my car.
I did have to stop for this nearly perfect reflection opportunity even though there wasn’t much light.
Capturing Dragonflies in flight is not easy. Their small size and erratic flight path is hard to follow. For some reason this one was hovering for an extended period of time just over the edge of the pond.
I was able to get decent focus and a photobomber.
I watched this Alligator swimming deliberately towards the ramp. He circled underneath and then headed for the low end.
I’ve seen, and documented, Alligators climbing onto a ramp before so I was pretty sure what was coming next.
With a heave his head and neck were out of the water.
And in one motion he smoothly propelled onto the ramp.
He started to flail a bit and I thought he might not make it.
He persisted and one of his back legs caught the edge.
Alligators generally appear to be lurking everywhere I see them, it’s just their style. I liked the way the Spanish Moss was hanging down into the pond where this one was doing his thing.
Of course it’s better to see them lurking than not.
The tide was high and the pond was full which means the water near the trunk that connects the pond to the Ashley River was nearly still. This Alligator left the coveted spot near that movement for an exploratory swim.
He was moving pretty fast at first, with the Duckweed piling up in front of him, like he had a destination in mind.
I’ve wondered what Alligators see as they swim, their line of sight easily obstructed by objects that don’t look like much when seen from above.
This was not a great photography morning. I saw a lot of birds, but too far for good shots. The air was hazy and sunlight harsh. The Alligators doing their thing in this pond caught my eye. Fish were jumping and several Alligators floated in between. The grasses along the bank are starting to look like fall.
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