April 2, 2021 · 6:21 pm
Beaver swimming in the ocean near Pelican Point on Dauphin Island, Alabama.
I expected to see pelicans, cormorants, gulls and dolphins at the beach on Dauphin Island, Alabama, but seeing a beaver swimming along the rocks and edge of the beach was certainly a surprise. This beaver seemed to be exploring. I don’t think there was anything for him to eat along the beach, and ingesting salt water isn’t healthy for a beaver. Maybe he was lost. It was near sunset, a full moon, choppy waves, a lot of bird activity and even a dolphin cruising around. The next day, I saw a beaver swimming past a sunning alligator in the lake in the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. That doesn’t seem very safe, either.
In articles I’ve read since, some biologists say beavers travel in saltwater to move from one environment to another. Other scientists said they are moving to brackish environments due to decreasing habitat. In these habitats near the ocean, the beavers have built their lodges to accommodate the tides. Biologists have found beavers suffering from saltwater poisoning, however, from consuming too much saltwater while while chewing trees and plants for lodge construction and while eating.
Beavers are large, semiaquatic rodents of the temperate Northern Hemisphere. This was a North American beaver (Castor canadensis). Beavers are the second-largest living rodents after the capybaras. Their usual habitat is freshwater, such as rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. They are herbivorous and consume tree bark, aquatic plants, grasses and sedges.
Dauphin Island is a barrier island at the mouth of Mobile Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s called the Sunset Capital of Alabama and is home to the Audubon Bird Sanctuary and other refuges, to 19th century Fort Gaines, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, The Estuarium public aquarium, many white sand beaches, historic sites and points of interest. Dauphin Island is considered one of the top four locations in North America for viewing spring bird migrations. The Sanctuary consists of 137 acres of maritime forest, marshes, and dunes, including a lake, a swamp, and a beach. The three-mile trail system within the Sanctuary is a National Recreational Trail. The refuge is at the Eastern end of Dauphin Island, a 14 mile-long barrier island south of the Alabama mainland Gulf Coast.
Filed under Animals, Bird-watching, Birds, Environment, Photography
Tagged as Alabama, Alligator, Audubon Bird Sanctuary, Beaver, Castor canadensis, Dauphin Island, Galliard Lake, Great Blue Heron, Pelican Point, Rodent, Seawater
April 6, 2016 · 7:19 pm
Alligators are an added hazard on this South Carolina golf course.
Alligators are common in the wetlands along the coast of America’s South — Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Texas. Large alligators can be found swimming in and basking along the edges of golf courses and neighborhood ponds. We saw many on recent trips to South Carolina. At first alligators are both a thrilling and a chilling sight, but you do get used to seeing them. But don’t get too complacent! Though alligators usually shy away from humans, it’s wise not to get too close. They can hurt or even kill you. There are alligator warning signs everywhere. Dogs can never run loose, either. I used a telephoto lens, but even so I may have been too close. You never know what’s lurking just below the surface. On a Florida ranch, an 800-pound 15-foot-long alligator recently was killed. It had been eating cattle that came to a pond to drink.
A mother alligator keeps a watchful eye on visitors to a pond on Seabrook Island, South Carolina, where a large number of baby alligators are living. A mother alligator will watch out for her young for about a year. One of the biggest dangers to a baby alligator is an adult alligator.
Alligators are Dangerous!
My friend Anita took me to a pond in her neighborhood, where there were dozens of baby alligators — an alligator nursery. A mother alligator rested in the water along the bank while the young alligators of various sizes swam in the pond and napped on the banks. On the opposite side of the pond, Snowy Egrets gathered in the trees. It was breeding season, and the egrets had grown filmy plumes that they fanned out in a mating display. Anita noted that they looked like angels. They did!
Hunters once killed these birds for these plumes to adorn ladies’ hats, which caused the numbers of these gorgeous birds to plummet. Now protected in the United States by law, under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the snowy egret population has rebounded.
Baby alligators (noted by red arrows) look like sticks floating in the water. There is also a real stick floating in the water.
A baby alligator, not even a foot long, swims in a Seabrook Island, South Carolina, pond.
Although abundant now, alligators were also threatened due to extensive hunting. Once hunted for their hides, alligators today are threatened mainly by habitat loss and encounters with people. They are hunted for their skin (for leather goods) and for their meat. Before hunting was controlled in 1970, an estimated 10 million alligators were killed for their skins.
Snowy Egrets roost in the trees along the edge of the “alligator nursery” pond. Some of the egrets are displaying their breeding plumage.
A Snowy Egret displays its breeding plumage.
On the left a large alligator rests (or lies in wait) along a Kiawah Island pond while an egret flies overhead. A large alligator had staked out this territory when we visited a year earlier. I’m assuming it’s the same one.
This alligator, about five feet long, had been sunning himself (or herself) on the shoreline on a pond opposite our house on Seabrook Island, but when friends and I walked onto the deck of our house, he began to swim over to investigate us. He rested in the water for several minutes in the water just below us, seemingly staring up at us. It was a little unnerving even though we were safe on the deck!
About Snowy Egrets.
Filed under Friendship, Natural History, Photography, Travel
Tagged as Alligaters, Alligator, Baby Alligator, Baby Alligators, Catherine Sherman, Friendship, Johns Island, Kiawah Island, Low Country, Marsh, Mother Alligator, Natural History, Nursery, Photography, Pond, Reptile, Seabrook Island, South Carolina, Travel, Wetland