Vacation 2022 Part 1–Jekyll Island

We were pleased with our room in the Days Inn at Jekyll Island. Many hotels claim to be handicapped friendly, but it seems as if they pay perfunctory attention to the needs of disabled people. However, this hotel really had excellent handicapped facilities, making my wife happy, thus reducing my stress, so I could enjoy the beach.

Driftwood Beach

An interesting active geological action is currently taking place on Jekyll Island. Engineers dredge the river outlet north of the island, and along with natural currents, this is causing the north end of the island to rapidly erode. The ocean is inundating a maritime forest here, killing the live oaks and cedar trees where they stand. This landscape is beautiful and different. Jekyll Island is not shrinking away. Longshore currents carry the eroded sediment from the north end of the island to the south end, and this end of the island is expanding in the form of large sand dunes.

The ocean is inundating the northern end of Jekyll Island, killing the maritime forest that stood here for centuries.
One can see how extensive a live oak’s root system is.
Bye bye forest, hello ocean.
Sediment from the north end of the island is carried by longshore currents to the south end of the island where it forms large sand dunes.

Sharktooth Beach

I’d rename this broken shell beach. Although I’m sure people find shark teeth here, they are greatly outnumbered by broken seashells. The beach appears to be composed of modern shells mixed with black-colored fossil specimens. It took us about 15-20 minutes to walk from the road to this beach located on Jekyll Creek between the island and the mainland. Many cedar trees covered in grapevines grew alongside the trail, and a salt marsh was also adjacent.

Sharktooth beach. We didn’t find any definitive shark’s teeth here.
Oyster shell, sea drill, and some other broken shells I found on Sharktooth Beach. The darker ones may be fossils.

The Sea Turtle Center

Veterinarians treat injured sea turtles here. Most are injured by human activities. It is worth the visit, but I felt sad the only opportunity to see these poor creatures is when they get hurt.

Loggerhead sea turtle being cared for at the Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island.
Juvenile loggerhead sea turtle.
Sinkey Boone, a shrimp trawler captain, invented the sea turtle excluder which are now required equipment on all shrimp trawlers. They let in shrimp but prevent turtles from getting caught in the nets and drowned. Sinkey seems like a bad name for a boat captain.
Diamondback terrapin juveniles. The Sea Turtle Center also cares for this species and injured box turtles as well.

Birds on Jekyll Island

I saw 19 species of birds on Jekyll Island plus gray squirrels, and the tracks of rabbit, deer, and raccoon on the beach.

Female boat-tailed grackle. This species is by far the most common songbird on the island. Males are larger and pure black.
Piping plover. This species spends summers in high northern latitudes. It still has a long way to go.
I think these are semi-palmated sandpipers.
I cannot identify what species of sandpiper this is. Closest match I can find is a sanderling. Somebody help.
This was part of a huge flock of brown pelicans.
Even Bugs Bunny likes to go to the beach. These are rabbit tracks.

My bird checklist for Jekyll Island includes boat-tailed grackle, red-winged blackbird, mourning dove, bluebird, cardinal, tufted titmouse, green heron, snowy egret, laughing gull, ringed gull, piping plover, semi-palmated sandpiper (I think), sanderling (I think), immature white ibis, common crow, fish crow, black vulture, black skimmer, and brown pelican. I also saw gray squirrels, a road-killed black racer, and the tracks of rabbit, raccoon, and deer.

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