Friday, May 16, 2014

Shorebirds on the Alabama Gulf Coast

Coastal Alabama is a birdwatcher’s paradise. There are tons of different species to spot and catalog. Avid birdwatchers flock to the area because it is home to such a wide variety of avians. Shorebird identification for some of the most common species:
Warsaw Grouper

Great Blue Heron

The great blue heron is nearly four feet long and has a wingspan of about five feet. These wading birds are commonly found on the shoreline of open water. They are the largest of all of the herons found in North America.

The call of the great blue heron is very distinctive. The sound is reminiscent of a gigantic frog croaking. Herons are more vocal when it is breeding season.

For the most part, the great blue heron feeds on small fish, crabs, shrimp, rodents, small mammals and even birds. They usually swallow their food whole and occasionally will choke trying to consume something that is too big.

Brown Pelican

Brwon Pelican Photo

Pelicans are large water birds that have long, pouched bills. They are good swimmers as they use their strong, little legs and webbed toes to propel themselves through the water. The tail of a Pelican is squared off and short with about two dozen feathers. The wingspan is large and the breast muscles are strong which aid in their ability to glide and soar.

A pelican’s diet is mostly fish but they will eat crustaceans and frogs. Though a rarity, they will occasionally consume small birds. Pelicans will generally search for food in large groups. They will chase schools of fish toward the shore and scoop them up for a quick meal. Pelicans will also catch fish by piercing the fish with their bills. They will then pop it into the air and catch the fish in the air and slide it down into the gullet.

Warsaw Grouper

The killdeer is technically a plover and it is customarily found near the shore. They will also congregate in large, grassy fields such as golf courses and football fields. They eat insects and they stir up the bugs by running around in the grass. Killdeer have the typical characteristics of all plovers. Their bodies are slim and lean with long tail feathers that end in a point. They have round heads with short bills and large eyes. They are tawny colored with a white breast. The breast has two bands of black on it. The face has black and white markings. The rear area of the killdeer is orange in color.


Oystercatchers are wading birds. The feathering is usually solid black or black to brown with a white breast. They have large and long bills that are either red or orange. These birds are noisy. By noisy, I mean incredibly loud and boisterous and they can be very annoying.

Warsaw Grouper

The diet of the oystercatcher is shockingly varied. They will eat bugs, worms, oysters, clams, crabs, mussels and fish too. When they’re hungry they certainly have many options for finding dinner.

All oystercatchers are monogamous birds. They are very territorial and will not only defend each other but their nesting site as well. Researchers studied a pair of oystercatchers that stayed together and defended the same nesting area for more than 20 years!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Old Gulf Shores Alabama Postcards

On these pages will be vintage postcards and memorabilia from the Alabama Gulf Coast.
Gulf Shores Alabama New and Old Intracoastal Canal

"Historical "Catilever" Drawbridge across the Intracoastal Canal at Gulf Shores, Alabama, with the new High Level Bridge in the background. Photo also shows the Golf Course, Oyster Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, together with many thriving businesses." (1970's)

Gulf Shores Alabama 1960's Postcard

"Maisel Cottages ... Located on snow white beaches of the Gulf. Enjoy the cool Gulf breezes or the air conditioned comfort of your own cottage. Fish or swim in the beautiful Gulf or take a cool dip in our pool." (1960's)

Gulf Shores Alabama Vintage Postcard

"Peganita Cottage is the summer home of Mr. & Mrs. S.H. Goldman at Gulf Shores, Ala. Although only 500 feet from the Beach, on the Gulf of Mexico, it is surrounded with shrubs and flowering plants growing in the sand." (1950's)

Gulf Shores Alabama Vintage Postcard

"Old Spanish Fort Tourist Village ... Located 7 miles east of Mobile, Alabama, at the junction of U.S. Highways 31 & 90, is built on the site of the last battle of the War Between the States (April 8-9, 1865). The original trenches and breast works have been preserved and official U.S. Government War Department maps identify the various batteries, gun replacements etc. The 60 unit motor court, restaurant etc. (Air conditioned) enjoy a Coast-to Coast reputation for excellent service and genuine hospitality." (date on back 1-17-51)

Dauphin Island Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo 1950's

"Dauphin Island is the scene each summer of a Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo. the top prize fish is the Tarpon which is the State's official fish. The entire Alabama Gulf Coast is famous for excellent speckled trout during the winter months."

