Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Least Tern are wrapping up nesting

It is August 6, 2016. The sky is beautiful, and it isn't as hot as it has been. I enjoyed this survey.

The Least Terns and Wilson's Plover are still out in the northern enclosure, 
especially in the middle and southeast side.

There are two Least Tern chicks very close to fledging and 
one Wilson's Plover chick that is maybe a couple of weeks away from fledging.

 The terns and plovers are using the north enclosure to rest at around high tide. 

This a young Least Tern. Isn't it lovely? It makes this nesting season worth it.
I counted 190 Least Terns total and one pair of Wilson's Plover. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Least Tern Colony News

Look what I found the first thing on my survey of Saturday morning July 23. 
This chick took me by surprise.
I thought that we would be through with the Least Tern project by July 19th, but these birds won’t quit. They have found a near perfect nesting area and they are going for with all the gusto they can muster. Last week, there were a little over 80 birds still in the two enclosures. 

Adult Least Tern is flying by as a Least Tern chick sits in the shade of a Russian thistle.

The Wilson's Plovers appeared to be finished.  Boy! was I wrong.
Isn't this Wilson's Plover just cute?

Granted there were fewer terns this week. I counted around 50 terns inside the enclosure.  There were more chicks than last week.  I watched as one Least Tern worked on a scrape.

To top that one Wilson’s Plovers was sitting tight on a nest. 

Live and learn. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Beach Bird Stewards were at Georgia's Department of Natural Resources Beach Week on St. Simons Island, GA June 29.

We had a table with information about Wilson's Plovers & the large Least Tern Colony at Gould's Inlet. 

Thanks to Devon, Linda, Sarah,  Mary Jo, Marge, and Marty for helping the birds.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Secret Life of Least Terns

Once a year for the last 16 years, my friend, Melanie Kist comes to Jekyll with her family. She is a gifted photographer. I often used her photographs in my bird conservation work.

This year I invited her to see the Least Tern colony. Here are a few of her photos. 

They give us a peek at what these terns are doing on the beach.
Don’t they just melt your heart?
These are few more pictures of the secret lives Least Terns.
 Thank Melanie 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Operation Plover Patrol spreads out

Hi all
Well, the Wilson's Plovers are well cared for on Jekyll. Thanks to Ben Carswell, Yank Moore, and Ranger Bre.
This year Gould's Inlet has a huge sand spit. The Least Terns saw it as perfect for nesting. The Wilson's Plovers agreed. I was asked to help set up a Plover Patrol on St. Simons at Gould's Inlet. 14 volunteers have step up to help.
Tim Keyes, our DNR Shorebird person, got our vests. Here is one modeled by his son Walker.
Tomorrow evening these vests will get their first use as Team Bird is out in force on World Ocean Day!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Ducky Day

Tuesday, we went to Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge. It is a charming small refuge on the Blackbeard's Creek. It has a lot of interesting history. I was an airforce base then it went to the McIntosh County, and finally, it became a Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge.
The first birds we saw was a large flock of grackles. There is a rhythm to large flocks of blackbirds.
But we came for the ducks, so we went on to Bluebill Pond. There we found ducks, lots of ducks.
There were lots of Blue-winged Teal. There were a few Gadwalls.
But we were there to see another duck. There he was swimming with the Blue-winged Teal.
It was a young Cinnamon Teal. He gave a few look looks and flew to the middle of the pond.

Here he is on the right with his head tucked under his wing. We watched the other ducks
                                                       Here they are feeding.
The Ducks were not the only birds as we walked around Billbill Pond up to Woody Pond; I spotted this Little Blue Heron. It was an excellent end to a Ducky Day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It was a Ruff day

Last Wednesday evening, there was a post on Georgia Birding Online (GABO) listserv. This post said there was a Hudsonian Godwit and RUFF seen on Onslow Island. Now for twenty some-odd years I have NOT been in the right place at the right time to see the shorebird called Ruff.  Well, when I saw that post on GABO, I was ready to go the next day. There was a problem.

Onslow Island is part of the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. It is a spoil island. Right now, it is only open on Wednesdays to birders.  We were going to have to wait six long days before we could try and see this rare shorebird. But wait we did.

It is Wednesday. Plans to carpool congealed and we- Sterling Blanchard, Bob Settelmyer, John Galvani, Priscilla Fleshmen and I piled into Sterling's car and went. Thoughts of will it be there whirled in our heads, but then the email came. The ruff and Godwit were there. Even more exciting news from that post was that there were two Ruffs!

We got to the parking area, and cars were jammed into every nook and cranny. We parked and walked, meeting smiling birders who had been there and seen the birds.

We topped the dike. There in front of us were the impoundment ponds.

There were shorebirds and ducks scattered across the area. We were lucky right off the bat.  The Hudsonian Godwit was in the area out in front of us. Tick that Georgia bird. Godwits are elegant shorebirds so what luck. It was there long enough for us to see it and watch it for a few minutes and then it flew up and over the tree line to drop down out of our sight.
Sorry about the poor quality but it was out in the middle of the impoundment pond.
After greeting some of the other birders who had come from far and wide, we settled down to looking for the Ruffs. Lesser Yellowlegs and Pectoral Sandpipers were checked out and ruled out. There is always a period of adjustment when I get to a new area. 
We moved over to the west side of the impoundments and shuffled through the yellowlegs. Finally, I found one bird that didn't look like the other shorebirds. The bird I was looking at was a little browner, and the bill look shorter. I called James Fleullan over. He was the one who had seen it the week before. He confirmed the "smaller Ruff."  LIFEBIRD what an incredible feeling to have looked and missed for so many years and there she was.  
Here is the Reeve on the left and the yellowlegs on the right.

It was fun watching them but where was the "bigger one." The group went looking and found the Ruff feeding on the edge pond.  
So I didn't just get a lifebird, I got two parts of the whole picture of the lifebird, both male and female. 
Onslow Island is a good little shorebird spot and Priscilla, and I will be back. Please remember that this area is only open to birders on Wednesdays. Be good birders so all of us can enjoy this Georgia Shorebird spot.