Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wilson's Plovers

There were lots of little things that got me hooked on birding. Watching Wilson's Plovers at the south end of Jekyll Island was one. When I first got the bug to bird, I was working in Atlanta. I would make monthly trips to Jekyll and spend my time studying shorebirds. In May and June of that year a plover caught my imagination. Wilson's Plovers have just not let go of me. They are designed for our beaches.
There are three birds in this picture, two Wilson's Plovers and a Ruddy Turnstone. I've have seen school groups settle down near these birds and never see them. They just sit very still and blend. That skill is what helps them success in nesting on our beaches. In the next few months, I will be spending time watching these guys to see how well they do nesting this year. Each year there are fewer Wilson's Plovers nesting on Jekyll. I want to see how I can help them. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Brown Pelicans

Brown Pelicans fascinate me. Here are some photos I took while on the Lady Jane. This picture show the olive green throat pouch, blue eye and pink skin around the eye. Who would have thought these birds were so colorful?
Sometime they make flying look so easy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Lady Jane Eco-tour

It has been a full week and more of birding & art. Plus the weather here has been too perfect to be inside. On Saturday, our Coastal Georgia Audubon Society teamed up with Okefenokee Bird Club to go on the Lady Jane Shrimp Eco-tour. It was a boatload of birders. What a blast! This trip is a hands on learning trip. Captain Larry and his crew pull a net and bring it up to show us what is in the waters of our marshes. The boat is very stable so no need to worry about getting seasick. It was so much fun watching the net going out. However, when the net came back, there were fish, shrimp and lot of other stuff, incredible! Clifford was the first mate who told us what we were seeing. (Clifford is the gentleman in the blue.) The shrimp tasting was an added bonus. Now that was fresh shrimp!

The shrimp was good. The birds were fun to watch.

And the conversations, informative.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

one answer and lots of questions

Last night I asked Georgia a question. She is helping me understand the beach and marshes. On Thursday, I saw a wave wash across the sand. When the water was there, I saw bubbles coming from holes in the sand. So I took a video and posted it so she could see it. I asked my question. What is this?

Georgia tells me they are Ghost Shrimp. Now that makes sense.

At a teacher's workshop a few years back Georgia was able to dig one up for us.

Here is a ghost shrimp. The other thing is a fancy tube a worm built to decorate it's tunnel.

Here is what is looks like up close.
I looked up Ghost Shrimp in Georgia's Amazing Coast. I found out it is a subterranean animal. It tunnels under the sand on our beaches. To quote the book. "It extracts bacteria and detritus from the mud for nurishment."

My goodness, there is so much to learn and understand.

I love watching shorebirds. They are the ultimate travelers. Dunlins and Western Sandpipers along with other shorebirds winter along our Georgia coast. In April and May, they change from brown things into stunning birds. About that time, they leave. They are on amazing flights over the continent to their nesting grounds. How do they do that flight? What on our beaches & marshes sustains them? I have so many questions. I hope you all don't mind if I throw them out every once in a while. Let's see if we can learn more together.

Friday, March 13, 2009

bubbles in the sand

Hey Georgia.....what is going on here? It was high tide and the waves were washing in on the sand.

There were lots of shorebirds hanging around too.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cedar Waxwings come a calling

Cedar Waxwings are now invading the American Holly Tree in my neighborhood. They are hanging out on the trees nearby just chatting away. They even visited my wild cherry tree. They are very handsome birds, don't you think?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Birding Georgia

Dawns bloggy Blog is heading to Georgia. They are visiting some awesome birding places and sharing their adventures with us. Are you coming to Georgia? We birders love sharing information. There is a very helpful website for birding Georgia, Wings over Georgia. Just click the area you are going to visit and it will help you locate good birding spots in that area.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

BEN comes to Jekyll

I am catching up on the last couple of fast paced birding weeks. From Sunday February 22 thru Wednesday February 25 The Jekyll Island Club hosted the second National Gathering of the Bird Education Network. It was long hours of sheer educational fun. There were panel discussions,

break out sessions and of course a lot of good birding going on.

One of the big thrills for me was being part of an instructional Bird Ramble. One of my big goals is to reconnect humans to the outdoors. What is the best way to do that? Going outdoors is a good start but there is more to it. And that is what we discussed on these two rambles. The Tuesday morning Ramble was easy as far as finding birds was concerned. High tide had gathered up some pretty neat birds. The main issue was that there were so many birds to watch. How do you balance the interesting birds right in front of you with the understanding the time limitations of the walk?
The Wednesday afternoon Ramble was the opposite. How do you keep the groups interest when the birds are spread out and some are just little brown dots on brown mud? To save us we finished at the amphitheater with large white birds and a Great Horned Owl.

It was a once in a life-time event for me. Yes, I was able to show off my adopted home Jekyll Island but I was being able to rub shoulders with a great group of dedicated teachers. There were so many wonderful people at this gathering. I would like to thank Paul Baicich, Josetta Hawthorne and Geoffry Castro for pulling this together.
For great pictures of this gathering click on this website

And a special thanks Paul Baicich, Kenn & Kim Kaufman for helping lead the rambles.

Kenn Kaufman and Paul Baicich are discussing some ideas for improving bird walks.

Kim Kaufman was an inspiration with her insights on how to get young people involved in birding.

Pop, Bang and Boom

There was a pop, then a bang and somewhere in that moment the house shook, then there was silence. I had no power, no cable and no telephone. Here is what happened.A big old water oak fell and took out the power and telephone. The power company was out working on it within minutes. They had the tree out of the way in a couple of hours and the power was back on by dark the same day. That was Sunday.

Now the phone company...another story. I saw where they worked on Monday and Tuesday. Soon my neighbors had phones by Wednesday. ME? I called and I called finally yesterday Friday, at around 3 pm my phone rang. It was a robo call. You would know after a week of silence the first call would be a nuisance call. I ran outside to talk to the repairman and to thank him. Why...because he was the first person who was a representative of the phone company that was not a computer.
Anyway I am back sorry for the long silence. Here is a catbird who was in my bird drip on Sunday with another picture of the downed tree.