Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2006 11:47:48 -0400
Reply-To: bob zaremba <bobzarem@PRODIGY.NET>
Sender: Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: bob zaremba <bobzarem@PRODIGY.NET>
Subject: Coastal trip highlights
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Deb and I did a quick trip to the coast to see the Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks yesterday. It was a great day! We started at Harris Neck WMA first stop in the morning where we easily found the PURPLE GALLINULE about midway down the dike at Woody Pond. The birds was just along the edge of the pond in some cat tail reeds and probably the closest I have ever seen them there. The biggest surprise was finding a SORA along the edge of the pond. The bird was in the open and preening. The Annotated Checklist of Georgia Birds has no summer records from the coast listed so that was pretty cool! There have been several reports from the Piedmont in May and a report from near Macon in June of Sora's recently. It's interesting that these birds seem to be showing up more and maybe their status is changing in the state. I photographed the bird at Harris Neck yesterday so if anyone is interested it is on the web at http://www.georgia-birding.com/Sora.htm
We had the rest of the expected species at Harris Neck that were also mentioned in previous posts.
We arrived at Altamaha WMA just as Earl Horn and Jim Flynn were leaving so they provided the location of the BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCKS that they had seen. There count was higher than ours, but we did find 15 birds along the back dike on the east side of 17. We walked out to the "new tower" and turned fight along that dike to the end, then turn left and walk back to the far dike and turn right. Walking about half way down the dike the marsh opens up a bit and we found the birds in the muddy areas along this back dike. We also found BLACK-NECKED STILT, GLOSSY IBIS and LEAST BITTERN, but fewer birds than Earl and Jim reported. PAINTED BUNTINGS were singing all along the dike as well. WARNING! It was VERY HOT bring WATER!!! if you are going to walk out on the dike and look for the birds.
WE also found a PURPLE GALLINULE on the west side of 17 back along the large lake/pond behind the big white house.
We made a run to Jekyll Island and found a few good birds along the causeway including a WHIMBREL, ROSEATE SPOONBILLS and MARSH WREN. The GRAY KINGBIRDS (2) were at the Convention Center as hoped. A single WILSON'S PLOVER was on the south beach area with the assorted Laughing Gulls, Royal Terns and two CASPIAN TERNs. We did not see any of the hoped for Sandwich Terns.
The next stop was Andrew's Island Causeway. We had good luck here with 21 AMERICAN WHITE PELICANs along the right side in the creek. We also had several BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS and one YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON along the road. Over the marsh, we had several WILLET displaying, LEAST TERNS and one GULL-BILLED TERN and a ROSEATE SPOONBILL.
We headed back to Atlanta through Doctortown and made a stop at the Jaycee Park to scan for kites. We had about 12 MISSISSIPPI KITES and two SWALLOW-TAILED KITES from the overlook.
It was a great day to be out birding on the coast! (isn't any day?)
Bob and Deb Zaremba
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