I have just gotten home from a full day of birds and art. Back a few years ago I suggested to Diane O Shea that we should do an art show and sale to raise money for Tidelands Nature Center. When we got that going, Eric Garvey, and I wanted to do something for birders that were wintering on Jekyll. It was a perfect match so we do the art show and birding around The Great Backyard Bird Count. This was an opportunity to get beginning birders out with good birders in a spirit of learning and counting birds.
Here is my idea. Jekyll Island is eleven miles long and just a few miles wide at the widest point. I divided the island into sections with no overlap of areas. This year four guides volunteered to help, so there were four areas. We met between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. at the Jekyll Island Convention Center. I put up signs about the areas, the guides and the rigor of the field area. The folks choose who they want to go out with to learn. At 9 a.m. the teams are off to count birds. It is important to get an accurate count but it is just important that the beginners learn something from the group. The areas are divided up so there is no rushing around. Take your time to count the birds you see. then talk to each other about the birds and why they are there. Then around noon come back to the Jekyll Island Convention Center to gather around a computer table and see how to enter your data. When we are finished, there are wonderful arts and crafts to look at and take home. We have some incredible artists with wonderful work. It is a great opportunity to take home a little piece of the islands.
My group went down to the south end of the island. It was not as good as Thursday but it was still great. Look!
We carefully counted 710 Dunlin, 55 American Oystercatchers, and 26 American Avocets. To top it off , we had a large pod dolphin just beyond the beach. No not a bad day at all.