Thursday, January 3, 2008

Cold plover

It was cold very very cold. It didn’t help to read the forecast for the day. It said something like 32 degrees feels like 21 degrees. What made it worst for me was just a couple of days before it had been 80 degrees. But it was Thursday Morning so I piled the clothes on and headed for Jekyll. My little group showed up so we were off.

We got to the southend of Jekyll with the tide going out. Ordinarily that would be a bad thing but today we were lucky there were something that kept the birds feeding in the surf.

We headed out the path at the pink house as soon as we got to the beach we turned left. Heading east to where I had seen the plover on Monday. It was ok there were lots of gulls and a few terns around. No plovers though well there were a few Black-bellied Plovers but they weren’t Piping Plovers so we turned around. There was one group of gulls that were very actively feeding. The Herring Gulls were walking around scooping up tiny fish and the Ring-billed & Laughing Gulls were fluttering around and dipping into the surf. One of the reasons this area is so good is very often lunch or bunch is right at the birds’ feet.

Well we rounded the bend and headed north on the riverside. If we were going to suffer this miserable cold at least we could see a Piping Plover. I had seen the banded Piping Plover along this stretch of beach over the last month. Sure enough the banded Piping Plover was there so we headed north. Scanning a couple of times I happened to see a guy striding down the beach and what did I see scurrying along just in front of him? Was it a Sanderling? No there was something odd. So I set my scope up and low and behold it was the Snowy Plover making a bee line right for us. We stopping and waited. The little birds shifted a little to the right and the man kept going. This left the little plover right in front of us. My three companions were thrilled to see this bird which was a life bird for them all. We watched as the Piping Plovers did their little patter pick feeding move. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with Snowy Plovers so I was pleasantly surprised to watch the Snowy doing the same move. We enjoyed them for a while and then headed off to continue our ramble for birds.
We moved up the river side of Jekyll through the historic district looking at shorebirds feeding in the mud of low tide. At the airport we had Eastern Bluebirds, Pine Warblers and Yellow-rumped Warbler feeding under a live oak trees. We finished the morning at the Amphitheater. Of course there were lots of night-herons, Anhingas and there was one Roseate Spoonbill. There have been up to six spoonbills resting in this area all last month. The morning had been cold but the birds made it worth the experience.

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