Wildlife at Fort Frederica National Monument

You might think the term wildlife refers to Tom and I, but you would be wrong.  We aren’t usually very wild, and during the last four months, we have been positively turtle-ish in our refusal to leave our homes.  But, with fewer people around, the wildlife at Fort Frederica has taken over the park.

We always have a big herd of deer, but the deer got used to having the park to themselves during the two months we were shut.  So we would find deer in the middle of the path as we walked the nature trail.  Or just relaxing in the meadow, watching us as we walked by.  Now that the park is open again, they are returning to their skittish ways.

The deer here are the white-tailed deer you see all over North America, but they are smaller than the ones in the north.  They don’t have to store up fat reserves for the winter because there is plenty of vegetation for them to eat all year long.  Does give birth all year long, so you see fawns at any time of the year.  They love living on the acres of Fort Frederica, away from the dangerous roads.

We had an unusual piebald deer here in January and February.  It looked like an albino, but had a speckled face.  Many people saw it and wondered what it was.  Unfortunately it died in April because of its genetic defects. Tom got a couple of pictures but you can’t really see the deer in them.

Green anole lizard

We have lots of lizards and skinks here.  We are thankful for them because they eat a lot of the biting bugs.  All skinks are lizards, but not all lizards are skinks.  A skink is a smooth-skinned lizard.  We have a skink that lives under the pop machine in the park breezeway, so we like to see him come out and soak in the sun.  Lots of little green anole lizards live in the park and it is funny to watch them do their pushups and puff out their necks when they are looking for a mate.  The five-lined skink is the most common and has an distinctive blue tail.

Wood stork

With all the water around here, our wildlife includes lots of shorebirds.  The other day we got a picture of a wood stork.  We have a nesting pair in the marsh across from the fort, but we don’t see them very often.  They make a lot of noise when they fly because they are so large.

Last week, when I was taking my evening stroll, I noticed a log moving against the tide.  Logs, of course, usually move with the tide.  Then I noticed that it was leaving an undulating wake in the water.  It wasn’t a log – it was an alligator!  We have the occasional sighting of an alligator


in the Frederica River, but this was the first time I had seen one.  It was just gliding along in the water beside the marsh.  I got a few pictures but then it started gliding toward me and I decided it was time to leave.  The next night I took my good camera and my zoom lens, but the elusive alligator was gone.

I love living in national park sites because they are so full of wildlife.  Every place we go we see it, if we just take the time to stand still and look.