Monday, May 5, 2014

5/4/14 Savannah Wildlife Refuge

Savannah Port Authority

     About eight miles outside Savannah lies the Savannah Wildlife Refuge.  Originally established in 1927 on an old rice plantation, the property stretches 29,000 acres.  This is the headquarters for Savannah Coastal Refuges, which cover 56,000 acres that stretch from Hilton Head to well into Georgia.  They are strategically positioned on the Atlantic Flyway - which is a heavily traveled bird migration route.

     At this location is a five mile dirt road that wends its way through wooded areas and across dikes from the old plantation.  

     There are many miles of footpaths - most dirt but a few stretches are bricked over.

     Looking across the paddies you can clearly see the paper mills and the port authority on the Savannah River.  The area is divided into several sections, and depending upon the time of  year they are either flooded or drained depending upon which will serve the avian visitors the best.

     They have even constructed photo blinds for photographers - a rarity to find.

     Long canals built between the old dykes separate the various fields.   

     Did you spot him in the last photo?  Gators abound, I saw several dozen floating about or sunning themselves.

     Bird life abounds, but to shoot them you will need at least a 500 mm lens.  It seems that all their roosting spots are at least 100 yards from the trials.

     There were a few people about, but not many.  These guys had caught seven bass in an hour.  There are other areas that are salt and brackish water so there are many species of fish here.

     Many of the plants are displaying their spring finery.

     Just up the street is the visitor center.  Ranger Chris Cooley was on duty alone, and although we didn't get to talk much I did gather that he recently transferred here from a refuge on the Gulf of Mexico.

     The visitor center has a lot of informative displays covering bird life, mammals, reptiles and rodents that call this home.  There is also a lot of information on how they go about maintaining the area to be of optimum usefulness to the birds that pass through. 

If you want a break from Savannah, it is well worth the short drive.  You don't even have to get out of the car - a slow cruise through will give many opportunities to view the wildlife here.

Today's parting shot was taken on the Savannah River.

    I like the shadow of the tug on the spot that says "NO TUG."

Have an awesome Monday !!

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