Friday, July 18, 2014

Birds Of A Feather... July 17, 2014

Today's destination is Charleston, SC.  I knew I wanted to visit the Magnolia Plantation...especially one part of it.  I'm not usually one for "tourist attractions", but this one sounded "worth the price of admission". The Plantation was founded in 1676 by the Drayton family.  It has survived  the centuries and has witnessed history from before the American Revolution and through the Civil War and beyond. It is the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry, and the oldest public gardens in America, opening its doors to visitors in 1870.  It is still owned by the Drayton family.

There will be more photographs in this post than normal.....they will speak thousands of words about this property and its natural inhabitants.

Now...on with the tour.  I didn't actually take the house's an "add on" fee.  There was something else here I wanted to spend my money on.  But, as you can see, it is a beautiful home! The setting and landscaping are wonderful!

There is a small area of the property where the "help" and former slave cabins are located.  As I was talking to local fellow who knows all about the plantation, a maintenance man drove by on a golf cart. He told me his name is Isaac and he is about 70 years old.  Isaac was born on the property and has been working there his entire life...same as his father who is now 93 and just stopped his mowing job last year. Isaac's grandfather was also a lifetime resident and employee of the plantation.  I was really wishing I could interview Isaac!  I also came upon the "Historic African American Cemetery" on the property. There were probably about 15 old headstones of all shapes and sizes.

I took a quicker tour through the gardens and conservatory than I normally would because I wanted to get to the next area before other tourists.  But, needless to say, the gardens are beautiful!


Now on to the ultimate destination on the property...the Audubon Swamp Garden!  All three words sound intriguing -- how could it not be good???

First of all, this is WAY more than a "garden"!  It encompasses acres...swamp channels, forest and a very large swamp-ish pond...almost a lake, I would say.  Immediately I start seeing waterfowl.  I won't go into every twist and turn of the walk.  Just let me say, it wasn't hard to see and photograph these birds.  They are everywhere!  It was really difficult to narrow down the photos to just these.  This is NOT a contrived's a completely natural setting and habitat for these aquatic birds.  The fellow I met earlier said this isn't near what you see in other months of the year as many birds are still fledglings and not fully grown.  The blue herons, for example, will be at least 5 feet tall as adults.

Enough talk...let's look! (Don't can click on photos for a larger view.)


These are probably my favorite two photographs.  Squawking over territory.  Note, in the first one, the large bird in the background....couldn't care less about the squabble!  Just another nice day up here for him...gazing at the view.  The second photo shows the disgruntled loser getting ready to find a new spot that's much less hassle!

Last but not least, the lowly cardinal that no one probably photographs....among all these "exotics", he has found a spot, too!

On part of my walk, a snake slithered through the leaves and up into a tree.  Too fast to get a picture of his head.... anyone know what this is?

Oh...did I mention, a small alligator ran  across my path at one point on the perimeter of the pond?  That was fun!  But not as fun as seeing this one crawling up onto the sun ramp right as I was about the leave the area!  So, I saw my gator after all!  That same fellow told me they put these ramps in the pond to deter the alligators from coming onto the pathways like they used to....seems visitors didn't respond to them very well!  LOL!  Then I saw two menacing eyes poking out of the middle of the pond...

I highly recommend visiting the Magnolia Plantation!  It was definitely worth my $23!  I could easily go back the Swamp Garden!  Go early....I was the only person wandering through the Swamp Garden (most people seemed to migrate to the train/trolley-thing that drove around the plantation.) They don't know what they were missing!  Well....... maybe they know about the gators!


  1. These photos are worthy of publication....really! So beautiful. The bird photos are outstanding, and flowers, too! Bet there were many more alligators around there, as well as where you were yesterday! Great stop today!

  2. Awesome place! We may have to stop there. Love the photographs of the birds! Those would make great of those canvas prints...great place for you to find!