Our Return Trip To Glennville

We had such a good time last weekend in Glennville, we decided to venture down to view the Swallow-Tailed Kites one more time. Last weekend, there were just six of us observing the birds. This weekend we had quite a few more.

After meeting at the Little Rock Baptist Church, Gene Wilkinson led us all about a half mile away to observe the arrival of the Swallow-Tailed Kites. It didn’t take long before the first kite came soaring into view.

Swallow-Tailed Kite 1

 

The Swallow-Tailed Kites are one of the most graceful birds to watch, as they soar high on the wind, dive down toward their prey, and then glide peacefully just feet off the ground eating their catch.

Swallow-Tailed Kite 2

 

Within minutes, we had 20 Swallow-Tailed Kites flying over the field.

Swallow-Tailed Kite 11

 

There were plenty of June bugs popping all over the field, and the kites had a field day chasing them down.

Swallow-Tailed Kite 15

 

At one point they birds were flying directly overhead and I thought for a moment they may drop their lunch right on top of our heads.

Swallow-Tailed Kite 24

 

We spent about 2 hours watching these magnificent birds perform their acrobatic stunts, and then we ventured down the road to Jekyll Island again. This time we arrived at low tide and we were able to observe many more birds than we did last weekend.

We got a few photos, but many of the birds were so far offshore we could only see them in the scope.

Royal Tern 2

 

After spending some quality time at the beach, and visiting with Josh Spence, who we just happened to run into at Gould’s Inlet, we began our journey home again.

All in all it was a wonderful day, just as we had hoped. We got to see the magnificence of the Swallow-Tailed Kites again, but the highlight was adding eight, yes eight, life birds to our lists.

It will be a while before we can make it back down there, but we’re already looking forward to birding the Georgia Coast this fall.

Swallow-Tailed Kites Are Magnificent!

As I mentioned yesterday, we were on the road by 4:45 yesterday morning.

Our journey would take us 4 and a half hours toward the Southeast to Glennville, Georgia. The boys handled the drive very well, considering none of them got more than 3 hours sleep because they were so excited about making the trip. We arrived at the location to view the Swallow-Tailed Kites just after 9, and met up with the infamous Mark McShane.

It didn’t take long before the first Swallow-Tailed Kite arrived to start feasting on June bugs.

Swallow-Tailed Kite 3

 

The excitement grew as more and more of these magnificent birds arrived. I was so taken by their beauty, I almost forgot to snap photos. In fact, I didn’t get nearly as many photographs as I had hoped. I wasn’t focusing on lighting or the fact that there were nearly five dozen birds soaring above our heads.

Swallow-Tailed Kite 7

 

As I loaded the photos from the trip onto the computer, I noticed that I didn’t get any “flock photos” to speak of. I have several photos that show 4-5 birds, but none that showed the enormous number of birds flying around. Our oldest son got some video that I will be processing sometime this week, so hopefully he got some good shots of the birds together.

Swallow-Tailed Kite 10

 

It was awesome watching them soar high above in the sky, then dive straight down until they were about one foot off the ground, only the turn at just the right moment and grab the June bugs. As they soared across the grass they were feeding on the wing, never stopping for a second.

Swallow-Tailed Kite 5

 

A few hours later, they were gone again. They show up around the same time each morning and disappear to parts unknown a few hours later. Today’s trip was one of those “you have to do this once in your lifetime” moments, although I can see us making a return trip again very, very, soon.

Not long after the Swallow-Tailed Kites arrived, a few Mississippi Kites joined the feast.

Mississippi Kite 4

 

You wouldn’t know it from my photograph, but the Mississippi Kites are much smaller than their feasting counterparts.

When it was obvious that the Swallow-Tailed Kites had departed for the day, we ventured down the road toward Brunswick, Georgia. The boys and I had never been there, and it was the perfect opportunity to see a few more birds.

We arrived at high-tide, so we didn’t get the chance to see too man shorebirds, which serves us right because Gidget was sitting at home while we were on the beach.

Jekyll Grass 1

 

We watched Brown Pelicans fly up and down the shoreline, diving into the water, as if no one else was there.

Brown Pelican 1

 

After a few hours exploring the Brunswick area, we fueled up the truck and made the trip home.

We walked in the door at 9:15, 16 and a half hours later. It was exhausting, but it was fun, and we’re already planning our next trip so Gidget can go with us.

The boys traveled well, and took a lot of time to research the birds we were going to see, making sure I knewexactly what to look for. Their love for birds and nature is amazing, and I have no doubt that our sons are going to do great things in their lifetime.

Laughing Gull 1

 

I have some more photos up over on my Flickr pages, so make sure you check those out. If you find anything you like let me know, as I do sell prints, but these are not up in the OptiBytes shop just yet.

An Awesome (And Very Long) Day

Today was one of the best days ever. I am completely exhausted, but it was worth every single moment of the trip.

We met up with Mark McShane, of the Near Georgia Report, and observed between 55 and 75 Swallow-Tailed Kites diving, swooping, and foraging on June bugs on the fly. After enjoying the Kite spectacle, the boys and drove down to Brunswick, Georgia to check out the birds hanging out on the coast.

We left the house at 4:45 this morning and walked in the door at 9:15 this evening. I suppose exhausted is an understatement.

I am too tired to process all 300 photos from the trip, but here’s one to whet your appetite.

Jekyll Grass 2

 

More tomorrow.

Waiting Patiently For Tomorrow

Tomorrow is going to be a big day.

We’re taking a short trip down to Glennville, Georgia to observe a flock of Swallow-Tailed Kites that will be foraging on June bugs. Each year the Swallow-Tailed Kites forage as a flock as they fatten up before their migration to South America.

We’ll be driving several hours (each way) to see this rare occurrence, and we’re all so excited we can hardly stand it.

Great Egret

 

Of course, this one of my latest photos of a Great Egret, not a Swallow-Tailed Kite, but I should have some decent photos of the Kites to post by Monday.

Let’s Fly!

It’s been a couple months since we’ve gone anywhere, other than the E.L. Huie ponds on a birdwatching trip. Tonight, I am planning a trip up to Rome, Georgia. I love the fact we can drive to places less than an hour away to see some of the most magnificent birds around.

Let's Fly!

 

I was lucky to capture the shot of the Eastern Kingbird shown above. It’s those spontaneous shots that keep me coming back for more.

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A Sunday Morning In The Sun

Early this morning we ventured down to the Newman Wetland Center in Clayton County to participate in a “dragonfly walk” with noted author, Giff Beaton, and senior conservationist at the center, Carol Lambert.

We had a great time on the wetland center trail, learning about the different species of dragonflies and damselflies. We also learned abotu robber bugs, which I had never heard of before.

We saw everything from the tiniest damselflies to the newly arriving dragonflies.

Dragonfly 3

 

We’ve been to the wetland center before, but we never noticed so many dragonflies on previous trips.

Dragonfly 7

 

I couldn’t help but notice that dragonflies have faces.

Dragonfly 9

 

Dragonfly 14

 

Dragonfly 4

 

It was hot in the sun, but we had a great time on this walk.

After we finished the walk, we drove over to the E.L. Huie Land Application Facility to see if any new birds had shown up. We saw a great assortment of Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Little Blue Herons, and Great Blue Herons. We also saw a Solitary Sandpiper, a Semi-Palmated Sandpiper, a Sanderling, and a Spotted Sandpiper.

We’re hoping we get a chance to see some Swallow-Tailed Kites this weekend. Of course, I will post photos if we do.

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