Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Great Blue Heron

No bird is more regal than the great blue heron. These are large wading birds which are found in wetlands and near open water. Their territory runs over a majority of North and Central America, the Galapagos Islands, and the West Indies. This bird shows up in Europe rarely, and it has also been spotted in the Azores, England and Spain.

The great white heron was once thought to be a separate species, but it's not. The white heron roams south Florida and the Caribbean and is actually a white morph of a blue heron. Another species of heron called the Wurdemann's heron looks similar to the great blue heron, but it has a white head.

In Europe and elsewhere a similar but smaller bird, the grey heron, is predominant. Along with the cocoi heron and the great blue, the grey forms a sort of super-species. There are also five subspecies.

The bird's territory goes up to Alaska and Canadian provinces. Birds normally living in the northern part of their range migrate South for the winter. On the West Coast and in the southern U.S., they stay put. In the north, some of the birds do remain during cold winters, as these are hardy birds.

Great Blue Heron

The blue is the biggest of the herons in North America and grows up to fifty-five inches tall. Stretched out, the wings may cover a length of seventy-nine inches. It can weigh up to eight pounds and it has lovely, slate-blue feathers, reddish brown thighs, and two stripes down the flanks. Its neck is a rust-grey color with white and black streaks down the front. It features an almost-white face and a pair of bushy black "eyebrows" on its head.

The great blue heron has a dull-yellow beak and this turns orange at the start of the breeding season. Young birds have an overall duller color, no plumes, and a beak which is dull gray-yellow. The bird walks in an almost straight line and the distance between steps is about nine inches. It has small talons which imprint as it walks.

Habitat is varied for this large bird. It is very adaptable to its surroundings. The great blue is always found close to bodies of water, and it prefers nesting in an elevated location such as bushes or trees. The great blue heron might be spotted in both saltwater and freshwater marshes, at the edges of lakes, shorelines, and in temporarily flooded meadows, like their cousins the egrets.

They are a favorite of birdwatchers because they are regal, refined and elegant. Watching them wait patiently for prey and then lightning quick catching it, brings a few of those gorgeous Audubon paintings to life.

You are likely to spot these large and beautiful birds if you visit the coast or inland waterways of Alabama. They are very common on the beach, and there you will normally see a solitary heron in search of food. They are very accustomed to humans, so it is easy to get close enough to take a good photo. If you are in a watercraft, look for their nests (from the water, of course) on the islands in and near Perdido Pass.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Gulf Shores Memorabilia

Old Perdido Pass Bridge Photo

Alabama Point, Alabama ... Spanning Perdido Bay, this bridge connects the resort areas of two states - Florida and Alabama. (1960s)

The first bridge over Perdido Pass was opened to traffic in 1962. This two-lane bridge was damaged by Hurricane Frederick in 1979. After the hurricane, a higher four-lane bridge was built and the old won was demolished.

Old Perdido Pass Bridge Photo

Ashwander Beach Cottages ... Completely Furnished for Housekeeping ... Air-Conditioned ... New and Modern ... Write or call for reservations ... Earl & Lois Ashwander - Gulf shores, Alabama. (1960s)

Old Perdido Pass Bridge Photo

Friendship House ... Gulf Coasts' Finest Food ... Restaurant - Lounge - Antiques ... Highway E. 180 on Intracoastal Canal ... Gulf Shores, Alabama 36542 (1960s)

The Friendship House, owned by Nick Coles, was located on the Intracoastal Canal at the old drawbridge.

Lovell's Restaurant Loxley Alabama

Lovell's Restaurant ... Loxley, Alabama ... Serving the most delicious meals, specializing in plate lunches, chicken and sea foods... Owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. M. Lovell. (1960s)

This building still stands. Several different businesses have occupied it since Lovell's closed.

1960s Gulf Shores Alabama Travel Brochure

Just glance at the map! Gulf Shores, Alabama, is easily accessible to a vast area of the United States. It's the perfect holiday spot for every member of the family, and ideal for extended visits too! Its fishing and beach sports are yours on a year-round basis. The attractions of the Azalea Trail and Mardi Gras in Mobile, the Pensacola dog races, are only a short, pleasant drive over beautiful highways.

We have Courts, Cottages, Motels and Hotels available at reasonable rates. Kitchen equipped if you like, or you may dine in our many excellent restaurants. They are located on the Gulf Beach, Intra-Coastal Canal and Orange Beach.

The simple life's the rule of wonderful Gulf Shores, but the accent's on true, modern comfort. There's a variety of cottages available, assuring just the type you need. MODERATE rates always.
Fishing? Every day in the year, you have your choice - deep-sea fishing in the Gulf, fresh water fishing in nearby streams, bay fishing in one of our many bays, casting from one of our five piers, or surf casting directly from the shores! All yours in Gulf Shores! (1960s)