Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Viewing Platform at the Jekyll Welcome Center

Hey guys, The viewing platform is going up Jekyll Island Welcome. It should be finshed by the birding festival October 9-13,2008. Here some pictures

tower going up The start of path

Monday, September 29, 2008

Thursday bird ramble

So far you have just a couple of little bits of the Thursday Morning Bird Ramble. It was a very good day. On the beach, we had a Reddish Egret feeding along with a Snowy Egret in the surf. There were 4 Piping Plovers, 5 Wilson's Plovers and 5 Semipalmated Plovers. There were two Merlins one of those landed on the beach very close to us and let me get the scope on it for the group, well for a few of us. We saw 4 American Oystercatchers together on the beach. One of the oystercatchers followed us back to the boardwalk. At the Campground Bird Sanctuary, warblers were using the bird drip...Chestnut-sided Warbler, Prairie Warbler, American Redstart, Northern Parula, and Western Palm Warbler. I could go on and on about the great weather, good company and variety of birds but just go outside for yourself and see what you find. Good birding!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

sand casts

On Thursday, on the way out to the beach we saw this wonderful sand casting of a sea turtle. There are some creative people out in our world who care about our world. They work very hard to make a difference. Just like our dunes which are so fragile, shifting and changing; we sometimes miss these little signs. I just wanted to share this with you so we may all celebrate the unknown caring, creative spirit.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Not for the faint of heart

Warning! If you are faint of heart, please just skip this entry.

Real life isn’t always pretty.

Thursday when I was coming off Jekyll after a great morning Bird Ramble, I saw something that caught my attention. A Turkey Vulture was sitting near something. At first glance, it looked like a bunny. Something was not right. Why was the vulture there? I pulled off the road and pick up my binoculars. Nope, no harmless little bunny munching on the sweet grass, it was a Peregrine Falcon. The young bird was plucking away at what was once a Laughing Gull.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A rainy Sunday in Woodbine

Woodbine Riverwalk map
Sunday, I had to run the route that the Woodbine Riverwalk and Kayak. Woodbine is a lovely small community about 35 minutes south and west of Jekyll Island. It is on the Satilla River. The town lost its main railroad awhile back. The community turned that old railroad grade into a Greenway which they called Woodbine Riverwalk. In these days when so many are clearing out places, it is heart warming to see this community putting back. Here are some pictures of the Riverwalk.

Views of the Satilla River from the Riverwalk

It was near the Hobo grave. Here is a Common Ground-Dove

Along this walk there were a quite a few butterflies.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Birding in migration Thursday September 18

Here is a real quick post about last Thursday’s Bird Ramble. Often migration is going on and we just don’t see it. That is the way it was Thursday. I could hear the Common Yellowthroats all around us but only a few would pop out. They were everywhere on the island. Another common species this day was Red-eyed Vireos.
On the way out to the southend beach, there were Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. Jason Carter who works at Laura Walker State Park was on the ramble he took the picture of the gnatcatcher as well as the Red-eyed Vireo.
We hit the beach at high tide. There wasn’t a lot of mud for shorebirds but Gwyneth Moody pick out a dowitcher in the middle of the Black Skimmers. See it really helps to have more than one pairs of eye looking when you are birding in migration

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Lawn chair birding on Jekyll

On September 16, members of Coastal Georgia Audubon Society gathered at Jekyll Island's Indian Mound Golf Course for a little lawn chair birding. The golf course was closed that day so it was safe to walk in. The golf course folks were nice enough to offer golf carts for a small charge. Thanks to Marjorie Clark for setting it up and for everyone who came. Here are some photos taken by Carole Lyons. (I wasn't able to be there because of bird festival work. I am sorry I missed it. To quote an old song: "It is always fair weather when good follows get together.")

