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Independence Day at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

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Savannah – I celebrated Independence Day by making an early morning visit to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge before the temperature became oppressive. It was my first visit to the refuge in over a month and while I didn’t get a lot of photos, it was an enjoyable visit. I saw a pair of Black Bellied Whistling Ducks flying in a formation that fighter pilots would have been proud of, but I wasn’t able to get a photo of them – how disappointing. I also saw a couple of Purple Gallinules, but they were too far away for good photos. The highlight of the morning, however, came before I started down the wildlife drive; while I was taking some photos of the sunlight shining through the mossy Live Oaks at the entrance a Whitetail Deer fawn walked within 6 feet of me! Unfortunately as soon as I made a move it quickened its pace and I didn’t get a photo until it some distance away. Curiously, I never saw a doe nearby. The fawn didn’t seem lost, however, it seemed to be intently moving toward some intended destination, not exactly taking its time but not in a hurry either.

The Whitetail Deer fawn I had a close encounter with at the entrance to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

The Whitetail Deer fawn I had a close encounter with at the entrance to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Pickerel Rush flowers at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Pickerel Rush flowers at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

A bee feeding on the flower of a Pickerel Rush at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

A bee feeding on the flower of a Pickerel Rush at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Dragonfly at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Dragonfly at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Dragonfly at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Dragonfly at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Great Egret standing in the wildlife drive at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Great Egret standing in the wildlife drive at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Female Anhinga preening at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Female Anhinga preening at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

As the Savannah River Harbor deepening project goes forward, I still worry about what it will do to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge through increased salinity as a result of the deepening. The refuge truly is a special place, an island of nature and wildlife amidst and ocean of modern life and industry. Hopefully it survives the harbor deepening and remains a place of refuge for coastal wildlife and a place for us to enjoy viewing and learning about the natural world around us. It truly is a place that highlights the Savannah area’s juxtaposition of wildlife and industry.

A Great Blue Heron in the foreground and Georgia Ports cranes in the background, The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge illustrates the juxtaposition of nature/wildlife and industry that is the Savannah area

A Great Blue Heron in the foreground and Georgia Ports cranes in the background, The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge illustrates the juxtaposition of nature/wildlife and industry that is the Savannah area

Even leaving the refuge at 10:00 am, it was still getting oppressively hot; the heat index was already climbing to and above 100F. While it’s at the peak of summer, I probably won’t be making frequent visits to the refuge, but I’m looking forward to the temperatures moderating during Autumn so I can resume enjoying the refuge’s coastal beauty.

 


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