Sunday, May 6, 2007

A day of Roseate Spoonbills and warblers

May 3, 2007

Well after finally getting over a cold that knocked my off for a week, I am headed birding!

Rob and Robin Ostermann joined me. I have been talking to Rob for several months as they planned their trip to our area from north east Oregon. They arrived at the meeting place beside the Jekyll Island Pharmacy at 8 am. I felt like I knew them.
Actually I have Sheila Willis to thank for this nice couple. When they were looking around for a place to go, they called Sheila. Sheila, with her exuberance for all birds and especially birds of this South Georgia area, told them they needed to stay on Jekyll.

Finally here they were. Naturely I ask what birds they wanted to see. Robin jumped right in with a Clapper Rail and Roseate Spoonbill. “What no Painted Bunting?” I ask. “Oh that would be nice but we have been enjoying them at the bird feeders at Tidelands Nature Center. We have had two males and a few females there.” Both Rob and Robin agreed that any bird would fine. Well for me it was set. We were going to look for the rail and spoonbill.

Out to the causeway we went. The stop at the Welcome Center was OK, The birds were a bit too far out. I drove to the roost but I could tell it wasn’t right so I turned around and headed for Gisco Marina Road.

Now there we hit the jackpot! I drove right to the mitigation pools. Low and behold while we were gazing at some Semipalmated Plovers, a Clapper Rail sauntered out and crossed the little creek. It walked past the plovers up the mud threaded through the thin grass. It stay in view for quite a while. Robin had her rail in fact it was a thrill for me as well. Rails are not the easiest to see, so anytime I get a chance to watch I watch!

Turning around and heading back to the causeway I stopped to help them with heron identification. Rob was working along the row of Wood Storks, Snowy and Great Egrets when he said, “There is something out there that is pink.” Sure enough a Roseate Spoonbill was working up and down the little creek. The bird even came out of the creek in plain view sat up on a branch and began to preen. We watched and were amazed when a second one joined it.

The place was magic. Each time I started to leave a new bird would fly in. We laughed and rack up the species.

I had to swing by and see the Loggerhead Shrike who was on his territory before heading to the south end of Jekyll. Gulls, tern and skimmers entertained us. The Wilson’s Plovers were not going to be left out. There were at least three showing off in the dunes.
Time was flying by. It was getting late but I had two more places to go. First was the campground. It was great. Warblers were the highlight. We saw a good many Black-throated Blues most of these were females but there were a couple males around to balance things out. American Redstarts and one Ovenbird made their appearance at the bird drip along with the resident North Parula. With the drought this bird drip is invaluable to the birds.
We finished the morning at the Amphitheater. We were able to see a Common Yellowthroat bouncing between the palmetos. We spied on the nesting birds. Everyone was sitting tight on eggs. . Stay tuned the Wood Storks should have babies soon!
I did find out that Rob and Robin did get to go out with Sheila on Saturday. Sheila led them on a bird walk at Stephen Foster State Park on the west side of the Okefenokee Swamp. Then they were off to see Red-cockaded Woodpeckers before head home. I do hope they enjoyed the wonderful birds of the Georgia Coast.
With Jekyll birds on my mind, good birding! Lydia

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