Savannah National Wildlife Refuge; 13 October 2012

It was a beautiful day for a visit to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge; my father and I drove over today to see what we could see and were pleasantly surprised with what we could see on this pleasant fall day.  The canal on the back side of the refuge where you usually see the most alligators had a high water level and a strong current which kept the alligator count down but we still saw five in other parts of the refuge.  As usual the galinules and coots were out in full force and we got a good close up look at a tri-colored heron.  We also saw several turtles in the usual spot around mile marker 4 of the wildlife drive.  At the “turtle hole” I was going to step down the bank to get a closer shot of the turtles and luckily looked around as I did, there was a good sized alligator approximately ten feet away, hiding behind some grass that was concealing him from the roadway!   It provided the opportunity for some good photos and was the closest I’ve been to one in quite awhile.  A Canadian couple was visiting the refuge at the same time and we helped enhance their visit by pointing out the alligators we saw; I have to admit that it made our visit more fun too.

Beyond the canal and the marsh is the Savannah River. Across the river is industry and the Port of Savannah.
Refuge marsh in the foreground, industrial plant in Port Wentworth in the background. The refuge offers an interesting perspective of nature and the modern world.
Georgia Ports Authority cranes beyond the refuge marsh and the Savannah River.
This alligator was floating almost out of range for my camera.
I don’t think I’d ever seen an alligator in this particular “hole” before but I caught a glimpse of glare and a pattern that just didn’t quite fit the surroundings…
Closer inspection with the binoculars revealed this alligator lying halfway on a log.
Further along we came across one of the two juvenile alligators we saw today.
This tri-colored heron was right down the bank from the road and didn’t seem to be the least bit concerned that we’d gotten out to take photos. Usually the waterfowl take off when you get as close as we were.
Around mile marker 4 there’s a nice “hole” where you can almost always find turtles; these two were sunning themselves on a log. I was going to step down the bank to get a slightly different view when I looked to the right…
And saw this alligator about 10 feet away! The grass was hiding him from view from the road. Growing up hunting with my father and learning to look at my surroundings before stepping off sure paid off.
This is the second juvenile alligator that we saw today. It was about 20-25 feet away from the one in the previous photo.
Close up of the head of the alligator I almost walked up on after he decided to slide back into the water.










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