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For Information About Fort Morgan Contact Them At:

Fort Morgan
51 State Highway 180 West Gulf Shores, AL 36542

(251) 540-7127

Email: fortmorgan@centurytel.net

Fort Morgan / Gulf Shores

There is an abundance of fascinating wildlife along the Ft. Morgan peninsula both big and little. Down here, we are often in the path of butterfly migrations. When that happens, it is like a fairy land of color all around you. Expert naturalist and photographer, Keith Carter has been watching and taking photos of fascinating bugs and plants in this area for sometime. These are Keith's photos unless noted otherwise.

You'd be likely to see any of these plants and butterflies on the trails in the Fort Morgan area.

Gulf Fritilarry Butterfly on a Mist Flower Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae), Upper side photo red-spotted-purple-butterfly-photograph Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on the Gulf Coast Firey Skipper Butterfly
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) visiting a Mistflower. You see the underside of the wings. Gulf Fritillary Butterfly (Agraulis vanillae), Upperside, very common, deep orange, their larvae love Passion Flowers Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly (Limenitis arthemis), Female, Puddling getting a drink of water.Limenitis arthemis. (It lays eggs on willow and cherry trees.)
Red spots are underwing (our view is upperwing
Monarch Butterfly(Danaus plexippus) on Lantana which grows wild down here Fiery Skipper butterflies(Hylephila phyleus), male and female on Beautyberry leaf
Red Cardinal Flower in bloom

Narrowleaf Sunflower

Sneezeweed, Helenium amarum

Virginia Bunchflower in Bloom on Gulf Coast

Pickerelweed in Alabama waters

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), this is another Scroph that lives in damp freshwater areas, summer blooming, gorgeous deep red Narrowleaf Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolia), in the Asteraceae, roadside and damp areas, summer blooming Bitter sneezeweed (Helenium amarum, Asteraceae)roadside, long summer blooming Virginia Bunchflower(Melanthium virginicum ) loves low wet areas, shrubby, summer blooming Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), wet, often inundated areas such as riverside, swampside, etc.Swallowtail butterflies are attracted to
Purple Gerardia, Agalinis purpurea

Wild red basil in Alabama, Ala, AL

Meadow Beauty wildflower

Seaside goldenrod

Beautyberry-Callicarpa americana
Purple Gerardia, (Agalinis purpurea), summer blooming, upland, beautiful Red Basil,(Calamintha coccinea), upland herbaceous wildflower, summer blooming, butterflies and hummingbirds visit Meadow Beauty(Rhexia virginica), summer wildflower of drier open areas Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens) tolerates salty conditions,. blooms erratically most of the year Beautyberry)Callicarpa americana), usually understory deciduous herbaceous wildflower(some birds, esp.Mockingbirds, eat these berries
Lantana-Lantana camara

Lantana(Lantana camara), in the Verbena family, good sunny area butterfly attractant Flameflower (Macranthera flammea), in the large Figwort family, beautiful luscious orange, rare, and found in wet areas (freshwaters)      

All Photographs Copyright 2006 All Rights Reserved .......Do Not Even Think About Unauthorized Use0


The Alabama Beach Mouse, the Dune System and Recreation

Dunes At Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge

Not very many people have seen the Alabama Beach Mouse. They're little creatures, about 2½ to 3 inches long, with a tail about 2 inches long. They have big brown eyes and look cute. The Beach Mouse comes out only at night and they live in tiny burrows under the sand. Beach Mice are the color of the sand on our Alabama beaches, and not very many of them are left.

Alabama Beach Mouse

Property owners along Fort Morgan Road and West Beach Boulevard in Gulf Shores should realize the importance of the beach mouse. The only place on Earth where Alabama Beach Mice currently exist is a stretch of the Fort Morgan Peninsula between the fort at the eastern end and the 13-mile marker. Alabama Beach Mouse habitat exists within the Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge, in Fort Morgan State Park and in undeveloped patches on the south side of Fort Morgan Road.

Dunes down ft. morgan road Gulf Shores, AL

These are the places where we still have natural beaches in Alabama with primary, secondary and interior dune systems. This habitat is stable and does not require millions of dollars to maintain.

Beach Mouse Habitat

Before the mice were listed as an endangered species on June 6, 1985, the Alabama Beach Mouse's range was from Fort Morgan eastward towards Florida at the Perdido Pass, including Ono Island. Today on West Beach along Highway 182, and if you look at the beach around the condominiums and beach houses, look at the beach. That sand is mostly there because it was pumped there with tax dollars.

In 1973, Congress enacted the Endangered Species Act because "various species of fish, wildlife and plants in the United States have been rendered extinct as a consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation." They also stated that "other species of fish, wildlife, and plants have been so depleted in numbers that they are in danger of or threatened with extinction" and that "these species of fish, wildlife, and plants are of esthetic, ecological, educational, historical, recreational, and scientific value to the nation and its people." 

The act does not discern between species. It does not determine that some species are more worthy of saving than others. There is concern now to save red snapper, gopher tortoises and shore birds like piping plovers and least terns, and snakes like the Eastern Indigo. We need to be aware that when the animals go, so will go the pleasures that we derive from the ecosystems that support these animals.

Beach-front property values were at an all-time, astronomical high before Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina flattened the dunes and eroded the beaches. The beaches were beautiful, with lush stands of sea oats. It had been a long time between Hurricane Frederic (1979) and Hurricane Ivan (2004) with no major, direct hit. Sales of beach property have plummeted since Katrina (2005), but will likely rise again as the beaches are restored and re-vegetated. The value of Alabama beach property in dollars is directly proportional to the beauty of the dune system. And the beauty of the dune system is directly correlated to its ability to support the Alabama Beach Mouse.

The numbers of Beach Mice are an indicator of danger to our coastal dune ecosystem. When using the recreational areas amongst the remaining dunes along the Fort Morgan Peninsula, please be respectful of the natural habitat and let your activities be as least disruptive as possible. The Beach Mouse is your friend !



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July 20, 2016

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