Thursday, December 31, 2009

Painting away the old year.

First off, I do not consider myself a painter. I am a drawer and a printmaker. I enjoy working on my etching press. But for the last few months I have been talking to painters and it got me thinking. Can I paint?

Janet Powers invited me over for a boat ride out on the Little Satilla River. Thanks Janet, that was so much fun! Walking into her home and past her studio, there was the smell of oil paint. To top that there was creative pieces all around. It was inspiring.
So in January, Glynn Art Association is having a show Expand Your Horizons so I am working on this little painting. It is not finished but it is getting there.
Happy New Years!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Starting in the pink

Every day there is something else to see, hear and experiences. This morning I had a Roseate Spoonbill fly over my head. It was a good way to start the day.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from Jekyll

Here some colors of the season Red Virginia Creeper Sunset on the Jekyll causeway
Here are a couple of images of Jekyll at night in December.
The welcome towers to the Jekyll causeway
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sea Pansy

My friend Sheila was the first to help us with the funny purple creature Hallie & I found on the beach.

Here is her answer:

"That purple little sea critter on your blog is a Sea Pansy (Renilla reniformis), a coelenterate & is a type of soft coral like Sea Whips & Sea Fans. Amazing to think about its being a colony of individuals. The "reniformis" ties back to it's being kidney-shaped ("reniform"). It is strongly bioluminescent when disturbed. The "stalk" anchors it in the soft sand & the "top" can deflate to lie closer to the floor in order to reduce resistance to currents or during rough weather. There are many tiny daughter polyps on the top which have 8 feathery tentacles each (see under lens). At least 2 small animals live on/with it: Beaded Sea Star (seeks protection there: commensal) & Sea-pansy Nudibranch (feeds on the polyps: predator or parasite)."
Wow. Just think about it. It is a whole world in your hand.
Thanks Sheila for sharing.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

beach stuff

Monday was so much fun. It was foggy so it was hard to see the rafts of ducks out on the oceans. Instead we looked at our feet. Here is a small collection of beach stuff we saw. The tiny shell in the top middle is a dwarf surf clam. I was told that Red Knots eat these. There were Red Knots present. But I do not know what this is in Hallie's hand. Can anyone tell me? Thanks

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sparrows, shorebirds and a few ducks

Sparrows, shorebirds and a few ducks those were the targets for Monday’s birding. Hallie Mason had emailed me back in November that she was coming to Jekyll to bird, bike and golf. Jekyll was a perfect fit. We emailed back and forth so when she show up it was like meeting a long lost friend. Our first goal was to find the marsh sparrows. Oh my, those marsh sparrows can be secretive. We did have the tide in our favor so we went first thing to Andrew’s Island Causeway. We drove down the very muddy road and parked. A Western Palm Warbler was our greeting committee. We just walked a just a little when we spotted movement. The first bird was a Nelson’s Sparrow while we were looking at that bird another bird popped up. Another sparrow flew across and landed on another blade of grass. It was a Salt-marsh Sparrow then another one popped up in between the two. It was a Seaside Sparrow. You could see that the Seaside was a larger sparrow. What a show! I could not believe my eyes. These beautiful little sparrows were up. They were looking around. We were not in mud in fact our feet were dry. How often does that happen?
Well the whole morning continued in that kind of unbelievable luck. We had a neat little Piping Plover on East Beach on St. Simons Island. There were two eiders on Sea Island. Both eiders were males and one was the white and black adult male. Ok now that was good birding.
Sorry It was such a great morning of seeing some wonderful birds, I forgot about my camera. But here is Hallie at the amphitheater.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Lighting of the trees

Wow! Time does fly by. I have had several tours on St. Simons and on Jekyll. The shorebirds are here. I will tell you about them later. Last Saturday, November 28, our Coastal Georgia Audubon Society was invited to be apart of The Lighting of the Trees on Jekyll Island. This was our third year of helping the folks make pine cone bird feeders. It was very easy to do.
First station choose a pine cones. These were gathered by Audubon members, Carole and Fredi.
Here's the first crew of volunteers from Glynn Academy putting string on the pine cones. This was at the beginning everything was so neat.
Second station was the slathering peanut butter on the pine cone. This was messy but a lot of fun.
Third station was the rolling of the bird seed. Our friends at Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop provided the seed, cookie sheets, butter knifes to spread the peanut butter. The fourth station was putting the pine cone feeders in a baggies to take home. The last station was the clean up station. Here's the late crew from Glynn Academy. They really got into it.Sue from Jekyll Island volunteered to help and our crew Fredi, Marge, Debbie and me. Debbie brought her flash cards of birds she photographed. They were a big hit. Here is a couple of Audubon members testing themselves.
At the end of the evening we had made around 150 pine cone bird feeders. The birds are going to be very happy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More on plastics

Back when I was on the road full time, I became alarmed at the amount of plastic. It was just floating around everywhere I looked, on roads, on trees, on beaches. For a few years after that, I refused to get anything plastic. Do you know how hard that task was? I bet you do. Now we can be all negative about this problem or we can find solutions. I favor finding solutions. Buy Recycled! Do any of you have some ideas on how to be part of the solution?
By the way check out this post from SEANET blog just in case you are not sure just how far reaching this plastic problem is:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Late Migration Spotty Migration

