Wednesday, April 01, 2020
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
|Red Rat Snake|
|Whitetop Pitcher Plants and Blossoms|
|Purple Pitcher Plant|
|Bald Eagle chicks in nest|
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
A 12-14 inch snake rested on the trail in front of us. I took photos from a distance using the camera lens to get closer. Another time on another trail, we got down on the path for good photos of what turned out to be a cottonmouth, but we didn't realize it until I went through the photos more closely that evening. I tried to look this one up, thinking it might be a Copperhead, but the photos online don't have the same patterns as this one. I'm going to show it to a naturalist we will see at the state park tomorrow to see if she knows. It does seem to have the triangular head that I always thought meant it was venomous.
Monday, March 09, 2020
Hurricane Ivan made landfall on the Alabama coast as a Category 3 storm on Sept. 16, 2004. The Gulf State Park sustained major damage but has been able to rebuild and recover in the last 15 years. The park buildings were destroyed, Route 182 was wiped out, and the dunes were basically gone. Much effort has gone into restoring the dunes, and they look pretty normal by now. Construction of a new pier was completed in 2009 and was the longest pier on the Gulf of Mexico at 1540 ft. at the time.The new pier is 20 feet wide and 1,512 feet long. It has a concession area with rest rooms, picnic tables, snack bar and tackle shop. The end of the pier is an octagon shape that is about 65 feet across, whereas the old pier’s end cap was only 30 feet wide. It is also is two feet higher with an elevation of 20 feet above sea level, where the old pier was at elevation 18. The location of the new pier is 250 feet east of the old pier. They have experimented with treatments for the planking to preserve it. We have been on many fishing piers, but never on a guided tour by a naturalist.
Usually only one of three young Pelicans will survive from a nest each season. If they come to the pier for easy fishing, they don't get enough nutrition from the leftover pieces thrown in the water by fishermen. Of course, they get caught in fishing line too. There is a rehab center in Orange Beach, if they can catch the bird before it starves.
Yes, these are both Boat-tailed Grackles - what a size difference!
|Herring Gull Juvenile|
|Ring-billed Gull Adult|
The beach at the pier was very deep, very soft white sand-a real challenge to walk through until you reach the water line. But we did see several birds we hadn't located so far. These gulls and the little Turnstone all breed much farther north, so I wonder if many of them started their migration already.
We did find a Swamp Sparrow in the marsh in the middle of town, called in with chip notes from my phone app, but he was a speedy little guy, and I didn't get any photos of him today.
Sunday, March 08, 2020
Ospreys took advantage of a large tower at the Fort to build their nest. Probably a bit early for eggs, but she stayed at the nest and called him the whole time we visited.