Gulf Shores Vintage Postcard

"Along the Gulf Coast of Alabama ... The sugar white sand along the new Gulf Shores meets the azure blue water and enhances the pleasure of thousands of people who come for fun and sun to this busy resort area."

This shot centers on Highway 59 (Gulf Shores Parkway) at the intersection with Highway 182 (Beach Boulevard) ... 1970's

Gulf Shores Vintage Postcard

"Along the Gulf Coast of Alabama ... Convention Center ... The beauty of the Convention Center is enhanced between the blue fresh lake and the Gulf of Mexico. The fast growing area of Gulf Shores to the west is a delightful place to visit. A complete vacation spot for fun, sun, and relaxing." (1970's)

Gulf Shores Vintage Postcard

"Gulf State Lodge & Convention Center ... Gulf Shores, Alabama ... Following along the gleaming white shore line of the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, is this modern convention center."(1970's)

Gulf Shores Vintage Postcard

"Along the Gulf of Mexico Gulf Shores, Alabama ... Gulf Shores has taken on a new look that is unique in its accommodations. The front has pavilions and parking area to accommodate vacationers. The sugar white sand and the fun in the sun is still the best in the south." (1970's)

White Caps Motel Postcard Orange Beach

"White Caps Beach Apartments Motel ... 5 Miles East of Gulf Shores, Alabama at Romar Beach on Alabama 182 ... All luxury equipment air-conditioned, electric kitchenette, tile bath, shuffleboard, maid quarters, beautiful private beach with cabana. Swimming pool."

The White Caps was the first motel in Orange Beach, and it was the site of the first swimming pool on the island. It opened in 1960. Summer House Condominiums occupies the site today.

Gulf State Park Casino Postcard

"This beautiful white sandy beach along the Gulf of Mexico is truly a paradise for the vacationist. Swimming, boating, and salt water fishing are but a few of the many diversions for relaxation."

The Gulf State Park Casino was at the end of Hwy 135 on the site where the convention center was located before Hurricane Ivan. The casino was primarily a teenage hangout. It burned to the ground in the early 1950's.

The Palms Court Loxley Alabama Postcard

"The Palms Court" Loxley, Alabama ... 14 Units - Comfortable - Reasonable - Electric Fans - Heat - "Friendly Service Always"

The Palms still stands today. This postcard is probably from the early 1940's. In those days tourists would have stayed in a motel like this one and made day trips to the rivers and Mobile Bay to fish.

Satsuma Oranges Mobile Alabama

"The Satsuma is a Mandarin type, "Kid-glove" orange of delicious dessert quality. It was introduced into the United States from Japan in 1876. Satsuma oranges are grown extensively in the Gulf Coast section. Single orchards in Mobile County comprising as much as 1100 acres." Postmarked 1947.

Foley Alabama Vintage postcard

This postcard is postmarked Jan 20, 1937. I don't recognize the scenery. If you do or know anybody who might, let me know.
Tarpon Bay Lodge Weeks bay Alabama Postcard

"Tarpon Bay Lodge , West of Foley, Alabama, on beautiful Weeks Bay - The Home of Game Fish. A Grand Place to Play or Rest." Postmarked 1950.

Dauphin Island Holiday Inn Postcard

"Holiday Inn Dauphin Island, Alabama ... State Highway 163, 32 miles south of Mobile in the Gulf of Mexico ...When you visit the sparkling sugar-white sands of Dauphin Island's beaches, you'll know you're in the paradise of the Gulf." Postmarked 1967