The week of August 20th was a bona fide roller coaster ride. Monday was the first day of pre-registration for our Georgia’s Colonial Coast Birding & Nature Festival. Dot Bambach worked to remove any foreseen roadblocks. She had alerted the on line company and requested assistants. She even talked to the CEO and got tips on how to make it smoothly. We knew that at 9 am when we open the sight we were still going to have a glut of folks wanting to get on a few trips. We talked the night before so I could be on the same page as she & Amy when it started. Well best laid plans….. But we made it through it. Because we were ready and called back and forth during the morning we jumped the hurdles of first crunch. Of course St. Catherine’s and Andrews Island closed with the first hour. Little St. Simons was close behind those two.
Driving over to the Jekyll Island Welcome Center there were Barn Swallows dipping and swirling around. Roseate Spoonbills were pink and present. It made the drive a treat.
On Friday I met “the Babes” a team of five astute women. They are Becky Valentine, Cheryl Kanes, Darlene Moore, Lynda Wiggins and Nita Wynn. They came together as a team back in 2005 for the All Women Birding Bust. They felt they would need a name for this new adventure, so Cheryl and Nita, in a brain storming session, came up with the playful name of Babe-breasted Warblers. As they birded around the state the name got shortened to “The Babes”. These women are great ambassador for birding Georgia. It is always a treat to bird with these women so after a tough week I met them under the Sidney Lanier Bridge on Gisco Marina Road for the egret party. If you get to this spot at the right time you can have a wide variety of herons, egrets, storks, gulls, terns, and shorebirds all feeding within a small area. We were there and so were the birds and the babes arrived just as I located three Black-necked Stilts. Tearing ourselves away we were headed to the southend for some shorebirds. It was already hot but we did find a young lesser Black-backed Gull and an adult Common Tern to help us sharpen our identification skills. The heat almost did us in so we headed off to the Bird Sanctuary in the Campground. It was a great time. We ended up with about five different warblers there. Northern Parula, American Redstart, Yellow throated Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, and Prairie Warbler we added Pine to our list at the amphitheater. All in all it was a wonder day. When I did my list I had 77 species for the day and the delightful company of other birders.
I finished my birding week with a Ruby-throated Hummingbird at the bottle bush in my own yard. It was a good end to a roller coaster birding week on the coast.