[We continue our vacation report from South Carolina. Here's part one.]
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Palmetto Bluff was the diversity of flora and fauna. I'm not much of a botanist, but the coastal pine forest, gigantic live oaks festooned with Spanish moss, and comic-book-sized magnolia trees bordered on awe-inspiring. It was the animal life, however, that fascinated me. It seemed that everywhere we turned we saw something interesting and generally un-West-Texas-like. Following are some random scenes to illlustrate this.
A green anole kept a close eye on us one morning during breakfast. (He dined a little himself.)
Shark! Well, not really. These are two of the Atlantic bottlenosed dolphins that frequent the May River
It's indescribably cool to paddle board around these friendly mammals.
Those white dots are egrets, roosting on an island in the lagoon just inland from our cottage.
This is a little better view of some of the egrets. They were pretty noisy (and just a bit stinky, depending on the wind direction).
A shore bird keeps a close eye on a small alligator.
This was the first of many gators we spotted while at Palmetto Bluff. They're qute shy.
A close-up of one of the lagoon gators. He wasn't thrilled with the papparazzi.
There's something artistically sinister about the ripples following a slowly swimming alligator.
It's worth noting for those who might have some trepidation about vacationing around large aquatic reptiles with unsavory reputations that the alligators wanted to have absolutely nothing to do with us, or any other humans. And while we spotted them almost every day, we went out of our way to do so. It's not unlikely that one could spend a week on the grounds and never see a gator (which saddens me greatly, but that's just me).
A Great Blue Heron was trying to stalk dinner while simultaneously keeping an eye on me.
How many turtles can you spot?
Ant beds might not have the excitement of gators, but I was curious as to why the ants lay out a series of
beds in a straight line across a dirt road. We came across several occurrences of this phenomenon.
And speaking of ants, they grows some big honkin' fire ant mounds in South Carolina!
(We couldn't help yelling "Marabunta!" as soon as we spotted it. You SyFy fans know whereof I speak.)
The last scene needs a bit of setup. One afternoon after lunch we were walking around the grounds. One of the lagoons was on our left, and we normally kept an eye out for alligators as we walked or bicycled past them. But Debbie looked to the right and spotted three deer just across the road in the wooded area. I didn't have my camera with me (what?!) so pulled out my phone, even as I realized they were too far away for a decent shot. A movement back toward the lagoon caught me eye, and I suddenly had a really good reason to keep my phone out and filming.
The bird is a Great Blue Heron (we've actually seen them around our neighborhood). The snake is a Small Unwilling Meal.