Tag Archives: Animals

Surprise in the Hole

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.

What's in a Hole
What’s in a Hole

Imagine my surprise when I looked up yesterday and saw this looking back at me!

Mother Raccoon and Kit
Mother Raccoon and Kit

I saw the ears of a second kit, but only one looked out while mama kept a close eye out.

Mother Raccoon and Kit
Mother Raccoon and Kit

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.

Raccoon Kit
Raccoon Kit

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.

Squirrel Gathering Building Material

While waiting for the Prothonotary Warbler on Knee to emerge from its nest cavity I heard an odd scraping noise. This squirrel was peeling bark off a tree.

Squirrel
Squirrel with Tree Bark

He kept pulling and stuffing it in his mouth. The strands seemed very pliable, good material to welcome baby squirrels.

Squirrel
Squirrel

Hey, I’m beeing watched!

Squirrel
Squirrel

Then he balled it all up in his mouth and scooted around the other side of the tree where I lost sight of him.

Squirrel
Squirrel

Beach, Dog Fun 2

I had been surprised that the two dogs, Green Collar and Orange Collar, from my post yesterday Beach, Dog Fun, didn’t go into the ocean surf.

This tidal pool was another matter.

Dogs Playing in Tidal Pool
Dogs Playing in Tidal Pool

Green Collar went about his business, inspecting the water surface when his buddy noticed him!

Dogs Playing in Tidal Pool
Dogs Playing in Tidal Pool

Two quick pounces and Orange Collar was all in.

Dogs Playing in Tidal Pool
Dogs Playing in Tidal Pool

Then he stopped on a dime with just a small splash, leaving his older pal standing solidly in the shallow water.

Dogs Playing in Tidal Pool
Dogs Playing in Tidal Pool

 

Working for Their Supper

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.

Grazing Sheep
Grazing Sheep

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.

Grazing Sheep and a Belgian Horse
Grazing Sheep and a Belgian Horse

Middleton Place 
“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.”

Dolphins Out in the River

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.

Dolphin Tail
Dolphin Tail

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.

Dolphin Calf
Dolphin Calf

This one was passing close to shore checking on the humans but not feeding.

Dolphin
Dolphin

Last, what I think is the same calf as above,  circling with his mother.

Dolphin Calf
Dolphin Calf with Mother

Click on any image for a larger view. 

Dolphins Strand Feeding, Junior Watching

This trio of Dolphins charged the beach head on instead of from the side as I’ve usually seen.

Dolphins Strand Feeding
Dolphins Strand Feeding

The Dolphin on the left was hanging on tight to his catch.

Dolphins Strand Feeding
Dolphins Strand Feeding

As they continued to chase the fish herded to the water’s edge the Dolphin in the middle got a fish.

Dolphins Strand Feeding
Dolphins Strand Feeding

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.

Dolphins Strand Feeding
Dolphins Strand Feeding

Later that morning I did see the mother and juvenile working the shore in what looked like teaching of the water swirling methods.

11/06/2018

Dolphins Strand Feeding: Big Catch

The fish were easy to see as they flew through the air, tossed about by the powerful water surges created by the Dolphins.

Dolphins Strand Feeding, Fish in the Air
Dolphins Strand Feeding, Fish in the Air

Most of the fish manage to flop back into the water but this one was about to be lunch.

Dolphins Strand Feeding
Dolphins Strand Feeding

The fish appears to be dead or knocked out.

Dolphins Strand Feeding
Dolphins Strand Feeding

But a moment later he leapt into the air…

Dolphins Strand Feeding
Dolphins Strand Feeding

and ended up in a Dolphin’s mouth.

Dolphins Strand Feeding
Dolphins Strand Feeding

The images in a slideshow, if you prefer; click an image to get started:

Cashmere Goat

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.

Cashmere Goat
Cashmere Goat

Over numerous trips here this is the closest I’ve come to an “action” shot of one of the goats.

Cashmere Goat
Cashmere Goat

This is closer to what I usually see:

Cashmere Goat
Cashmere Goat

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.

https://www.middletonplace.org/

Wild Pig Destruction

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.

Wild Pigs
Wild Pigs

This was a group of about a dozen, appearing to be a boar, two sows and two groups of youngsters, at slightly different sizes.

Wild Pigs
Wild Pigs

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.

Wild Pig Boar
Wild Pig Boar

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.

Wild Pig Family
Wild Pig Family

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.

Wild Pigs Disappearing into Woods
Wild Pigs Disappearing into Woods