Last Sunday we drove down to Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center (CEWC). It’s a relatively short drive from our place. We hop onto Georgia-11 and drive south through Monroe, Social Circle and Mansfield, The northern entrance to the park is just south of the Newton-Jasper county line; most of the park is in Jasper County.
CEWC is a multi-use area managed for hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, wildlife observation – particularly bird watching. It is a mixture of woods, managed pine forests, and pasture fields. Astronomy groups use the area where they can set up telescopes far from the bright skies around Atlanta and Athens. The ponds are breeding sites for many species of frogs.
It was mostly cloudy and quite windy when we arrived. We drove in through the northern entrance to Margery and Fox lakes. A couple of gulls were flying along the western shore of Margery Lake and there were some fishermen and horse riders but, otherwise, it was quiet. We figured that most of the birds were sheltering from the wind. We drove around towards Shepherd and Otter Lakes but the road was impassible after recent rains and 4-WD vehicles grinding up a short section of the road. The ruts looked really deep and muddy in one spot; we probably could have made it through with 4-WD but decided not to risk it.
We backtracked out to GA-11 and drove down to the southern entrance and decided to drive over to Whitehall Lake. This is a small, picturesque reservoir bordered by woods and a small opening onto a pasture field. The lake has a dock, a boat ramp and a picnic area. A trail runs along the west shore of the lake. Although it was cloudy, the sun would shine through periodically.
Looking across the lake to the northeast. The boat ramp was off to the right.
Looking east from the same point to the field to the east
I wandered along the trail to a point jutting out into the lake. Looking southeast, I could see more bales of hay 'shining' in the sun.
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- Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center