Home » Nature » Savannah National Wildlife Refuge; 21 January 2015

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge; 21 January 2015

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Savannah – My father and I drove over to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge yesterday around midday; we drove the Laurel Island Wildlife Drive and walked the Raccoon Island trail. The tide was very high and the temperatures were warmer than it has been recently, so it made for some different viewing than recent trips. First of all, we didn’t see as many migratory waterfowl as the last few trips; there were a lot of Northern Shovelers but not as many Blue Wing Teal, Ring-necked Ducks, or Ruddy Ducks. A lot of the usual heron and egret spots were covered by the high tide, but they were to be found along areas like the trail and diversion canal where water levels are lower than on other trips. Finally, the warmer temperatures resulted in a higher number of alligator and turtle sightings; we saw 14 alligators and 12 turtles along the way.

Killdeer feeding near the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive entrance

Killdeer feeding near the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive entrance

Alligator out sunning; judging from the look of things, it hadn't been in this spot long.

Alligator out sunning; judging from the look of things, it hadn’t been in this spot long.

Little Blue Heron along the Raccoon Island Trail just before it...

Little Blue Heron along the Raccoon Island Trail just before it…

Took off...

Took off…

and flew away

and flew away

Great Blue Heron and a couple of juvenile White Ibis along the Raccoon Island Trail

Great Blue Heron and a couple of juvenile White Ibis along the Raccoon Island Trail

Great Blue Heron along the Raccoon Island Trail, shot through the brush

Great Blue Heron along the Raccoon Island Trail, shot through the brush (American Coot just behind it)

A couple of alligators along the Raccoon Island Trail; the one swimming...

A couple of alligators along the Raccoon Island Trail; the one swimming…

Soon joined the other sunning on the canal bank.

Soon joined the other sunning on the canal bank.

This next photo is from an interesting encounter. I almost got fixated on a Little Blue Heron and Snowy Egret on the other side of the canal along the Raccoon Island Trail and almost didn’t notice this large alligator on the same side of the canal as we were. I was using a 100-300mm zoom lens and had dial it all the way back to 100mm to get this photo; it was definitely uncomfortably close. I got this photo then we gave it as wide a berth as possible as we continued down the trail.

Large alligator along the side of the Raccoon Island Trail

Large alligator along the side of the Raccoon Island Trail

Another Great Blue Heron along the Raccoon Island Trail, again shot through the brush

Another Great Blue Heron along the Raccoon Island Trail, again shot through the brush

Great Blue Heron along the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive

Great Blue Heron along the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive

This large alligator was lying along the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive between the water's edge and the edge of the roadway

This large alligator was lying along the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive between the water’s edge and the edge of the roadway

The rest of the alligator in the previous photo

The rest of the alligator in the previous photo

This was a fun series of photos to take. Usually I see more Tri-Color Herons at the Harris Neck NWR than I do at the Savannah NWR, but we saw a number of them yesterday. This one was foraging at the water’s edge along the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive and decided to “shake it off” at one point; I just clicked along as it did.

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This series of photos shows a Tri-Color Heron shaking off along the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive

This series of photos shows a Tri-Color Heron shaking off along the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive

This series of photos shows a Tri-Color Heron shaking off along the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive

This series of photos shows a Tri-Color Heron shaking off along the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive

This series of photos shows a Tri-Color Heron shaking off along the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive

This series of photos shows a Tri-Color Heron shaking off along the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive

This series of photos shows a Tri-Color Heron shaking off along the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive

This series of photos shows a Tri-Color Heron shaking off along the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive

This series of photos shows a Tri-Color Heron shaking off along the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive

This series of photos shows a Tri-Color Heron shaking off along the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive

Large alligator sunning on the opposite side of the diversion canal from the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive; note that it's missing half of it's left front leg

Large alligator sunning on the opposite side of the diversion canal from the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive; note that it’s missing half of it’s left front leg


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