Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding Trail

Welcome to the Colonial Coast Birding Trail

Coastal Georgia is steeped in human and natural history. Since the first human inhabitants colonized the coast, man and the abundant natural resources found here have been inexorably linked. A visit to one or more sites along the Colonial Coast Birding Trail will provide you with the opportunity to see and enjoy the beauty of a kaleidoscope of birds and glimpse the fascinating history of this land and its residents.

More than 300 species of birds (75 percent of the total species of birds seen in Georgia) have been spotted at the 18 sites along the birding trail. Don't expect to see most of these birds on a single visit. The birds you see will depend greatly on when and where you visit. Some birds can be seen throughout the year. Others are migratory and travel long distances from their breeding grounds to wintering areas.

If you want to see migrants, you need look for them during those times of the year when they visit Georgia. You will also find a wide variety of habitats along the trail. Shorelines, salt marshes, old rice fields, woodlands, tidal rivers, freshwater wetlands and other habitats host their own fascinating bird communities.

Each site along the Colonial Coast Birding Trail is unique. Many sites offer visitors the opportunity to watch birds and visit 18th and 19th Century historic places. Other sites are located on lands and waters that were once part of early plantations dedicated to growing rice, indigo and cotton. So whether you want to see a bald eagle soaring over a coastal river, an endangered wood stork feeding its gawky young, sanderlings chasing the waves on a sandy beach, or a great egret standing motionless in a placid pond, the Colonial Coast Birding Trail has something for you.

The numbers of birds found along the trail change with the rising and falling of the tides and with the passage of the seasons. Consequently, each visit offers the chance to experience a new wildlife adventure. Spend some time along the Colonial Coast Birding Trail and learn why the Creek Indians called the Georgia coast The Enchanted Land.

Look at the map to see the various sites along the Colonial Coast Birding Trail.  Click here for a Colonial Coast Birding Trail bird species checklist.

Ansley Hodges M.A.R.S.H. Project (Altamaha Wildlife Management Area)

Description: This viewing area is situated on the Altamaha Wildlife Management Area where an impoundment was constructed as part of Ducks Unlimited's M.A.R.S.H. (Matching Aid to Restore States' Habitat) program. The impoundment is located on the remains of an old rice plantation. Many of the rice fields are managed to benefit waterfowl and other wildlife species.

Types of Birds: Birds of prey, shorebirds, songbirds, wading birds, waterfowl, raptors

Best Birding Seasons: Songbirds (all), shorebirds (all), wading birds (all), waterfowl (fall and winter), raptors (fall and winter)

Specialties: Wood stork, swallow-tailed kite, bald eagle, king rail, painted bunting, mottled duck, wood duck, white ibis, glossy ibis

Tips: Look for common snipe feeding in exposed muddy areas. In summer, look for wood ducks. In fall and winter, black ducks, pintails, green-winged teal, northern shovelers and other waterfowl can be seen in the impoundment. Look for rails darting through the vegetation in the impoundment. Bald eagles can be spotted in winter and spring.

Fee: None.

Hours: Daylight hours.

Telephone Number: (912) 262-3173

Fun Things To Do: Look for alligators sunning along the dike. Try to identify animal tracks along the dike.

Directions: Take Exit 49 on I-95 at the junction of I-95 and SR 251 (Briardam Road). Travel east on SR 251 to the junction of SR 251 and US 17. Turn right (south) on US 17 and continue through Darien. The entrance to the Ansley Hodges M.A.R.S.H. Project will be approximately 3.5 miles on the right. See the map.

Crooked River State Park

Description: This 500-acre state park is located on the banks of Crooked River. The area is blanketed with several habitats including pine flatwoods, salt marsh and maritime forest.

Types of Birds: Birds of prey, shorebirds, wading birds, songbirds, waterfowl

Best Birding Seasons: Birds of prey (all), shorebirds (fall and winter), songbirds (all), wading birds (all), waterfowl (winter)

Specialties: Osprey, bald eagle, wood stork, painted bunting

Tips: Look for warblers during spring and fall migration. Look for nesting osprey in spring and summer. Look for migrating shorebirds in early to mid-summer. Watch for mergansers and other ducks in Crooked River. Listen and watch for painted buntings in spring and summer.

Fee: $5 per vehicle daily parking fee or $45 annual ParkPass.

Hours: 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.

Telephone: (912) 882-5256

Fun Things to Do: Visit the tabby ruins of the McIntosh Sugar Works Mill, which was built around 1825. Listen for owls at sunset. Look for gopher tortoise burrows. Watch for armadillos and deer.

Directions: Take Exit 3 at the junction of I-95 and SR40. Follow SR 40 east to the junction of SR 40 Spur. Turn left on SR 40 Spur and travel north approximately two miles. The entrance to the park is on the right side of the road. Look for the brown state park signs. See the map.

