Today at the Landings: 53 °F

Skidaway Audubon News

Courtesy of Skidaway Audubon

Skidaway is Going Green!

The shamrocks are out, and the Irish flags are up, but there’s more to March than St. Patrick’s Day. Skidaway Audubon’s upcoming and ongoing activities and events offer additional ways to “be green” this month.

Upcoming Events:

March 12: Learn about Skidaway Audubon’s network of birdhouses (the largest monitored birdhouse trail in the Southeast), what nesting materials birds prefer, and how to set up your own birdhouse, at the March 12 meeting of Skidaway Audubon. The presentation begins at 5:30 p.m. at Messiah Lutheran Church (1 West Ridge Road). The event is free for members of Friends of Skidaway Audubon (FOSA), and the cost is $5 for guests.

March 14: Join us and tour Oelschig Nursery, the Southeast’s oldest nursery, located just outside downtown Savannah. Oelschig specializes in providing flowering plants to landscapers throughout the Low Country. Organized by Skidaway Audubon, the tour group will carpool from Skidaway Island United Methodist Church at 10 a.m. and arrive at the greenhouses by 10:30 a.m. All participants must register in advance by visiting skidawayaudubon.org/events. This event is limited to 40 people and is free for FOSA members.

May 11: The 2020 Skidaway Audubon Golf Tournament FUNdraiser promises a ton of fun for all players, with wildlife-themed chip and putt challenges, “Tee off from the Turtle” markers on all par 5 holes, lots of mulligans, unique raffle prizes, and a tasty buffet at the clubhouse. A highlight of the event will be the Hole-in-One Grand Prize of $10,000!  Proceeds will fund a project to reverse the 90 percent decline in Monarch butterflies. To register for the tournament or become a hole sponsor, visit skidawayaudubon.org/events.

Sparrow Field: Volunteers at the pollinator berm at Sparrow Field were hampered by the recent rains, but managed to trim back the verbena and bottlebrush trees. Volunteers are needed to help do additional “spring cleaning” at the garden, located off Bartram Road. If you can lend a hand, please email friendsofskidawayaudubon@gmail.com.

Bird Cam: A great horned owl showed an early interest in the nest, but a pair of osprey have been steady visitors. They have spent much time fortifying the nest, mating, and eating the “catch of the day”.  Hopefully, the egg-laying soon will follow! Stay tuned at landingsbirdcam.com.

Bird Trail: Nesting season is underway! Thanks to many volunteers, the trail is looking good. Al Townsend rehabbed many birdhouses, damaged baffles were replaced, some posts were replaced, trail monitors were trained, and 15 bluebird boxes were retrofitted with smaller portals to accommodate smaller songbirds. Nuthatches have begun nest building, chickadees will start soon, and bluebirds will follow. All monitors were issued light blue flags for their golf carts that identify them as Audubon monitors. UGA’s Skidaway Aquarium has started a small bluebird trail and asked for input from Skidaway Audubon. Data will be shared throughout the season.

Sustainable Skidaway:  An updated leaflet on Environmental Stewardship at Deer Creek was prepared for the 2020 Savannah Golf Championship, slated for April 2- 5.  It was approved by the PGA and will go in player and press packets.

Butterfly Trail: Planning is underway for Skidaway Audubon’s proposed Monarch Butterfly Trail. Monarch numbers have dropped dramatically in recent years. The initiative calls for planting milkweed, which Monarchs need for reproduction, in out-of-play areas along the golf courses. Three areas on Palmetto were identified as potential sites for pollinator gardens. The proposal is being developed in cooperation with The Landings Club.

Bat Houses: The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has recommended relocating four Skidaway Audubon bat houses, so they receive morning but not afternoon sun, and are closer to freshwater. Locations for six new bat houses are being evaluated. Skidaway Audubon maintains bat houses along five golf courses. Bat houses can draw unwanted bats away from homes, and attract them to areas where they can consume massive amounts of mosquitoes and other insects.

Turtle Talk: The University of Georgia will host a one-day conference on Jekyll Island in March to foster collaboration among the diamondback terrapin rescue programs along the Georgia coast. Skidaway Audubon’s turtle program coordinators are invited to participate in this inaugural event. Skidaway volunteers rescue terrapin eggs from the golf course sand traps, hatch them, and last year released 2,225 turtles into the marshes. The Skidaway program is the largest of its kind from Cape Cod to Corpus Christi. The “Turtle Team” needs volunteers. Please email friendsofskidawayaudubon@gmail.com if you are interested.

For more information about these and other Skidaway Audubon programs, visit skidawayaudubon.org.