It was a second Saturday, and the Lowcountry Unfiltered group had another trip planned. This time it would be a bicycle trek to the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge on the Georgia coast south of Savannah. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to join them. We were making a quick trip to Florida to pick up Laura’s mother. However, since we would be driving right past, we decided to stop on the way down. We liked it so much that we also decided to stop on the way back to break up the trip. It turned out to be a great discovery.
Sometime between 1929 and 1932 this area was developed as an airfield, and served as an emergency landing strip for air routes along the Eastern coast. In WWII it was redeveloped as an Army airfield and was used to train both fighters and bombers. In 1946 there was an attempt to transform the Army base into a commercial airfield, but that ultimately failed. In 1962 the area was designated as a wildlife area.
The runways of the old airfield are in an unusual triangular pattern. The old tarmac remains, and this serves as an excellent base for hiking or biking. There is also a wildlife drive that loops through the area, using part of the old runways and taxiways.
On our first stop it had just started raining, but we decided to do the wildlife loop anyway. We first stopped at Woods Pond, and were amazed at the number of storks and green herons. The whole place was covered with birds.
The road continued through pine, live oaks, and hanging Spanish moss…
…then crossed several of the old runways.
We saw other wildlife along the way, including quail and bluebirds. However, since it was raining and we still had a long way to go, we didn’t linger, but continued on our way to Florida.
Saturday we decided to stop back by Harris Neck. At Woods Pond there were just as many birds, but this time the turtles and aligators were out. There were also lots more people riding bikes and taking advantage of the nice weather.
As we continued along the loop we ran into Matt Richardson and John Ring from the Lowcountry Unfiltered group. They were the only two to make the trek this time. We chatted a bit, then headed on our way.
The bright light cast some interesting shadows on the moss-covered trees. We paused all along the way to take a few more photos.
Both on the way down and on the way back from Florida this made a nice stop to break up the long trip. I wish I’d had a longer lens with me and more time to explore the area. We may need to make a trip down this way just to visit this place. John and Matt did get some great shots. Below is a slideshow from John’s Flickr account…