The Sandhill Crane is not migratory so the destruction of
its habitat is a death sentence.
They only lay two eggs per gestation and only one usually survives
so their birth rate is pretty low. Babies of every species are just
too damn cute.
Most of the preserve is comprised of these grasslands that
are sparsely populated with longleaf pines. Everywhere the
Astrals go, there's nobody there. Maybe we should take the
hint. This place was very tranquil and it was a great day for
a quiet walk in the woods.
Here's Astral Wendy posing on a woodland divan.
As you can see, the savanna was ginormous. I have to believe
there's a Sandhill Crane in there somewhere but, with only 100
of them in existence, I guess the sightings are rare.
The Castille Bayou runs through part of the preserve.
Ghostly silver trees dot portions of the landscape.
Even though it's winter, there are still sprays of green here and there.
I suspect this place is beautiful in the spring and summer when the
wildflowers are in bloom.
This is another section of the Castille Bayou. We're pretty close
to Louisiana (about 100 miles east of 'Nawlins) so the term 'bayou' is
used here too.
Roots need love too.
A little 'found' art. These pieces of glass and the leaf
were just sitting on the picnic table at the visitor center.
Nice eye Astral Wendy!
After we left the Wildlife Refuge, we decided to head back into Ocean Springs to grab a little lunch. We found this fabulous little cafe not far from the center of town called the Maison de Lu. (They don't have their own web presence so the link goes to urbanspoon). Highly recommended by the Astral Nomads for killer gourmet sandwiches.
After lunch, I checked google maps on my phone to see if there was a waterfront park in Ocean Springs and, lo! and behold!, we discovered the Fort Maurepas State Park. I guess I had forgotten that this area was controlled by the French at one time. They built a fort here in 1699, using it as a base before establishing Mobile, Alabama. This was a nice little coastal park with a pier extending out a couple of hundred yards in the shallow gulf waters. It also provided a nice view of the Causeway to Heaven (see yesterday's post) and the Biloxi skyline as well as vistas of some offshore barrier islands.
We passed a small marina on the way back where these gulls
Oh, BTW, we did see a crane too. Just not a Mississippi Sandhill
Tomorrow we're heading over to LaPlace. Lousiana, which we plan to use as a base camp in order to explore some of the antebellum mansions along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and the Big Easy. After that, not sure where we're heading next. Need to check the weather forecast and then we'll make an Astral decision. Wendy took a lot of great photos over the last few days so she'll probably post a photo blog tomorrow before we check out so you can enjoy the shots without all this of blathering.