Mississippi Day Two: A Sunrise, Pitcher Plants And Woodpeckers But No Sandhill Cranes.

Mississippi Day Two: A Sunrise, Pitcher Plants And Woodpeckers But No Sandhill Cranes.

Mississippi Day 2 morning birds (12 of 27)
Previous Post
Next Post

I awoke refreshed on Thursday  in Pascagoula Mississippi. Sleep will do that to you. Especially when you are traveling.  I still needed my coffee and was delighted to have  a Kurig coffee maker in my room. As I sipped on my coffee I was deciding where to watch the sunrise. I knew my next destination would be  the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refugee and  look for the rare and endangered Mississippi sandhill cranes. But it was 6 a.m. and I wanted to find a good location on the drive to watch the sunrise.  Searching Google maps I decided to drive to River Park along the Pascagoula River. It was about a 5 mile drive from my hotel. 

Getting here was more interesting than I planned. I drove on Highway 90 until I crossed the bridge over the Pascagoula River. I than exited on the ramps leading toward the massive Ingalls Shipbuilding Complex, the largest employer in the State of Mississippi. It has built over 70%  of the United States Navy. I made a U-turn and drove through some deserted back roads to get to the River Park. I am not a fearful person but it did look  or feel like a safe place. However, it was near sunrise so I had no choice but to exit my SUV and watch the sunrise. I walked  in the park, which was really only a large parking lot. There was an old ship along the river but  nothing else. 

Not many birds either. I only saw this large flock of brown pelicans flying in the distance as the sun rose. 

And I didn’t get a good view of the sun rise either. It was obscured by trees and buildings. It finally peeked above the obstructions,

and, like all sunrises and sunsets it was still beautiful, even at this disappointing location. 

I walked about  mile in the parking lot along the river hoping to see some water birds but not a one did I see.  So I made a note not to watch the sunrise here again and drove on the the  Mississippi Sandhill Crane refugee.  The refugee is located about 20 miles from my hotel and I had to drive through another Gulf town , Gautier, to get there. It was another quaint little town which I hope to explore before I leave. I was soon at the entrance to the refugee. 

It was a chilly 49 degrees when I arrived and some fog formed in the cool morning air. 

I heard a lot of birds in the trees surrounding the parking lot. I saw some woodpeckers high in the tree tops of the  many tall pine trees and a few chipping sparrows closer to the ground and in camera range. 

There were no sandhill cranes , I read they are often seen here at the visitor center where there is a feeding station, I began a hike on the very well maintained and informative  C. L. Dees Nature Trail. 

The trail begins under a forest of tall pine trees and grasses of a pine savanna.

It was a peaceful walk in the morning fog.

I heard many birds singing in the tree tops, including the beautiful song of a Carolina wren but I couldn’t see or photograph them in the fog. Closer to the ground I found this spider on its web. It didn’t move as I got close and I think it was affected by the chilly morning temperatures. 

As I continued my hike I came to a real amazing area along the trail. There were  100’s of carnivorous  pitcher plants growing in the grasses under the pine trees. 

I have read about these unique insect  eating plants, and seen them in many botanical gardens on my travels, but I have never seen them in the native habitat. They were beautiful and amazing. They have adapted to allow insects to crawl or fall into their “pitcher” were hairs or bristles prevent them from crawling out. The plants then slowly digest the unfortunate insects. Nature is amazing. 

There were also a variety of sundews growing in the area, these plants are also carnivorous and digest insect that get trapped on the sticky secretions that resemble morning dew. 

Continuing my hike I saw many pretty an unique wild flowers growing along the trail including the pretty yellow flowers of the narrow leaf silk grass, 

white heath asters

and bird’s foot violets. I am relying on my iPhone Picture This app for these identifications so please comment and correct me if I am wrong. I saw many other wild flowers and there will be more photos in a gallery which I will link later. 

The trail  led me to a bayou, a swamp or marsh along a stream or river where fresh and salt water mix.  

I was hoping to see more birds but it was quiet. 

The trail continued along the bayou and to an area  where cypress trees were growing. I love these trees which I see on my visits to the Florida Everglades. 

The trail returned me to the visitor trail.   I walked over to the Mississippi sand crane feeding station.  Sadly , there were no birds there. I next decided to hike along the roads in the refugee. I am glad I did. As I walked along the tall pine trees on the entrance road I  heard some commotion in the trees. Investigating the noise, I saw a pair of pileated woodpeckers feeding on some berries. 

