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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Birding Jekyll Island, GA

Wood Stork reflecting the golden light of sunset

Least Sandpiper on the beach

We recently went birding on Jekyll Island, with some friends, Ken and Chris, from our town in NH. Jekyll is a beautiful, unspoiled barrier island where you can see lots of shorebirds and other species. Under GA state law only 35% of Jekyll Island can be developed. There are "redevelopment plans" afoot to build a new convention center, 3 new hotels and more. Our friends were new to birding, so it was fun to introduce them to all the aspects of this wonderful hobby.

The south end of Jekyll invariably has lots of shorebirds, gulls and more.

We loaned them binoculars and taught them tips birders take for granted, such as:
- Keep the eyecups on the binos up if you do not wear glasses. Twist the eyecups down if you do wear glasses.
- Pull the barrels of the binos together or push them apart, depending on how far apart your eyes are.
- Keep your elbows tucked in, it helps steady the binoculars.
- Spot the bird with your eyes first, then raise the binoculars to your eyes to find birds faster.
Soon Ken and Chris began to look like seasoned birders and they got curious about the birds, asking questions about why there were so many species of birds, how could they share the beach peacefully, etc.

Digiscoped image of the density of roosting birds we were viewing.

At sunset we visited the pond at the defunct ampitheater where hundreds of birds come in to roost at night.

Cormorants, herons, vultures and more all vied for perching room. The sights and the sounds were a magical treat.

Publish PostAll this was topped off by a delicious dinner of "sweet Georgia wild shrimp" (the best we've tasted) and a sunset view.

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