Tag Archive | animal

A great visit to Oatland Island Wildlife Center of Savannah

A few weeks before our trip to Savannah, Georgia, I was looking through the things to do and came across the Oatland Island Wildlife Center. Sadly, when I went to their website, I learned that hurricane Mathew had been very mean to them. Many habitats were damaged. Thankfully, these were the animals day areas, and their nighttime digs were safe, as were all the animals.

Lucky for us, they opened the day after Christmas, with only the wolf exhibit being off limits. So, off we went!

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Many of these animals cannot be returned to the wild, for one reason or another.

Many of the birds cannot fly. On the cages, they have signs that inform you that birds that cannot fly like the security of the small space.

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It was almost low tide here, the water was slowly getting lower, exposing the oysters.

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Hey look! It’s BOB!

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Bob-Cat!

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Hello, hello, hello. Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there any one at home?

The red fox was supposed to be in here. Maybe in the little house.

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WHO!

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Thee were two bald eagles in here. There was a long tree trunk that went from the ground to this high roost.

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Bison bison.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

This is a 4 mile, drive through wilderness preserve. How cool is that?! There are alligators here, so staying in the car was just fine with me.
This area was originally used to grow rice. Settlers cleared the area of trees, and built levees to control the water.
The water here is what is called brackish, a mix of saltwater and fresh. There is a delicate balance going on. Not too much salt, not too little.

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This channel of freshwater from the Little Back River was made by the US Army Engineers. The area was getting too much saltwater up from the Port of Savannah as modern needs enlarged the port. The USACE  diverted freshwater (very salt free)  from farther up the river to balance out the ecology.

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Unknown butterfly. Folks stop to see what I’m taking photos of, and after they see is not a gator, they pass by, all pissed off. 😛
The speed limit was 20, however hubby just allowed our truck to idle at about 4.5 MPH. There are limited areas to pull over to let folks pass. We pulled over often as folks just flew past us. Why go through such a beautiful area so fast?! Gators were the main attraction. Folks wanted to get to the next gator and didn’t care about anything else.  When a gator was found, a “parking cluster f**k” would occur. No one understands what pull off the road means. And what is it about leaving doors open? You’re not a cop requiring a shield, an escaped fugitive or a standing start racecar driver. Close your dang door!
I didn’t bring two important things on this trip… binoculars or a charged real camera. I left my charger at home.. Illinois home. Gaaaa! So sorry you have to deal with camerone photos.

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Alligator Alley is a common name for roads down here!

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Yellow-bellied Sliders! My hubby has a great eye for finding things in the brush. It also seemed all the good stuff was on the driver’s side. I ended up getting in the back seat on his side for awhile to not miss anything!

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Tree tunnels. Love them! These are ‘Live Oaks’ (Quercus virginiana) covered with Spanish moss. They call them live oaks here because the new leaves push the brown ones out, thus they are never really leafless or ‘dead’. Over the pond, they have evergreen oaks…. these are different.

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Snowy Egret. Another snow bird! These guys live by me in the summer and take the long flight down here seasonally. They were everywhere!

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Here’s what everyone came for! Mr. Crocodile! 🐊 We spotted this guy about 20 feet away from the road. My guess is he’s about 15′ long. The cool temperatures (50F-70F) keep them kinda sluggish and they generally only come out to sun themselves.

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Unknown bird. This guy was right on the side of the road. Not afraid of me at all, hence I was able to get a few closer shots.

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Another tree tunnel.

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A beautiful line of oaks.

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Another beautiful, unidentified  butterfly

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Liverleaf Hepatica / Hepatica americana… I think! It looked like beautiful shamrocks.

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Not as big as the last one, however still a gator! A fellow tourist pulled up along side of us standing outside taking pix. He asked us in very broken English, “Cross?” And motioned across the road. I think gators were new to him! We nodded no and I made a sleepy type motion to him and he understood. He was safe.  Ha!  Just remember… I dont need to outrun the gator, I just need to outrun you!

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Such a beautiful area… I wonder what it looked like with when all of the trees were still here…

Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Border Collies – The Animal Kingdom’s Meteorologist

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Incoming!!!!!

