The turtles are the most likely to be seen sharing space with other creatures around the swamp and ponds. They crave the sun just like the alligators on this reptile ramp and don’t show any fear in the presence of an alligator that could easily eat them.
Wading birds like this Great Egret like a sunny spot, too, and easily find a spot in between the turtles on a nearby ramp.
I don’t know what this “foot in the air” display from the turtle just to the right of the egret is all about, but a little further along in another small pond I saw it again, with both hind feet straight out.
There aren’t many wading birds around my favorite swamp right now but I still like to walk around it at least once a week and I always see something. Sunday it was reptiles. We have had some cold weather but Sunday was in the low 70s (about 21 degrees C) and turtles, lizards and alligators were out soaking up the sun.
Turtles were crawling out of the water. They often just move onto the bank of the swamp making it easy to retreat. This one was more ambitious and got a completely dry spot.
The Brown Anole did a nice job selecting his wooden perch for camouflage and full sun. When I passed he disappeared down a crack in the middle of this dead stump.
The Alligators care little about being seen. Usually they can sink and swim many feet away in seconds if they feel the need to escape. The dead tree limbs this one was in between might have slowed him down if a real predator was after him. He was content with this spot; he hadn’t moved when I returned by him twenty minutes later.
We recently toured the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center, a 20,000 acre property on the coast of South Carolina that is managed by the state Department of Natural Resources. The Center is only accessible by crossing the Intracoastal Waterway by boat and only on pre-arranged tours.
The property is magnificent and includes some fresh water ponds that were glowing with reflected color and rippled by passing Alligators.
The Common Gallinules have reproduced much later in the summer than the other water birds in this area. Through the end of August we spotted a few families around the rice ponds and marsh areas.
Awkward, like most young, these chicks are covered with fuzz which picked up the duck weed, making them look even sillier. Members of the Rallidae family, they do swim even though their feet are not webbed and I usually see them just floating or wading.
One of the adults came closer when the chicks ventured into the deeper water to supervise.
At least one juvenile Alligator was nearby and while I don’t think they can catch or eat even the small Gallinule chicks, I’m sure mom wasn’t far away.
Everybody had a spot, at least for a minute. The younger Alligators shift around more than the big adults, maybe because they are used to getting pushed off the platform by their elders. Or a big turtle.
At the other end of the pond I found another pair posing, being watched by a third in the water.
This is the first group seen from the side, with a yet another Alligator climbing on the ramp for a spot in the sun. The duck weed was clinging to them all.