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Combining Nature/Wildlife Photography and Amateur Radio at the Savannah NWR

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Savannah – Yesterday and today, I visited the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge for the first time in a few weeks and decided to combine some mobile amateur radio HF operating with the usual nature/wildlife photography.  Neither day yielded a lot in the way of wildlife but both visits turned out to be fun.  Over the last month and a half to two months, there were a lot of Great Egrets at the refuge but I didn’t see any on either Friday or this morning.  For an alligator count, I only a total of 17 over both days – rather low compared to my last few visits.  I did get to see an immature Yellow Crowned Night Heron on Friday’s visit; as their name indicates they’re not a bird you see a lot of during the middle of the day.  On Saturday, I enjoyed talking to some out of town visitors and making some amateur radio HF contacts along the way.

Alligator cruising through the lily pads

Alligator cruising through the lily pads

Common Gallinule and a couple of her young

Common Gallinule and a couple of her young

Two young Alligators on a mud bank

Two young Alligators on a mud bank

Immature Yellow Crowned Night Heron

Immature Yellow Crowned Night Heron

Great Blue Heron perched atop a tree.

Great Blue Heron perched atop a tree.

Immature Common Gallinules

Immature Common Gallinules

Alligator keeping cool during the heat of the day

Alligator keeping cool during the heat of the day

Love the coloration on this Dragonfly that was resting on one of the rice trunks

Love the coloration on this Dragonfly that was resting on one of the rice trunks

Alligator floating close to the roadway

Alligator floating close to the roadway

Cattle Egrets perched atop a tree

Cattle Egrets perched atop a tree

Dragonfly resting on a blade of grass

Dragonfly resting on a blade of grass

Small Alligator floating in the "turtle hole"

Small Alligator floating in the “turtle hole”

Turtle floating in the "turtle hole"

Turtle floating in the “turtle hole”

On both days, I played radio while riding through the refuge.  On Friday I only made one contact but it was with one of the ARRL Centennial portable stations.  This morning was much more productive and I put the other ARRL Centennial portable station in the log as well as six special event stations.

  • W1AW/1 VT – ARRL Centennial portable station in Vermont
  • K3ZMC – 4H Club Special Event Station in Pennsylvania
  • W9IMS – Indianapolis Motor Speedway MotoGP Special Event
  • NN4VA – CCC Special Event Station in Virginia
  • W1AW/2 NJ – ARRL Centennial portable station in New Jersey
  • KG8JK – CCC Special Event Station in Michigan
  • W5T – Tontitown Grape Festival Special Event in Arkansas
  • N2S – Worlds’s Largest Teapot Special Event in West Virginia

Considering thunderstorms put a damper on things both afternoons, it was a fun way to spend both mornings. Even though there wasn’t as much to see as in previous visits, I always enjoy getting out to the refuge and seeing what there is to see. It was also the first time I’ve been on the air lately and it was definitely fun to put some special event stations in the log; as a history buff I was hoping I’d be able to contact some of the CCC stations this weekend.


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