River Offers Wilderness Beauty - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

07/01/05

River Offers Wilderness Beauty

Much of the coast's natural beauty is best enjoyed with a view from the water. Nature lovers have long known about the scenic wilderness of coastal waterways.

A relaxing boat trip down the river could be the perfect getaway this weekend.

"Just being out on the river, with each bend you just have no idea what's around the corner," said Dr. Mark Woodrey, as he guided the boat south down the Biloxi River.

The research biologist from Mississippi State served as our wildlife guide on the Biloxi River. Not far from the boat launch, we spotted a nesting osprey.

"As recently as the early 90s, they actually left in winter time. So, you had a hard time finding them. But now they're actually here year round. And they nest here, a very common nesting bird," he said.

Another familiar bird is among the most graceful and beautiful.

"Great Blue Herron. They're a really common bird. They're here year round. And you'll see them along any kind of little stream. You'll often see them even along median strips after some of the big downpours we get," Dr. Woodrey explained, as we watched a Great Blue take flight.

For those who prefer flowers to feathers, the river also delivers. Delicate yellow blooms lay atop lily pads, marsh morning glories spout bursts of purple petals and another shoreline plant sports tubers topped with violet flowers.

Many coast residents, especially newcomers, may not realize the beauty that's in their own backyard. A weekend trip down the Biloxi, Tchoutacabouffa or Pascagoula Rivers can result in a variety of sightings or surprises.

Our surprise was Larry the Peacock, which patrols Linda Buchanan's back yard.

"Not a bird native to the area, but it's always a surprise just to kind of see the different kinds of birds," said Dr. Woodrey.

Surprises also await your ride down the river.

By Steve Phillips

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