Cumberland Island National Seashore

Description: Cumberland Island National Seashore is a beautiful, largely undeveloped 36,000-acre barrier island. Access is by ferry or private boat. Extensive salt marshes border the island to the west, and 16 miles of pristine, white-sand beaches border Cumberland on the east. The island hosts an amazing variety of wildlife and plant communities. A total of 322 species of birds have been seen on the island.

Types of Birds: Songbirds, shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl, gull-like birds

Best Birding Seasons: Songbirds (spring and fall), shorebirds (all), wading birds (all), waterfowl (winter), gull-like birds (all)

Specialties: Peregrine falcon, painted bunting, red knot, black skimmer, warblers

Tips: Look for peregrine falcons during fall migration. Painted buntings are common in summer. Shorebirds are best seen in summer, winter and spring. Warblers can be seen during fall and spring migrations. Piping plovers may be spotted on the beach in winter. Bring along food, beverages, sunscreen, rain gear and other necessities because the island has no stores. Private boaters may dock at Sea Camp or Plum Orchard. Overnight boaters must anchor offshore.

Fee: Day-use Fee: $4 per person for 7 days; Sea Camp Campground: $4 per person per day; Back Country Camping: $2 per person per day; annual Day-use Pass: $20 per person

Ferry Information: $17 per adult, $15 per senior citizens (65 and older) and $12 for children (12 years and younger). The ferry runs seven days a week from March through September. From October through February, the ferry operates five days a week, but there is no ferry service Tuesdays and Wednesdays October-February.

Hours: The National Seashore is open 24 hours a day. However, access is determined by the ferry schedule. When making reservations, confirm the ferry's departure and arrival times.

Reservations: Reservations are strongly recommended and may be made six months in advance for the ferry and camping. Reservations can be made by phone Monday - Friday (10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.).

Telephone Number: For information: (912) 882-4336.

Fun Things To Do: Visit the variety of historic structures and ruins including Plum Orchard Mansion and the ruins of Dungeness Mansion. Tour the Ice House History Museum and nature trails in the Dungeness area. There is walk-in camping at Sea Camp and four back-country sites.

Directions: Take Exit 3 onto SR 40. Travel east on SR 40 10 miles to St. Marys. The Visitor's Center is at the end of the road on the waterfront. See the map.

Fort McAllister State Historic Park

Description: Fort McAllister saw considerable Civil War action during General William T. Sherman's March to the Sea. Located on the banks of the Ogeechee River, the site contains a mix of saltmarsh and forested habitats.

Types of Birds: Songbirds, wading birds, waterfowl

Best Birding Seasons: Songbirds (all), wading birds (all), waterfowl (winter)

Specialties: Painted bunting, wood duck, northern harrier, bald eagle, osprey

Tips: Painted buntings are most often seen in late spring through summer along the causeway. Look for migrating warblers during spring and fall migrations. Bald eagles are most often seen during the winter. Ospreys are most often seen in spring and summer. Look for northern harriers winging low over the marsh in winter.

Fee: $5 per vehicle parking fee or $50 annual ParkPass. Historic facilities admission: $3.50-$5.

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 2-5 p.m. Sunday.

Telephone: (912) 727-2339

Fun Things to Do: Visit the remains of the fort.

Directions: Take Exit 90 off I-95 and travel east through Richmond Hill. Turn left on SR 144 Spur. This highway dead-ends at Fort McAllister. See the map.

Fort Morris State Historic Site

Description: Originally a Guale Indian village, Fort Morris has a fascinating history. The site became the seaport town of Sunbury (one of several "dead towns" in Georgia) before becoming Fort Morris in 1776. The fort helped protect Georgia's coast during both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. The site is approximately 70 acres in size and is composed primarily of salt marsh and forested upland.

Types of Birds: Songbirds, wading birds

Best Birding Seasons: Songbirds (all), wading birds (all)

Specialties: Yellow-throated warbler, marsh wren, clapper rail, painted bunting

Tips: The best times to view painted buntings are in spring and summer. The woodlands found on the site are havens for warblers during spring and fall migrations. Look and listen for marsh wrens and clapper rails in the salt marshes throughout the year, however, the birds are most vocal in spring and summer.

Fee: $4 per adult, $2.75 per child (6-12 years). Children 5 years old and younger are free.

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Telephone: (912) 884-5999

Fun Things to Do: Tour the Visitor's Center and other nearby historic sites, including Seabrook Village, a living history museum.

Directions: Take Exit 76 at the junction of I-95 and SR 38. Travel east on Islands Highway about 3.7 miles to Trade Hill Road. Turn left onto Trade Hill Road and travel 0.7 miles to Fort Morris Road. Travel two miles down Fort Morris Road to the historic site entrance. See the map.

Fort Pulaski National Monument

Description: Located at the mouth of the Savannah River, this 5,600-acre national monument consists of McQueen's Island, Cockspur Island and the adjacent salt marsh. These diverse habitats are home to 200 species of birds.

