Friday, May 11, 2007

A Windy Birding Day

May 10, 2007

Sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday a weather system formed out beyond the Gulf Stream. This system had a classic circular cloud movement like a tropical storm. It was heading south and west. It crossed the Gulf Stream and it picked up strength. It was named sub-tropical storm Andrea. Andrea was heading toward Jekyll just in time for my Thursday Morning Bird Ramble. Even with the wind, birding was going to be fun. I warned Carole and Anna that we were going to be bouncing around to find birds.

Well the storm didn’t turn out to be an event but we still had fun looking at some interesting birds. The beach near the shopping center was windy and so
only the sandpipers were working in the runnels and surf. The Sanderlings were becoming brick red hooded birds. They were piling up in bunches rushing up and down the surf. A little higher on the beach Least Sandpipers were working the runnels. Runnels are depressions formed by wave action at high tide then at low tide these depressions hold water. All these birds were nervous. At one point I had some Semipalmated Sandpipers. But they didn’t stay long the wind and surf keep them scurrying.

We ended south to the 4-H center and walking around the south end of Jekyll. We found we were shelter from the wind. Gulls, terns and skimmers were taking a break from the wind as well. One Wilson’s Plover briefly came out of the dunes to watch us then turned and ran right back in. We were rewarded for walking all the way to Jekyll Point for there were Red Knots in their summer plumage as well as a brilliant Rudy Turnstone. A lone Snowy Egret was working the surf. Watching the knots and egret a duck appeared. A Lesser Scaup was drifting along just behind the courting Royal Terns and Laughing Gulls.

As we turned to go back to the car a family came out to the beach with their dog. I was about to say that it was good they had the small terrier on a leash when the boy turn loose of the leash. The terrier took it and began shaking it. Then it ran in circles. My heart sank. I know that education is the key to preventing the killing of birds by our own beloved pets. But who could do this education? Jekyll is perfect place for education. Is there any funding out there for this? Let me know.

Moving on we made a few more stops as we headed to the campground. The sanctuary in the Jekyll Campground is a wonderful place to visit. The squirrels are busy scoffing up all the seed on the ground. The bird drip is attracting all kind of birds. A little female Common Yellowthroat works it way through the under bush to the bath first. Then to our delight a male Black-throated Blue Warbler jumped into the pool. A male Ruby-throated Hummingbird is working the feeders. Every once in a while he would flash his ruby throat at us. There were several female Painted Buntings and one male Painted Bunting at the feeders.

Late in the morning we finished at the Amphitheater. The wood storks seemed unaffected by the winds in fact there were little head peaking over the top of the nests. Baby Wood Storks are so cute. They look like fuzzy stuffed toys. Now we are waiting for the Anhinga babies. Stay tuned…..
With Georgia’s wildlife on my mind, Good Birding1

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