Jekyll Island Travelogue: 27 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.)

27 April, Friday

Alas, our last full day in the Golden Isles. And it was gorgeous, sunny and warm. We had no strict plans but a few things we wanted to do, if possible.

The first thing we did, around 9a, was bike up to Clam Creek — via Captain Wylly Rd. and Riverview:

Riverview bike path, JI, 27 April 2012

… to check for oyster catchers near low tide. But answer came there none … (“And this was scarcely odd / because they’d eaten every one” — except we were looking for the eaters, not the eaten.) So, no oyster catchers once again. Someday, I will see one!

We walked on Driftwood Beach for a bit, watching a horseshoe crab drag itself up the beach (video here). We pondered taking it back down to the ocean, and even called Tidelands to see if that’s what should be done (but got the answering machine). In the end, we left it to its own devices.

horseshoe crab on the move, north beach, JI, 27 April 2012
horseshoe crab on the move

A group of horseback riders came along, kicking through the surf, but otherwise, we were the only people on the beach.

horseriders on Driftwood Beach, JI, 27 April 2012

As usual, there was quite a litter of jellyfish on the beach.

large dead jellyfish, north beach, JI, 27 April 2012
large dead jellyfish

seagull and jellyfish, north beach, JI, 27 April 2012
seagull and jellyfish

We rode back along the paved pathway through Clam Creek marsh, bidding it a fond adieu.

Clam Creek bike path, JI, 27 April 2012
Clam Creek bike path

Back to the condo and the car, and on to the causeway to the mainland, for our last trip to St. Simon’s Island, for lunch at Barbara Jean’s. On the way, we saw both bald eagles on the power line poles at Thompson Bridge, and lots of egrets along the causeway.

lunch outside at Barbara Jean's, SSI, 27 April 2012We got to Barbara Jean’s around noon and had to wait only about 10 minutes for an outside table (and there are only 4 of them, but people unaccountably seem to prefer to eat indoors!). Bliss. Spouse got the crabcake platter with some sides (french fries and green beans) and I got the veggie platter … green beans, broccoli-rice casserole, white cheddar cheese grits, and a salad. And lots of unsweet tea and their delicious breads. We took our time.

Fortified, we walked a bit downtown, bought a small gift for our dog-sitter from Island Dog Pet Supplies in the Pier Village shops, and then headed back to Jekyll for our remaining few hours, first stopping at the high marsh along the causeway again, arriving around 2:30.

At the marsh, we spotted 2 whimbrels (with the downward arching bill) and possibly two willets (or sandpipers — we didn’t see them fly) on the edge of the pond. Those were the first whimbrels we’d seen.

whimbrel at causeway high marsh, JI, 27 April 2012

There were many Great Southern White butterflies flicking among the prickly pear flowers, along with Gulf Fritillaries and dragonflies of all types. Spotted some red-winged blackbirds in the trees ringing the marsh and grasses.

prickly pear blooms, causeway high marsh, JI, 27 April 2012
prickly pear blooms

Walking back along the hammock path we were so fortunate to see a painted bunting just scooting into a small tree beside the path! In the wild! I couldn’t get a good shot but it’s definitive.

painted bunting, causeway high marsh, JI, 27 April 2012

Also saw a common yellowthroat, a warbler with an olive back and striped chest (ovenbird?), and another with a black-and-white back and a light chest and underside. Someone who knows warblers might have identified a lot more. The wooded hammock area seemed busy with small birds.

The bikes had to be back by 4:30, so we reluctantly headed back to the condo, got on the bikes, and rode them for the last time, back to the rental place, then strolled back to the condo along the beach. Always beautiful.

pelican in flight, mid-beach, JI, 27 April 2012
pelican in flight

JI mid-beach, 27 April 2012
mid-beach

sanderling, mid-beach, JI, 27 April 2012
sanderling

Chose SeaJays (outside on the deck, of course) for our last Jekyll dinner. More crab balls, some salads and croissant sandwiches. Strolled down to the marina again,

marina from SeaJays, JI, 27 April 2012
marina from SeaJays

then drove over to St. Andrews Picnic Area to bid it farewell.

St. Andrews near sunset, JI, 27 April 2012 St. Andrew's dunes near sunset, JI, 27 April 2012 St. Andrew's beach near sunset, JI, 27 April 2012

There were a surprising quantity of warblers here this evening! We saw common yellowthroats, ovenbirds, and others we couldn’t ID because a. we don’t know warblers well and b. they wouldn’t sit still. Also enjoyed watching a great egret hunting for its dinner.

great egret hunting, south beach, JI, 27 April 2012 great egret hunting, south beach, JI, 27 April 2012 great egret hunting, south beach, JI, 27 April 2012

Drove once more to Clam Creek

Clam Creek pier near sunset, JI, 27 April 2012
Clam Creek pier near sunset

and then back to the condo to pack and relax before hitting the road for our 10-hour drive the next day.
———————————————————

Animal count:

Deer: 3
Birds: painted bunting (IN THE WILD – causeway marsh); two whimbrels (causeway marsh pond); common yellowthroats (causeway marsh and St. Andrews Picnic Area); a black-and-white warbler (causeway); an ovenbird (possibly at causeway marsh, definitely at St. A’s); lots of other warblers we couldn’t identify (St. Andrews Picnic Area, evening); two bald eagles (on power line posts near causeway); 2 sandpipers or willets (not sure); several flocks of sanderlings; many great egrets in various places, and possibly some snowy egrets; countless brown pelicans, terns, gulls, cardinals, grackles, mockingbirds, vultures, and red-winged blackbirds.
Crabs and sea animals: a live horseshoe crab dragging itself along the beach (see video); lots of plumed worms; little crabs; many dead jellyfish.
Insects: lots of Great Southern white butterflies, dragonflies, and Gulf fritillaries.

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