Jekyll Island, GA
This site is on the northern end of Jekyll Island at the mouth of St. Simons Sound. Although the beach is more limited than at the south end, the mix of beach, forest and saltwater habitats provides excellent birding and other wildlife viewing opportunities. The area also provides an overlook into a freshwater wetland where black-necked stilts, wood ducks, teal and a variety of other species can be seen. You can access this area by parking at the Driftwood Beach parking area off Beach View Drive (limited parking) or the Jekyll Island Fishing Pier in the Clam Creek Picnic Area.
Least tern, scoters, American oystercatcher, black skimmer, Bonaparte's gull, sandwich tern, spotted sandpiper, black-necked stilt, bald eagle (possible nest), American white pelican, painted bunting.
Warblers are most often seen during spring and fall migrations. Thousands of scoters and scaup raft just offshore in winter. Look for ospreys throughout the year, and common and red-throated loons fishing off the beach. From the parking area near the pier—you have a distant view of the largest seabird colony in the state—a dredge spoil island one-mile west of the pier. American white pelicans can be seen here mostly in winter, though some stay all year. 6,000–10,000 royal tern pairs nest here as well as sandwich terns, and occasionally black skimmers, least terns and gull-billed terns. Scoping the shell rakes south of the fishing pier parking area can often turn up American oystercatchers—particularly in winter. Horton Pond, close to Driftwood Beach, is a great place to see migrant songbirds.
Other Wildlife Highlights
American alligator, raccoon and several frog species are sometimes seen. Sea turtles nest on Jekyll beaches from May–August. Information about guided turtle walks with the Georgia Sea Turtle Center can be found on their website, http://www.jekyllisland.com/activities-category/sea-turtle/.
Best Birding Seasons
Parking fee. Check the Jekyll Island website for up-to-date pricing.