I love seeing these beautiful birds. I watched the pair  fly from the berries to the trunks of pine trees ,

and was able to capture some photos of this  wonderful birds. 

After my encounter with the pileated woodpeckers, I walked back to the C. L. Dees trail. The air was warming and so was the bird activity. I once again heard the Carolina wrens singing, and saw flocks of other small birds I couldn’t identify. I was able to see and photograph this yellow-bellied sapsucker, 

and this pretty nuthatch, I believe it is a brown headed nuthatch one I haven’t seen before. 

As I walked past the bayou I next came across another of my favorite birds, a red-bellied woodpecker.

This one had an acorn in it’s beak and seemed not sure what to do with it. 

I enjoyed watching it struggle with it’s prize possession. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike, Mississippi Day Two Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refugee. December 2 2021. 

I took another walk on the trail but didn’t see anymore birds.  The sun had burned off the fog and warmed the cool morning air,

I did see a few butterflies on my last hike on the trail but no more birds and no Mississippi sandhill cranes. It was around 1o a.m. when I finished my hike and headed back to my hotel. Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs from my morning hike,  Mississippi Day Two. Sandhill crane refugee December 2021.

I returned to my room showered and had a great lunch at Brady’s Steak and Seafood House.  . The food was awesome. I loved the  seafood gumbo, 

and sandwich too. 

After lunch I actually relaxed at the pool for an hour I than  edited some photos and  was going to drive to the beach to  look for shore birds and watch the sunset.  However when I got in my SUV  it didn’t start. Not good. My plans for the afternoon and evening changed. I was on the phone with my rental company, Hertz for quite a while.  I wasn’t happy but these things happen I thought. Que sera sera. So making the best of the situation, I decided to explore the neighborhood while Hertz sent a mechanic.  

I walked around the hotel and headed to  a cemetery I saw on the Google earth  map.

On my way I saw some flowers,

and whistling ducks on a pond.

It was late afternoon  now, rush hour traffic was picking up, and I had a hard time crossing  busy Highway 90. 

Once I crossed the highway I found the cemetery as the sun was setting.

I love exploring cemeteries on my travels, so I walked around the graves,  many adorned with fresh and plastic flowers, and  I reflected on the lives each gravestone represents. 

I walked back to my hotel in the evening twilight, crossing the railroad tracks.  I hear the trains almost every hour  all night long  in my hotel and  I love it.  I’ve always enjoyed hearing train horns. I traveled across Australia by train an enjoyed every minute of my three day trip. I have the best dreams on trains and also I learned on Wednesday,  hearing them pass in the night. 

I crossed over the busy highway grabbed dinner at a nearby deli. It was okay. I then waited for the mechanic. He got the car started but I had to  drive it for a 1/2 hour  to recharge the battery. This was not how I planned the end of my day. But it could be worse I thought , not knowing that it would, but more about that in my next blog. Here is a link to a gallery with some photos from my unplanned evening hike. Mississippi Day Two evening hike. December 2 2021. 

Never apologize for being over sensitive and emotional when defending the welfare of wildlife.
Let this be a sign that you have a big heart and aren’t afraid to show your true feelings.
These emotions give you the strength to fight for what is right and to be the voice of those who cannot be heard.”
― Paul Oxton


This is my first post


  1. Carol on December 6, 2021 at 2:13 am

    Frank, your blog led me to the fact that Pascagoula used to be called Scranton…how about that!
    Also, I read about an alien abduction that took place is Pascagoula. I wonder if you will visit the

    • fskokoski@gmail.com on December 6, 2021 at 4:05 am

      Yes I read this and also about the abduction I won’t have time because of car troubles And did you read about the Singing River legend it is so sad.

  2. Carol on December 6, 2021 at 4:08 am

    Bummer…car troubles.
    Singing River…I’ll look it up.

  3. Carol on December 6, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    Frank, you included a pic of a little “sand castle” among pine needles. Any idea which creature made it? Fiddler Crab?

    • fskokoski@gmail.com on January 2, 2022 at 3:07 pm

      sorry for this late response so busy but I am not sure I think it was more like an ant nest. Happy New Year and thanks for you comments!

    • fskokoski@gmail.com on January 25, 2022 at 6:52 am

      Sorry I missed this Carol I believe they were termites