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Doodle for the Day

Black Skimmers are just down right cool. They appear to be social. They bunch together and at time appear to dominate the beach. Other time they just hang out. I enjoy watching and sketching them. Here one of those sketches. Enjoy your day!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Crooked River State Park

Experience Coastal Georgia Festival at Crooked River was Saturday September 13th. My day started by setting up my booth. My next stop was the Nature Center for the Bird Walk I was leading. While waiting I did a little quiet birding with Emily the naturalist. We had a nice little flock of warblers and vireos. The highlight was a Blackburnian Warbler. I had not seen a Blackburnian Warbler here on the coast so I thoroughly enjoyed my time looking at him. He would pop in and out between leaves of the oak tree. By the time my group arrived the flock had moved on into the woods. Actually walking the path from the Nature Center to the campground to the pond and bird window area was quite birdy. There were Eastern Bluebirds, Summer Tanagers, Downy, Red-bellied and a beautiful look at a Pileated Woodpecker. When we got to the bird window there was a family there with their bird books out studying the birds at the feeders. We got back to the Nature Center in time for the next activity for the family. I went back to my booth. Crooked River State Park is located on Crooked River. The booths were set up on the bluff overlooking the river.

a view of Crooked River from my booth

Beside my art I am also the Chief Naturalist at Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop Jekyll Island Georgia. Gary Smith was set up next to my booth so we enjoyed talking to the festival goers. I enjoy working with the Smiths. They care about birds and helping people set up their yards for birds and nature.

At the end of the day a couple of the other artists came over to look at my art. They were very interested in my creative printmaking which I call my monotype constructions. They made my day complete by telling me that I was taking printmaking to the next level. It is always nice to hear for my work is a true blend of my art of printmaking and the birds I enjoy watching. It was a day of both.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Skywatch and best thought for my birding friends on the Texas Coast

Sharon, aka Birdchick, does a Skywatch Friday blog. I think it is great to see what the sky looks like somewhere else. We birders are always planning our next adventure. My favorite phase is we are all bird gypsies. But today my thoughts are with the folks along the Texas coast. Hurricane Ike is barring down on them. It is a huge strom.
I called to Clay of Swaroski Optic to check in on him for our Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding and Nature Festival and found him with plywood and nails in hand. He and some of my other birding gypsy friends are right in the middle of this storm. To all of you, my thought are with you. Hang in there.

Here are some shots I took today at Gould's Inlet. The Reddish Egrets were fishing as some of the storms were coming through here.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Butterflies are fascinating

There is a Zebra Longwings fluttering around the lantana out in my front yard. It is a challenge for me to get one to stay still. I used to video nature all the time.
Once when I was trying to capture a Zebra Longwings in flight, all I got on tape was me laughing and a blur.

I never did get the bug in the view finder. Laugher and butterflies are good medicine.

I stood back and zoomed in on this one.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Kingbirds take to the sky

This morning on my walk, I saw Eastern Kingbirds streaming out of an oak tree. There were 20. They were just fluttering out, up, then over the next oak and were gone. These birds love Virginia Creeper vines, which are loaded with berries. Our oak trees are covered with Virginia Creeper.

As I watched I reminder myself to tell you that there were ten Gray Kingbirds seen on the wires near the Jekyll Island Convention Center this last week. Ten is a good number of Gray Kingbirds here.
Also this week I had four Common Nighthawk fly over my house. This species used to be a common sight here but in the last ten year they have almost disappeared. It was a delight to see them wheeling over head.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Laboring on Labor Day

On this Labor Day, I would just like to pay tribute to a hard working group. After a long summer of non-stop chick raising some birds must prepare to leave and fly south to wintering grounds. While reading Everything You Never Learned About Birds by Rebecca Rupp & illustrated by Jeffrey C. Domm, I was stunned to read that a bird's heart beats 400 beats a minute when resting and 1000 beats or more in flight. They also breathe about 29 times a minute resting and when flying about 450 times a minute. This is to help get oxygen to a tiny light weight bird while it is flying south.

Another amazing fact stated in this book is many birds can fly as fast as 100 miles an hour. The super fast fliers can get to speeds up to 200 miles per hour. Here are someof those fast fliers: swifts, doves, falcons and my favorite sandpipers. All this requires an amazing amount of energy.

So as we take a break from labor, let’s stop a moment to remember that the migrating birds are working very hard.

No wonder I find it hard to photograph Barn Swallows in flight at the south end of Jekyll. Here is a picture I took last year. The dot over the sea oats is a Barn Swallow.
Happy Labor Day.