Savannah NWR 12/31/13

This morning, I went birding with my younger cousin at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge as we are staying close to there for the holidays. I have not been birding in a while because the amount of schoolwork I have had has been overwhelming so I am glad I am getting to go on the break.

We saw 31 cool species of birds. Upon arrival at the entrance to the Laurel Hill Drive, a multitude of raspy calls rang over the field. These calls – the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher calls, the Eastern Phoebe’s “Fee-bee,” the Carolina Chickadee’s “Chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee,” the Boat-tailed Grackle’s “Kree-kree-kree-kree,” and the cat-like “Mews” of the Gray Catbird clashed with the sweet “Tip” calls of the Yellow-rumped Warblers and the melodious song of the Carolina Wren. We saw a tame Little Blue Heron from 10 feet away eating insects in the grass on the side of the road. A Northern Harrier swooped low over the marsh, interspersing long periods of gliding with short periods of flapping. Ring-necked Ducks, a pair of Blue-winged Teal, scaup, a lone Pied-billed Grebe, Snowy Egrets, American Coots and Common Gallinules dotted the scene, some disappearing completely and disturbing the opaque glass below the opaque glassy surface  while others showed us their lower halves as they “dabbled” in search of a snack lying more within reach. Black-bellied Whistling Ducks raced as they flew round and round in circles, landing and taking off numerous times before settling down and allowing us nice views of their strikingly pink-red bills. Multiple Anhinga preened their feathers with their long, snake-like neck and spear of a bill. Finally, a Wilson’s Snipe popped up out of the reeds, gave an alarm call and almost immediately ducked back down again.

I also went birding with a larger group including the same cousin the prior morning at Tybee North Beach. We saw Herring, Ring-billed and Laughing Gulls, Forster’s and Royal Terns, Black Skimmers, Sanderlings, Bufflehead, Double-crested Cormorants and Brown Pelicans.

Birds (31 species, 0 lifers):

Black-bellied Whistling Duck 4

Blue-winged Teal 2

Ring-necked Duck 13

Scaup sp. (probably Lesser – black on bill nail limited and head seemed to come to a corner) 4

Ruddy Duck

Pied-billed Grebe 1

Double-crested Cormorant 3

Anhinga 3

Great Blue Heron 2

Great Egret 1

Snowy Egret 6

Little Blue Heron 3

White Ibis 1

Northern Harrier 1

Common Gallinule 5

American Coot 150

Wilson’s Snipe 1

Mourning Dove 2

Eastern Phoebe 2

Tree Swallow 30

Carolina Chickadee 2

Carolina Wren 1

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 3

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3

Gray Catbird 2

Northern Mockingbird 2

Black-and-white Warbler 1

Yellow-rumped Warbler 4

Chipping Sparrow 4

Song Sparrow 1

Northern Cardinal 4

Boat-tailed Grackle 3


Adult Little Blue Heron

Common Gallinule

American Coot


Juvenile Little Blue Heron

Male Ruddy Duck in basic plumage

Male Ruddy Duck in basic plumage

Male Anhinga Notice the black primaries, pale gray greater and median coverts and black scapulars with pale gray tips.

Male Anhinga
Notice the black primaries, pale gray greater and median coverts and black scapulars with pale gray tips.