Home » Nature » Iron Birds, Feathered Birds, and Alligators – Savannah NWR; 28 April 2014

Iron Birds, Feathered Birds, and Alligators – Savannah NWR; 28 April 2014

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This morning I rode over to the Savannah NWR to see what there was to see and it turned out to be a very productive trip even though the Raccoon Island Trail (which I had planned to walk) was closed.  The trip yielded two Great Blue Herons, two Green Herons, a nesting female Anhinga, a bunch of Red Winged Blackbirds,  Alligators and (even though they’re not wildlife) four F-16s.

While on the way to the Refuge on Highway 21, I heard MAITAI 0# and GAMBLER 0# flights getting ready to take off from Savannah IAP.  The radio traffic I heard indicated they were going to take off from Runway 10 so their flight path would bring them right over Highway 21, so I was getting lucky.  I found a good spot to take pictures from in the area of Highway 21 and Highway 307 and just as I got out of the car they began taking off.  I missed getting a good shot of MAITAI 01 but I did get some good ones of MATIAI 02, 03, and 04. More on the F-16s in another post…

One of MAITAI 0# flight (F-16, 21st FS) taking off from Savannah IAP this morning.

One of MAITAI 0# flight (F-16, 21st FS) taking off from Savannah IAP this morning.

I ended up just riding through the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive because I was planning to also walk the Raccoon Island Trail but it had signs up that it was closed due to Biological work.  I was disappointed because the last time I walked, there was quite a bit to see.  The drive made up for it though; there were a lot more alligators to see even though the water levels were quite high in many places and I enjoyed seeing the Green Herons, which I don’t seem to see very often at the Savannah NWR (I seem to see them more frequently at Harris Neck NWR).  The nesting female Anhinga was a treat – it’s the first time I’ve seen one nesting, and I may have seen a Painted Bunting (it didn’t stay still long enough to identify).  Finally, one of the last Alligators I saw had obviously just caught a meal.

Alligator floating near the old VORTAC site.

Alligator floating near the old VORTAC site.

Alligator sunning on the bank.

Alligator sunning on the bank.

Alligator floating in the diversion canal.

Alligator floating in the diversion canal.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Alligator sunning on a mud bank

Alligator sunning on a mud bank

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Alligator floating in the "Turtle Hole" but no turtles seen today.

Alligator floating in the “Turtle Hole” but no turtles seen today.

Nesting female Anhinga

Nesting female Anhinga

Quite possibly the motliest Great Blue Heron I've ever seen - 1st year plumage.

Quite possibly the motliest Great Blue Heron I’ve ever seen – 1st year plumage.

Alligator on the bank of the diversion canal.

Alligator on the bank of the diversion canal.

Alligator on the bank of the diversion canal with a meal it just caught; can't tell if it's got a dog, a coyote or what.

Alligator on the bank of the diversion canal with a meal it just caught; can’t tell if it’s got a dog, a coyote or what.


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