Jekyll Island, GA
The beach at the southern tip of Jekyll is a congregation point for shorebirds and seabirds. It is a common occurrence to turn the corner at the south end and see thousands of birds resting on the edge of the water. This is also the island’s primary nesting area for Wilson's plovers in spring and summer, so watch for chicks being corralled by their parents (most Wilson’s plover nesting areas are roped off and marked with signs). To access this area, park at the St. Andrews Picnic Area & Beach or the Jekyll Island Soccer Complex (Glory Beach Access) and walk south. From either location it is a little more than a half-mile. The St. Andrews route is not accessible during higher tides. Please note local ordinances concerning dogs on the beach.
Another noteworthy site on Jekyll is Amphitheater Pond. Located closer to the middle of the island, this is a great place to see wading birds. The amphitheater hosted Valdosta State University theater performances until 2005.
Black skimmer, American oystercatcher, marbled godwit, northern gannet, piping plover, glaucous gull, Wilson's plover (nesting spring/summer), peregrine falcon (October).
Look for shorebirds around high tide from mid-summer through spring. Carefully examine gulls; rare gull species are sometimes found here. Don't disturb resting birds: give them a wide berth. Look for scoters, loons, mergansers, buffleheads and other waterfowl swimming offshore. In winter, a flock of up to 120 American oystercatchers sometimes uses the south beach at high tide. This can be a great area for raptor migration in October with peregrine falcons occasionally putting on a spectacular show – especially when strong easterly winds push them into shore.
Other Wildlife Highlights
Gulf fritillary and monarch migrations in the fall. 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.