Tag Archives: Alligator

Sharing Space

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.

Alligator and Turtles
Alligator and Turtles

Wading birds like this Great Egret like a sunny spot, too, and easily find a spot in between the turtles on a nearby ramp.

Great Egret and Turtles
Great Egret and Turtles

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.

Two Turtles Sharing a Log
Two Turtles Sharing a Log

Reptile Day at the Swamp

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.

Turtle
Turtle

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.

Brown Anole
Brown Anole

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.

Alligator
Alligator

Click on any photo for larger view.

Pond in Fall Colors

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.

Fall Pond
Fall Pond

The property is magnificent and includes some fresh water ponds that were glowing with reflected color and rippled by passing Alligators.

Fall Pond with Alligator
Fall Pond with Alligator

 

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

Alligator Parade

One by one and without a sound or a ripple of the water these three Alligators swam out from a side canal into the main one that circles the old rice field.

Alligators
Alligators

And then there were four.

Alligators
Alligators

A sepia treatment makes the scene a little more creepy. Not sure of their intended direction we moved back down the dike towards the road so we wouldn’t get cut off if they came ashore.

Alligators
Alligators

Click any photo for larger view.

Common Gallinule Chicks

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.

Common Gallinule
Common Gallinule Chick – click image for larger view

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.

Common Gallinule Chicks
Common Gallinule Chicks – click image for larger view

One of the adults came closer when the chicks ventured into the deeper water to supervise.

Common Gallinule Chick with Adult
Common Gallinule Chick with Adult – click image for larger view

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.

Juvenile Alligator
Juvenile Alligator – click image for larger view

 

Alligators Do Like to Pose

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.

Alligators
Alligators and a Turtle head – click photo for larger view

At the other end of the pond I found another pair posing, being watched by a third in the water.

Alligators
Alligators – click photo for larger view

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.

Alligators
Alligators and Turtle – click photo for larger view

A Duck Tale

Mother Wood Duck and seven ducklings climbed onto the Alligator ramp for some grooming and rest.

Wood Duck with Ducklings
Wood Duck with Ducklings – click on photo for larger view

Drowsy, without a care in the world, after a bit everyone settled down and Mom stood watch. I thought these ducks were taking a risk: they don’t call it an Alligator platform for nothing!

Wood Duck with Ducklings
Wood Duck with Ducklings – click on photo for larger view

Dad patrolled the waters.

Look carefully to the left of the Drake and you will see an Alligator body part is sticking out of the water just a smidge. I didn’t see this until I was developing these photos.

Wood Duck with Alligator Lurking
Wood Duck with Alligator Lurking – click on photo for larger view

I did suspect that something was about to happen because the Drake let out a squawk, reversed course and paddled away.

Wood Duck with Ducklings
Wood Duck with Ducklings – click on photo for larger view

Mama also sensed something was wrong.

Wood Duck with Ducklings
Wood Duck with Ducklings – click on photo for larger view

I missed them exit from the platform but those ducklings were just about running on the water to get out of there.

Wood Duck Ducklings
Wood Duck Ducklings – click on photo for larger view

When I glanced back the platform had a new occupant.

Alligator
Alligator – click on photo for larger view

The ducklings and mom disappeared towards the other side of the pond, with a tale of survival, this time.

 

Wood Duck Ducklings
Wood Duck Ducklings – click on photo for larger view