Jekyll Island Travelogue: 23 April 2012

(Part of a retrospective travelogue, day by day, with photos. It began here. PDF orientation map here. Click all images for larger views.)

23 April, Monday

Day three started chilly and windy. We were up early (for us) for a 9 a.m. nature walk at Clam Creek, on the north tip of the island. Usually we like to ride our bikes to these walks, but with the 30 mph winds still going strong, we decided to drive. Another couple (from Georgia, who had never been to Jekyll before) and our hardy leader, Lynne Gross, a Tidelands Nature Center 4-H volunteer, spent almost 2 hours trying to stay out of the wind while exploring the beach and marsh at Clam Creek. The tidal water in the marsh was higher than I can recall having seen it before.

waves at Clam Creek beach, JI, 23 April 2012
waves at Clam Creek beach, JI, 23 April 2012

high tide in Clam Creek marsh, JI, 23 April 2012
high tide in Clam Creek marsh, JI, 23 April 2012

Then we went back to the condo, put on warmer clothes, and drove over to Tidelands, a nature center run by the Univ. of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension, to see our friend Pat Morris, who was working there all day, feeding land and sea turtles, baby alligators, snakes and other reptiles, sharks, fish, etc.

Tidelands - shark tank, JI, 23 April 2012 shark in Tidelands shark tank, JI, 23 April 2012 Tidelands - shark tank, JI, 23 April 2012

Headed over to St. Simon’s Island marina after that … saw some cattle egret near the causeway on the way … for lunch at the Coastal Kitchen, which is beautifully situated and offers good service and good food. We would have sat outside, but, wind, so we sat in the lovely and open interior space, with a view of the marina and marsh.

view from Coastal Kitchen, SSI, 23 April 2012
view from Coastal Kitchen

dining at Coastal Kitchen, SSI, 23 April 2012
dining at Coastal Kitchen

oleander and palms at Coastal Kitchen, SSI, 23 April 2012
oleander and palms at Coastal Kitchen

There were too many things on the menu that I wanted, like the peel-and-eat shrimp and the crab bisque, but in the end I think I ordered the crab cake, cheese grits, and green beans. And a meritage to drink. All yummy.

After lunch, we hunted down the Alice Richards Botanical Trail, which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. There is a trail but little is marked and it had an air of decrepitude about it. We walked it two or three times just to get our $0 worth.

Alice Richards Botanical Trail, SSI, 23 April 2012
Alice Richards Botanical Trail, SSI, 23 April 2012

Back in the car to drive around the north tip of St. Simon’s Island (here’s a cool aerial view of it), which takes quite a while, through neighbourhoods of expensive waterfront homes, then we backtracked a bit to Fort Frederica, which we realised we had never seen before. In previous trips, we’d taken a tour of nearby Christ Church, where John and Charles Wesley (considered the fathers of Methodism in America), “first preached to natives beneath the limbs of an enormous oak tree” in the 1730s. We got to the Fort about 45 minutes before closing and were the last visitor car out of the parking lot.

trees and foundation, Fort Frederica, SSI, 23 April 2012
trees and foundation, Fort Frederica

Fort Frederica battlement, SSI, 23 April 2012
Fort Frederica battlement, SSI, 23 April 2012

Spanish moss, Fort Frederica, SSI, 23 April 2012
Spanish moss, Fort Frederica

I found a tick on my leg, and removed it, soon after our visit to Fort Frederica. <frowny face>

Back to Jekyll and our first visit of this trip to the “rookery,” an area where we’ve found lots of bird life in the past. We got there around 6:30p and were richly rewarded again: the first birds we noticed roosting in the trees across the pond from us were 3 roseate spoonbills! We had only once before seen these birds, briefly, in trees along the causeway as we were leaving Jekyll one year.

roseate spoonbill, rookery, JI, 23 April 2012
roseate spoonbill

great egret deposes spoonbill, rookery, JI, 23 April 2012
great egret deposes spoonbill

egrets at rookery, JI, 23 April 2012
egrets at rookery

There were also hundreds of cormorants roosting and taking flying and landing lessons in the pond, about 25 great egrets, 6 yellow-crowned night herons, 2 black-crowned night herons, a tricoloured heron, and two common moorhens.

The pond is beautiful all on its own, too.

rookery pond and reflection, JI, 23 April 2012
rookery pond and reflection

We learned later that something had destroyed all the wood stork eggs; one day the storks were there and the nests full of eggs, and within a few days all were gone and cormorants had taken their place. We didn’t see one wood stork anywhere during the whole trip, which is very unusual.

After taking in the sunset along Riverview …

sunset, JI, 23 April 2012 sunset and palms, JI, 23 April 2012 sunset with palm and marsh, JI, 23 April 2012

… we headed back north to the Driftwood Bistro at the Villas by the Sea, a place we hadn’t eaten before. We got there after 8p and the place was still really crowded. Spouse had fried catfish with two sides, which he liked, and I had a vegetable plate — green beans, macaroni and cheese, cheese grits, and squash casserole — which was fine, though the squash casserole was really a dessert (very sweet – I didn’t like it) and the grits were cold, but I took them home for breakfast the next morning, when they were perfect. The best thing about the Driftwood Bistro is $10 bottles of wine that you can cork and bring back with you!

Thus endeth another day in paradise.

———————————————————

Animal count:

Deer: 2 (1 JI, 1 SSI)
Raccoon: 2 (1 JI, 1 SSI)
Marsh Rabbits: several (causeway)
Birds: see “rookery,” above, plus 2 bald eagles, some cardinals and numerous brown pelicans, gulls, red-winged blackbirds, terns, great egrets, boat-tailed grackles, mockingbirds.
Crabs and sea animals: many jellyfish, fiddler crabs.

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