Charles Towne Landing – My Nature Story – Part One

Charles Towne Landing Adventure

By Rafael De Armas

Looking for a new place to explore nature and search for wildlife can be an adventure. Luckily, here in Charleston, South Carolina, I have been able to find a few local places full of nature and wildlife. While in the pursuit of a new location to explore, I came across Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site. Intended for the preservation of the first English settlers of the 17th century, whom marked the beginning of the Carolina colony, but rich in nature, wildlife and pure beauty. 

I began at the entrance of the site through a stretch of enormously tall trees surrounding a decent sized pond. Immediately, I knew I was in the right place. It was early afternoon; the sun was high in the sky and the birds were singing their tunes. My first wildlife sighting was of a Great Egret, standing along the edge of the waters, searching for food. Further away, followed a Great Blue Heron and a few Ducks in flight. Although I have seen and photographed these species before, it was a great start and the excitement was fulfilling. I took several landscape photographs of the pond. The sun was shining perfectly across the waters.

Along the course towards the main entrance, I was greeted by numerous species of birds; Bald Eagles, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Finches, Thrashers, Woodpeckers and many more. Some of which I could not identify and others too fast to recognize. I made my way to the visitor’s center and acquire a site map. It is always good to know where you want to start, especially when you are racing against time and day light. The site map marked specific locations indicating several wildlife species; Alligators, Grey Foxes, and Red-Tailed Hawks to name a few. If I was excited then, I was ecstatic now.

The park would be closing soon, so I decided to look at the animals on site, who were once wild and indigenous with the settlement of the 17thcentury. The aviary was an enclosed walk-in. I was able to get a sweet up-close and personal view of a few Brown Pelicans. These shorebirds amazingly allowed me to take some great photographs of them. The larger animals were in habitat environments and at the time of my visit they were either sleeping or not visible. Some of them included the Bison, Black Bear, Puma, and Red Wolf. Surely, I will photograph them. Maybe next time, I thought.

East of the park, are the nature trails overlooking the Ashley River. Surrounded by beautiful Live Oak trees and numerous types of flowers. Spring is just beginning and taking effect; there were a few plants fully bloomed. Walking quietly along the trail, consuming each sound, brings a sense of tranquility and serenity. Then instinct sets in and I have just entered Alligator territory. Instantly, adrenaline consumes every inch of my body, when I turn towards the algae-filled swamp and there it is! Surrounded by low-lying branches and murky waters. The perfect spot to go unseen to the untrained eye. I captured as many photographs as I could. Dusk was approaching and the last place I wanted to be, was around alligators after sunset.

It was a bitter-sweet feeling leaving the Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site. The amount of nature and wildlife that I was able to experience, in the bit of time I had, was breath-taking. I felt a sense of accomplishment at the same time. It had been a long time since my last nature adventure, so to speak. I knew I could spend hours just in one spot; waiting for the perfect shot. Surely, there was more to see and explore. I was determined to come back!


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