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  • Thu, 20 Apr 2023 22:24:38 +0000

    McGallagher Family History Book

    April 22, 2023 we will be hosting the McGallagher Family Reunion. In honor of that, I am uploading the McGallagher book that Anna Anderson and I compiled in 2019. It includes so much information that my parents and many of my Mom’s relatives gathered over the years, as well as information that Anna researched. There are two versions. The first version has photos. The second has hyperlinks to jump from page to page so that you can quickly find information about specific individuals or families.

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  • Wed, 26 Oct 2022 01:20:57 +0000

    A Drive Around Alabama’s Scenic Coastal Byway to Dauphin Island

    Amanda and I took the scenic route from Irvington to Dauphin Island to take a walk through the Shell Mounds. I take this drive around Shell Belt Road and Coden Belt Road at least once or twice a week in the evenings after work or on Sunday after church. I don’t think I’ve ever photographed it at sunrise before. It’s so relaxing to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the coast and the road is right next to the water.

    Once we reached the island, we decided to check out the East End Beach that has been re-opened. It was a relief to see that the beach had not only been restored since the storms, but also the entire area, especially the parking lot has been completely updated.

    It’s always a challenge trying to capture images that truly reflect the beauty of nature in densely forested woods, but I was happy with a few of my shots of the ancient oaks. I never really captured how impressive the shell mounds were because they were obscured by the thick foliage. If we had been quieter, we probably would have seen more birds. That’s something I want to start working on.

    One thing on my bucket list is to take a tour out to the Sand Island Light House to capture my own images of this historic structure before it is swept into the waters at the mouth of Mobile Bay.

    I broke this week’s images into two videos, one of the drive to Dauphin Island and the other just of our walk through the Shell Mounds. Hope y’all enjoy the meditative music and images. I often play videos like these when my high school students are working quietly on independent practice. I teach at an alternative school and continue to be amazed at how much quiet music reduces idle chatter and improves focus.

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  • Tue, 18 Oct 2022 22:38:31 +0000

    A Visit to the Grand Bay Savanna Wildlife Management Area in Bayou La Batre, Alabama

    Tucked away in Bayou La Batre is a secret that few know about, an untamed place full of wonderful, mysterious, and potentially dangerous things. Here you’ll find carnivorous plants, wild animals with ferocious appetites, and tiny insects that have the ability to make you want to claw your face off.

    My adventure buddy, Amanda, and I spent several hours early Saturday morning, October 15, 2022 visiting a small area of this 5,442.5-acre complex that is managed by the State Lands Division as a Nature Preserve. It is adjacent to the Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge accessed in Mississippi which straddles the Mississippi/Alabama state line. We took a short walk from the parking area near Portersville Bay across a boardwalk to a viewing platform that overlooks Grand Bay facing west toward Pascagoula, Mississippi.

    An early morning October walk on the boardwalk deep in the Grand Bay Savanna WMA in Bayou La Batre, AL.

    With the exception of one tiny bird and several insects, the animals in the area chose to remain hidden despite leaving plenty of evidence of their existence. Animal footprints and rutted out patches of grass indicated a heavy presence of feral pigs, deer, coyote, raccoons and rabbits. There was even a set of prints that looked like a large hand and barefoot print that leads me to wonder if a bear was in the area.

    What kind of animal prints do you think these are?

    Amanda is a fan of bigfoot videos, so for fun, I added a few images of a bigfoot cutout to this week’s YouTube video just to give viewers something to hunt. Although we did hear a hog rooting around in the nearby shrubs, we had no scary encounters with wildlife on this adventure, unless you count the millions of gnats that attacked us on the dock.

    Checkout My Photo Video of Our Visit

    For More Information about the Grand Bay Savanna Wildlife Management Area visit the websites below:

    Grand Bay Savanna Complex | Forever Wild

    Dauphin Island – Bayou La Batre Loop of the Coastal Alabama Birding Trail

    Rustic Visitor’s Guide to Alabama’s Forever Wild Land Trust Properties page 33 site 21

    Grand Bay Savanna Complex Spotlight | Forever Wild

    Grand Bay Savanna Project Habitat Watch | Forever Wild

    Birds of Grand Bay Savanna | Forever Wild

    Dauphin Island – Bayou La Batre Loop of the Coastal Alabama Birding Trail

    Henderson Camp Road – Grand Bay Savanna Forever Wild Tract

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  • Mon, 10 Oct 2022 01:41:41 +0000

    A Virtual Walk Through CL Dees Wildlife Trail Gautier, Mississippi

    Amanda and I decided to check out the CL Dees Wildlife Trail, another portion of the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National wildlife refuge. It turned out to be an excellent choice for a crisp southern October morning. The cypress trees were putting on a show as their foliage was changing color readying the trees for winters gray chill.

    The 1.5-mile was an easy walk with smooth terrain and very little change in elevation. There was an abundance of birds that could be heard in the trees, but the insects were sluggish and less active than the ones we encountered the past two weekends. We did see a few fresh animal tracks, but did not encounter reptiles, amphibians, or even small mammals such as squirrels.

    This trail was located adjacent to the research center which opens to the public at 9:00 in the morning. We did not go in to the center on this trip, but I hope to visit it soon. The grounds nearest the parking lot also have several picnic tables, ample space for student field trips and small group gatherings.

    One of my favorite types of wild plants are the carnivorous varieties found in the swamps and bogs around the Gulf Coast. They remind me of the property my parents owned near our home when I was growing up. I will definitely be back in different seasons to get more images of these unique plants throughout their life cycle.

    You can check out my video of our walk which also includes identification of some of the plants I photographed and tidbits of information about pine savannas.

    Here are some links to other information about pine savannas and pitcher plants.

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