The observation points(op) are numbered at Old Santee Canal Park. Well op 13 is one that when I have time to walk back to it that I visit. I have seen Green Wing Teals a few times now. The last time I had them in beautiful light and a darker background . The iso was low and right as I went to press the shutter I had a sneeze come out of no where. Needless to say the ducks flew away and I had taken a photo of the sky as a result of the sneeze. It is also the location that I keep seeing the Kingfisher. I have an image in my mind for this bird.
I have flushed the kingfisher several times as I walk to the end of this op. From where this log is. Well I heard the kingfisher and I saw it in the distance so in hopes of it using this log as a perch again I focused on it and began to wait. After all there was nothing exciting happening around this location. And I waited and waited.....
I saw a Little Blue Heron land on another log about 50-75 meters from me so I turned the camera towards it.
This would have been a much better shot if I had taken it about 4 or 5 hours later in the day. The shadows on the front part of the bird would have had light on it. Anyway this was a subject to watch as I listened to the Kingfisher chatter about 300m from me.
It preened for about 30min before it decided to scratch its head giving it a bad hairday look.
After about an hour of waiting with no luck on the kingfisher front I decided to wander into the park a bit more.
It had been a while since I have wandered down a trail called the nature trail and well this is a small unimproved path that wanders through the edge of the swamp and hardwood forest for about 1/2 a mile. I have said it several times if there is water in the Southern States if you assume there is an Alligator you are most likely correct. Now a gator is most dangerous if it has been fed by stupid humans or if it is a mom guarding her nest of eggs. Now a bit of a exception to the rule is if they are hungry and see a small dog that is close enough to the waterline for them to go after. Why do I mention this. Well I had a couple pass me that had a dog on one of the retractable leashes and the dogs leash was extended to its max length. They were moving faster than me so I moved to the side and let them pass. I moved forward less than two meters and a sparkly area on what should have been mud caught my eye. Less than 5-10 meters (33 feet or less) from the edge of the trail there was a small (to me) gator 5-6 feet long laying there in the water which was maybe 1 inch deep. Thankfully it was cooler so it would be less active and hungry.
I asked loud enough for them to hear if they saw the Alligator they just walked past. No was the answer so I asked if they wanted to see it and they said yes. I suggested they make the leash on the dog short (the length it was at was long enough the dog could have reached the alligator). They took a cell phone shot or two and walked on. I suggested keeping the leash shorter to protect them and their dog whether they did or not I do not know as I did not pay attention. However I did see a few more smaller (3-5 footers) laying in the sun near the water and the trail in this part of the park. Like I said thankfully it was cooler so the gators were not that active. 99% of the time they would have retreated into the woods or water rather quickly but it is that 1% that people should be aware of.
Anywho before I go even more into a rant if you are in an area where potential dangerous animals are pay attention and show them the distance respect that they command. I would say use common sense but well unfortunately it should be called uncommon sense.