National Refuges Week 2014

Last week was National Refuges Week honoring the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System. On Wednesday, I visited the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex. On Saturday, I visited the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, another part of the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex.

Wednesday’s weather was wonderful once the early morning rain and clouds passed through and it made for a good visit to the Savannah NWR. Alligators young and old were out as they had been on recent trips; I even got bellowed at a number of times by a mother near 3 of her young. Luckily I was about 10-15 feet above the water they were in. I saw at least 15 Common Gallinules, a good number of them immature ones, along with 2 Great Blue Herons, a Great Egret, a Snowy Egret, an Osprey, an American Coot, and a number of Red Winged Blackbirds.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Common Gallinule
Common Gallinule
Alligator floating among the lily pads
Alligator floating among the lily pads
Immature Common Gallinule
Immature Common Gallinule
Mama alligator
Mama alligator
Mama alligator bellowing at me
Mama alligator bellowing at me
One of the young alligators she was protecting
One of the young alligators she was protecting
Another of the young alligators she was protecting
Another of the young alligators she was protecting
Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret
Adult and immature Common Gallinules
Adult and immature Common Gallinules
Large alligator sunning on a bank
Large alligator sunning on a bank

The weather on Saturday was beautiful. I drove up to Harris Neck NWR from Brunswick and walked around several of the ponds. I didn’t see any alligators this go around, but it was a pretty good day for bird watching.  There are still Wood Storks at Harris Neck, including immature ones; I saw at least 60 of them at Bluebill Pond. I  also saw a number of Little Blue Herons (including several immature ones), Tri Colored Herons, White and Glossy Ibis, a Snowy Egret, a Great Egret, Common Gallinules, American Coots, and Black Vultures. I also saw some Ospreys, although they were metal ones instead of feathered ones!  While I was walking around Snipe Pond, two MV-22s flew over in formation; I didn’t have a scanner with me because the noise scares off wildlife (and wearing earbuds keeps me from hearing wildlife) but they were likely from VMM-365 which is currently operating with the USS Iwo Jima Amphibious Group off of the Georgia/Florida coast.

Glossy Ibis (L) and Immature Little Blue Heron (R) at Bluebill Pond
Glossy Ibis (L) and Immature Little Blue Heron (R) at Bluebill Pond
Wood Storks in a tree at Bluebill Pond
Wood Storks in a tree at Bluebill Pond
Wood Storks in a tree at Bluebill Pond
Wood Storks in a tree at Bluebill Pond
Back to front: Glossy Ibis, Little Blue Heron, and either Blue or Green Winged Teal at Bluebill Pond
Back to front: Glossy Ibis, Little Blue Heron, and either Blue or Green Winged Teal at Bluebill Pond
Wood Storks at the back of Bluebll Pond
Wood Storks at the back of Bluebll Pond
Great Egret at Woody Pond
Great Egret at Woody Pond
Snowy Egrets, Cattle Egret, and immature White Ibis at Snipe Pond
Snowy Egrets, Cattle Egret, and immature White Ibis at Snipe Pond
MV-22B (probably from VMM-365) flying over Snipe Pond
MV-22B (probably from VMM-365) flying over Snipe Pond
MV-22B (probably from VMM-365) flying over Snipe Pond
MV-22B (probably from VMM-365) flying over Snipe Pond

On Saturday, I also tried to find some of the Nationl Wildlife Refuge Week amateur radio special event stations but I never heard any. Most of what I heard was New York QSO Party and Boy Scouts Jamboree on the Air Stations.  I tried again on Sunday morning but never heard any then either. I did work 12 stations in the Worked All Germany Contest but I missed working ham stations at Wildlife Refuges.

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