So once again I am not writing a diary about Razorbills but hopefully still of interest. The week before last was a brief respite between semesters and we took a short vacation to points north and east. Our first stop was Cumberland Island National Seashore. Cumberland Island is the southernmost of Georgia's barrier islands. I have diaried a previous visit here almost exactly two and half years ago.
Just like Georgia's Golden Isles immediately to the north, Cumberland Island was a playground/retreat for the affluent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At one time most of the island was owned by the junior branch of the Carnegie family. The original Carnegie mansion, Dungeness, burned in the 1950s after sitting empty for several decades. Other mansions, built for the children when they grew up remain intact elsewhere on the island.
But our main interest is the island's natural habitats. Like other coastal regions of the southeast, protected areas are often salt marsh. The photo below also shows the feral horses for which the island is known.
Here is what we did see.
This one group of Royal Terns (a handful of Forster's in the mix as well) was loafing about. It is pretty common to see Terns resting on the beach in groups. Normally they aren't doing much. But spring was in the air and a young tern's thoughts turn to love. And what better way to express your feelings than with a fish!
Below are a couple of pictures from two days later on Jekyll Island immediately to the north. Same sort of scandalous behavior going on!
A short way past the terns we saw a group of dark birds out in the water.
We moved up to the very back of the beach, at the base of the dunes, to have lunch. While up there we noticed that the three scoters had actually moved up onto the beach, right where the waves were breaking. I had never seen ducks on a beach before and I intended to take a picture or two right after lunch.
Then an eagle flew by and when I looked again, the ducks were (understandably) gone.
Moving a bit further along we saw two large dark birds on the beach, off in the distance.
Moving closer we discovered they were a turkey vulture and a juvenile bald eagle.