I figured it was time to get out and do a little birding again. So, Michael Beohm and I hit the GA coast yesterday, Sunday, 12/17/06 with the following highlights:
Black Rail (2)
Western Kingbird (1)
Mottled Duck (6)
American Black Duck (24)
American Bittern (1)
Orange Crowned Warbler (1)
Clapper, King, Virginia, Sora Rail
Sedge & House Wrens
St. Simon's Island:
Pomarine Jaeger (at least 1)
Parasitic Jaeger (at least 1)
Red-throated Loon (1)
Painted Bunting (1, listed as accidental in winter)
Surf Scoter (1)
Andrew's Island Causeway:
Long-billed Dowitcher (10)
American Avocet (40)
Greater Scaup (20+)
American White Pelican (about 20)
Horned Grebe (30+)
Hairy Woodpecker (1)
Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow (2)
Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow (1)
Red-throated Loon (100+)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (52...could be a new high count)
The BLACK RAILS were at the back of the impoundments on the east side of US 17. They were on the east side of the
most easterly dike. We were fortunate in that a large alligator created quite a stir by running through the grass causing
rails and other birds to start vocalizing.
The WESTERN KINGBIRD was on the west side of US 17. It was near the observation platform on the south side of the
Altamaha. You could drive down that dirt road and check the trees for it. We got some good photos of it.
Interestingly, the EUROPEAN STARLINGS there were flying and acting just like swallows. I kept having to check them
and make sure they were not Purple Martins. From a distance they looked very similar to Purple Martins. There
were little gnat-like bugs all in the air.
The POMARINE JAEGER and PARASITIC JAEGER were viewed from Gould's Inlet. They were maybe a quarter mile out and
harassed the gulls. We ran into a couple other birders who said they might look for the birds later that day.
The PAINTED BUNTING was on the south end of Jekyll. We have seen them there a couple times before in winter.
One that Michael found somewhat recently in Nov stayed long enough to be counted on the CBC. We got a decent photo of
LONG-DOWITCHERS are at Andrew's Island Causeway. I've reported them from this location for many years, though other
birders rarely report them from there. There are many SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS also. Separate the two by their
calls, neck, tail, and sometimes their bill length helps.
RED-THROATED LOONS are everywhere at Tybee Island, though you would need a scope to see them well. We had over
a hundred, and we were even trying to count them well. Almost all are similar to the adult non-breeding. Interestingly,
some have an Arctic Loon look to them from a distance. There were hardly any COMMON LOONS; maybe five total. PURPLE
SANDPIPERS were on the north end. There were some Scoters in the distance with almost all appearing to be BLACK SCOTERS.
Most of the LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were out on the water. We didn't cover the area well, so we may have missed a
lot of stuff.