On Sunday morning I learned that the Mississippi bayou gets some pretty thick fogs. I experienced this as I drove back to the Lake Mars Pier in Ocean Springs early that morning. It delayed my arrival to watch the sunrise at 6:34 a.m. but that didn’t matter since the thick fog obscured the sunrise for about a half hour.
I walked back and forth on the pier waiting for the sun to burn off the fog and chatted with some young fishermen. The told me where I might find some alligators that are living in the area. More on that later.
It was low tide again and there was a lot of shore bird activity. I took some photos, despite the poor lighting conditions, of this brown pelican landing in the fog
and this gull flying overhead in the fog.
There were also a few sanderlings scurrying on the pier.
The sun did eventually break through the fog and I watched it slowly ,
lighting up the ocean from the Lake Mars Pier . It was a beautiful scene.
I wanted to walk along the beach I found on Saturday hoping I would find some shore birds now that the tide was low.
Once again I was awed by the beauty of this unspoiled shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico.
And I was delighted not only to find shore birds wading offshore but I also saw this unusual sight, a northern cardinal and a
swamp sparrow on the beach along the shore.
Sedge wrens were also fluttering in the sedge and grassy marsh along the beach .
And I was lucky to get a photo of this harrier hawk that flew overhead. I am sure many of the birds I had photographed were on its breakfast menu.
And there were plenty of shore birds too. There were great blue herons wading in the deep blue waters of the Gulf,
and I observed this one catching a fish.
Snowy , and
great egrets also stalked the shallow blue waters in search of prey.
Large flocks of terns flew over the waters, diving into the shallows and catching fish and other sea creatures. I am not sure what this one caught,
I walked along the shore for about 3/4 of a mile when a small stream that entered the Gulf prevented me from hiking any further.
Here, in some taller trees I encountered some old friends that I often see on my hikes in Northeastern Pennsylvania, a flock of red-winged blackbirds, this was a male, and this
a female. They were causing a ruckus like they do in Pennsylvania. They may have nested in the Susquehanna where I so often visit.
On my walk back to the pier I saw more birds, both along the shore and in the marsh, there were palm warblers and
swamp sparrows in the trees in the marsh,
and more terns, sea gulls, great blue herons and egrets wading in the waters along the shore.
I walked back to the Lake Mars pier were I saw numerous shore birds including this double-crested cormorant perched on a post ,
sea gulls flying overhead,
willets and dunlins wading in the shallow waters,
and a flock of brown pelicans mixing with some seagulls.
I then did something I was told I couldn’t and shouldn’t do. The young fishermen told me there were some alligators living in some brackish waters in a stream that enters the Gulf about a mile east of the pier. They suggested following the stream down a couple of miles from a road to the north of the streams entry into the Gulf . I asked why couldn’t I walk along the shore. . I was told it was marsh and there is no beach. Well I tried it for about a half mile. It was rough, my shoes were soaked and I got bit by hundreds of sand fleas and other unknown insects. . I would have kept going but the grass got high and I didn’t want to step on a sleeping alligator so I turned back.
I had walked five miles and was ready to leave when I heard the familiar chatter of kingfisher. As I neared the parking lot I saw this one perched on a wire.
As I watched it flew into the air and engaged with another kingfisher.
They chattered and tumbled in the air. I didn’t know if they were fighting or mating but it was so cool to watch. It was an awesome way to finish a great hike. I saw so many birds and such beautiful scenery. I am definitely planning to return to this area. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos of the kingfishers and other birds I saw on my hike. It is worth checking out. Mississippi Day Five. Pier and Beach hike birds. December 5 2021.
After watching the kingfisher I returned to Bele’s on the Bayou in the Indian Point RV Park for another great breakfast. I enjoined the scenic bayou and lake but didn’t see any birds on Sunday. It was another great day of exploring the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. And every day I loved it even more. I am definitely going to return. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my visit to the Lake Mars pier. Mississippi Day Five Morning walk Lake Mars pier December 5 2021.
“Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea, and feel the sky
Let your soul & spirit fly,
Into the mystic.” – Van Morrison