Saturday, June 15, 2013

On the Road--Down South: Savannah's Forsyth Park, Colonial Cemetery, and Another Visit to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

I got up early yesterday morning to go birding at Savannah's largest park, Forsyth Park. It was somewhat disappointing, but not entirely unfruitful. Most of the birds were House Sparrows, Robins, and Starlings (not to mention the ubiquitous Mockingbirds), but there was also a contingent of Brown Thrashers--one of those birds I may have seen as a child but certainly haven't seen since I was very young. It was fun to watch them hopping around the lawns tossing aside magnolia leaves looking for food. A very pretty, rufous bird. They seem to be common here.

Afterward, I decided to make one last visit to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, this time driving the "Wildlife Tour." Most of the people on the route seemed to be looking for alligators, but there were birds around. Although I saw nothing new, I got to see more Anhingas, Moorhens, Purple Gallinules, Cardinals, Blue Jays, a lustily singing Indigo Bunting, a pair of Cattle Egrets, and, overhead, Great Egrets, Mississippi Kites, and even a couple of Glossy Ibises.

Later in the day, I went to see the Colonial Cemetery again, as it was considerably cooler today than it has been in the last few days. Clouds threatening rain that never developed were welcome. The cemetery was the second built in Savannah. It appears to have been used actively between around 1750 and 1850. Many of the graves are from 1820, a year marked by an epidemic of yellow fewer that killed more than 700 citizens of Savannah. The cemetery is now a city park. This was the original resting place of Major General Nanthanial Greene, one of Washington's most important generals (later moved to Johnson Square). Other notables of the Revolutionary War period and others include Joseph, James, and John Habersham; Joseph Clay; Samuel Elbert, Colonel John S. Macintosh, General Lachlan Macintosh, Edward Greene Malbone, a miniaturist; and Captain Denis L. Cottineau de Kerloguen.

The highlight of lunch was a fat crab cake on a layer of grits with a tomato bisque sauce at a place called Soho South Café. The service left a little to be desired, but the food was good. I had an Ace pear cider with my lunch. I finished off the meal with a slice of Georgia pecan pie. I've always loved pecan pie. I assumed it would be good here in Georgia, and it was--note that the filling is mostly pecans, not gelatinous goo. A great way to wrap things up.

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