Moss Point, MS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Moss Point, Mississippi, where I joined a group of environmental stewards who convened to discuss upcoming projects.  The meeting was held at Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) in an impressive facility with LEED Gold certification, an internationally recognized green building rating.  The facility is as beautiful as it is environmentally conscious, and it blends perfectly with its surrounding 18,000-acre coastal habitat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer, the education coordinator at Grand Bay NERR, graciously showed me around the area and pointed me towards the best spots, given my short time-frame of only a couple days.  Of particular interest were a host of carnivorous plants, which were turning beautiful shades of red and orange due to their deciduous nature.  Though I’m sure their appearance in Spring isn’t to be missed, I thought the resulting colors of their Autumn die-off were beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During my stay, I ventured off to visit the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge, which I was told had the best maintained longleaf pine savanna in the area.  “Go for the forest,” they said.  “Birds don’t read signs, so they’re rarely there.”  I’ve heard about such ecosystems for a while now, but I had never taken the time to actually explore one myself.

 

 

 

It wasn’t until I arrived at the refuge that I truly understood what the hype was all about.  It was early morning, and the sunlight filtered magnificently through the foggy landscape.  The scene was so very different from the overgrown loblolly forests that I’m so familiar with in most of Alabama.  There is no wonder why there’s such a huge effort to restore this once prevalent ecosystem in the Southeast.  After snapping some of my favorite photos of the trip, I continued on my way to experience the area from a different perspective: by boat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day before, Jennifer had connected me with a boat operator through the Pascagoula River Audubon Center, and I booked a river tour for the following day.  Benny McCoy, who owns the tour business with his brother, was the boat’s captain.  After slowly making our way through the marsh along the bank where the Audubon center sits, Benny opened the throttle once we hit the river.  Every now and then we would slow down to weave in and out of the bayous along the river, looking for birds and alligators, all the while enjoying the beautiful day.  We saw countless ospreys with fish in their grip, as well as Great Blue Herons and Great White Egrets.  We did spot one large gator in the middle of a bayou, but it quickly submerged below the water line before we could get a good look at it (or snap any photos).

 

 

 

 

Benny couldn’t have been any nicer during the ride, and I’d highly recommend booking a tour with him if you’re ever in the area.

I hope to return to the coast during Spring to see everything in bloom and perhaps to get a few more glimpses of some animals.

3 Comments

  1. Beautiful pictures! Wasn’t the fog grand!

  2. Ginny Humber

    My family once visited a gator farm in Pascagoula. We ventured out into the bayou on a rickety old boardwalk, with nothing but rusted chicken-wire protecting us from the 10-foot gators that lurked just under the surface of the water. It was thrilling. And also the setting of a great horror movie, if I ever get around to writing it. Great pics! I love the ones of the spiderwebs.

  3. Nice! You are going to soak up life in longleaf. Enjoy the journey.

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