Sunday, April 23, 2017

Five Rivers Delta Resource Center

We have been camped across the highway from what is one of the crown jewels of outdoor education in Alabama.  The Five Rivers Delta Resource Center just celebrated their tenth anniversary.
Sunset At Meaher State Park


The complex is situated where the Mobile, Spanish, Tensaw, Apalachee, and Blakeley rivers meet and flow into Mobile Bay, forming the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.  About 20% of the country's water flows through this Delta.


Five Rivers Delta Resource Center










The center has exhibit halls, conference and classroom facilities, hiking trails and kayak launches.  It is built on ground created when the causeway was built across Mobile Bay.  This is from where we took  our wildlife tours.  We took two through WildNative Delta Safaris.

The first was a one and a half hour on their pontoon boat, Osprey.  Captain Chris one of the best interpretive naturalists that I've seen.  He not only knows about the natural world in the Delta, he knows and understands the history of the region.  He talks about all of this in a way that anyone can understand.



 

Captain Chris and Crew
There was an interesting family on the boat, that included three children aged 5, 3 and 1.  Captain Chris engaged these kids in a way that many could not leaving us very impressed with him, and the entire operation.














Our tour included a nice view of the Mobile skyline at sunset, and a lesson about the amazing  Brown Pelican.

Mobile


Brown Pelican























Several days later, we signed up for a two hour kayak wildlife tour.  We were joined by a woman and her three daughters who were on spring break.  This time, our guide was Jacob.  Again a young man who knows and loves the ecology of the Delta.  He was engaging and informative.

Jacob


This time we did see a small alligator, no where near as big as the ones who patrolled our campsite.  Alligators were a bit scarce.
Find the Alligator















The water depth in the Bay is predominantly effected by the wind.  The region has had a strong southerly wind for several weeks.  Since the Bay is a large bowl, the water level is higher at the north end.  Alligators hunt fish and turtles under water.  The deeper the water, the fewer alligators there are to see.

Paddeling the Alligator River
Most memorable was paddling the quite cuts and rivers for two hours.  We saw many Osprey hunting the water, and saw several nests in the bordering swamps.

Delta Spider Lily

Purple Iris

My Bride and I on Justin's Bay


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