May, June 2010
The April tragedy of the Gulf oil spill, brought me down to Pascagoula, Mississippi for work. There I helping with some operations concerning safety of seafood. More information can be found here (including a brief background appearance by yours truly).
I've never spent any time in the south, so although it is a truly catastrophic event, it provided me the opportunity to experience this little part of the south. One of the best things about being down there is the southern hospitality of the people. I met some of the kindest people down there. Even if you're a stranger they seemed very welcoming and nice, which is a sharp contrast to the "cold, reserved" Seattleites.
While there I was able to enjoy the very humid and warm mornings, birding around the small suburban town. The commonest birds were Common Grackles, Mourning Doves, Eurasian Collared Doves, European Starlings, Laughing Gulls, and Chimney Swifts. Also in the neighborhood were Red-headed and Red-bellied Woodpecker, Blue Jays, Northern Cardinals, and Great-crested Flycatchers. I spend most of my time and most of the daylight hours in a lab, so I haven't been able to spend any time outside of the cities. The Mississippi Sandhill Crane Wildlife Refuge and Gulf Island National Seashore are fairly close to Pascagoula. Both places look like interesting places to check out, if I have time on one of my trips down, though I don't know how bareable they'll be once summer rolls around.
Unfortunately this environmental and economic disaster is far from over. Like the trips down for the Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco, I will likely be returning to the Gulf area on multiple trips for who knows how long.
I've had two opportunities to do a bit of exploring of the nearby Gulf Island National Seashore - Davis Bayou. I was able to walked the trails through the bayou. The vegetation was all new to me, but very beautiful. I espeically enjoyed the palmettos and the magnolia trees. All of trees and plants added to the bayou experience. I just wish I had more time to look around!
At the end of July, I participated in a 10-day research cruise on the Tommy Munnro in the Gulf of Mexico.
Other Critter List
Gulf Island National Seashore, MS