I don’t want to downplay how awesome the Magnolia Plantation & Gardens were, but for me the best part about our visit was the late afternoon walk through the Audubon Swamp Garden which is connected to their property. I had one goal in going to Charleston (other than eating ALL of the good food anyways) and that was to see an alligator.
Yeah, it may seem like a silly goal to anybody from the South, but I’m a New England girl and I’d missed out on our trip to NOLA a couple of years earlier. I wasn’t going to miss out this time!
The Audubon Swamp Garden is a platformed walk through black water swamp.
The green algae(?) covering everything was cool and quite beautiful if you are into that sort of thing.
After following the walkway for a while we came to a section of lakeside known as the “Rockery” due to the number of blue heron that build their nests on the small islands through the waterway.
Of course, we can see blue heron rookeries back home in Massachusetts – it was cool, but not what I came here for! Thankfully despite the relative chill in the air, there were a few alligators planking out in the lake!
This guy had some turtle friends to keep him company.
We decided to follow the path around the lake since we were having so many great animal sightings. Though it was only about 50 degrees, we’re hearty New England stock and it was below zero at home so we were going to make the most of the sunshine and relative warmth!
Most of the way around the lake, I spotted a blue heron by the side of the path. Having never been so close to one before, I had no idea how tall they were! “Stop!” I hissed frantically at my husband and parents. And then “Stop!” again as they didn’t listen to me. I was thinking about not spooking the bird, but they thought I was warning them that there was an alligator in their path! Oops!
What a good model! Though the heron was wary, it let me get remarkably close and only startled when I dropped my camera lens about 5 ft. from it. I got close enough that I had to back up again because I couldn’t fit the whole bird in the shot with my 100mm lens! Luckily the bird came back after it startled and I was able to get this shot.
We were nearing the closing of the park and had to head back towards our car, but I couldn’t resist taking one final shot of a gator planking in the late day sun.
It was an amazing day with some great animal encounters!