Recently a large group of Seabrookers headed to Santee State Park where we boarded a pontoon boat to cruise poetically-named Stumphole Swamp. The swamp is located at the confluence of the North Santee River and Lake Marion and, as such, is home to all manner of wildlife: ospreys, eagles, great egrets, cormorants, ahingas, American coots, alligators, turtles, etc. It is widely known for its ‘Osprey Village,’ a series of over 20 nests to which these magnificent raptors return yearly to brood and raise their young.
We were fortunate to have among our group two fantastic photographers, Valerie Doane and Glen Cox. Rather than bludgeon you with words, I’d rather stun you with some of their pictures. Below is a shot Glen took as we approached the flooded forest of Bald Cypress and Tupelo trees that form the swamp. Glen took this wonderful photo of an osprey surveying his kingdom. They are messy nesters, heaping all manner of flora (sticks, moss, leaves) as well as the remains of fish dinners onto their nests.
Here Glen captured two ospreys in flight. The first, holding a large fish in its talons, is being chased by the second.
In this great photo, Valerie snapped the first osprey just as it landed with its prey. Here are two superb pictures of a lumbering alligator and turtles on a log, both taken by Valerie.
Courtesy, again, of Valerie—this old bald cypress stump bears unmistakable round holes drilled some 200 years ago by an ivory-billed woodpecker, now considered extinct by many.
Lastly we end with Glen’s picture-perfect photograph of an osprey. He’s only missing his bow tie!
-Submitted by Carol Bane with photos by Valerie Doane and Glen Cox