Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Welcome to World Shorebird Day

If you cannot join us, choose a day between September 6 and September 10 and count shorebirds where you are. These birds are coming from the Arctic and heading to their winter home. They travel long distances. When they land on the beach or a sandbar, they need to feed and rest. We can help these amazing globe-trotting shorebirds by letting them rest.  Education is the key.  World Shorebird Day is an excellent way to start.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Butterfly surveys 2018

August and September are hot and humid months. Some things still get us to go outdoors. Early bird migration is going by us. Barn Swallows are streaming south. Prairie Warblers are bouncing through the wax myrtles heading south. There are always a few surprises to be on the lookout for outside.

We know about birds. But, what about butterflies? Did you know that Gulf Fritillaries, the orange spangled winged butterfly migrates? Christa Hayes is our coastal butterfly guru. She wants to find out more about these butterflies. This year I have joined a group of volunteers to monitor butterfly migration. Yes, butterflies migrate. I am still learning.

We are watching for three butterfly species: Gulf Fritillary,

Gulf Fritillary flying to fleabane

monarch on fleabane
and Cloudless Sulfur.  Jekyll Island Authority’s Wildlife Manager, Joseph Colbert has assigned me to the marsh. No, don’t worry! I am not slogging through mud. 

Butterfly survey plot
Latham hammock is a marsh island near Jekyll Island. In fact, it is part of the Jekyll Island Causeway. This hammock is where my survey points are located. The survey is relatively simple. At my survey point, I face east for ten minutes and count the number of the three species that are fluttering south, then I face west and count butterflies for 10 minutes.
There are other butterflies to learn. Here is a Palamedes swallowtail  not on the survey list but isn't it beautiful
 In 2000 and 2001, I helped with a marsh project for the Savannah Wildlife Refuge. I learned so much about the different kinds of marshes. The marsh is always surprising me, so I look forward to learning even more about this salt marsh and the creatures that make it their home. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Kites and shorebirds counting

This week has been hot, but the birds are not stopped by the heat. There is a family of Mississippi Kites flying around the south end of St. Simons Island. They rested in my neighbor's tree two days ago. There were six sitting in the tree and one flying around.

Here they are. 
Yesterday, there were five of them near the St. Simons Elementary School. Today, when I was running a survey, I found 3 Mississippi Kites flying over Massengale Park. They are chowing down on the abundance of dragonflies. Anyone know dragonflies? They are most orange-red about two and a half inches long. They are everywhere around the island.
Yesterday, was the day we did our International Shorebird Survey. I invited Mary Jo Townsend and Abby Sterling along to help.  Abby and I are setting up a route to begin a disturbance survey.  It will have six stops from Massengale Park to Gould's Inlet. More to come on that survey.

in photo left to right Bob Sattelmeyer, Abby Sterling, and Mary Jo Townsend on Coast Guard Beach St. Simons Island, Georgia

Monday, July 30, 2018

Sadly, The Fish Crows scared the Least Terns from nesting at Gould's Inlet. I had a few volunteers, so I have been trying to get them out to learn. Thursday, July 26 a small group of us were out on the beach and pointed our scopes at the sandbars. This is where the Least Terns have been hanging out. It is always fun to search the area for early migrants. Here is our group. Thanks

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Gray Kingbirds on St. Simons Island

We have a few pairs of Gray Kingbirds that nest on St. Simons Island. One pair is at the St. Simons VIllage. They like to hang out in the little oaks in the pier parking lot. In June, My birding buddy, Melanie and I discovered the kingbirds had fledged a couple of youngsters. 

There was an adult always around. One adult was busy chasing a Fish Crow.
One was just hanging out above the fledglings. 

But there is one pair, I love to watch. The birds are in a most unlikely place. They are in the parking lot of the Winn Dixie. It is fun for me because I enjoy hearing them sing. Look at where they are hanging out.  See the one on top of the light?
 This is him or her on the light.
This is right down the street from my home. I watch them all the time. It makes my day perfect.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Bird Class for Scouts

It has been a busy week for me here on the Georgia Coast. I was talking to Margaret Evans or  http://memargaret.com/odd-birds/ this week. She was assigned to write about migrating birds on Jekyll for Jekyll's magazine "3181." We hit off right from the start because she and I have a lot in common. Birds were the topic, and she likes to look at birds the same way I do. She reminded me that I have been neglecting my blog. On my, it has been a long time. Let's see if I will keep on posting. There is a lot of birding going on here on our coast.  Thanks Margaret!  I will try to be better about keeping it up to date.
Today, Gene Keferl and I lead a birding Merit badge class for a Cummings, Georgia Scout Troup. We had  10 teenage boys and their leaders. I did my "Draw a Bird" talk. Adding that drawing in the field helps reinforce your sighting of birds and give you memories of your day in the field. Gene talked about using binoculars.

After the introduction to the birds. We went out to find some birds. The group was fascinated by the Ibird Pro app I used. They liked that they could carry it in the field. We spotted Pileated Woodpeckers, Nothern Parulas, Great-crested Flycatchers. A male Ruby-throated Hummingbird sat on a wire for everyone to see. The guys could not believe that hummingbirds could just sit on a wire.
After a walk around the Jekyll Island Campground, we went up to Clam Creek Picnic Area. We watched as hundreds of Royal Terns flew back and forth to the bird island.  Here is the whole group with Gene.  Go birding!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Finished 2016 with a Weird Gull

On December 30th, 2016 I found this gull.
I thought it was a Ring-billed Gull. It had a yellow bill and yellow legs. Its back was a middle gray.

However, it looked strange. 

It had a winter hood of salt and pepper.
So I took a picture.
I got it home and looked at it. It seemed like a Laughing Gull.
But I blew it up, and the computer and it looked weird.

 Is it a Ring-bill Gull hybrid? But wait, what is the other gull?
Well, what do you think?