There Dad, you have been warned. And I'm sticking lots of photos in so that no one will be taken by surprise. That said, I thought I'd share a few images from a trip Mom and I took to Mississippi and Alabama last month. It was beautiful, cool and sunny weather for one day on our trip, and we took full advantage of the gorgeous weather to get out and explore the Gulf Coast.
We rented a car in Biloxi, and intended to drive to Mobile and check out some of the historic houses and museums in that city. The day started off with a bang. The rental agency had no cars of the class that I had reserved and offered us an alternative vehicle.... a sweet little black Ford Mustang. No problem! We cruised down the coast in our fabulous ride, but on the way decided to take advantage of the nice weather and detoured to Bellingrath Home and Gardens. Since that's where the snakes were, we'll get to that later.
As we left Bellingrath, we saw signs for Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island, a mere 15 minutes from our location. So we ditched the idea of going to Mobile and drove over a fabulously long bridge onto Dauphin Island. We toured Fort Gaines, a Civil War Fort, and then explored the rest of the small island. I have to admit, I was more excited to discover that Dauphin Island was a major bird refuge currently swarming with migrating birds than I was about seeing the old fort. This is probably evidenced by the fact that I have no pictures of the fort itself. But there were tons and tons of bird and beach photos on my camera.
I thought this old log right outside of the fort looked really cool.
And instead of taking pictures of the ruined boat hull outside of the Fort, I took a photo of this mockingbird? sitting on top of it.
By the time we finished exploring the fort, Mom had reached her walking quota for the day. So she sat in a shady spot in the Dauphin Island bird sanctuary while I took a whirlwind hike through the area. It had rained VERY heavily during the week leading up to our visit, so much of the paths were muddy, or completely flooded and impassible. I did, however, find a low boardwalk over the swampy water that turned out to be absolutely fascinating.
I stood just a few feet away from this Green Heron and watched him fish.
Meanwhile, above him in the trees, this brightly colored Prothonotary Warbler (I think) was flitting around.
There were lots of other birds that I did not get decent photos of. Just a little bit away from the heron, I could see a otter/beaver/marine mammal gliding around in the water. But by the time I was able to walk over to get a closer look, a group of LOUD people had arrived, and the little critter had disappeared. I don't understand why people would walk into a bird sanctuary talking at the top of their lungs and crashing around like bigfoot. You're not going to see anything if you're making that much noise, so why are you there?
Flashing back to Bellingrath: This place had acres and acres of beautiful gardens that are open to the public. One of the prettiest areas was the rose garden.
I love roses. I would love to have a garden just swimming with beautiful roses.
So what do you think? Is this a nice friendly lion, or his he about to turn someone into a snack?
There was also a small area of the property that is considered a wildlife sanctuary. It was interesting to walk through, but we didn't see any birds, or fish, or turtles. But we did see....
A big old water moccasin!!!! Don't worry, this closeup is due to my zoom lens. I wasn't going to get to close this guy. We were on an elevated footpath, and he was many feet below us, basking in the sun. There was a lady next to us who really wanted to bonk him in the head with her empty drink bottle. Thankfully, her husband talked her out of it.
At yet another location, I saw this tiny guy swimming through a pond. Based on the shape of his head, I'm thinking he is also a poisonous snake (again, I was on a bridge, he was far away down below). Maybe a baby water moccasin?
It was at this point that I invented a new game called "Snake!" You walk through the woods and suddenly shout "SNAKE!" at your companion. Their job is to guess whether you really saw a snake, or you're just kidding. Mom really hates this game. I guess it's a good thing she loves me so much.
That's all for now. Hope you weren't too bored looking at more of my travel photos. I'm off to stitch a little.