This scene reminded me of a museum diorama, almost made up with the variety of occupants.
The pink flowers reflecting in the water were a nice complement to the reptiles, just lazing around in the afternoon.
It was late afternoon with not much light, but who could resist these fellows all lined up, and their reflections?
I usually see Yellow-bellied Sliders either in a pond or basking on a bank. This may be the first time I’d seen one walk across a field.
I did some identification research and was surprised to discover nearly 30 species of turtles can be found in South Carolina.
Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Cuddo Unit
Alligator ramps around the pond provide a fairly safe and dry spot for the Wood Duck ducklings to dry off and preen.
The Yellow-bellied Slider seemed oblivious to their occupation of his sunny spot.
Mama Wood Duck stayed in the water, patrolling for safety. Other times I have observed this there has been a Wood Duck drake nearby, also on alert, but I did not see one this time.
In the old westerns when you heard that you knew there was trouble lurking.
These Yellow-bellied sliders have little to fear, at least from this Alligator.
This pretty spot on the Enoree River in Clinton, SC, was the impetus of the August 19, 1780 Revolutionary War Battle of Musgrove’s Mill. Possession of this easy to ford section of the river in the rural, agricultural area was the impetus behind the skirmish.
A modern bridge less than 1000 feet (300 Meters) downstream made this site obsolete for river passage a long time ago.
The day I visited a few turtles playing “king of the hill” was the extent of the activity.
A few Great Egrets were swooping over the pond as they vied for mates or nesting spots in the nearby trees.
Some were gathering sticks for their nests but they were easily distracted when another Great Egret invaded their space.
Occasionally I’ve seen a large Alligator snap at a bird flying overhead without making contact, but these smallish Alligators and turtles ignored the aerial displays going on above them.
Yellow-bellied Sliders were taking advantage of the sun on a recent walk around a pond, positioning themselves on anything sticking out of the water. They had traveled through duck weed and other pond vegetation to get to the coveted spots.
I don’t think the vegetation does a thing to protect the turtles. Alligators, the apex predator in this pond, follows his prey by motion and is himself camouflaged by the same pond covering.
The smallest turtle I saw added a leg extension to his pose, probably needing a little balance to stay on the pointed rock.
The younger Alligator had enough sunbathing and was ready for a dip.
In one fluid motion he was over the end of the ramp…
and disappeared into the pond with a polite splash.
The big gator and the turtles were not impressed.