Friday, September 09, 2011

Lake Woodruff NWR, A Quiet Gem

This is the way into Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge.
The last time I was here was a winter visit over ten years ago. Now, the road in is paved and a security camera or two look down on the isolated parking area, but otherwise it feels just as it did on thse earlier visits.


The entry road passes through a lush cypress swamp. There's a wood duck nest box out there in all that green lifeyness.

After you park in the wooded parking lot, a series of dike trails are open for exploring. Like many NWR's that were designated to improve waterfowl populations, Woodruff uses a system of impoundments.
Each impoundment is surrounded by an elevated dike with flood gates and culverts so that water levels can be adjusted to best benefit migratory waterfowl.

Of course, you don't have to be a snowbird to reap the benefits of managed wetlands like these.

Because of my back road travel schedule, I landed at Lake Woodruff at the worst possible time to see critters.
Smack dab in the middle of a hot late August day.
I still walked the dikes, but not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Ok, maybe a bird or two, but not much else.
I didn't even see a gator.

This Tricolored Heron was busy chasing minnows near a culvert outflow.

The USFWS is busy improving the impoundments and beyond this point was "outta bounds" for visitors, so my walk was cut short.

This I was thankful for. I'll be back in the winter when the air is crisp and the impoundments are heavy with birds from distant regions of the country.

It's been a long time since I was here, but I remember clouds of snow geese ...

1 comment:

Thunder Dave said...

Looks like a neat place to check out! Hey, I was backtracking to get caught up:

A Pacu in MS, huh!

The DDD looks good! If you try it again and want some oak influence you can use oak smoking chips. Just remember that a little dab will do ya because of the increased surface area compared to a barrel. Even better, if you can find them is "Jack Daniels" barrel chips! If not I can get you some!