Date: Sat, 12 May 2007 17:05:39 -0400
Reply-To: James Brooks <jrbamc@JUNO.COM>
Sender: Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: James Brooks <jrbamc@JUNO.COM>
Subject: 05/09-05/11: Tybee: 4-H Center, beaches, marsh, Ft. Pulaski
05/09-05/11: Tybee: 4-H Center, beaches, marsh, Ft. Pulaski
I was a parent chaperone with my son's 5th grade field trip to Burton
4-H Center on Tybee Island. On various outings we hit the south beach,
the marshes off of US 80, north beach, Ft Pulaski, and the marshes and
grounds around the 4-H Center itself. I'll try to keep this on the
short side and just hit the birdy highlights. ;-)
South Beach: The offshore storm made beachcombing a sand-blasted trek,
but we did manage to see: Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern (Lifer), Forster's
Tern, Black Skimmer, a mixed flock of 50-60 birds. All the other usual
gulls, pelicans, numerous grackles, etc.
4-H Center: There were MARSH WRENS calling in the marsh around the 4-H
Center boardwalk from sun up to sun down. I didn't get more than a quick
glance at any of them until the next day, but got good views of normal
and WORTHINGTON'S Marsh Wrens (Lifers). Also seen of note: daily Osprey,
a Tri-colored Heron on the boardwalk, Green Heron, and passing terns and
gulls. And more Boat-tailed Grackles.
US 80 Marsh: Driving towards Tybee on US 80 there is that large expanse
of marsh off to the right. Near where a side road angles off to a boat
ramp, our group was bused over and we spent an hour actually tromping
around out there. Several Willets came in and circled around, giving
thier 'willy-willy-willet' calls. Maybe we were in a favorite feeding
spot. Still more Grackles.
Ft Pulaski: From the top of the walls of Ft Pulaski, I watched as dozens
of Great Egrets fed in the fields behind a tractor mowing the high grass.
One gobbled down an unfortunate snake. Looking east towards the Savannah
River, I noticed three large birds walking in an area of mud and marsh.
Straining through binoculars, I made out the short stature and large down-
curved bill, WHIMBRELs !! (Lifer). They were spooked by a passing Coast
Guard helicopter but an hour later we walked closer along the Lighthouse
Trail and relocated one of the Whimbrel, plus a breeding plumage American
Black-bellied Plover. No lack of Grackles there, either.
South Beach: Friday noonish on a now sunny and busy beach, we walked south
from the pier on a rising tide. Willets, breeding plumage Dunlin, various
Peeps, a female Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderlings, all sighted on the way down
to and past the south jetty. A large flock of somethings, 250??, flew in
and landed on an offshore sandbar, too far away to id. The rising tide and
waves soon pushed them off. Grackles of course were swarming the pier.
Leaving the beach I saw a Boat-tailed Grackle and a European Collared-Dove
bickering on a wire. Both pecked at each other, with the dove winning out.
Another very common Tybee species, I saw the Euro Doves everywhere we went.
Tybee seems to be going through a building boom. There is new construction
everywhere, filling in every little lot and bit of woodland in the center
of the island and along the tidal creeks. In a couple years there may not
be a vacant lot (of scrubby overgrown pine and live oak hammock) left.
east of McDonough GA (Henry Cty)
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