Traditionally I like to spend New Years Day doing some favorite activities to, you know, start the off on the right foot and what not. Come to find out being 37 weeks pregnant during a pandemic doesn't lend itself to doing many of those activities, so my goal was a little different this year: go outside and be in nature but on well travelled paths and close to a bathroom :)
Fortunately Charleston is FULL of scenery and wildlife. Mom and I packed a bag a set out for Magnolia Gardens to have a walk around. The freshwater impoundments had recently been drained and the lower water levers provide a haven for heaps of birds species! We only walked a few hundred yards down the path and weren't disappointed. Great egrets, snowy egrets, little blue herons, great blue herons, white ibis, wood storks, green herons and a few killdeer all tightly packed together with 3 smallish alligators watching lazily in the background. If I had the energy to do the whole loop around I'm sure there would have been many many more.
We wandered back to a bench between two cypress lined ponds for a rest. Across the larger pond a pile of large adult alligators 3 deep snoozed while some younger individuals and their turtle friends relaxed on a partly submerged log. Bald cypress dripping with moss and reflected back from the still dark water are a picture I could stare at forever. It is peaceful, silent, and seems to pull one to towards inner reflection. As we continued on I spotted a bald eagle perfectly framed between the branches in the canopy above us.
Most of the camellias hadn't started blooming yet; the blossoms that were out were all the more alluring for it. We detoured through the bamboo patch instead of continuing through the camellias and came across a small pond full of trees smeared with pink. To the best of my knowledge this is a lichen called Christmas lichen thanks to its red and green coloring.
This was a fantastic last minute first of the year outing, and we plan to be back soon to watch for nesting birds and incoming blooms!