Thursday, June 30, 2011

Colorful Summer Birding Day

Today, Jean and her niece Charlie joined me on a bird ramble. After a rain storm, the weather was OK. Of course, it is always pleasant on the beach. Jean and Charlie are so much fun. We enjoyed just watching the skimmers. There was a pair of Black Skimmers that appear to be chasing each other. They flew around and over the gulls, terns and skimmers. They would twist and fly high and then fly low around and around. As quickly as the chase began, it ended. One of the skimmers landed in front of the flock, and the other midway in the flock. There was a lot of energy put out on that jaunt. The next thing we see is a skimmer flat on its belly.

Now skimmers do this all the time, so it would be no big deal if we hadn’t just witness the chase.
Of course, I looked for Wilson’s Plovers. The female was in her area. However, she was standing up and moving around. Is the nest still there? Time will answer that question. I am staying away.
We encountered a few Jelly fish including this one. It is pretty, but I’m not touching it. Look, don’t touch is a good rule when it comes to Jekyll fish.
After the beach, we went looking for forest birds. We found a beautiful Summer Tanager still singing a partial song. What a red! Sorry I just looked at the bird and forgot to take pictures.

Our last stop was the Amphitheater. The Wood Storks families are doing well. The two Pileated Woodpeckers were life birds for Charlie. There were plenty of Yellow-crowned Night-Herons. The surprises were Roseate Spoonbill and adult Little Blue Heron. It was a colorful summer birding day. What fun! Thanks Jean and Charlie.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

She is still sitting tight Thursday

On Thursday, I was out to check on the Wilson's Plovers. It was hot and Martha Wigg and her daughter Sara were along. The Wigg's are second and third generations of bird watching nature loving Jekyll people. Tom who was a friend of my father and I back in the 1980's was the first generation. Tom loved nature and love to take pictures of the birds and wildlife on the island. Sara was following along in his footsteps. Anyway, they went along with me to check on the plovers. We found her quietly sitting on the nest. Don't worry we were well away from her. I took this picture thru my scope.

Family Group Begins Birding Together

Here is a picture of a family group plus one who went out with me on Wednesday morning. It was a grandmother, mother and her two kids. They had never been birding (bird watching.) The trouper was Ann who was happy to have company. We watched hummingbirds at the Bird Sanctuary in the Jekyll Campground and Wood Stork babies at the Amphitheater. The two kids wrote, "This was so cool!" The mother was great with the two. I could tell they were going to keep this as a family group activity. Way to go!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wilson's Plover signs 2011

I struggled through the smoke from the Okefenokee fires on June 18 to find a pair of Wilson's Plovers attempting to nest. So today, I met John Galvani at the Jekyll 4-H Center to put up six sign. While I was waiting Jimmie Ann and Janice drove up to recycle. I jumped in and asked if they would like to help. They were glad too. It was a nice walk to the beach. With four of us, it was easy to carry the signs and the hammer. We placed each sign down until with got to the end of the area. The first sign didn't want to go in. The rest were a breeze. The Wilson's were out to see us. We found four. I worry that we could cause problem for the nesting pair so I had us put them in as quickly as I could and back off. We had the signs up in an hour. John brought some of the Jim Hoyt's garden fresh bell peppers to share. We joked that we were paid in bell peppers. Really home grow vegetable are wonderful.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

In Honor Happy Father's Day

Today I was on the south end of Jekyll. The smoke from the Okefenokee fires were burning my noise. I was looking for Wilson' Plovers. It is my weekly search. Today, I found 5. One pair was nesting! Will they make it? Will the other pair at the point nest? Good questions.

Every year I get deeper and deeper into bird conservation. If you read this blog on a regular bases, you know I am attempting to set up a beach docent program on Jekyll. If we do this will some other beach nesting birds come back to nest on Jekyll. Will this help people appreciate nesting shorebirds? Time will tell.

But how did I get here watching a pair of Wilson's Plovers? Well, that is a question I can answer, my father. He spent 50 years growing trees. He started with the US Forest Service. The service sent him to Mississippi where his job was to persuade cotton farmers to take their tired farm land and put into pine treees. That was his start. At the end he was working to bring back the Red-cockaded Woodpecker. He believed in what he did. He was like a bulldog. It was amazing to see him work. There were good days when people listened and helped. There were bad days when no one listened or cared. He keep his focus right up to the day he died. He believed in what he was doing. I am my father's daughter. I believe we can bring back a small beach nesting bird colony. I believe that we can care. Thanks Dad.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A new simple blog

I have been working on a blog for my art. Today I launch it. Take a look at Artworks for Birds. Enjoy my art. Here is a sample
Royal Terns Courtings

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June 10 2011 With the Wilson's

Friday morning, I went out to check on the Wilson's Plovers. Tide was low going lower. It was interesting for there were a few horseshoe crabs laying eggs and a couple of them were upside down on the beach. I picked those up and put them back at the water line. "Is it right to do that?" I wonder? But when I looked back the crabs were gone, so maybe it is alright. It was early enough that no one had disturbed the resting birds. See.
I did find one lone male Wilson's Plover right at the point near the wreck. It was a long walk east on the beach. There was a new turtle nest. It is always interesting to see the trail of the turtles. Just as I was about to turn around, I heard the Wilson's Plovers out ahead of me. There were three adult plovers. The chick was very near the water’s edge. Photographing this chick is a challenge. One minute it is here, then it runs over there, then it is over here or somewhere in between.

It is good to know the chick is still doing ok.

I will be happy when it can fly...soon.

On the way back around the beach, up in the dry sand were a some Semipalmated Plovers. Counting them, there were 12. That is a pretty good group for this time of year.
I will leave you with this picture of the handsome Ruddy Turnstone.

Monday, June 6, 2011

International Beach

Last Saturday, I was on the beach early. To my surprise, there were still a good number of Sanderlings, Ruddy Turnstones, a few Semipalmated Sandpipers and Red Knots. One of the Red Knots was banded and flagged with an orange flag. This bird had flown from Argentina. It was very thin but otherwise looked all right. Jekyll's beach is an international rest stop!

In the meantime, Wilson’s Plovers are still on the beach. I only found one chick this time. There were 2 other male plovers and one female…..Stay tuned.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Shorebirds getting ready to leave

Last Saturday, I went out to check on the Wilson's Plovers. What I found was a lot of shorebirds in a feeding freezy. Here are a couple of pictures. There were a couple of Red Knots, Willets, Sanderlings and Ruddy TurnstonesThe Dunlins are far from their dull winter plumage.There was one surprise. A Lesser Black-backed Gull was on the beach.