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.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The GA's Co.onial Coast Birding & Nature Festival

Hi Dawn

Tomorrow starts the crazy five days of birding festival for me. I thought I would just say, thanks for the comment on my Ring-billed Gull post. Gulls are just one of the reasons, I love to watch birds. They leave us guessing more often than not. They love to confuse us. Don't you just love the brain excise.

In the meantime, eek, The GA's Colonial Coast Birding & Nature Festival is upon us. Here is a group shot on St. Catherine's Island a few years back. Don't they look like they are having fun? I wonder which bird is the best bird. We have been planning for more than a year to build a wonderful fun time for all birders. We have field trips up and down 99 miles of coastline.

This is a Saturday at our exhibit space we call the Rookery. Everyone is watching the Raptor show. I want no rain and good winds. Oh yes! Lots of good birds. Of course in my book they are all good birds. Part of my reason of going thru this excise is to make more people aware of how many song bird species we are loosing.

I will post more in five day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Kids and Bluebirds

Coastal Georgia Audubon Society is a small group but its members do big things for the community. Chris Daughtry is one of our member that fits that description. Through the years he and a group of Audubon members made bird houses by recycling the oak pallets he finds. This group puts the houses together and then takes them apart, mark them and then tapes them together. These kits are ready for children who visit our booth at Coastfest. Coastfest is our Coastal Department of Natural Resources' way of showcasing the conservation groups who are working on our coast. The event was Saturday October 3.
Here is Chris giving instructions to the Home Depot staff that are going to help the children build the birdhouses. Notice the box in the foreground. I have made 200 Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding & Nature Festival Nature Day Flyers to give out with the boxes.

Here are a couple of happy children putting together their own bird house. Several families told me that birds used the houses they made the year before and how much fun it was to watch the birds choose the box and following to fledging the chicks.

Here is the display. Another hard working Aududon member made 12 posters for us. Look at some of Carole Lyons wonderful posters. The gates open at 10 AM and between 10 AM to 3 PM the volunteers worked nonstop. There were 200 Bluebird houses built. Incredible! Parting image of the crowd waiting to build a birdhouse.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

When common gulls show up in odd plumages

This Thursday, I was birding at the south end of Jekyll. I was wading through the dog fennel and grasses that had grown thick on the path out to the beach, when I saw the beach birds fly up and around. Ugh, a group of kids had run down the beach and through the birds. It was frustrating to see the flock of sandpipers fly up and away to become unidentified dots. I was left with joyous kids and nervous birds. We sorted through the flock and found a good selection of terns. There were Caspian, Royal and Forster's Terns standing side by side. That is always fun to watch. It was a nice hour and I was heading back that I saw something that stop me.

The gull in question is in the middle just in front of the Brown Pelicans
I just knew I had a rare gull. I love challenges like this. I recorded the field marks. I photographed it. The adrenaline was rushing. Gulls go through molts and this was a young gull. It had a delicate bill for a gull, dark at the tip and light flesh colored at the base. The pale overall appearance made it stick out like a shining beacon. Its head was almost pure white and the eyes were onyx. What could it be? When I got home I went for by books. As I sorted through it was became clear. It was not a rare gull but a common one. It was a very young, Ring-billed Gull. I had never seen a just-off the nest Ring-billed Gull. Yes, I have seen thousands of Ring-billed Gulls but never one that was in juvenile plumage. Pretty cool bird.