Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holiday for the Georgia Coast

It is Christmas in the Golden Isles. This year the weather is mild and the colors are wonderful. Here are some blue berries of the Red Cedar Tree. Birds love these berries. I have seen Eastern Bluebird, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Pine Warblers all eating them. Native plants add beauty to our life and help native animals.
After a little rain our Hickory Trees turned gold for the day. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Golden Isles of Georgia coast.

Birder's Eye View, A book review

Just in time for the Holidays, my friend, Diana Churchill has come out with a wonderful book. Diana has been writing a birding column “Birder’s Eye View” for the Savannah newspaper for years. She has taken some of her best columns and put them into a book. It is titled Birder’s Eye View, Savannah & The Low Country.
But wait it isn’t just a collection of stories about birds. She has put a lot of thought into why birds are here along the Georgia coast. Diana has included a section on habitats. She also includes a resource section for those who want to visit the area and needs some tips. The habitat descriptions and resource guide makes this book an invaluable reference guides for the visitors who wants to explore our coast.
The book is divided into seasons and then by months. Each month has a few charming vignettes of the birds you might find in those months. She adds a section on the backyard for those who want to attract birds to yard. You can meet Diana and see her book at Wild Birds Unlimited in Savannah. I am excited to see this delightful book on the shelves at Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop at Jekyll Island just in time for the holidays. Check it out!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Peregrine raid

Last Thursday, It was chilly. Ok for me, it was cold. However, nothing was stopping my hardy Rambler group from exploring. The tide seemed just right so we were off for a hike to Jekyll Point. We notice the birds were spooky. Red Knots were flying about here and there. It was interesting to watch. I finally spotted an American Oystercatcher, and then Rob spotted five more, then another one. It was great. We got to see a Black Skimmer and compared the two different species. Then the birds all flew. A large Peregrine Falcon came into view. It flew over the birds a few times. Then it landed up the beach. Now that was something to see.

The Peregrine raid made me forget I was cold.

Sorry for the poor picture but this bird was way up the beach.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bird Sanctuary caretakers

Yesterday, I went to the Jekyll Island Campground Bird Sanctuary. Elliott and Wilda Corbett, the campground host, were working. They work hard to make the sanctuary look so good. They keep the feeders clean. They make sure the water is flowing. They do so many little task so we all can enjoy this sanctuary. Thanks guys for making this place a great place to watch a wide variety of birds as well as a place to come and reflect.

When I walked up they had exciting news. Someone donated $1000 to the sanctuary. Thanks to that wonderful person as well.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ducks, ducks and more ducks

There are all kinds of ducks right off Jekyll Island. Most of them are Lesser Scaup. However scan carefully several birders have found Long-tailed Duck tucked into the flocks. There are also all three Scoter. It is so much fun going down and trying to sort them out. The largest flock is off South Dunes Picnic Area.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from the gang

November 10 the tide was high at the south end of Jekyll. There were lots of surf clams and other tasty morsels for the birds. Willets, Red Knots, and Sanderlings all gathered up. Some American Oystercatchers flew in for a while. They all joined in the feast. Plus they took a little time to rest together. Happy Thanksgiving from my gang to yours.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fall colors

As a child, spring was my favorite season. It was bright colors, pinks, whites and yellows. However, today as a look around I find fall is now my favorite. Look at this red of the Virginia Creeper. Then the golds for the grape vines.
wonderful colors...golds, greens and reds together. Happy Fall

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Art show this weekend November 12-13

Just wanted you know that this weekend I will be part of the Georgia Coastal Artist Show. It is at the Glynn Art Building in the village near the light house on St. Simons Island, Georgia.
Come see what I have been working lately.

I have been spending most of my art time sketching lately. So I will have a couple of those to show.
Also I have decided to show three of my small paintings on canvas. It isn't my medium but we must stretch.

Of course, I am a printmaker and I will have a selection of my newest monotypes.

Please drop by and say hello. Let's talk birds and art!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Butterflies & Baccharis

Every season is special on Jekyll. Fall brings us birds, butterflies and dragonflies. The Tree Swallows continue to move through. Now the Baccharis commonly know as ground cell is starting to bloom.

Here is a Gulf Fritillary butterfly on ground cell.You can see this plant all along the causeway. The Monarch butterflies love the frilly flowers.

There is always something happening in nature on Jekyll.

They're Tree Swallows

Every year in October and November the Tree Swallows migrate through Glynn County. This year is no exception. It is utterly fascinating to watch these birds. Yes, they are all Tree Swallows.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Plover nesting season ends

The nesting season for the Wilson's Plovers ended in August. There was one successful nest that fledged one chick.
Friday morning, I noticed the tide was very high. It got up so high that it took out the remote location sign "S4". I worried that some of the Wilson's Plover nesting signs were gone. It was long overdue to take out the signs. So after my ramble was over I went out. I found all of the sign and got most of them. There are two more sign I am hoping to recruit some help to take out.

Now next year, let's help the Wilson's Plovers by getting Operation Plover Patrol up and running.

