St. Simons Island, GA
East Beach, which includes Gould's Inlet, is a residential area of St. Simons Island. The area includes some county-owned lands. The best place to park is in the Coast Guard Station parking area. Walk north to Gould's Inlet for the best beach birding but access side trails into the inter-dune scrub and woodlands for migrant land birds and painted buntings (migration and summer). There is limited parking available near Gould’s Inlet. Please note local ordinances concerning dogs on the beach. Bloody Marsh and Cannon’s Point Preserve are also good birding destinations on the island.
American oystercatcher, Wilson's plover, whimbrel, reddish egret, black skimmer, painted bunting, bald eagle, least tern, northern gannet, gray kingbird.
The best time to see seabirds and shorebirds is mid-to-high tide as the rising water concentrates birds closer to shore. In summer, least terns and Wilson's plovers regularly nest on East Beach; the best habitat is roped off to minimize disturbance. When sandbar conditions are favorable, American oystercatchers have also nested at Gould's. Spring and fall migration can bring large numbers of foraging and roosting shorebirds, including red knots and whimbrels, among many other more common shorebird species. An evening visit in May can yield impressive whimbrel flights offshore as these birds fly to their nocturnal roosting sites. Also look for black skimmers and royal, Caspian, gull-billed and least terns on the beach, as well as an assortment of common gull species. In mid-to-late summer and fall, Gould's is one of the more accessible places to find reddish egret. In winter, look for common and red-throated loons, scoters, scaup and other waterbirds in the ocean and wintering piping plovers on the beach. Watch for northern gannets out over the ocean in winter, and warblers during spring and fall migration in the dune thickets and woods.
Other Wildlife Highlights
Sea turtles nest on East Beach and local volunteers monitor the beach from May through September. Mink have been spotted on East Beach feeding in the rocks.
Along the upland edge of the beach between Coast Guard Beach and Gould's Inlet are examples of inter-dune meadow, scrub and forest.
Best Birding Seasons
|Birds of Prey||✓||✓||✓||✓|
4100 First Street
St. Simons Island, GA 31522