Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Magnolia Plantation

 A visit to the south wouldn't be complete without a trip to one of the plantations now open to the public . 
View of marsh from lookout tower

Dave up in the lookout tower

the river that transported goods and people to Charleston

 Dave and I chose Magnolia because we liked the sound of what they had on offer.    Besides the lush gardens which we walked through for an hour ( some of the previous photos), we decided to see the house and then take the boat trip into the wildlife preserve .  

We had a boat pilot named Dick Winter, quite a character, sort of a hunter, alligator-wrestler outdoor guy.   Mr Winter had a notebook to show his former glory days featuring him holding poisonous snakes and posing with dangerous game.   He now is into preserving animals , not hunting them.  

 Mr Winter was warm and personable and seemed to love his job of pointing out the alligators , herons, egrets,  moorhens and snake birds that we were to see.  I even saw a Bittern posing in the reeds with its amazing camouflage but no one else spotted it.

When we moved up on this egret I was all ready to take his picture… but he didn't budge.

I have to tell you though, that he remained completely inert while we passed within a meter of him.  I watched for a long time and was just about convinced that he was fake and I was on some sort of crazy disneyland ride when he dipped his head. 

 Dave says Egrets are famous for standing completely motionless lest they scare their prey. 

A great blue Heron

  From then on I really enjoyed the fact that the animals were so close.  Of course, nothing had disturbed them there for years and they were unafraid of us. 

We saw about 5 alligators…. females with young according to Dick... since they were not acting aggressive towards the boat.  

An Anhinga posing on one of the Alligator rests

And this beautiful snakebird called an Anhinga.  Dave was pretty pleased too as he and his wife are enthusiastic bird watchers in Oregon, ( they have a scope and everything) and he had not seen a couple of these birds of the south before.  

 At the end of the trip we had seen everything on this poster.   We didn't see the Ibis until the next day or so.

It was also interesting that Magnolia Gardens Plantation is still owned and operated by the original plantation family and that even though it was against the law at the time,  the owner (a minister by choice, a second son who only inherited when his brother was killed) educated his slaves.  The school house still stands on the grounds to prove it. 

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