What is Operation Plover Patrol? It is a volunteer based interpretive program. It is a long-range twofold strategy to help these nesting & resting birds. Both strategies are educationally based:

First step is to create an entertaining PowerPoint program for civic organizations and schools in Glynn and McIntosh Counties. This program will highlight the birds and the problems they face. It will present simple solutions we can do to help these birds. This program is a way to recruit volunteers for the second part

The second part is an on-site volunteer group at the South end of Jekyll. The area is known as Jekyll Point. These volunteers would act as interpreters during critical times for the birds at the south end of Jekyll. By having friendly knowledgeable interpreters in the area where the birds are nesting will give these birds a break. Want to help? There are lots of ways. Just ask.

Monday, October 24, 2011

James Holland's Amazing Trees

Sunday, I joined a group to go explore the flood plains of the Altamaha River. James Holland was our leader. Being the Altamaha RiverKeeper for many years, he learned this river and all its secrets. The thing about people like James is they love what they do. Even after they retire, they still work for their special place. Here is James standing beside cypress knees. James told us he was 6 feet 2 inches tall. So five of us follow along with him as he talked about this swamp. It was a wonderland of large trees so tall that you felt like hobbits walking around them.

Look at this one.These tree are so big you can get inside. Here is the gang inside. Well everyone but me...I am not fond of close spaces. I just peeked inside to see this tree was like a chimney. Yes, this tree is very much alive. Isn't it amazing?
We are in a drought. It has been very dry so we were able to walk around without getting our feet wet. Normally there would be water all around these trees.
Look at this roots system. It really gives us a view of how these trees survive in a flood plain. Here is our whole gang next to a cypress knee both Mike and Gene are over 6 feet tall. The Cypress tree to the left of us is a champion tree that measures 44 feet and 5 inches. Thanks to James for sharing his world and for some of these great pictures.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Birds go to Turtleween

What a great day at Georgia's Sea Turtle Center's Turtleween. They gave me a table for my Operation Plover Patrol. Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop on Jekyll helped me by letting Jay B. Watcher come over and help me talk about birds on Jekyll Island. Jay did a lot of high fives. There was one very serious discussion with a budding scientist who promises to help.Right next door, kids were discovering alligators and snakes. A Wonderful way to help everyone to appreciate these misunderstood animals.
I even got a chance to ride on the hay ride. It was a blast.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A little rain and the Big Sit

Sunday was a wonderful day at the Wildlife Viewing Tower at the Welcome Center. This is the view first thing in the morning The weather was questionable at best; however that often creates great birding opportunities. Diana Churchill came over in the morning and helped me spot. We had 9 Peregrine Falcons. One came so close that I felt I could have reach out and touch it.

In the afternoon, several groups of folks came by to take a look from the tower. This is a Georgia Ornithological Society group who stop by to help spot for a while.
Sheila Willis was an excellent guide and as always kept wonderful notes.. There were several Coastal Georgia Audubon members who brought scopes and binocular to share. Charlie and Tracey Muise were wonderful. They carefully scanned the mud for one more species. There were several Jekyll Islanders that came by to support my effort including Mac DeVaughn, Executive Director of the Jekyll Island Foundation. He has been very supportive of my Operation Plover Patrol project. His board has set a fund to get this project running. If you interested in this project, please comment and I will send you the details.

Here is my poster explaining the Operation Plover Patrol project. I had at the Georgia Ornothological Society meeting the night before the Big Sit.

Now to the birds, I ended up with 45 species. The Whimbrel made several appearances. Clapper Rail antics were shows in themselves. The complete list of birds is below. It is always fair weather when good fellows get together.

Jekyll Island, Glynn, US-GA Oct 9, 2011 6:50 AM - 5:50 PM Protocol: StationaryComments: This was a BIG SIT for Jekyll Island at the Wildlife Viewing tower on the causeway. This area is a hammock (small marsh island) It overlooks a wide mud flat. 45 species

Wood Stork 10, Double-crested Cormorant 110, Great Blue Heron 3, Great Egret 30, Snowy Egret 12, Little Blue Heron 1, Tricolored Heron 4, Roseate Spoonbill 24, Turkey Vulture 10, Osprey 1, Northern Harrier 6, American Kestrel, Merlin 5, Peregrine Falcon 9, Clapper Rail 24, Black-bellied Plover 8, Semipalmated Plover 50, Greater Yellowlegs 2, Willet 49, Lesser Yellowlegs 1, Whimbrel 1, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper 75, Least Sandpiper 7, Short-billed Dowitcher 40, Laughing Gull 40, Herring Gull 3, Great Black-backed Gull 1, Forster's Tern 1, Royal Tern 8, Mourning Dove 2, Great Horned Owl 1, Chimney Swift 2, Belted Kingfisher 1, Red-bellied Woodpecker 1, Tree Swallow 4, Marsh Wren 1, Northern Mockingbird 1, European Starling 1, Common Yellowthroat 3, Palm Warbler 1, Seaside Sparrow 1, Indigo Bunting 1, Red-winged Blackbird 33, Boat-tailed Grackle 50