I rarely have to check the weather to see if a storm is on the way, as Breck let’s me know by becoming ‘clingy’ (Clink-on dog) or hiding. I’ve written many posts about this already…

There is a prediction of 8″ of snow on the way to us. I found Breck hiding behind the boxes in the garage, after I had let him outside and then had a heart attack  when I couldn’t find him in the yard. Thanks, Buddy… not. When it comes to snowstorms it’s funny… He knows they are coming, however he doesn’t freak as much since there is no thunder. Rarely, do we get thundersnows, ie, thunder during snowstorms. Watch the video below about a meteorologist and his reaction to the rare phenomenon.

Cliff’s Version: The ingredients necessary for thundersnow are so exceptional that it’s estimated only .07 % of snowstorms are associated with thunder. In a 30 year study of snowstorms with lightning, meteorologists found there’s an 86 % chance that at least 6” inches of snow will accumulate within a 70 mile radius of the lightning.

I remember the first time we experienced a thundersnow. It had started to snow so we went out to get some energy (anxiety) out before the snow hit hard and filled the yard. All of a sudden a huge, varicose vein of a lightning covered the sky, then a very loud clap of thunder! It was super awesome to experience… well, at least for the humans. The fur kids were high-tailing it for the garage.

Animals might react to incoming weather events and natural disasters wp-1481903109197.jpgby using one or all of their five senses which are usually better than a human’s. Many weather occurrences generate sounds in the infrasonic range, too low for humans to hear, however well within the range of many animal species.

Scientists have observed animals being effected by barometric pressure and sound waves. Sea birds are frequently noted flying inland when the pressure drops before a storm.

I do believe animals can sense many types of weather or natural disasters. Read here about the animals in the area of the Asiatic tsunami of December 2004. Animals don’t think about paying bills, having the latest android, if they should dye their gray hair, quit their job… They only need to think about survival; food, water, shelter, procreation, safety. When that’s all you have to think about, you get good at learning about these things. Stupid humans… why do we clutter ourselves so??

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

The Prince Who Watches Over My Mint

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Every year I grow mint for my Mojitos. I tend to just put it in a pot so it doesn’t go crazy and take over everything in my yard. The past few times I came out to water, this little Prince has been snuggled up under the rim. He must really like it up here as the first time I saw him, I thought he was stuck and moved him just outside the pot. He can clearly jump pretty high to get up here and since he fought so hard to get back up here, here I will leave him.

Isn’t he adorable?

American Toad – Anaxyrus americanus


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Dog Days At the Dogpark!

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We are camping at Viking Village in Stoughton, Wisconsin today.
We went to the island dog park where Breck decided to swim for the first time ever! He walked the pier a few times and then plunk he jumped in. Swam like a fish… straight to the shore to exit.
Oreo was not as graceful as his brother. Right after Breck, Oreo hopped off the same ramp. Face plant! It was a dive. Surely not what he intended. Well, he knows his limits now. Stay in the shallow end, buddy.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Chipping Sparrow – Spizella passerina

Sherry of Port 4 U set me straight!
This post was originally written with the ID of a white crowned sparrow… OOPSY! Welp. Good thing she wasn’t scared to set me straight. I am glad for her correction. How else would I learn?!
So, without further adieu… Here’s my post on CHIPPING sparrows!

I had one of these cuties visit me last spring. It was the first time I’d seen one.

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These guys learn their songs from the other sparrows around them, thus their songs are quite regional. Both the male and female sing, although the female’s song is less boisterous.

The chipping sparrow is known for its trill song that is a common sound in the woodland. They are often found in open prairies, however like to nest in the lower branches of trees and shrubs.

The nest is built by female, while the male stands guard and is open cup made of grass, twigs, weeds, rootlets, strips of bark, lined with fine grass, feathers, animal hair. The nest is very delicate and somewhat see thru. Soon, 4-5 creamy white to pale green, heavily spotted eggs will bless the couple. Incubation is done by the female only, and takes about 12 days.

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© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl