Borrego Springs, CA

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bon Secour NWR – “Safe Harbor”

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge encompasses some of Alabama’s last remaining coastal barrier habitat.  Doug and I were off early this morning to drive to this refuge to help with an educational program for 4th graders.  It took us two hours to get there, but this refuge is one of three included in the southeast Mississippi complex along with MS Sandhill Crane and Grand Bay NWRs. 

57 MS Sandhill Crane NWR41

Our learning station was located in the pine-oak woodlands.  Students were led on a scavenger hunt hike.  They didn’t physically collect anything, but verified their ‘finds’ with a digital camera.  The 13 items on the scavenger list ranged from epiphytes (air plants) to evidence of the turpentine industry.  Providing them with cameras provided a great hands on activity.  I found it amazing that just about all students remained comfortable, while I was sweating bullets in the high temps and humidity.  I was pretty worn out by the time we had taken three groups on this one mile hike.  Smile with tongue out


When we were finished, Doug and I took a different route home which included a ride on a ferry in Mobile Bay.  Lots of laughing gulls were around to accompany us on the ride.


We passed several gas rigs located in the bay.  I had thought maybe they were oil rigs, but not so.


As we approached shore, quite a few brown pelicans were lounging on the rocks and preening. 


We stopped for a rather late lunch on the way, and I enjoyed some crab claws and a shrimp burger.  I hate to admit it, but I think maybe I’m reaching my limit of shrimp consumption for a while.  Disappointed smile


Back at the ranch, Emma was more than thrilled to see that I had finally returned.  It was a long day for her inside the rig.  We went for a walk, and then sat outside until almost sunset.  This female red-winged blackbird stopped by for a little snack.

_MG_1161 _MG_1159

Overhead, this female summer tanager was busy gathering nesting materials.  If I were staying here longer, I think I’d be able to find her nest.  This pair is certainly nesting right around the volunteer campsites.  I’m thinking these fine materials will be lining the inside of her nest.  She’s almost ready to begin laying eggs.  The flow of life goes on…


Thanks for stopping by…. talk to you later,  Judy


  1. Do the males help build the nests or just the females? Shows how little I know about birds. Are you ready to head out? Your day is fast approaching. So is ours - to head north.

  2. Love the laughing gulls, have never seen any.

    I have been watching Black-capped Chickadees gather nesting material, they are such cte little workers.

  3. I have a Stellar Jay that just won't give up!

  4. Three one-mile hikes is a lot in hot, humid weather. I'm going to do the March of Dimes walk with my daughter-in-law and daughter this next weekend, and I can keep up with them. We are meeting at 7:30 am, and it will be all I can do to get up that early!

    Are you anxious to get moving, now that the time at the refuge is dwindling down?

  5. A scavenger hunt in the NWR using digital camera sounds like a lot of fun. I'll bet those students had a great, educational time. I'm with you--why do we feel the heat and humidity so much more when we're older?

  6. The scavenger hunt with the camera at the NWR sounds like a good way for the students to learn and "touch" parts of of nature. It's sad that energy and stamina is given to the youth who sometimes don't appreciate it.
    Glad you had a great day and I bet Emma was glad when you got back to the rig.

  7. The scavenger hunt with a digital camera sounds like a wonderful education and fun, even for some of us bullet sweating old folks.

    Mac & Dianna

  8. Great pictures Judy! I particularly liked the “laughing gulls”. Also, the idea of giving the kids a camera is a good one. I think the students would stay more involved and interested this way.


  9. We have a ton of Red Winged Blackbirds here, but I guess I have never noticed the female..As usual, they aren't as colorful..Loved the "laughing gulls" too. McGuyver and I always seem to be followed by the turkey vultures when we are on our walks...just waiting for one of us to become "carrion"...:-P

  10. And the fourth graders loved the day. You gave them a fine gift of your time and your knowledge to help them better understand our world!

  11. What a wonderful idea for the kids!

  12. The kids look like they were having a good time.

  13. I know it won't be long and you will be headed north. The weather here is humid too, 100% in the form of lots of rain, however it is much cooler.

  14. I always thought those lady red-winged blackbirds were some type of sparrow. See, you learn something every day. Great pictures!

  15. Great photos as always. The shot of the gulls looks like it needs a caption.