Sunday, February 26, 2012

Operation Plover Patrol Surveys help resting shorebirds

I posted on February 12th, the plans for Operation Plover Patrol. This year it is a simple task of watching the birds at the south end. There is a survey form that I created, that I ask the volunteers to fill out as they watch. The survey times are around high tide. I schedule the time so the volunteers gets there a little before high tide. Then for two hours, you watch. It is very easy. I just want you to watch and record what you see happening.

This data will help me prepare positive scripts for future volunteers who start the patrols.The resting Sanderlings and Ruddy Turnstone thank the volunteersThe male Wilson's Plovers gets his nap because the volunteers are there.

The over 60 American Oystercatchers want to thank Carl Runge, Wes Utter, Gene Keferl and Mary Hoffman for helping them get in some shut eye before they had to get out an find food.

Birding Jekyll

Jekyll is a great place to spend time exploring the nature of a barrier island. The great birding spots are only a short drive away. But you don't have to drive; you can ride a bike, or take a nice hike. Here are some birders I ran into at the Amphitheater area on Sunday February 19. They were heading out to watch the changing of the guard at the rookery pond. These folks were here for the week. I ran into them at several of the key birding area. They were having a very good time, birding, shopping and walking around the Historic District. To the group, thanks for birding Jekyll. It was great to see you all having a good time on Jekyll.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Operation Plover Patrol Begins

What is Operation Plover Patrol? Eventually, it will be an interpretive program to help people learn how to share the beach with plovers & shorebirds. Here is a pair of Wilson's Plovers near Jekyll Point. See how they blend into the beach. The south end of Jekyll is a very important area for resting shorebirds, gulls and terns. There has been increasing use of this beach by a wide variety of people. They use the beach for a wide range of acceptable and unacceptable recreational activities. The unacceptable activities increase the pressure on these already stress birds. There is a need for public education to help give people a positive experience and allow the birds to rest and nest.

Because I am doing this without much needed funding, this year I am beginning with this simple survey to see the real problems for these birds. Here is the survey. If you are in the area and want to help with this survey let me know. Also if you want to help fund this program, the Jekyll Island Foundation has a special fund set up. It is called Operation Plover Patrol.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Large group of American Oystercatcher

Operation Plover Patrol has begun. There are a couple of surveyors who have gone out around the high tide and watched. What is interesting is the number of American Oystercatchers that are down there. Several times they have counted 100 just on the beach. We just had 65 on Thursday. Also the Wilson’s plovers have arrived. The season has begun.

If you are in the area and want to help with a survey, it is very simple. It is basically standing
and watching the large gathering of birds at Jekyll Point and record what you see. I do have a form for you to look over before you go out. Let me know.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

watching the mud flat

The tide has been just right for watching shorebirds at the Wildlife Viewing Tower on the Jekyll Causeway. The Willets gathered at the edge of the creek.
The plovers and sandpipers were resting on the higher flats.
The Short-billed Dowitchers were plowing away at the mud.
But the most fun was watching the Marbled Godwit strolling along in the in coming tide.