Dawn asked a good question. How long do the Tree Swallows stay?
Well, this year is an odd year. Generally the hordes of Tree Swallows come in Mid-October and build to wow factor flocks by the end of October. They are noticed by everyone driving the Jekyll causeway. By Thanksgiving, they start to taper off . This year the birds would come in and then thin out. They appear to be late but I have observed that in most of the migration this year. Has anyone else noticed that the migration of birds is spotty and late?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tree Swallows return

I was driving down the Jekyll causeway when I saw them. They are finally here. Oh, there were one or two days when we had large numbers of Tree Swallows But now they are back in hordes. They are amazing. At least 3 weeks late but still amazing.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Common Eiders

On Saturday, I was getting ready for a demo of etching for Glynn Art's gARTen ART pARTy. I had just finished my new etching, when I got a call. Two Common Eiders were floating off Sea Island.
Thank heavens Bill Flatau spotted them for he could get me onto Sea Island. This is Bill's picture. Nice shots! Sea Island is a gated community and someone has to let you on the island. I jump into my van and went. I was not the only one there. As rare birds tend to do they attract a crowd of happy birders. Happy birders see other neat birds. Besides the female eiders there were thousands of Black Scoters. This is the first time I have seen these birds down here in several year. It is nice to see so many.Not a bad day a new etching and a couple of year birds.
Another one of Bill's images. Thanks for sharing, Bill.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Monarchs on the move

Today was a beautiful day. Here is an image to share. The monarchs were everywhere at the southend dunes.
At the top are two Gulf Fritillaries and then count the Monarchs on this blooming Baccharis

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Looking up

Funny what you see when you look up.
An Osprey perched on the top of a tree on the Fancy Bluff Creek Then the Wood Storks just a little lower How about a Roseate Spoonbill just flying up and over the marsh grass It is important to look up and over to your left when you come on Jekyll. Two adult Bald Eagles often sit on the power poles. They are a young couple.
As an artist, I love to look up into the live oaks. Gosh, what a design!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A quiet walk

Well, I am a little behind in blogging. Here is an attempt to catch up. Last Thursday, I had a quiet walk on the southwest end of Jekyll. If you don't know this already, it is my favorite place. It is easy to get to the path. As I walked the catbirds were everywhere on the beauty berry. A monarch also enjoyed the bright purple berries.
Once on the beach, I found American Oystercatchers, Red Knots, Ruddy Turnstones, and a large collection of gulls and terns. The birds were restless and the flew at drop of a hat. I moved slowly down the beach and found this thing that looked like a jelly fish. What kind of jelly fish, Georgia?
Here is another view. Does this help any in discovering what it is?
One of the last birds I found sneaking in the rack was this Piping Plover. It is good to go on a quiet walk. Each time I do I learn something. I will close with the image of muhley grass. It is the soft feathery purple grass. A Sedge Wren encouraged me to move on and get on with the day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Big Sit at the birding & nature Festival

Nita and Lynda helped out with a Big Sit on Sunday October 11. We have a wonderful Bird Sanctuary in the Jekyll Island Campground. It is a camp site in the tent section that has feeders and a bird bath drip.

Here a report from Nita:
Lynda and I thoroughly enjoyed The Big Sit and are ready to do it again next year. Here's the list of what we got at the campground, including fly-overs (fo). There were 29 species.
~Nita Wynn

double-crested cormorant (fo)
wood stork (fo)
turkey vulture (fo)
bald eagle (fo)
mourning dove
belted kingfisher (fo)
red-bellied woodpecker
downy woodpecker
white-eyed vireo
blue jay
tree swallow (fo)
Carolina chickadee
tufted titmouse
Carolina wren
blue-grey gnatcatcher
northern mockingbird
brown thrasher
northern parula
chestnut-sided warbler
magnolia warbler
black-throated blue warbler
black-and-white warbler
American redstart
eastern towhee
scarlet tanager
northern cardinal
rose-breasted grosbeak
painted bunting
house finch

Friday, October 23, 2009

Nature and learning at the festival

On Saturday, we held a Nature Day for people who wanted to learn more about our nature. We started the morning off with a raptor show by Georgia Southern University's Center for Wildlife Education & Lamar Q. Ball Raptor Center. Steve Hein always does such a great show. He gets the crowd involve and active. Perfect start! After that we had some interactive classes like this one on how to draw a bird. It was a popular program.

Here is one of the models for the drawing class. There is nothing like drawing from life. Mallory Pearce is the teacher. He is the adult on the right.

Donna of the Jekyll Island 4-H Center is getting her small group together to go out and learn to use the seine net. Oh yes and to learn what kinds of creatures there are in our waters.

So everyone had fun & we were able to reconnect some folks with our unique Georgia coast.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What a festival!

Wow! Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding & Nature Festival now that was 5 plus days of birding and nature fun. The list was compiled and there were 200 bird species seen. Here are a few pictures. Here is the group that went Rambling with me on Thursday. We had a very special bird show off for us. This is the immature Scissor-tailed Flycatcher who let us look to our hearts content.

Our keynote speaker was Don Kroodsma. He conducted a workshop that made you hear and listen to birds with new insights. Here the group is going out to the Glory Boardwalk to listen to catbirds sing.

Friday night at the Evening Social he signed his books. The newest one is titled Birdsongs by the Seasons. I highly recommend this book. Don Kroodsma in his workshop used it to show us how to listen to birds throughout the year. Fascinating! Now I have a deeper understanding of what to listen to with birdsong.