Tag Archives: Wildlife of Coastal Georgia

Oatland Island, Savannah

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Built in 1927 as a retirement home for the Brotherhood of Railroad Conductors, the “main building” today serves as an educational center for the surrounding Oatland Island Wildlife Center. It is quite typical of institutional architecture of its era and subsequently served as a Public Health Service hospital in World War II. Until being surplussed in 1973, it was used as a development laboratory by the Centers for Disease Control. The Chatham County Board of Education has owned it since then and it serves over 20,000 students and visitors each year as a wildlife education facility today. To movie buffs, the building may be familiar to viewers of the John Travolta movie, The General’s Daughter, as it was used as a set location. And Martha Barnes adds this interesting bit of Savannah trivia: People who read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil will remember the main building as where Luther Driggers worked and actually developed the chemical used in today’s flea collars, but in the book he was always about to poison Savannah’s water supply.

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Carol Suttle, a Savannah native and Oatland’s most enthusiastic ambassador, contacted me several months ago about photographing the old water tower at the entrance to the center; it’s scheduled to be demolished and it’s one of her favorite structures on the island. Touring the island and its natural features with Carol and photographer Mike McCall was a real treat, and I hope to revisit in the future. Located just past downtown Savannah on the Islands Expressway (US 80), it’s often overlooked by tourists heading to Tybee Island but is well worth a visit! See the link at the end of this post for specifics about admission and other particulars.

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David Delk, Jr., built this cabin in 1837 in the Taylor’s Creek community near Gum Branch in Liberty County. It was moved and reconstructed here by the Youth Conservation Corps in 1979. The layout is of the Scots/Irish or “shotgun” design (not to be confused with the more common and more recent shotgun “house”), a vernacular form common in early Georgia.

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Martha Phillips Youngblood writes that the corn crib pictured above was originally owned by her grandfather, Thomas Hilton Phillips, and was moved here from Treutlen County.

Oatland Island GA Abandoned Barn Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Oatland Island GA CDC Predecessor Abandoned Utility Building Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

The two abandoned structures pictured above are remnants of the bureaucratic era on the island. A hand-crafted boat from the 1970s can also be seen on the property.

Oatland Island GA Savannah Abandoned Ship Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus), as well as wolves and bison can be easily seen on the property.

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Beautiful Richardson Creek runs adjacent to the island.

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Richardson Creek at Oatland Island Savannah GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Oatland Island GA, Savannah GA

Juvenile White Ibis, Darien

Juvenile White Ibis Darien GA Waterfront Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

This young bird was spotted in Waterfront Park.

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Darien GA

Winter Ramble at Harris Neck

Woody Pond prime waterfowl habitat rookery Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge McIntosh County GA Photograph COpyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Woody Pond is perhaps the most popular spot for birding at Harris Neck, though there are many other places to ramble in this place that I consider one of the best-kept secrets of the Georgia Coast. Whether a birder, hiker, bicyclist or just plain nature aficionado, there is much to be seen.

Woody Pond Habitat with Palm Tree Harris Neck NWR McIntosh County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Walk along the dam for a sure encounter with some natives!

Woody Pond Dam Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge McIntosh County GA Photograph COpyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Very soon, the rookeries of the pond will be abuzz with new life. Wood Storks (Mcyteria americana) are a big presence here though not as commonly seen in winter. On that last day I visited, American Coots and Common Gallinules were the most populous residents.

Common Gallinule gallinula galeata Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata), Woody Pond.

The gallinules can be easily distinguished from the coots by their bright orange and yellow bills.

American Coot Woody Pond Harris Neck NWR McIntosh County GA Birding Hotspot Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

American Coot (Fulica americana)

Of course, the other big attraction at Woody Pond is the alligator population. But remember, don’t harass them!

Federal State Alligator Protection Sign no feeding or harassing Photograph harris neck national wildlife refuge mcintosh county ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing coastal georgia usa 2014

You’ll generally see smaller ones in winter, but they live here year round!

