Author Archive for jean – Page 2

Birding in Gulf Shores, Alabama

This morning I went on a birding walk with two volunteers at the Bon Secour Nature Reserve. We saw lots of birds but only one or two water birds.  The two most exciting sightings for me were a brown-headed nuthatch and a ruby-crowned kinglet.  This is not good a good time of the year here for bird-watching but we found plenty to look at anyway.  In March, the migrants would be here in droves.  If I ever come back, that’s when I want to come. Here is my bird list for Gulf Shores: Common Loon, Double-crested Cormorant, Hooded Merganser, Brown Pelican, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, American Coot, Snowy Plover, Willet, Sanderling, Herring Gull, Laughing Gull, Caspian Tern, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Forster’s Tern, Gull-Billed Tern, Mourning Dove, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Brown-Headed Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrust, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Red-Winged Blackbird. Photos below are of the brown-headed nuthatch and of a heron showing his reflection in the water.

Brown-Headed Nuthatch - CopyHeron Reflected

Dolphin time

After a couple of cold, windy, rainy days last week, the sun came back and we’ve had some gorgeous days again.  I love going down to the beach and watching for the dolphins.  On the cold days when the wind was blowing from the north, they were way out too far to be seen but when the wind switched directions and died down a bit, they came back.  Behind this one you can see one of the many natural gas rigs found in this part of the Gulf and in Mobile Bay. We are told that Florida doesn’t allow them off their coast but buys natural gas from Alabama instead. At night these things are all lights!

DSCN4749

Look who’s looking at you

We saw dolphins again this afternoon. It has rained briefly a couple of times and the wind is back. We walked the boardwalk in town and saw this fellow.  We weren’t sure at first if it was a piece of driftwood or an alligator. The eye answered our question!

 

Louisiana Heron

Here is a different kind of heron.  I think it is a Louisiana Heron, also called Tri-Color Heron.  It is smaller that a Great Blue Heron and has different coloring. We saw him at the Fort Morgan Ferry dock.  Yesterday we went to see the movie Les Miserables which was amazing, wonderful, the best movie I’ve seen in a long time.  When we went on our late afternoon walk on the beach, we saw dolphins playing in the waves 35-40 yards off shore.  That made the day nearly perfect for me!

Lazy Day

Had to turn on the air-conditioning today.  $:>)  We had a leisurely morning, then headed out to find the Orange Beach Art Museum, stopped at an antique car show on the way, had shrimp and flounder for lunch, stopped at WalMart for the area’s cheapest gas ($3.09 vs. $3.36!), then home.

Beautiful Day

The forecast for today was warm and overcast.  Instead, we had warm and sunny!  We took several walks on the beach and I even got my feet in the water – but not for very long.  I just don’t like not knowing what might be coming with the water.  There are lots of jellyfish on the beach so what if one of them came rolling in with the waves?  Eeeeeeek! The waves are incredible.  I watch them rolling in and crashing in to the beach, washing away portions of the sand.  The high tide line was up past the pilings of one of the houses closest to the beach this morning.  Next week high tide will be in the late afternoon rather than at night so maybe we’ll get to see it.

John stayed behind to read and I went in search of birds.  There is a park in Gulf Shores with no discernible parking area so I parked in an empty lot next to a business and took my chances. Then I walked to the park and out on the boardwalk into the marsh where I found a gang of brown pelicans and a couple of stately herons.

Look who’s coming to dinner!

Thursday was another warm but overcast day.  We drove over to Pensacola and toured the Naval Air Museum and the Pensacola Lighthouse.  On the way home, we stopped at the Shrimp Basket along Gulf Coast Highway for lunch.  We were joined by a great blue heron who was, no doubt, looking for shrimp!

 

Great Blue Heron

 

Another cloudy day and windy but no need for ajacket. Yesterday, John went golfing with a retired police officer from Chicago.  They played the Gulf Shores State Park course and had a good time.  I read, walked on the beach, and enjoyed a quiet day of rest.  We ate last night at King Neptune’s.  This noon, we ate at Steamer’s.  So far, Mikee’s is still my favorite.

We hiked a couple of miles in the Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge – Pine Beach Trail.  I was able to get a photo of a great blue heron but he was quite a distance from me and it was foggy so I’ll keep hoping for another photo op.  For now, it’s naptime for John and time to read for me.

 

 

Fort Morgan and Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today the sun was shining brightly but the wind had a bite to it.  It warmed up to 59 but sweatshirts and jackets felt good.  We toured historic Ft. Morgan which is 2 miles west of where we are staying and right on the end of the island. The fort dates back to 1812 and was built to defend the coast.  It was a Confederate stronghold during the Civil War and also has World War I and II era artifacts.  The fort was closed in 1946.  This brown pelican was sunning himself on a piling.

We hiked on two trails in the Bon Secour (Good Harbor) Wildlife Refuge and saw these amazing trees with bright red leaves that were shaped like 5-pointed stars.  I need to go back to ask the naturalist what they are. We ate lunch at Mikee’s – a rather ordinary looking eatery but the meal was superb.  We both had mahi – mine was blackened, John’s grilled.  Meals were half price at noon so the meal was $18 including salad, potatoes, drinks, mahi and taxes!  We will definitely go back there.  We are eating our main meal at noon and having sandwiches or soup in the evenings.

When we returned, we walked on the beach and John met another golfer.  They have a tee time for tomorrow morning at Gulf Shores State Park Golf Course.  That means I will have some time alone! That is a good thing.  The waves were impressive on the beach and there were lots of gulls.  Otherwise, I haven’t seen much wildlife yet.

Now John is watching Alabama and Notre Dame in the BCS football game (whatever that is).  He is yelling “Roll Tide” like a native and we’ve only been here 30 hours.  Oh, dear.

Gulf Shores, Alabama

This is our entry to the beach. We aren’t in Arkansas any more!

Yesterday we arrived in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  We are on the far western end of the Gulf Shores Peninsula just a mile or two from Fort Morgan.  The ferry ride over from Mobile was rough and there were only three vehicles crossing at 2 p.m.  I suppose there might have been room for 8 or 9 more.  Our rental property is on East Buchanan Street which is one of about six short streets off of Highway 180 which runs the width of the peninsula and in to the town of Gulf Shores which is about 20 miles from our residence.

J.E.B. has been a trooper.  He travelled well and seems to be adjusting to things here.  When we arrived it was windy and overcast. It even rained on the way over on the ferry (about a 30 minute ride – runs every 90 minutes).  We walked down to the beach (about half a block away – Photo 1) and then went for a ride into Gulf Shores where we ate an early dinner at The Oyster House.  John had shrimp, I had crabcakes.  We came back home and watched the season opener of Downton Abbey.  Such intrigue, drama and romance!

This morning J.E.B. and I greeted the sunrise on the beach.  It was windy and about 39 degrees — cold! We saw a man with a little white dog named Louie but no other activity in sight.  There are 18 houses on our little street, very close together, up on stilts.  Three of them have For Sale Signs and several more have For Rent signs.  Only five have signs of habitation right now.