Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (Swamp), Georgia

Great name and amazing place!  We visited the refuge the day before we left Georgia.  This swamp is huge!  It covers 630 miles in Georgia but also extends into Florida.  Only a few miles of trails but we also took a sunset boat tour which was awesome!



Okefenokee, the "Land of the Trembling Earth"
red shoulder hawks are common here

across a pond 11 young gators sunning

just down the road a bit, another 4 hatchlings hang out on a log....


with mom close by in the brush

part of the Chesser Island Homestead, this syrup shed is still used to demonstrate making cane syrup




We took the Chesser Island Boardwalk.....




and came across a banded water snake trying to warm up!  Right next to the board walk.





from a lookout tower

we saw several downy woodpeckers




these two guys were just coming back from spending the weekend in the swamp!
don't know what kind of snake this is yet, also next to the trail!


getting ready to head out for our sunset "cruise"
The variety and amount of wildlife was just crazy!  What a trip!!!


small blue heron

bittern

barred owl


green heron

blue heron

king fisher



last glimpse of the sun through the trees


egret

see the young gator in the water off Mike's right elbow??

birds of all kinds flocked across the sky, it was noisy 

this was the night of the super moon,  we did not see much of it due to clouds




the next day at a nearby beach
BBQ at Southern Soul

super moon alright!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Georgia On My Mind

Wow we had a nice travel down the coast!  The weather has been better than we thought it would be, the wild life amazing, the pristine beaches just awesome!!

This will be the first of 2 posts from Georgia.  We are now parked in a Goldcoaster Resort for the next 2 months near Homestead, Florida.  From here we will be doing our holiday flying to see family.  We will be seeing a few things in the area here of course!:)

In Georgia I'm highlighting Fort Frederica and Cumberland Island for this post. Nothing much remains of Fort Frederica.  Built by the British in 1733 under James Oglethorpe, the fort housed the settlers who came over to populate the Georgia colony.  The settler's first task was to build a fort to defend the new colony from the Spanish.  The fort reached a population of about 500 in the ensuing decade.  In 1739 the British and Spanish went to war with the Spanish being defeated in 1742.  After the war the fort was no longer needed and began its decline eventually falling into ruin.

Fort Frederica is now a lovely place to walk around and see the foundations of the buildings which once stood there.  Archeologists have excavated the ruins to some degree and have a full picture of the settlement, and as you stroll the grounds you can read about the different sites and see some of the artifacts pulled from that site.










The St. Simons lighthouse peeks through the branches of an old oak.




The grounds shown below where the lighthouse stands depict the area where Fort St. Simons used to be.  A sister fort of Fort Frederica, nothing remains of Fort St. Simons.

A wood stork!  I don't think I've seen storks in the U.S. before!  Seen several of these now!  
 Another ferry ride, this one 45 minutes, over to Cumberland Island and the Cumberland Island National Seashore.....just another fantastic day!! Georgia's largest, southernmost barrier island. This Island was once owned by the Carnegie family.  Still occupied on the west end, the east end is now park and national seashore.  It has been allowed to resort to it's natural state. No visitor vehicles are allowed but one may camp here.

Looking past the other ferry at Cumberland Island as we approach you can see a line of fallen trees where the beach eroded during Hurricane Matthew

Leaving the ferry landing for our walk.  A feral horse passes unconcerned through the people milling about.

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wild turkeys......

lots of armadillos!! We saw a few running around!

Ruins of one of the 9 mansions Mrs. Carnegie built for her 9 children on the island!  This mansion went up in flames and was never restored.  These ruins are inside the park to walk by. The place was huge!

boardwalks.....


...and wildlife.  I think this is a juvenile bald eagle....





.....and below a couple of sandhill cranes fly overhead!!







leaving the island at dusk

returning to the mainland after a lovely day on Cumberland Island!