adventure, birds, butterflies, Charleston views, exploring new places, flowers, fun, gardens, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens…

The last time I was in Charleston missed the turn into my cousin’s development, but that meant I drove right past this gem of a place. I knew I’d want to visit when I came back this time. It was founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, and consequently endured and survived our county’s history as the country was born, and as it struggled with the American Revolution as well as the Civil War. It’s said to be the oldest public garden in the county, opening in 1870, and continuing today.

The beautiful wisteria caught my eye when I arrived.
And this bench was a pretty sight also.
But the peacocks were calling me. You could hear them throughout the garden, so I went to the little zoo before I went exploring.
Nature does provide us with beautiful creatures.
Three of them were strutting their stuff, but this gal didn’t seem to be impressed.
Come walk with me.
Such a pretty view.
I loved this pond with it’s beautiful reflections.
And this red bridge with cascades of flowers dripping from it.
I took so many pictures of this bridge.
Come around a bed in the path and you come upon another pretty scene.
I thought of ‘Tiptoe through the tulips’,except they are azaleas. They really were a little past their prime, but still so amazingly beautiful.
You might need a rest by now.
There was a $20 charge for the gardens, in which I walked 2 1/2 miles. But for an extra charge you might want to tour the house, or take this boat tour, or walk the Audubon swamp tour, and/or more. I can return once more using my ticket, so I want to go back, but I don’t know which tour I want to choose.
There were lots of these fat bumble bees around, and I was happy to see them since they’ve seemed scarce anywhere I’ve been lately. And they gave me a reason to concentrate on the flowers themselves.
This was a very long distance shot from the wildlife observation tower. The horses were the only wildlife I saw.
The family tomb.
Another pretty path to lure you in. I’m sure I missed more paths than I actually walked.
And after walking paths with lots of helpful signage, I eventually was off by myself, on paths with no signage, and hopefully not lost, but I found a butterfly…

I’ve hardly put a dent in the pictures I took today. It was a good day.

'scene' along the way, backyard visitors, birds, blessings, family, fun, Just do it, live and learn, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography

A waiting game…

Taking care of business often involves a lot of waiting around, and that was the story of my day today. But I have to say that if you have time to kill there are worse places to be than here at my cousin’s house. Her bird feeders were very busy today, and consequently so was I.

The Mrs.
The Mr.
A tiny brown thrasher way up in a tree.
House finches.
And again, because he posed so nicely.
I switched to my 600mm lens just in time for this great blue heron to drop into the pond behind the house.
And the pond is where I found another favorite to shoot.
Up on the roof…
He thinks this is his good side.
But wait, maybe this is his good side.
'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, blessings, family, friends, fun, grandchildren, making memories, perseverance, photography, strangers become friends

Setting sail…

I don’t know that I ever thought of setting sail in a pirate ship as an Easter activity, but it sure turned out to be a fun day. The weather was gorgeous and the company was the best. John’s Pass is a fun place to visit and I wandered until it was time to board the boat. Oops, ship.

I knew these keyhole shapes in the bridge abutments were there.
They give a nice frame for your picture.
I watched this sailboat coming in and tried, and failed, to get a shot of the drawbridge opening to let it pass.
I stopped to take this picture and hoped that that balcony on the left would give me a view of the draw bridge, but it didn’t.
Normally sailing would seem to me to be such a peaceful way to spend the day, but those jet skis took care of that notion.
Then I had to run because I saw that people were boarding the ship. Not the Dolphin Quest, the pirate ship behind it. I liked this view because I’ve been here for night photography and loved the rigging and flags when the string of lights is lit.
Handsome pirates. I have grandchildren older than they are.
We were in view of land the whole trip.
When I took this shot a lady beside me nodded knowingly and said that she had taken that shot too. LOL.
My new friend and nominee for ‘best costume’ of the day!
I was so happy to see that I’d gotten a dolphin shot, then I saw that his fin is torn and half is drooping.
And then were were back, and hungry. It was time to visit the Friendly Fisherman.
I had a discussion of F-stops with my grandson, I hope he sees this shot.
As I was eating my grouper tacos, YUM, I kept taking pictures of the various birds that perched on that post, putting themselves into a perfect frame. A pelican had stayed there so long that someone asked if it was real.
I guess the pelican was king of the castle because the egret took no chances, it got itself out of the way.

What a fun way to spend the day with family and friends. And nobody had to walk the plank…

'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, egrets, Florida wildlife, fun, live and learn, natural wonders, nature, nesting, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Mistaken identity…

I got a little carried away with the wood stork chicks at the rookery the other day. I do think they are cute, in an a ‘face only a mother could love’ sort of way. Plus they were really the only game in town. They are always earlier than the egrets, but I did expect to see a few egret chicks by now, but I didn’t see any. I asked another family that was watching if they had seen the alligator, and the dad answered that yes, he had seen one. What followed was a comedy of errors as they, the father, grandfather, and young granddaughter who was manning the binoculars, began to spot alligator after alligator. Or so they said. I on the other had spotted none, but that didn’t stop me from shooting in the general the direction of where they were pointing. Eventually I did hear the dad suggest that what they were seeing might be soft shell turtles. My feature photo seems to have proved him correct.

Yes, the lovely egrets were present, but without a busy nest of chicks to tend. Not so far at least.

'scene' along the way, a second look, Florida landmarks, flowers, fun, gardens, life, making memories, Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, perseverance, photography

Purple flowers…

Purple flowers weren’t always my favorite, but purple and black were Charley’s high school colors, Mt. St. Joe in ‘Bawlmer’, and then when we got a football team after a long stretch without one, tough for a town like Baltimore who supports its teams, purple and black turned out to be the Raven’s colors, too. So when we moved to Florida Charley wanted only purple flowers in the yard, and I guess it rubbed off on me because that’s what catches my eye these days. I’ve been seeing photos of flowers lately, and I guess that’s what gave me the idea of going to the Nature Coast Botanical Garden today, and my first view didn’t give me a clue that there had been so much pruning going on in the garden. But once I was inside I saw all the trimmed up plants and knew that it will be a lot more colorful in the coming weeks. But it was beautiful, and there was a surprise in store.

There were lots of amaryllis everywhere I looked, not purple but gorgeous.
Shady, cool paths draw you in.
The train tracks have always been there, but on a Saturday you have a chance of catching them running the train. The conductor says his grandchildren will be visiting soon and he has lots more restoration of the village to complete before they get here.
It’s a work in progress. The train is heading for the tunnel. There is a post with a button that the kids can push to hear the train’s whistle as it passes through the town.
There are not one but two waterfalls that the train travels around.
The landscaping and plantings look freshly done.
I waited for people to walk over the bridge to take my shot. Another pretty spot in the gardens.

I will return before too long because there is a nice butterfly garden here also, and in a few weeks the flowers won’t be the only colorful photo ops here…