Friday, August 22, 2008

Hanging on by toenails

Here a few Sanderlings hanging on by their toenails in the driving rain

You know storms like Fay fascinate me but they also scare me. Hurricane Jeanne in 2004 was one of the first that truly scare me. I was dealing with a bad water oak tree out in my front year. I sat up all night wondering if I would be toast.

Black Tern in the morning

Tropical Storm Fay is a strange storm. Ordinarily, these storms form and race by, being just a blip on the radar. Not this one, no sir. It won’t go away. So today I HAD to go to Jekyll. The Sidney Lanier Bridge was close. The reason I live on St. Simons Island instead of my beloved Jekyll is that a ship ran into this old Sidney Lanier Bridge and for two year my commute to St. Simons doubled from 18 miles to 36 miles. In those days, I worked for several printmakers and the press I used was on St. Simons. For over twelve years, I worked as a printmaker in a little studio on St. Simons. It just made sense to live here. One thing I can say about art is don’t count on it. One day you are the toast of the town. The next day you’re just toast. Opps, sorry for the soar grapes.

Let me get back to my today. When the Sidney Lanier Bridge is closed all of us that go from one island to the other have to drive out US 341 then turn on US 303 drive across Blithe Island to US 17 to Jekyll, or vice versa. This is a lovely drive but today, there was no marsh visible. In fact the whole marsh was transformed into Lake Glynn.

One view of Lake Glynn

I got to Jekyll and JUST HAD to swing by the beach area. There are several large parking lots. The one just north of the convention center had terns and Sanderling hunkered down on it.
This morning, there were Sandwich, Royal, Common, Forster's and Black Terns. I took some photos and then when over to Wild Birds. I had a couple birders drop by and report some of their sightings. One gentleman had three Magnificent Frigatebirds on the north end just sitting in some of the driftwood trees yesterday.

I closed early. It was pretty messy out. I took one more look at the parking lot. This time I hit it just right for a squall line push on shore. But I position the van so the driving rain wouldn’t hit me and opened the window. There along with the other terns was a Bridled Tern. I did the best I could to get a photo with out disturbing these exhausted birds. When I looked around I found six more Bridled Terns. There was one lone tern closer to the Convention Center. Backing up and carefully making my way around the resting birds. I got closer to the lone bird. It was a Sooty Tern. It was exhausted. So after a couple of photos I left it alone.

I may be worried about my trees but I worry in the security of a home out of the rain and wind. Today I witnessed Sanderling huddled together. At time they looked like they were hanging on by their toenails. That poor Sooty Tern was so exhausted it was trying to sleep in the middle of a driving rain. My cozy little home looks pretty good right now.

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