Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ladies Wildlife Retreat

Friday we packed up the car and drove to Summerton, SC for the annual South Carolina Wildlife Federation Ladies Wildlife Retreat. As before, we were not disappointed. This year my sister Erna came with us. That was a real treat. She is a third grade teacher in Memphis TN. We learned a lot and had a few good belly laughs along the way. Some of the classes we took were: Nature Photography, Carolina Bays, Kudzu Basketry, A Walk on the Wild Side with Rudy Manke, Kayaking in the Sparkelberry Swamp, and Edible and Medicinal Plants (which I missed). Click Here to visit Sara Greene's retreat information and keep yourself updated with all the latest that SCWF has to offer. You can also link onto her site on the right sidebar of this post.

The first evening we were there Jim Elliott from the International Birds of Prey Center came and presented a fascinating talk about saving raptors in our state. Peregrine Falcon

When I first got there I took a photography class. This handsome male Broad Head Skink was walking all over the wall outside the building "begging" us to photograph him. These skinks are amazing consumers of cockroaches and we were told to leave them in your house if you find one because they will virtually eliminate any roach problem you could have.

My sister and I visited a Corolina Bay called "Dinkel Pond" by the locals. These bay-like depressions occur up and down the east coast. Scientists think that meteors may have caused the ponds. From space they are amazing. Many types of odd and unusual wildlife live in the bay-like depressions. We saw an alligator, a copperhead snake, toads, herons, many birds, and a host of unusual flowers and plants. Here is the Copperhead snake that was on the path we were on!
After lunch we took a kudzu vine basket class. My sister almost went crazy (and Jimmy our instructor did too) but somehow we all got through it and made ourselves a basket. This would be a great project for older children. They will probably pick it up faster than we did. Jimmy is the happiest fellow I know. He loves making baskets and he loves teaching people how to make them even more.

Here is a Killdeer sitting on a nest of four eggs on the ground. These male and female birds take turns caring for their eggs. They also play like their wing is injured when anyone comes near the nest. This behavior is supposed to lure predators away. There is no underbrush or anything to hide the birds other than their natural camouflage. It is almost impossible to spot them until you are right on top of them.

Rudy Mancke showed us how to tell if a snake is poisonous by looking at the scales under the tail. If they criss-cross like this than they are safe. Poisonous snakes all have straight scales like this under their entire body.
Inquiring minds need to know...


WELCOME TO TuttleTime! said...

Looks like a very informative, educational, fun time. I am so glad you were able to go. After looking at all the critters that you encountered, I'm sure you were in heaven! I can just hear the hoots and hollers coming from you and husbands or kids! I mean really! :) Glad you had fun.

Rachel said...

Wow, what beautiful photographs, and those baskets really ARE gorgeous! Looks like you and Erna had a blast!

Sara Green said...

So glad y'all had fun! It was great to see you again. Great pictures too!