Georgia’s Colonial Coast Birding and Nature Festival

In October of last year, I attended the Georgia’s Colonial Coast Birding and Nature Festival, along with three of my good bird watching buddies. It was a fun five days, filled with lots of bird watching field trips and wonderful seminars on almost every topic related to birds and bird watching that you can imagine.

Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding and Nature Festival

October is THE time for bird watching on Jekyll Island because so many birds stop over to feed and rest as they pass through on their autumn migration. We hiked on the beach, through forest, out boardwalks and through marshland.

I saw Bald Eagles… (image from Wikipedia)

and Peregrine Falcons. (image from Wikipedia)

I even got to see my first Painted Bunting…he was only about 3 feet in front of me on a board walk that led down to the beach. He took my breath away!  Over the five days of the festival, I was able to see several more painted buntings…it was one of the highlights of my trip.

(image from Wikipedia)

One night we went out on a “wildlife watch and owl prowl” through Laura S. Walker State Park. It reminded me of one of my son’s favorite childhood books called, “Owl Moon.” We didn’t see any owls that night, but we saw lots of waterfowl leaving the lake to go roost for the night. And, after dark, we saw several pairs of eyes out in the lake. It gave us the heebie-jeebies. We were not just watching…but we were being watched right back! Each day we headed out on a brand new adventure.

Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding and Nature Festival

Our days were spent at places like Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge or Sapelo Island.

Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding and Nature Festival

The serious birders brought along scopes… (from Georgia Coastal Birding website)

You could even take a field trip on the Lady Jane shrimp boat and watch the shrimpers in action.

Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding and Nature Festival

A few pics of the beach…it wasn’t very crowded this time of year…

Sandcastles on Jekyll Island

We came across the remains of an old shipwreck.   02-21-13 Update:  A reader left a comment today saying this is the remains of a 1960’s shrimp boat named Mary Ann.  I always wondered what boat this was.

Shrimp Boat, Mary Ann Shipwrecked on Jekyll Island

I Googled and found a forum site online and the poster there said the Mary Ann ran aground in 1996 and sank here on the south end of Jekyll Island.   Over the years the boat has gradually become buried by the sand so all you can see now is the mast.  Eerie, isn’t it?

Shrimp Boat, Mary Ann Shipwrecked on Jekyll Island

There were some really interesting historic homes on Jekyll…this one had a neat bookstore and gift shop inside.

Historic Homes on Jekyll Island

See the long building off to the right in this pic? (image from Jekyll Island Club website)
Jekyll Island Club and Hotel

That’s the historic Jekyll Island Club and Hotel. (image from Jekyll Island Club website)
Jekyll Island Club and Hotel

The Jekyll Island Club has a rich history. In its historic past, it was a favorite vacation spot for the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and even a few United States Presidents. We didn’t stay there…

Jekyll Island Club and Hotel

But we did dine in their beautiful dining room several times. The breakfast brunch was yummy.

Jekyll Island Club and Hotel

It was an amazing week…one I won’t soon forget.

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  1. Hi Susan,
    Your pictures are spectacular! I love those of the birds; especially the eagle! Thanks for sharing.


  2. Hello there Susan – thank you for sharing these amazing photos! My fave is the Painted Bunting birdie. Oh my, what gorgeous colors he has. I thank God for giving us such beautiful nature to enjoy!


  3. It looks like a truly amazing place…my daughter and I are amateur birders and we dream of a trip like that someday!

  4. rosecottagegardensandfarm says

    Hi Susan,

    What lovely photos! I bet you had so much fun!!

    Thanks for sharing~
    Debbykay @ Rose Cottage Gardens and Farm

  5. Kelley at My Island Wedding says

    these photos are blowing me away! I just love the birds and the beach shots… are you kidding me?

    sounds like a great time!
    hope all is well…

  6. southerninspiration says

    Wow, look at those photos, Susan!!! fantastic!

    thanks for sharing.

  7. Melissa Miller says

    How beautiful! The Painted Bunting is amazing. I haven't heard of one before now ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Personalized Sketches and Sentiments says

    I was excited to see that you were featuring Jekyll Island. My hubby and I live in Coastal Georgia.

    What great photos along the beach… I love when you can look down and it stretches to the horizon!

    Blessings & Aloha!

  9. Thx for sharing these pics with us in blogland.
    This was great.
    Summer blessings to you,

  10. Jekyll Island Club looks wonderful!!!! I would love to stay there sometime. Travel is sooooo much fun. Your bird photos were great too. The Falcons regal but, that bunting was so colorful. I am sure you had a marvelous time. Thanks for sharing.

