Into the Wild with Bruce Lampright

Five signs Fall has arrived at Brays Island Plantation

September 2018 — Always a welcome season at Brays Island, Fall ushers in a bevy of flora and fauna around the plantation — and perhaps none are more watchful than our own Bruce Lampright.

Known as a walking wildlife encyclopedia, Bruce is our resident naturalist and aficionado on beekeeping, crabbing or anything wild in the Lowcountry. With that in mind, here are five ways he knows Fall has arrived on the plantation:

Fall Foliage – A huge benefit of living in the Lowcountry is that we see all four seasons. While our Fall is relatively mild, we do get some vibrant colors from trees like the sweetgum, tupelo, hickory and Chinese tallow tree, also known as the popcorn tree.

Butterfly Migrations – Each Fall, Brays Island enjoys a large flush of butterflies, which are here nectaring on our wildflowers. These species include the Gulf fritillary, multiple swallowtail species, cloudless sulfur and a few monarch butterflies migrating to Mexico.

Fall Bird Migrations – Blue-winged teal, scaup and other species of waterfowl begin to show up each Fall. Also, the birds of prey arrive like the Northern kestrel, my favorite small falcon. We also offer Owl Prowls, which are an exciting opportunity to call the birds from a specially designed touring trailer.

Mushrooms Foraging – As the chanterelles phase out, Fall welcomes some delicious edible mushrooms like chicken of the woods, lion’s mane, oyster mushrooms and shiitakes, which we propagate ourselves at the nature center. During owner’s weekend, my sherry shiitake soup is a big hit!

Crabbing & Shrimping – With recreational shrimping and crabbing season open in September, we have an abundance of crustaceans moving into Brays Island tidal creeks and ponds. During our workshop on Oct. 24, owners will have the opportunity to throw a castnet, cook up and consume their catch.

Open seven days a week to owners, the Nature Center at Brays Island offers a unique and fascinating glimpse into the development of the plantation. Brays Island’s on-site naturalist, Bruce Lampright, is available to lead groups and families on a wide array of adventures ranging from kayak adventures and wagon tours to wildflower walks, owl prowls and Kids Adventure Camps throughout the year. For more information, visit Brays’ Nature Center.