Thursday, May 27, 2010

SC Gators

Santee National Wildlife Refuge in Santee SC has 15,095 acres of mixed hardwoods and pines, freshwater marsh, croplands, old fields and open water. It is also hailed as one of the best birding areas in SC.
The refuge is home to 296 birds as well as 45 mammals, 54 reptiles, 35 amphibians and more than 100 fish species.
It touts walking trails, biking trails, canoe/kayak trails and an interpretive wildlife drive.
We spoke with one of the rangers at the Visitors center
who helped us decide which trail to utilize that day, based on the weather and available time.
We decided to tackle the Cuddo East canoe/kayak trail.
This is a photo of the very beginning of the channel.
It's actually a channel from an old rice plantation.
just perfect for kayak travel and...
the American Alligator.
Look at how dark the water is.

The channel was fairly narrow for a few hundred feet and then opened up into a smallish pond area.
Full of water lilies, birds and
Here is one of them.
These pictures were taken from my vantage point in the kayak - no zoom lens here.

Notice the trail of bubbles behind this 12-14 foot gator...that is one way to track them.

Here's a different one - another 12-14 footer. I guess we actually saw about 10 different gators.
We saw many more bubble trails than that though.

After the pond area, the channel narrows back down to the previous width.

This shows the trail of two different gators that were hanging out under osprey nests.

Think they were waiting for mom to drop a fish

or a baby to drop out?

Everybody has to eat...

We had a fantastically scary kayaking trip that day.

I used to think of myself as a real scaredy cat...

guess I'll lose that title for a while, huh?

All is well that ends well.

This is what we saw as we drove out of the wildlife refuge that day.

A beautiful rainbow.

Tomorrow I'll try to post photos of the cypress forest that sits out in Lake Marion.

Hope that you all are flexing your creative muscles...

as well as your"I'm a Brave Girl now" muscles.

1 comment:

Robbie said...

I just love the 'gators'..they are just so fascinating! And scary as well!! What a great trip!!