This Eastern Grey Squirrel was enjoying a colorful snack on one of the inner pathways at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.
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.
The fish were easy to see as they flew through the air, tossed about by the powerful water surges created by the Dolphins.
Most of the fish manage to flop back into the water but this one was about to be lunch.
The fish appears to be dead or knocked out.
But a moment later he leapt into the air…
and ended up in a Dolphin’s mouth.
The images in a slideshow, if you prefer; click an image to get started:
After the fishless stranding of my last post, I was fortunate to witness another strand feeding with the fish jumping wildly.
Three Dolphins had driven the fish to shore and the fish did their best not to become lunch.
The next photo is heavily cropped, but I wanted to show a closeup of the Dolphin – fish encounter. I’m not certain the Dolphin got this one, but it seems likely.
The frenzy only lasts a few seconds, then the Dolphins roll/flop back into the water, continuing to splash with their tails.
A number of Dolphin pods in South Carolina catch fish by a process known as strand feeding. Singly or in groups, they drive fish to the shore, aka strand, usually at a steep bank, then nab the fish.
To stay at a distance that is safe for the Dolphins doesn’t always result in the best images, but it sure is interesting to watch. I didn’t see any fish during this stranding.
This Marsh Rabbit found a patch of grass that he didn’t want to give up. He saw me before I saw him when I first passed by and I jumped when he sprang into the water at the edge of the marsh with a big splash.
I didn’t expect to see him again, thinking he’d either moved further from the trail where humans pass regularly or had been lunch himself for a nearby alligator after creating all that commotion.
To my surprise when I returned he had come out into the open to have some more of that grass. It didn’t look like much to me but he was consuming his salad with gusto.
Tucked into the roots of a Cypress Tree this new born fawn was hunkered down, surrounded by water.
I’m not sure how he got there; it would have been interesting to watch and know what was on the mother’s mind.
A few hundred feet away was a watchful pair of eyes and listening ears. This one seemed way to small to be the mother, perhaps it was an older cousin.
About twice the size of a grey squirrel, the Fox Squirrel can be found scattered around the coastal areas of South Carolina. This was the first time I got a really good look at one and some pictures other than a fleeing butt end.
He jumped from the ground to the side of the tree just like a common grey squirrel would. I was ready for him to go up the tree, but instead he just sprung off into space and zipped away.
The body of the Fox Squirrel can be grey, black or brown. All of the color variations share the black face mask and white nose and ear tips.
I spotted these two rabbits about a half mile apart. The first one is a Swamp, or Marsh, Rabbit. I’m basing the identification on an educational sign posted near this location and that he is sitting in water / swamp vegetation.
I frequently spot one or more in the swamp edge or on one of the small islands just off the trail on the way to the heron rookery. They can move pretty fast even in the reeds and rarely do I see enough of one to get a photograph.
The second one was in a small grassy area behind one of the garden ponds. Until I compared the images I thought this was probably another Marsh Rabbit, but now see some differences. Leporidae is the family of rabbits and hares and with over 60 species I’m going to leave it at “Rabbit.”
A mother Raccoon was herding three of her children along the edge of the Vierra Wetlands drive. The slope down away from the road is mowed and then there is a wide section of tall marsh grasses before an impoundment of open water.
We watched from the car as the family was weaving in and out of the taller grasses and reeds. Occasionally mama came further out into the mowed area to check back on what her charges were up to.
A family portrait was not on the agenda.
Vierra Wetlands, Florida, 2/21/2018.