For the first time in a year or more, I was able to spend a couple of hours at the Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge in Gautier, Mississippi.
I’ve been going there for six or seven years. They have a wonderful visitor center with educational displays and a gift shop. Hubby bought me a new pair of earrings from Jabebo. I love their recycled earrings and own several. The site has some areas for picnics too.
On this day, a viewing platform was located out behind the visitor center to enable guests to view several of the Sandhill Cranes were are being acclimated to their new home. Unbelievably, it was my first time to actually see any of the cranes at the refuge. Unfortunately, it was too far for me to photograph, even with a telephoto lens.
It was a lovely day to take a hike on the trail which winds through the pine savanna. Longleaf pine savannas are endangered ecosystems and harbor many wonderful native plants and provide habitat for countless wildlife species.
We have hiked the trail at this location many times with our dachshunds, but not since losing our male last summer to cancer.
Our female was not feeling up to the walk and she preferred to ride in her backpack. Heck, at nearly 17 years old, she is certainly entitled to off days.
I always appreciate signage of the plant material. Identified here is rattlesnake master. I love that name!
Notice the different colors of the carnivorous, pitcher plant flower heads!
The pitcher plants were showing well-formed flower heads that will soon open.
Many dried flowers were to be found. Some with interesting character that would be beautiful in dried arrangements.
Chaptalia tomentosa (wooly sunbonnets) were in full bloom.
Parrot pitcher plants, sundews, and other carnivorous plants were to be found. I think parrot pitcher plants are my favorite. They look like little parrots laid over in the grass. They have ten carnivorous species in their refuge.
Be sure to walk slowly and look closely so you don’t miss the tiny sundews!
As a horticulturist working for a blueberry breeder, I also enjoy observing the native Vaccinium species when we are hiking.
Again, thanks for the signage!
Could anything be cuter than a root named candy? Orange candyroot/milkwort flowering here: Polygala lutea
Even the simple, delicate coastal violet gets a sign!
I think this is a southern fence lizard?
The native longleaf pine has giant pine cones.
“In the wild Mississippi sandhill cranes can only be found on and adjacent to the Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR. There are only about 100 individuals remaining.” Stop by if you are even along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Check out their calendar of events or sign up on their email list to stay up to date with future programs.
The Garden Maiden
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