Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 00:15:41 -0400
Sender: Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Grant McCreary <jedigrant@EXCITE.COM>
Subject: Coastal weekend - May 12-14 (long)
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Had a great weekend on the coast. Here's a brief recap.
ho = heard only
Friday, May 12
Piedmont NWR (I only birded here along the gravel road that loops off of Barron Russel Rd)
Northern Bobwhite ho
Wild Turkey 2
Red-cockaded Woodpecker 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 5
Acadian Flycatcher 2 ho
Great Crested Flycatcher 5+
Yellow-throated Vireo ho
Northern Parula ho
Black-and-white Warbler ho
Kentucky Warbler ho
Yellow-breasted Chat ho
Summer Tanager 4m, 2f
Bachman's Sparrow 1 seen, 2 heard
Orchard Oriole 1st year male
I heard two Bachman's, but they were too far away to spot. I tried calling them in with playback, but didn't get a response after a couple tries, so I moved on.
Later on, I stopped because I heard a woodpecker (a Downy, it turns out). While stopped, a small bird flew down to the road right behind the car. It was a Bachman's carrying something in its bill. It wasn't a great view, but if I hadn't been in a convertible with the top down, I wouldn't have seen it at all. Very lucky.
Later, I heard a Red-cockaded call from right beside the road. I got some decent video footage of it fairly close to the road.
Bonds View Road
Prothonotary Warbler 1m
Swainson's Warbler 1
The Swainson's sounded like it was a ways off, so I tried taping it in. On the second time through it responded from behind me, so I stopped. It flew across the road to my side and perched on a bare branch not 25 ft away. Fantastic view! It sang and preened there for a minute, then left.
It was great to finally get a Bachman's and Swainson's.
River Bend WMA
Pretty much the same as Piedmont and Bonds View Rd, except no Swainson's Warbler. Did have a Mississippi Kite flying over a field, though.
Onslow Island (Savannah)
I'd never been there, and it was only minutes from my hotel in Savannah (I was staying in Savannah as a friend was getting married on Tybee the next day). The impoundments were dry and overgrown. Definitely no shorebird habitat. Only things of interest were a flyby Least Tern and a flock of about 50 Bobolink
Savannah NWR, Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive (South Carolina)
Purple Gallinule 3
Least Tern ~20
Gull-billed Tern 2
Pretty cool place
Saturday, May 13
Jekyll Island, South Beach 7-8:30pm
Reddish Egret 1
Black Scoter 1m - see below
Wilson's Plover 1
Short-billed Dowitcher 6 flew past, calling
Usual shorebirds - Willet, Semipalmated Sandpiper and plover, Solitary Sandpiper, Sanderling, Dunlin, Black-bellied Plover, Ruddy Turnstone
Black Skimmer 100+
Royal Tern many
Common Tern - I'm pretty sure at least one of the first year terns was a Common
Common Nighthawk 2
Painted Bunting 1m
The Black Scoter seemed to be injured. It was on the beach at the water's edge. It didn't walk, but a couple times used its wings to scoot a little bit (and not very gracefully). I have some video footage of it. It was not present the next morning, so hopefully it was ok.
A Chuck-will's Widow called as I was leaving the island.
One non-bird related item - the causeway was filthy with Marsh Rabbits (I assume they were Marsh, and not Eastern Cottontails). I've never seen so many rabbits before, they even outnumbered the grackles!
Sunday, May 14
St. Simon's Island
Gould's Inlet had a lot of Black Skimmers and Royal Terns, along with a few of the usual things. Nothing that wasn't on Jekyll. There were 4 Whimbrels in Bloody Marsh, along Ocean Drive.
South Beach had less than the previous evening. I did finally see the Gray Kingbird at the Convention Center, on my third attempt there this weekend. If you're looking for them, you may get lucky, but don't plan on driving up and immediately seeing one. I saw it on a wire at the south end of the shopping center, along the island entrance road. It then flew across the street to a tree in the c. center's parking lot.
American Bittern - see below
Glossy Ibis 20+
Mottled Duck 6
Blue-winged Teal 3m, 1f
Black-necked Stilt 10+
Stilt Sandpiper 3+
Wilson's Snipe 1 - very late
Caspian Tern 4
All the above were on the east side of 17. As you approach the east observation tower from the highway, turn right at the T junction. When that deadends, turn left, and then the first right. All of the mentioned birds (except the Bobolink) were in the impoundment on the right. The Ibis and Stilts starting about halfway down, and the shorebirds in the muddy area about 3/4 of the way.
The Bittern was seen in flight, along the end of this impoundment. I noted that it was fairly large and bulky, with a pointed bill, and appeared to have the folded up neck of a heron. It was an even brown, except for the distal half of the wings, which were darker.
The late coastal date is May 2, but they sometime summer in the Coastal Plain (according to the annotated checklist).
There were also some sandpipers among the rest that I belive could have been White-rumped, but I would like to get some expert opinions on them.
They were slightly smaller than the Stilt Sandpipers, but larger than the Semipalmated Sandpipers (fed alongside both these species).
There was a definite primary extension past the tertials. The primaries were dark, and extended at least to the tip of the tail.
There was a breast band consisting of distinct dark verticle streaks. The breast band had a staight, sharply defined bottom border. The breast was pure white "under" the streaks (no buffy wash).
Had a prominent white supercilium
I did NOT see any streaks on the flanks, nor red on the base of the lower mandible (probably too far away to see it if it was there). I did not notice the leg color (stupid!). I didn't take notes on the bill, but it was somewhere in length between peep and Stilt SP. And of course, it didn't show its rump.
I don't think it was a Pectoral, due to the nature of the breast band, and the size.
The behavior seems to match that of a White-rumped, according to Dunne's new Fieldguide Companion (fed by probbing, chased some other sandpipers, fed alongside Stilt and Semipal).
The lack of the flank streaks bothered me, though, and I haven't seen any pics of the White-rumped where the breast looked exactly like this one.
So what say you guys?
Cumming (Forsyth county), GA
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