It only comes out after dark and hides within the trees…ladies and gentleman introducing the whippoorwill. The whippoorwill is a nocturnal bird and enjoys feasting on bugs at night. Luckily, one of our cameras caught this fascinating bird (actually two) in flight hunting for insects under the deck of our cabin. They can fly up to 15 feet off the ground, sweeping insects into their very large mouths.
The whippoorwill has a distinct chirping sound that stands out from any other bird that you might hear in the forest. The chirping is very rhythmic, and sounds as if they are saying their exact name, “whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will.”
In Native American tradition, their is a belief that the cry of the Whippoorwill is a symbol of misfortune or death. The Mohegan Tribe feels different; they believe that the Whippoorwill is the sound of ‘Little People’ who are ‘Nature Spirits’. Read more here. Also, these incredible birds are known as ‘moon birds’ because they lay their eggs with the phases of the moon. Read more here. So, the next time you look up in the sky at night and see the moon, remember the whippoorwill.
Throughout history snakes have been a symbol of medicine, love, rebirth, wisdom, good, and evil. Snakes will seek shelter in any place that is hidden. They burrow under rocks, logs, tree stumps, and bushes. Snakes are frightened of humans and are not prone to strike unless they feel threatened. It’s best to keep a good distance, and they will mosey on by.
Here are 5 fascinating snakes that I encountered in the woods of South Carolina.
1) Corn Snake
Corn snakes are generally docile and non-venomous. The corn snake has colors of orange and brown with patterns that resemble a ‘corn on the cob.’
It is easy to confuse corn snakes with venomous copperhead snakes. Corn snakes have brighter colors and are of a more slender build than copperheads. Corn snakes are also an excellent choice as a pet snake according to experts. Read more here.
Copperheads are the most common venomous snake you will find in South Carolina. They are reddish-brown, long, and wide snakes with a diamond shape pattern on their backs. Copperheads try to avoid humans and often hide under fallen leaves. Most copperhead bites occur when an unsuspecting human steps on the snake. Read more about the copperhead here.
3) King Snake
The king snake has a black body with yellow patterns. King snakes dislike copperheads. King snakes do not have venom. They kill their prey by wrapping themselves around the prey and squeezing it to death.
4) Black Snake
Black snakes are not venomous nor aggressive. If they feel threatened, they may bite as a last resort. The black snake can reach up to 8 feet in length. Black snakes eat large amounts of rats and mice. They are especially handy to have around when you are growing a vegetable garden.
5) Eastern Milk Snake
Historically, the eastern milk snake got it’s name from a silly belief that it would drink milk from a cow. The eastern milk snake is not venomous. People confuse the eastern milk snake with the venomous coral snake. Experts have suggested learning the following rhyme in order to differentiate the two snakes: “Red on yellow kills a fellow. Red on black, friend of Jack.”
According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, there are 38 different species of snakes in South Carolina.
Many people have a natural fear of snakes including, myself. Experts have studied this reaction and have discovered that we usually are not born with the fear of snakes. The fear of snakes is a learned behavior.
April is an exciting time to see wildlife in the woods. All the animals are active this month. Black bears are emerging from their dens and showing up around the neighborhood. I spotted a black bear and her cubs a few miles from my home and captured a short video.
Spring has arrived early here in South Carolina. The wildlife is more active, flowers are starting to bloom, and the sun is shining brightly over the mountains. Plus, the black bears around the woods will be waking up soon from hibernation.
The woods are alive with bright colors and wildlife during the cold winter months. There is a mystical feeling of viewing the clouds over Table Rock Mountain. At twilight, you can see pink and yellow sky surrounding the mountains.
Table Rock Mountain has been voted one of the top leaf peeping destinations in the Southeast. Click here for more information. Wherever you go, you will see a colorful burst of yellow, red, orange, brown, and vibrant green.
A pink glow radiated in the evening sky in South Carolina from Hurricane Ian, as it touched down in Florida on that frightful Thursday. The outer-bands of the storm hovered high over our cabin. The leaves on the trees had a fluorescent green glow from the pink clouds. The woods became eerily quiet as the birds and small woodland critters prepared for the storm.
I hunkered down and nervously watched the weather forecast. The uncertainty of where the storm was headed in South Carolina was gut wrenching. On Friday, the storm had returned and pummeled the beaches of the South Carolina coast. The trees were bending from the strong wind gusts and there was a slight chill in the air.
The sun shyly peaked from the clouds on Saturday morning. Luckily, there was no damage in the area, just a few tree branches on the ground.
I’m deeply saddened by the destruction Hurricane Ian left in Florida and South Carolina.
Here are a list of reputable organizations that accepts donations for those severely impacted from the hurricane.(Click on the links below to access their website.)
These disasters are a constant reminder to love and hug everyone around you and to appreciate the present moments. Things might change forever within the blink of an eye. Life is always uncertain. The only thing that is truly certain is what you hold dearly within your heart.
Our trail cam captured footage of this coyote searching for food at night and exploring the back of the woods. Coyotes first appeared in South Carolina 30 years ago and continue to expand in numbers. In Autumn young pups leave their mother and search for food and territory. Coyotes prey on small animals such as rodents and rabbits. Their diet usually consists of small insects, berries, and fruit. Read more about coyotes here. And here.
A misunderstood animal that is harmless and quite interesting is the opossum. Opossums are not aggressive and will run away if they encounter a threat or play dead. Opossums are resistant to venom and prey on snakes such as copperheads and rattlesnakes. They can benefit your garden by consuming small insects such as beetles, slugs, and snails that damage gardens.