While walking along the CCBT's shoreline trails, you may see fall migration shorebird species such as the sanderling, western sandpiper, least sandpiper, red knot, semipalmated plover and black-bellied plover or water bird species such as the black tern and common tern.
Between mid-summer and fall, the Georgia Colonial Coast Birding Trail developed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) provides a wonderful opportunity to observe the fall migration of Atlantic coast shore and water birds. The Colonial Coast Birding Trail (CCBT) is an 18-site driving trail that follows the I-95 corridor and provides viewing opportunities from Fort Pulaski National Monument to the Cumberland Island National Seashore and the Okefenookee National Wildlife Refuge. Some of the best places along the trail to observe shorebirds are Gould's Inlet, Jekyll Island - South End Beach, Cumberland Island National Seashore, Jekyll Island Causeway, and the North Beach on Tybee Island.
While walking along the CCBT's shoreline trails, you may see fall migration shorebird species such as the sanderling, western sandpiper, least sandpiper, red knot, semipalmated plover and black-bellied plover or water bird species such as the black tern and common tern. Most of these birds are arctic tundra nesters and travel from Alaska and Eastern Canada down to Patagoina and Argentina. Some of the shorebirds stay in the southeastern United States through winter until April and May and then travel back to nesting grounds in the arctic.
"If you watch closely, you may catch a glimpse of the quick sanderling racing along the water's edge and darting after retreating waves. This species is one that we consider to be of special concern," said WRD wildlife biologist Brad Winn. "It has been declining approximately 2% per year along Georgia's coast."
Considered as the palest in color of the wintering sandpipers, the 8-inch sanderling can still be seen in its breeding plumage while foraging along the coastal sandy beaches looking for mollusks and crustaceans.
"We encourage the public to walk on the beaches with caution during this time of year while shore and seabirds are migrating through our state," said Winn. "People can help minimize beach disturbance by keeping their pets off of the beach."
The Colonial Coast Birding Trail was developed in part using funds generated by the sale of wildlife license plates. More than 700,000 wildlife license plates have been sold in Georgia, raising over $10 million for wildlife conservation, recreation and education projects.
For additional information on Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding Trail, please send a stamped, self-addressed #10 business sized envelope with $0.55 postage to: Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding Trail, Wildlife Resources Division, Nongame-Endangered Wildlife Program, 116 Rum Creek Drive, Forsyth, Georgia 31029.
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