Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Birding festival meeting on Jekyll

Hi everyone,
For the last 13 months we have been planning the 5th Annual Georgia Colonial Coast Birding & Nature Festival. Today was one of those meeting for our festival which is October 12-14, 2007. We now have the registration booklets in the mail. If you want one, please comment to this blog. I'll send you a registration booklet. It is always exciting to come together for these planning meetings. There are always very creative discussions. So get ready to start registering on Monday August 20th.

On my way home, I had to stop to photograph the beauty of the last July day.
I hope you enjoy these photos.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Quiet Sunday

Hello Sunday was quiet.
I took the opportunity to walk in my favorite place- the south end of Jekyll Island known as Jekyll point. There are generally loads of shorebirds , gulls and terns to watch. All three Wilson Plover juveniles were there racing around. The Sanderlings and Least Sandpipers are returning from their breed grounds. It is a pleasure to see them. Some of the terns present were Least Terns, Royal Terns, and Sandwich Terns. There was one very young juvenile Royal Tern whose the bill was still short and shout and still yellow orange. Any way it was a great break.

I did see four folks from Colorado. They thought the birds were rocks so I invited them over to look through my Leica Scope. They enjoy the birds especially the Wilson Plovers juveniles. All in All it was a good bird walk.

Gray Kingbirds are found on Jekyll in the Summer They nest in the trees near the convention center and this year at the south end.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Build a bird workshop

This isn’t a ramble. Once a year Georgia Graves and I help Sue Andersson of the Jekyll Island Club Summer programs. Georgia has developed a wonderful game called Build a Bird. I met Georgia at Coastal Encounter Nature Center. She was the teacher and I had started leading bird tours for them. She asked me to show the children how to use scopes and binoculars then take the children out to locate a few birds. It is an honor to work with her. She really connects with the children. She has every child engaged in what make a bird a bird.
Today we had around twenty children. We all had a great time learning about birds. They saw vultures, Wood Storks, Great Egrets, Little Blue Heron and Laughing Gulls. We had Blue Jays responding to the identifiers. Barn Swallows and Chimney Swifts did fly by for the kids. But the topper was an Osprey that soared right over our head. Enjoy the photos.
A little bird news for Sterling Blanchard: there is a pair of Gray Kingbirds on the mainland at Lanier Plaza. He also saw around 17 Least Tern and 2 Wilson’s Plover at the south end of Jekyll.
Next Ramble is Sunday July 22; I for one can not wait!
Good Birding

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

a jumble of a week


It has been a mad rush of a week. The Ramble was on Friday. Peggy and her friends Susan and Debbie joined me. This was there first birding outing. Here are a few birds they got to see. Before I met them there were 4 Roseate Spoonbill in the marsh. Of course when I tried to find some for Peggy, Susan and Debbie the only one I saw was flying away.

They did get great looks at Tricolored Herons

At the south end of Jekyll the terns were gathered. A Least Tern offered a small silver fish to another Least Tern. She just was interested at all.

While watching that I spotted the Wilson's Plover's with two chicks. The chicks were growing fast. We saw two other pairs of Wilson's Plover but no sign of chicks or nesting. It has been a hard year.

We saw Painted Bunting at Tidelands. The Campground was aactive but there was a racoon that took over the bird drip and so we moved on the the Amphitheater where the Wood Stork are growing up.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

June 28, 2007 Brief Ramble

It was time to get the Georgia Colonial Coast Birding & Nature Festival registration booklet to the printers, which meant running back and forth to Brunswick, our town on the mainland, for the past week! There are manmade causeways that connect both islands, St. Simons and Jekyll, to the mainland, so living on St. Simons Island, I am surrounded by ocean, rivers, and marsh, and to go to the mainland I must drive these causeways. But I never get tired of the wide open views of vivid green marshes with blue rivers and creeks reflecting the cerulean blue sky. This week we have had the blue sky dotted with frothy white clouds marching to the horizon.

Birds are always feeding in the creeks or flying from one area to another. On one of those trips I had topped a bridge over one of the many rivers when a Wood Stork soared by m
e, its wings stretched wide. It would shift right, then left, as it searched for a meal. Little moments like this take my breath away, and are what drives me to get this registration booklet to the press. There is so much here to celebrate! So mark your calendar for the Georgia Colonial Coast Birding & Nature Festival on October 12-14, 2007. The booklet will be in the mail by August 1st. For more information check out http://www.coastalgeorgiabirding.org/

The Georgia coast and my home of the Golden Isles is a combination of oak and pine forests as well as wide open views. Thursday’s brief ramble was a good example of this. Jekyll Island Authority’s new Conservation Manager, Christa Frangiamore, was holding a forum on the new Conservation Plan. Since I helped do the surveying of the birds and animals for this plan, I had to be there.

The high tide was earlier this Thursday morning. There were incredible numbers of egrets around the causeway; it was a feeding frenzy! Spoonbills, egrets, herons, ibis, yellowlegs, dowitchers, and grackles (along with a few terns) were all vying for the best place. At one point I counted 50 Short-billed Dowitchers w
ith one Black-bellied Plover feeding out in the marsh. Who could have known there were that many young dowitchers hanging around?

I hustled on to the bird sanctuary in the campground in hopes of seeing the Northern Parula and Painted Buntings that nest there. I got the parula but I was there a little too early for the bird show. Laugh if you will, but because the food isn't put out there (usually) until 10:00 A.M., the birds don’t come into the area until 10:30! Just sitting there in that quiet place surrounded by huge old live oaks was a perfect way to collect myself before an important meeting. Jekyll Island Authority has an opportunity to be on the cutting edge of ecotourism here in the US: with the reinforcement of the 35% develop
ed and 65% undeveloped law on the Georgia law books, this Conservation Plan is a key component of the master plan of this island. It is important to protect but it is also important to educate. So I was at the meeting at 10:00 A.M. with a brief bird ramble to bolster my belief in this exceptional area.

With Jekyll’s birdlife on my mind--good birding!