Dauphin Island: Audubon Bird Sanctuary and Shell Mound
After exploring the west end of Dauphin Island, we explored further, and found what we were really looking for – the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. It was even better than we had imagined. You drive in and park, open your doors, and it smells good, like salty sea fresh air and pine trees together. They have walking trails that are beautifully done; even ramps and areas for people in wheelchairs, special areas for picnics out just a short walk.
The trails are clearly marked, and have great signage.
A very short walk takes you to a lake area, with an overlook and lots of soft shell turtles poking their heads out curiously:
At one point, AdventureMan laughed and said the long needle pine has decorated this smaller tree for Christmas:
We know we will be coming back, so we saved the longer hikes for another, cooler trip.
Dauphin Islanders have put a high priority on protecting their sea and bird life. They have bought up several parcels where the wildlife is protected and free.
We found the Shell Mound park, and it is magnificent. There is a road lined with trees dripping with Spanish Moss, and there is more wild lantana than I’ve ever seen in one place before. The butterflies are crazy about lantana, especially this orangey kind, and there must have been a thousand butterflies, just in this one small area; it was like butterfly heaven. Most of the butterflies we saw were Gulf Fritillaries or Sulphers, but AdventureMan says he also spotted a BuckEye. It was magical, just watching them flit so happily from blossom to blossom.
We are already thrilled we came to Dauphin Island, but . . . there is more to come!
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