Tuesday, April 3, 2012

On Watch With the Wilsons

A few weeks ago I visited Jekyll Island on a whim.  When I stopped at the visitor center I overheard a very knowledgeable lady at the desk detailing all the places on the island to see different birds.  She was quickly marking spots on the island map as she detailed the different varieties.  I kind of leaned in and watched and after the gentleman she was talking with left, I moved up and asked for one of the same.  Then I allowed that it was too late in the day to hit all those spots but since I was nearby I could come back another day.  Where?  Oh, in Folkston at Okefenokee Pastimes.  Really, she said, I know those folks. Well, one thing led to another and the next thing I know I was agreeing to volunteer for Miss Lydia Thompson on her Wilson's Plover watch to gather information for her grant project.  Yesterday was my first watch and I loved it.

As you can see in the picture, Mr. Wilson is very good at blending in with his surroundings.  I think the military guys studied him when they came up with the idea for camoflague.

Meanwhile down on the beach the rest of the gang was feeding on the jellyfish that roll up during high tide.  The orange-legged birds are Forster's Terns and the guys with the black hoods and black legs are Laughing Gulls in their breeding plumage (the hoods go away after mating season).  Somewhere in the crowd, but not in this shot are some Royal Terns which are easy to spot because of their bright orange beaks and their punk hairdo (sorta like woody woodpecker). 

Except for this runner

And these fishermen

It was just me and the birds on the beach for 2 hours.  The flies are beginning to be out and vicious.  I sprayed with Off! which didn't deter them, but the Skin So Soft did the job.  Glad I brought both. 
The sanderlins were enjoying the ample supply of jellyfish.  Glad to know there's a use for them.

Around 7:30 I gathered up my things, made one last check on Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, then walked back to the car for the long drive home (58 miles).  I was tired, sweaty, sandy, and happy.  This is my kind of retirement.


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a fun time was had by all, even though the birds didn't know they were participating.