SC Reptiles and Amphibians


June 2008

Gene's Notes:

My wife and I spent Monday through Friday of the first full week in June visiting a cousin in Garden City, SC. We had a wonderful time talking, seeing local sights, and enjoying good food. I also worked in some time for nature observations.

On Tuesday, June 3rd, we visited Brookgreen Gardens. I think it had been several decades since our last visit. The grounds, flowers, and sculptures were impressive and beautiful. I walked the zoo trail. Nearing a "natural" enclosure for Alligators, I could hear a bull gator bellowing and vibrating the water. Hoping to get a photograph, I approached as stealthily as I could, but the gator ceased his display. Later, on the trail I came upon an Eastern Glass Lizard (right).

On Wednesday, June 04th, I spent the morning at Huntington Beach State Park. There were plenty of Egrets and Herons to photograph, as well as the many Alligators along the Park causeway. The Park is opposite Brookgreen Gardens on US17. On a road just outside Brookgreen Gardens, I saw several young Alligators in ditch pools where I have often seen many Chicken Turtles during previous years. This time a Chicken Turtle was hard to find. I also spotted a Black Racer on the side of the road (right).

On our last day, Friday, June 06th, I again visited Huntington Beach State Park. I saw a young Double-crested Cormorant drying itself (left).

While watching the Alligators, I saw a dominant bull intimidate a smaller bull by arching its back and tail out of the water and then straightening its body and loudly splashing the water (right).

I also saw a gator plunge its head into floating grass and snapping up a crab.

While I was at the beach, Win snapped a good image of a Tree Swallow.

I was inspired to take pictures of Cliff Swallows which nest under bridges over nearby lakes. It took attempts on three different days to finally get a good image.

At home, my wife maintains a flower garden. There are many Skinks and Fence Lizards living in her garden. On Monday, June 16th, she pointed out a pair of Fence Lizards in mating behavior (right).

On Wednesday, June 18th, I visited Musgrove Mill State Historical Park. The Park has wonderful walking trails. I took the trail along the Enoree River. I spotted a mid-sized Black Rat Snake beside the trail.

The following Saturday, June 21st, I took my wife and granddaughter to the Park for a picnic. My granddaughter had a great time wading in the creek at Horseshoe Falls located in the Park. We saw a River Cooter digging an egg nest beside the trail leading to the Falls (below).

The blackberries in the bottomlands on the farm have been bountiful. My wife and I picked 15 quarts. I froze the first 5 quarts and made jelly from the rest. I am not sure that I wish to put up with the heat and chiggers to pick any more berries. The wild plums (below) are ripening. I think I will pick them instead.

In late afternoon on Tuesday, June 24th, Win called me to his home to take some pictures. A large Snapping Turtle (right) was in the driveway. We thought it was on its way to lay eggs, but after we took pictures, the turtle marched into the farm pond.

While watching the Snapper cross his yard, Win found a newborn Mud Turtle (below) beside the patio.

On Sunday, June 29th, I found a large Black Rat Snake foraging on the back side of the farm pond dam (below, right).


July 05, 2008
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