  11. common ground says

    What a wonderful trip you must have had. The bunting encounter would have been all that was necessary for me. I'm such a bird nut! Thanks for the great photos.

  12. Just wrote you a long comment and it disappeared. What the heck…
    Thanks for the tour. Always wanted to go there… you made it happen while just sitting here lol
    Happy OW
    Love Claudie

  13. Oh my goodness-All I could look at was the fabulous tree! I know so many of these were lost on the Gulf coast after Katrina. I hope you are signing up so you can take pictures for the rest of us ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Susan, another beautiful post! Owl Moon is one of my favorites as well, and seeing a Painted Bunting was one of the most amazing bird sightings I've ever had.
    Looking forward to Tablescape Thursday. ~
    Sarah @ Hyacinth

  15. What a fun trip,. Susan! That hotel is so beautiful…Christine

  16. Laura Ingalls Gunn says

    I have never heard of a painted bunting. What a lovely creature!

  17. I love those bird pictures! And you show some amazing houses. Stuff of dreams.

  18. I'm jealous that you saw these eagles in the wild. I would love to do that one time too. These are amazing animals. You must have had a gread time.

  19. Karen at Nittany Inspirations says

    Your post is great. We are going to Cape May, NJ after Labor Day. There is a bird watching site at Sunset Beach. We don't have all the gear, just regular binoculars.

  20. Amazing captures. Beautiful and awesome post.
    Thanks for sharing your great outdoor!

  21. Donna Marie says


    Amazing photos as usual! That last one made my hart skip a beat!

    Donna Marie

  22. Susan…thanks for sharing these wonderful photos of the birds and beach, but I was really impressed with the interesting facts about the island, and seeing the beautiful buildings, homes, and grounds..It would be most wonderful to visit there someday.
    Have a blessed Wednesday!


  23. Susan,
    I loved coming along on your trip today, thanks for sharing such a wonderful adventure.
    Enjoyed it all.
    Maggie @ Normandy Life

  24. Thanks for sharing this wonderful trip. What a beautiful place. I've never seen a painted bunting, what a beautiful little bird! Happy Outdoor Wednesday Susan. Kathy

  25. Thank you for sharing. I have never been, but will add it to my (ever growing) list. Beautiful photographs. Love your blog.

  26. Susan, Jekell Island is beautiful, I have missed it on my journey the east coast, but hopefully will make it one day.

    I love to bird watch, so maybe that will get me there. Your pictures are outstanding, just like everythin you do. I enjoy your blog.


  27. Susan:

    I am a birder and garder also. I live close to the Potomac River and a large nature center. I am blessed with eagles and other birds of prey flying over my house. A Sharpshinned Hawk stopped by my pond last year and took my biggest goldfish. This year I got to see her feeding two of her babies a furry little mouse. Those moments are precious to me.


  28. Personalized Sketches and Sentiments says

    Oh! heehee! I am back! I clicked over at the recommendation of Atticmag… didnt realize it was you, until I got here :o)

    but since I'm here… I didnt mention it last time, but I love that you have the photo of the Birding & Nature Festival… is that on a bag or the back of a shirt?

    I ask, cuz I made, um, I mean sweetly asked, my hubby to "model" his shirt with a Portuguese rooster on the back…for my Rooster party on Friday :o)

    Have a wonderful Beach filled week!

    Blessings & aloha!

  29. Crystal Rose Cottage says

    Jeckyl Island looks like a great place to visit. Thanks for the little sightseeing trip!~Patti

  30. Cottage Rose says

    Good Morning Susan; What great photos of such beautiful birds.. what fun it must have been… I love the beach photos, thanks for sharing them… have a great week.


  31. Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage says

    Sooo pretty! It's like a mini-vacation! Thanks so much for joining me.

  32. imjacobsmom says

    Susan, That painted bunting blew me away. We used to have the elusive Indigo Bunting hang out in our yard in Central Minnesota. But you know how they like to hang out high in branches so he was a hard one to catch a glimpse of. (But we could always hear him though.) I haven't done any serious birding for quite some time, but now that I have been "down-sized" at work I will have plenty of time on my hands, I'm sure. ~ Robyn

  33. So many beautiful photos. I love that painted bunting! It's so unique. Never seen one before your photo today.

  34. The Green Pea says

    Great post, love the beautiful birds. Wonderful photos too. Sandi

  35. ~Country Lady~ says

    This post was such a joy to read. Jekyll Island holds many fond memories for me of time spent there during the early years of my marriage. My son was married this summer and he and his bride went to Jekyll for their honeymoon and stayed at the Jekyll Island Club. They loved it!!

    So delighted to see you featuring this little piece of heaven on earth.

