I’ve walked past this tree that stands less than ten feet (three meters) from a well walked path at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens a hundred times, maybe more. Every time I notice this opening I think something should live there. An owl nest would have been fun to see.
Imagine my surprise when I looked up yesterday and saw this looking back at me!
I saw the ears of a second kit, but only one looked out while mama kept a close eye out.
A smaller side trail allowed me to get further from the Raccoon’s den but still see the opening through some branches. One kit looked out on his own before ducking down.
I continued on my walk and when I passed back by this spot about an hour later there was no movement. For every bit of nature I chance upon like this I wonder how many I just miss.
Middleton Place has a flock of sheep that roam the main grounds keeping them manicured. Weighted gates that close automatically behind the tourists allow foot traffic into the central green of the plantation and keep the sheep from escaping.
The sheep are looking scraggly as we head into winter; they will be shorn in the spring after lambs are born.
Belgian Horses are another heritage breed raised at Middleton Place. They provide carriage rides for visitors around the plantation grounds and are ignored by the sheep as they graze.
“A National Historic Landmark, home to the oldest landscaped gardens in America and an enduring, vibrant, and essential part of the Charleston and American experience.”
These are from my last trip to watch the Dolphins strand feed two weeks ago. There is a lot of time when nothing much happens, you see movement and push the shutter button hoping to catch some action. Following is a collection of a few of the better moments.
This tail-up image was unusual because a few Dolphins were almost down to the mouth of the river and out in the middle. They may have been feeding or just having fun.
Next is a picture of the calf with his head out of the water with his mother trailing behind. They often swim so close together it’s hard to tell what part belongs to what animal.
This one was passing close to shore checking on the humans but not feeding.
Last, what I think is the same calf as above, circling with his mother.
This trio of Dolphins charged the beach head on instead of from the side as I’ve usually seen.
The Dolphin on the left was hanging on tight to his catch.
As they continued to chase the fish herded to the water’s edge the Dolphin in the middle got a fish.
I didn’t notice it at the time, but a juvenile Dolphin was watching from a safe distance. I wonder if the Dolphin on the left was holding this catch to feed the youngster or if he/she was just too busy getting back in the water.
Later that morning I did see the mother and juvenile working the shore in what looked like teaching of the water swirling methods.
Cashmere Goats are one of the heritage breeds that Middleton Place houses in its barnyard, devoted to animals that were known to be on the farm at some point during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Over numerous trips here this is the closest I’ve come to an “action” shot of one of the goats.
This is closer to what I usually see:
From the Middleton Place website:
In the 1850s, Williams Middleton imported and raised cashmere goats, sending their treasured hair to France where it was processed into cloth. The goats need minimal shelter due to their dual coats. Each year, starting in March, the goats’ hair can be harvested by combing out their winter coat.
I have read about the damage wild pigs perform across South Carolina to crops, gardens, yards, anything they can root up, but this was the first time I had seen them in action.
This was a group of about a dozen, appearing to be a boar, two sows and two groups of youngsters, at slightly different sizes.
All of them except the boar were so busy feeding they didn’t even notice us when we stopped in the road.
We had driven by this small field a few days before and the grass the Wildlife Management Area staff had planted earlier in the summer was up about eight or ten inches (20 – 25 cm) and fully covered this plot.
The WMA maintains a number of areas along the roads through the property that attract and support different kinds of wildlife. I don’t think this was the outcome they wanted: complete destruction. I suppose the good news is a little fertilizer left behind and freshly turned earth to accept new seed if they decide to replant.
The boar had his eye on us and started encouraging his family to move along with some grunting and posturing. Off they went to destroy something else.