American Alligator Young mississippiensis Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge McIntosh County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

American Alligator Swimming Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge McIntosh County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Take nothing but pictures, and lots of good memories. You’ll want to return in the spring.

Oak Limb Spanish Moss in Woody Pond Harris Neck NWR McIntosh County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harris_Neck_National_Wildlife_Refuge

 

 

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Harris Neck GA

Ghost Crab, Jekyll Island

Atlantic Ghost Crab Ocypode quadrata Jekyll Island GA Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

The Atlantic Ghost Crab (Ocypode quadrata) or Ghost Fiddler can be spotted at the edges of dunes and vegetation all over the Georgia coast, though they can be a bit elusive.

 

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Jekyll Island GA

Golden Silk Orb-weaver, Glory Beach

Golden Silk Orb weaver Nephila clavipes Banana Spider Intricate Web Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013 closeup

Commonly known as the Banana Spider, the Golden Silk Orb-weaver (Nephila clavipes) is the most common large spider in Coastal Georgia and can be found in a number of diverse habitats.

 

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Jekyll Island GA

White-tailed Deer, Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island GA Whitetail Deer Odocoileus virginianus Grazing at Night Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Because they are not hunted on the island, White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are quite tame. Like other mammals isolated on islands, they are generally smaller than their mainland counterparts.

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Jekyll Island GA

Sea Turtle Release, Jekyll Island

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Public Event Release Rehabilitation Prepping Staging Area Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

I was lucky enough to be on Jekyll Island this weekend for the release of two rehabilitated “patients” by the great folks at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. A large crowd was on hand to witness this special event.

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Release at Great Dunes Park Jekyll Island GA Endangered Species Wildlife Rehabilitation Management Public Event Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Release at Great Dunes Park Jekyll Island GA Well Wishes Endangered Species Wildlife Rehabilitation Management Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

The first of the two releases was an immature Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) named Ebb. Ebb was found in a tidal pool on Jekyll Island on 7 July 2013 and was a bit anemic.

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Chelonia mydas Release Ebb Green Sea Turtle Supporting Crowds Jekyll Island GA Picture Image Photograph © Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Chelonia mydas Release Ebb Green Sea Turtle Jekyll Island GA Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Green Sea Turtle Chelonia mydas Ebb Release Atlantic Ocean Jekyll Island GA Endangered Species Picture Image Photograph © Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Green Sea Turtle Chelonia mydas Ebb Release at Great Dunes Park Jekyll Island GA Endangered Species Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

 

 

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Release Event Crowds Watching Jekyll Island GA Glory Beach Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

The second patient to be returned to the Atlantic Ocean was Cinnamon, a Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta). The sub-adult turtle, approximately 15 years old, was found stranded on Blackbeard Island on 29 June 2013 and was rehabilitated at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center’s Turtle Hospital.

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island Loggerhead Sea Turtle Caretta caretta Cinammon Release Going Back into Atlantic Ocean Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island Rehabilitated 15 Year Old Loggerhead Sea Turtle Caretta caretta Cinammon Going Back into Atlantic Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island Loggerhead Sea Turtle Caretta caretta Cinammon Released Going Back into Atlantic Ocean Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island Rehabilitated Loggerhead Sea Turtle Caretta caretta Cinammon Release Going Back into Atlantic Ocean Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island GA Painted Van Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

The work of the center is ongoing, including perhaps the most important work of all, the monitoring of sea turtle nests around the island and on other barrier islands. Nesting appears to have steadily increased since the work was initiated, and for the fourth consecutive year a record number have been recorded. 2,241 have been monitored this year!

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island GA Glory Beach South Dunes Area Checking Nests Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Please visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center when you find yourself on Jekyll Island. It’s some of the best work the state of Georgia does and though admission to the hospital is a bit expensive, all the monies are used exclusively for the educational and rehabilitative mission of the center. They’re located at the old Jekyll Island Power Plant (1903), which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island GA Old Club Power Station Restored Wildlife Rehabilitation Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Jekyll Island GA