  36. Glenda/MidSouth says

    Thanks for the tour of such a beautiful place. Sounds like you had a great time.

  37. Love Bears All Things says

    Sounds like something I would enjoy. My daughter visited Jekyll Island 2 or 3 summers in a row when she was a teen with a church group.
    Mama Bear

  38. Interesting combination of your shots and originals taken from sites. Beautiful information.

    I am continually amazed at the beauty around us, that is often untapped. Thanks so for sharing it was a wonderful trip that you allowed us a visit too.

    TTFN~~~Claudia โ™ฅ โ™ฅ

  39. 9405018--Pat says

    thanks for sharing……Pat H

  40. Such spectacular photos. Your week was jam packed with activities and your accommodations seem really lovely. I can imagine what a great time you had. I hope you are having a wonderful day.

  41. I got to remember the breakfast brunch at the Jekyll Island Club… if I visit (or rather when..). I love breakfast!

  42. Hi Susan
    Thanks for taking us on a tour of Jekyll Island. It's been years since I visited this lovely island. My aunt and uncle used to manage a hotel on the beach…and hubby and I honeymooned there. There is so much to see on this lovely island…and yet, there is such a quiet tranquility where the body can truly unwind. Thanks again for sharing your lovely photos…
    Jane (Artfully Graced)

  43. What gorgeous pics, Susan! I have ALWAYS wanted to see the painted bunting!

  44. What an amazing bird. The color is so bright.
    So you didn't stay at the Jekyll Club? You could have jumped on the bed and thrown water balloons out the windows. What fun.
    Can you imagine what it was like living there years ago? Wow.

  45. Well, I was hoping you were going to tell us that you had stayed at the Jeckyl Island Club. Oh well. Maybe next time. Love the painted bunting. That would be so much fun to see.

  46. Sounds like a fabulous adventure. But I think I would love to lounge around at the Jeckyl Island Club. That would be my kind of adventure.

  47. Beautiful, beautiful pictures! Thanks so much for sharing.

  48. Christi @ A Southern Life says

    Wow! Spectacular!


  49. Looks like you had a wonderful time… I had that rare little Painted Bunting visit my backyard last summer, he only stayed for the day. I had never seen one till then. I watched at the window all day as he flew back and forth to the feeder. I got up the next moring ran to the window but he has never returned!!! What a beautiful sight this little male bird is…

  50. ~CC Catherine says

    Hi Friend, These pics are fabulous…and I think this trip would have been sooo cool! I adore the little furry feathered friends too! ๐Ÿ™‚ ~CC Catherine

  51. Dana and Daisy says

    What a wonderful trip Pat! And what great pictures you took too!

  52. Lady Katherine says

    This was wonderful, Hubby loved it! He kept saying where is it! lol How fun to eat brunch at such a lovely place! Hubby also says to tell you thanks for stopping by his blog, he had a good laugh at the saw comment!

  53. Yellow Rose Arbor says

    The Jekyll Club Hotel is one of our favorite places to go, we've been many times and hope to go more! Have you ever had tea there? So nice!


  54. Drawn to The Sea says

    I've never seen a Painted Bunting either. Such a pretty bird.

    Love the way the sandcastles are outlined, as if to say "This is my plot." Like a little private castle community… temporarily.

    Pleasant day,

  55. Wow, that last shot of the beautiful tree is gorgeous. Where can I find me one of those?

  56. Love the pictures ๐Ÿ™‚ We honeymooned on Jekyll Island and stayed in the "tower" at the Club. It's just so beautiful there – especially the oaks! It's so nice to see it after 10 yrs.

  57. Richard Chewning says

    Hello Susan,
    My name is Richard, and I work on Jekyll as an educator at the 4-H Center. I wanted to ask if I could use your picture of the Mary Ann shipwreck from your Georgiaโ€™s Colonial Coast Birding and Nature Festival post. The purpose is to document a pictoral history of the shipwreck. The image would only be used for noncommercial educational uses and I will be sre to give you photo credit. I look forward to your response! Thanks. Richard

    • Hi Richard,
      Sure you are more than welcome to use any of the pictures in the post. I just looked and I can’t locate the originals on my computer. They may have gotten lost when I had a computer crash a few years back. I have Carbonite now but didn’t back then. I just used Photoshop to sharpen the two that are in the post and I’ll email those to you in case you like them better than the ones in the post. I think they look a lot clearer. I always wondered what shipwreck that was…thanks for clearing that mystery up for me. In case it’s helpful, it appears I took that trip was in October 2008, based on what I wrote in the post. I have a terrible memory but if you need a date, it would have been the week that the Georgia Colonial Coast Birding and Nature Festival occurred on Jekyll in October 2008.

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