Joined: Dec. 2007
went to Sapelo Island for the weekend, a barrier island on the coast of Georgia that is only accessible by boat.
saw all the normal suspects: gators, snakes, deer, feral hogs, racoons, painted buntings, indigo buntings, turkeys, ospreys and other birds of prey (no bald eagles), sea birds of many varieties...
didn't see any of the feral cattle that roam the island but that may have been a good thing since some of the bulls are reported to be a bit aggressive, not a good thing if one should meet while riding a bicycle on a narrow dirt road with swamps on both sides. saw plenty of sign of them but no sightings. got thoroughly lost bicycling up a seldom used dirt road that petered out in the live oak forests several miles up the island.
did hear an odd call bird call sunday morning. asked the couple that owned the apartment what that noise was.
was told it was a chachalaca.
i've lived on the coast for over 30 years and in the south east all my life and i'd never heard of anything called a chachalaca.
i asked our hosts if it was something that was hunted at night with a flashlight. :)
they cackled and said, no, it really was a real bird and had been imported from mexico so the wealthy landowners in the past (including RJ Reynolds) could hunt them.
we did eventually see a pair but they were too fast to get a camera pointed at them for evidence.
toured ruins and mansions. Guale Indian shell middens dating from 3600BC, one enormous one that was in a circle 250 feet in diameter and 12 or so feet tall. it doesn't appear to have been a rubbish pile from a village as there were almost no pottery fragments. wasn't a defensive position as it's in the wrong place to protect the landing points on that part of the island. no one seems to know why it was built. some think it was a religious site.
saw french and english tabby ruins from various centuries, went by a circa 1500 spanish mission site but weren't allowed to wander around as it is an ongoing archeological dig.
there were enormous tabby ruins for some of the old plantations. remnants of slave quarters, gatekeepers cottages, barns and storage buildings dot areas of the island.
The RJ Reynolds mansion is quite impressive.
the filthy rich certainly knew how to live back in the day. :)
(Plum Orchard mansion on Cumberland Island is of similar opulence).
(i keep asking my mother why i wasn't born rich and she just laughs at me.)
spent most of each night roaming the atlantic beaches looking for sea turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. never did see one.
the University of Georgia Marine Institute staff member who keeps official track of nests said it had been a slow week.
erosion from Beryl had also eaten into the dunes so on a large stretch of the beach there was a 3 or 4 foot tall "cliff" that the turtles couldn't negotiate so they'd crawl up, meet the cliff and crawl off into the ocean.
did find some crawl tracks like that but never did eyeball any of the turtles themselves.
monday night's full moon looked more like a sunrise than a moonrise. blood red and orange. quite the sight.
up til 2 am on the beaches most nights and then up again before dawn to roam the beaches some more and then wander the island after sunrise. way cool trip.
but no damn turtles. guess we'll have to go back sometime...