Birding, Alligatoring. Oystering and some Jazz

Trip Start Jan 20, 2012
Trip End Feb 11, 2012

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Marriott Surfwatch

Flag of United States  , Georgia
Thursday, January 26, 2012

On an amazingly warm day (mid 70's),we drove and walked around the the Laurel Hill loop in the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.  We had hopes for seeing ducks and various raptors.  We have been there before and, in the past, have either seen many many ducks or a lot of coots.  Last year it was closed so they could improve the water system in the refuge.This is an interesting place as it is actually an old rice plantation.  It still has the canals they used for flooding the rice fields and it turns out that these are excellent for maintaining the water levels the wildlife needs to succeed. 

To begin the adventure, we stopped at the new visitor center for the wildlife refuge. We had not been there before, it opened in 2010.  It was nice, had a little film and a little display.  The people working there were really helpful in telling us where to go. Most of the ducks were hiding away from the road this year, so we had to hike in to see them.  We spotted many, many coots as usual, red shouldered hawks, turkey vultures, a bald eagle. northern shoveler ducks, blue winged teals, green winged teals and first year buffleheads.

We didn't see as great a variety of ducks as we had several years ago.  We also didn't see any otters as we have in the past. What we did see were a ton of alligators.  Usually it is too cold at this time of year for them to come out, but not this year.  As we were looking at one of the alligators, an older couple drove up in a pick up.  The man asked me, in a thick Southern accent how many we had seen, but I really wasn't counting, I was there to see birds.  He proudly told me that they had seen 20 and that they come once a week, apparently looking for alligators.

We then stopped at Pepper's Porch in Bluffton because Ken just had to have some oysters.  We gotr a half bucket of steamed Bluffton oysters and spent a while prying open oyster shells and loving every one of them.  A real treat.

Dinner was at the Jazz Corner - taking advantage of restaurant week, with some pretty good live jazz.

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