DIY





Ecotourism and Nature Travel to the Gulf Shores of Alabama Part 1


| 8/25/2018 9:05:00 AM


Sunrise over Orange Beach alabama

In Alabama, there’s a narrow strip of snow white beaches that stretch for 32 miles, providing seasonal homes to nesting Loggerhead, Kemp’s Ridley and Green turtles. Pods of dolphins frolic just off shore and hundreds of migratory bird species find refuge in the coastal scrub or maritime forests. It’s called paradise by many, eager to walk the beach, crash waves, jump on skim boards or sunbathe. On a map, it goes by Orange Beach or the Gulf Shores.

In nearly every way, the shimmering azure expanse of the Gulf of Mexico captivates with its soothing waves licking upon the shore, gulls arguing over a newfound edible treasure, or the graceful pelicans skimming the water’s surface. Despite the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, or in some ways because of it, these communities have re-emerged as hotspots for an escape into nature.

On a recent trip with husband-photographer, John Ivanko, we experienced Alabama’s wild side on foot, in a kayak, with fishing poles on a coastal safari, and in a warrior II yoga pose. This is the first of two posts sharing the ecotourism adventures to be had, including a first for us, hand-releasing a newly banded migratory bird. As we covered separately, the area is also becoming known as a food traveler destination.

 bird banding migratory birds



Coastal Birding for Birders

You don’t even need to be a seasoned birder to enjoy the experience of bird-banding with the Birmingham Audubon Society. It takes place during the annual spring and fall migration at the Fort Morgan Historical Park, about 30 miles from Orange Beach. This birding hotspot at Fort Morgan, designated as "One Hundred Globally Important Bird Areas" by the American Bird Conservancy, is part of the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail, a network of six birding loops spanning over 200 coastal miles.



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