June 17, 2015
After our enjoyable Nature Boat tour, we headed for our last exploration for the day at Magnolia Plantation, the swamp tour. By now the yellow-bellied turtle was an old friend, and the "green stuff", the duckweed that covered most of the water surfaces, was familiar.
As we entered the walking path through the swamp region, we were greeted by this beautiful great white heron. I was amused that in the photo above, the bird's elegant watching pose was looking in the opposite direction from the dragonfly sitting on the stick behind him. He would probably have considered it a good snack.
Just after the photo above, he took off up to the nearby nest. This is a major rookery for the white herons. The dense foliage of these trees provides good platforms for their flat, open stick nests.
Any log sticking out of the water provides a sunning place for the yellow-bellied turtles.
Interesting ball from plant along trail.
The lush foliage of cypress trees on a tiny island in the pond provides a wonderful nesting place for the white heron.
|I'm inclined to label these "teenage herons". There seemed to be nests at all different stages, and these are clearly older chicks and will fly soon.
|The yellow-bellied turtle
The green pond that provides protection to the herons' nesting islands also provides a habitat for the turtles. It is also habitat for lots of alligators. The turtles will use any stick for a sunning spot, but also like the nice platforms which have been built as alligator sunning platforms. That means the alligator might get a turtle snack on its way up for its sunning session.
This appears to be a family gathering around a nest. Maybe they're waiting for the eggs to hatch.
The above image was typically how we saw an alligator in the green stuff. You had to see his eye to tell him from a floating stick.
But at right, he is definitely looking at us!
Brenda tossed a chip of wood out close to him and provoked him to snap at it. Otherwise we saw no motion whatsoever - they lay in wait in perfect stillness.
We walked along one of the canals and found this little turtle, about 4 inches. Note that he is just resting on his yellow belly with his hind feet stretched into the air! Maybe that's turtle exercises.
I wondered about the elegant pose of the heron above. And I found out that it was noble and nurturing as well as elegant! She is shading her chicks from the hot afternoon sun!
With that note of inspiration, we brought to a close our day of adventure at the Magnolia Plantation of Charleston.