During the holiday break, I took a road trip south and was able to pick any place I wanted to visit on the way. I decided on the Savannah Federal Wildlife Refuge on the Georgia border. I packed my cameras and lens hoping to capture some new images for my collection.
We opted for the 4-mile route that winds through the wetlands, allowing you to get up close and personal with nature. I opted to get out and walk most of the route, noticing many bikers riding along the dikes and pathways. Then there are the folks who stayed inside the sanctuary of their motor vehicles to view what passes them by. The thing about nature is, you really can’t experience it unless you are in it. So I jumped right in and within 15 minutes of my trek, I sighted a life bird for me, the Purple gallinule. I wanted to get a closer shot of him, so I quietly walked done an embankment Amistad the tall grasses and started to take even more photos. For some reason, I glanced in front of me and saw a funny looking log about 200ft away. Then it dawned on me, this wasn’t a log it was an alligator. I decide it was best to backed up very quietly and leave the big boy alone. I saw a total of 13 alligators that day, this first one was the biggest. I did notice a warning sign about the presence of alligators in the Refuge around the next bend.
I continued to trek onward and came across a huge and magnificent black and tan bird that flew into a tree right above me. At first I thought it was a Tricolor Heron, but once I checked my trusty bird book, I found out it was an Anhinga. Another one for my life list. By the time a completed the 4 miles route I had 13 new life birds and some of the most exciting moments of bird watching I have ever known.
The savannah wildlife refuge has this amazing phot bird blind set up for anyone to use. I loved walking on the brick paths under the regal moss burdened trees and had a nice view of several Snowy and Great egrets. When I came out of the hidden. Area, I happened upon 3 very playful Bobcats frolicking less than 100ft in front of me. They let me watch them for quite awhile, never letting me get close than the 100ft. They were so different from the Bobcats I have seen in the Berkshires; Their legs were twice as long and the tail was just about touching the ground. I even asked my friend and naturalist, Tom Smith, to help confirm the species.
In closing, I was very impressed with the Savannah Federal Wildlife Refuge, it seems to be well planned and accessible for the humans and the wildlife to be wild. And I have thousands of new photos to remind me of a great day out and about. Till next time, watch for animal signs wherever you may roam.
Karen Karlberg resides in Becket MA with her menagerie of rescued barnyard & domestic animals and her husband Mark. She is actively involved in conservation efforts as a citizen scientist, town official, and an accomplished artisan and nature photographer www.kattailphoto.com