On Sunday I posted photos of turtles posing on an Alligator ramp and logs to sun themselves out of the water. Yesterday in the same spot an Alligator was using a turtle as a head rest and more turtles were clambering to join the group.
Further along in a different pond a similar activity was taking place with a much larger Alligator, only this time the turtles were on top.
Do they have no suspicion that they might be lunch?
We returned by this spot about an hour and a half later to find the Alligator had changed position but at least one free-loader was still in place.
The nature guide at Magnolia Garden identifies these turtles as Yellow-bellied Sliders.
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This Great Blue Heron was speaking to its mate on a recent foggy morning at the rookery.
No one came so he/she took a trip around the pond, returning to repeat the ritual. I had my shutter speed set too low to get any flight shots.
The Great Blue Heron’s neck feathers were on full display to help with mate attraction.
Most of the pairs and singles were quiet by their nests for the hour we were there, seen below. There were a few Anhinga in the tree, too.
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Magnolia Plantation Heron Rookery, January 16, 2017.
Singly or in groups, the turtles around the swamp like to climb onto about anything that protrudes out of the water on nice days.
This one came up through the duckweed leaving a shiny green coat.
They seem oblivious to the activity going on in the water around them, be it another turtle or an alligator.
This alligator platform was fair game for the turtles while it was in the shade. As the sun comes around they will likely get pushed off.
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Audubon Swamp, January 2017.
The flying is easy in the open as the male Great Blue Herons bring sticks to their mates.
Until they get close in.
Maneuvering around the trees that support their nests is a bit tricky. Sometimes they circle around several times before attempting a landing.
The mate keeps a watchful eye.
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Magnolia Plantation Audubon Swamp, 01/11/2017.
This Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Red-shouldered Hawk went about their business at opposite ends of a new swamp area being created at Magnolia’s Audubon Swamp.
The trees are bare and the birds exposed, part of the routine for both.
When the trees bud out we’ll miss a lot of these photo opportunities and have to turn our attention elsewhere.
Not classic Heron poses, and leaning toward the comical, this Great Blue kept me entertained for quite awhile on a recent afternoon. These shots reminded me of some people I know that are reluctant to have their picture taken.
First we take care of the itch.
Then a few vocal protests.
What’s a photo shoot without a photo bomb?
Finally, settled for the pose, neck tucked back down looking like a scarf in the breeze, a very elegant result.
Interesting that the black patches are much more pronounced in the Great Blue Herons around Magnolia Plantation the last few weeks.
These Wood Ducks swam away from shore, circling around each other in no great hurry, but all the while getting further from me.
And always an eye towards shore.
The duck weed was making interesting patterns in the barely moving water at the edge of the former rice fields.
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This little fellow caught my attention as he flitted in a small tree at the edge of a swamp on the Ashley River at Magnolia Plantation.
Hardly a gnat, his catch was pretty good sized.
The coloring made me think he was a Tufted TItmouse, but in profile I could see he was tuftless and he did have more of a “jaunty” tail, as described by Cornell’s All About Birds.
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Surrounded by duck weed that may or may not be concealing an alligator, this Green Heron was agitated as he watched for lunch material.
He settled down for awhile.
Then ruffled his crown up again.
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