An Amazing Morning at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

On Wednesday morning, I started a week of leave and decided to decompress by making a visit to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge’s Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive. It turned out to be a great day for a visit. One of the first things I noticed when I entered the drive was that the interior was being drained; the flats were fully exposed with just the water in the canals and creeks remaining and even those had lower levels than usual. As a result, fish were concentrated in the canals and creeks. Naturally, anything that feeds on fish was taking advantage of the situation – except for the rookeries at Harris Neck NWR I’ve never seen that many wading birds in such close proximity to each other and I’ve never seen that many Alligators (in their natural environment) in one place before. Over the four mile drive, I counted a total of 102 Alligators; before the first left turn I’d counted 20 and before the halfway point I’d counted 65. On Thursday I went over with my father and although it wasn’t like Wednesday we still counted 68 over the four mile drive. On both days, I saw more Wood Storks at the Savannah NWR than I’ve ever seen there before (although still not even close to the numbers you can see at the Harris Neck NWR). On Wednesday I was just at the right place at the right time, it was a simply brilliant visit to the refuge!

Great Blue Heron (front) and Great Egret (back) alongside a canal at the Savannah NWR
Great Blue Heron (front) and Great Egret (back) alongside a canal at the Savannah NWR
One of the many Great Blue Herons taking advantage of low water and concentrated fish population at the Savannah NWR
One of the many Great Blue Herons taking advantage of low water and concentrated fish population at the Savannah NWR
Great Egret flying over the Savannah NWR
Great Egret flying over the Savannah NWR
Wood Stork feeding on a fish at the Savannah NWR
Wood Stork feeding on a fish at the Savannah NWR
Wood Storks at the Savannah NWR
Wood Storks at the Savannah NWR
Alligator sunning on an exposed flat after the interior of the Savannah NWR's Laurel Island Wildlife Drive was drained
Alligator sunning on an exposed flat after the interior of the Savannah NWR’s Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive was drained
Red Winged Blackbird
Red Winged Blackbird
Another Alligator taking advantage of the low water level at the Savannah NWR to find a good sunning spot (Green Heron bottom center)
Another Alligator taking advantage of the low water level at the Savannah NWR to find a good sunning spot (Green Heron bottom center)
Red Winged Blackbird in full song
Red Winged Blackbird in full song
Alligator sunning along one of the creeks at the Savannah NWR; that bank would have been covered with water just a few days before
Alligator sunning along one of the creeks at the Savannah NWR; that bank would have been covered with water just a few days before
Another Alligator sunning on an exposed flat after draining at the Savannah NWR
Another Alligator sunning on an exposed flat after draining at the Savannah NWR
Immature Green Heron at the Savannah NWR, neck extended
Immature Green Heron at the Savannah NWR, neck extended
Immature Green Heron in its more usual posture
Immature Green Heron in its more usual posture
Alligators finding more spots to rest after the interior of the Savannah NWR's Laurel Island Wildlife Drive was drained
Alligators finding more spots to rest after the interior of the Savannah NWR’s Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive was drained

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