April is always filled with activity on Little St. Simons Island, and this month has fulfilled that promise! From the ground to the sky, wildlife is abundant throughout. The Bald Eagle chicks have fledged from their nests on the north and south ends of the island! Other birds have commenced nesting season; Carolina Wrens have already had one successful brood in our kitchen laundry room! White-eyed Vireo are also nesting, and there is an example of one of the hanging nests dangling just over North End Road for all to see. A pair of Fish Crow have built a nest in a large pine near our naturalist shed, and can be watched going to and fro with nesting material. On Old Mosquito Creek road, a pair of Killdeer have nested, and a lucky few have seen the downy chicks running across the ground. On the beach, American Oystercatcher, Wilson’s Plover, and Willet have paired up and are also nesting. Common Moorhen chicks can be seen feeding with their parents at Myrtle Pond. There are many other species nesting; these are just a few examples of some of the birds you can see!
Many birds are arriving on the island as Spring migration is underway. Recent “new for the season arrivals” include Cape May Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Summer Tanager, Bobolink, Least Tern, and Merlin, to name a few. Shorebirds are really beginning to come into their breeding plumage. A group of Red Knots estimated to be around 2000 – 3000 birds was on Sancho Panza beach on April 22. What an Earth Day treat! Whimbrel have been passing over in flight in small groups as well. With the full moon coming up on April 28, we expect to see a large emergence of horseshoe crabs, whose eggs are one of the most important food resources for migratory shorebirds along the coast.
Reptiles and amphibians have been very active. There are numerous snake sightings daily; species include Diamondback Rattlesnake, Eastern King Snake, Coachwhip, Black Racer, Yellow Rat Snake, and Garter Snake. Eastern Glass Lizard, anoles, and skinks are also active. Southern Toads, Southern Leopard Frogs, Green and Squirrel Tree Frogs are calling as well.
Swallowtail Butterflies, Whites, Wood Nymphs, and numerous other butterflies are all around the island. Dragonflies such as the Carolina Saddlebags are also present, voraciously feeding on other flying insects. Ladybugs, grasshoppers, crickets, caterpillars, and other insect life can also be enjoyed by the observant island guest.