Types of Birds: Songbirds, shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl

Best Birding Times: Songbirds (all), shorebirds (all), wading birds (all), waterfowl (winter)

Specialties: Painted bunting

Tips: Look for painted buntings from spring through summer along the edges of woodlands on Cockspur Island. This is an excellent place to spot migratory songbirds in spring and late summer through fall. Clapper rails, seaside sparrows and marsh wrens can be seen and/or heard in the marshes around the fort throughout the year. Shorebirds can best be seen along the shoreline at low tide.

Fee: $3 per adult (16 years old and older). Receipt valid for additional six days.

Hours: Birding areas are open 24 hours. For facilities, mid-August through Memorial Day the fort is open 8:30 a.m. -5 p.m. daily and the bridge closes at 5:15 p.m. For the rest of the year, the fort is open 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. daily and the bridge closes at 6:45 p.m. If arriving before gates open, park beside the closed gate.

Telephone: (912) 786-5787

Fun Things to Do: Tour the fort, visitor's center and grounds. Watch for dolphins and marsh birds. Fort Pulaski is a well-preserved 19th century fort that was used during the Civil War. One of three walking trails is easily accessible to wheelchairs, the two others are earthen. At the turnoff entrance is McQueen's bike path and a bridge which is utilized for fishing.

Directions: Travel east from Savannah on Georgia Highway 80 (Victory Drive) approximately 10 miles. The entrance to Fort Pulaski is on the left. (There is no turn-in lane, so watch for oncoming traffic.) See the map.

St. Simons Island - Gould's Inlet & East Beach

Description: East Beach, which includes Gould's Inlet, is a residential area of St. Simons Island. The area includes some county-owned lands.

Types of Birds: Birds of prey, shorebirds, songbirds, wading birds, waterfowl

Best Birding Seasons: Birds of prey (all), shorebirds (all), wading birds (all), waterfowl (winter)

Specialties: American oystercatcher, black skimmer, painted bunting, bald eagle, least tern, northern gannet

Tips: The best time to see birds in this area is around high tide, especially in the afternoon. The best place to park is in the Coast Guard parking area. Look for painted buntings in spring and summer in the upland habitats. Look for laughing gulls, black skimmers, royal and caspian terns on the beach. In winter, look for common and red-throated loons, scoters, scaup and other waterbirds in the ocean. Look for northern gannets out over the ocean in winter. Look for warblers during spring and fall migration.

Fee: None.

Hours: No set hours.

Telephone: (912) 638-1422

Fun Things to Do: Look for mink scrambling over the rocks at Gould's Inlet. Take a walking tour of the area.

Directions: Take Exit 8, Golden Isles Parkway, at the junction of I-95 and SR 25 (Exit 38). Take SR 25 Spur east to US 17. Turn right (south) on US 17 to the F.J. Torras Causeway. Turn left onto the causeway and proceed to the island. Note: the name of the highway changes to Demere Road. Proceed on Demere Road through two stop lights, past Bloody Marsh National Monument. Continue on East Beach Causeway until you approach the Coast Guard parking lot. Turn left onto Bruce Drive just before the parking lot. See the map.

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge

Description: This refuge is located on an abandoned World War II Army airfield. There are more than 2,700 acres of saltwater marsh, freshwater impoundments, mixed deciduous forests and open fields. These habitats support an amazing array of birds. Types of Birds: Songbirds, birds of prey, wading birds, waterfowl

Best Birding Seasons: Songbirds (all), birds of prey (all), wading birds (all), waterfowl (all)

Specialties: Wood stork, white ibis, painted bunting

Tips: The best time to view nesting wood storks, great egrets, snowy egrets, black-crowned night herons, anhingas and other waders is May and June. One of the best places in Georgia to view nesting wading birds, Harris Neck provides the only man-made nesting structures for wood storks. Nesting wading birds are best viewed with a spotting scope. Look for painted buntings in late spring through summer. Fee: None.

Hours: Sunrise to sunset, seven days a week.

Telephone Number: (843) 784-2486

Fun Things to Do: Fish from one of two fishing piers (one is handicapped accessible) located on the entrance to the refuge. The area has an outstanding driving trail and bicycling is encouraged.

Directions: Take Exit 67, travel south on US 17 approximately one mile to Harris Neck Road (CR 246) just past the Smallest Church in America. This road leads to the refuge. Travel 6.5 miles to the refuge entrance, which is on the left. See the map.

Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation State Historic Site

Description: From l800 to 1915 this site was a thriving rice plantation. Today the 1,268-acre historic site is a mix of saltmarsh, pasture and flatwoods.

Types of Birds: Birds of prey, songbirds, wading birds, waterfowl

Best Birding Seasons: Birds of prey (winter), songbirds (all), wading birds (all), waterfowl (winter)

Specialties: Wood stork, bald eagle, osprey, glossy ibis, painted bunting, yellow-throated warbler, sharp-tailed sparrow, northern parula.

Tips: Ospreys are most common spring to summer. Look for warblers during spring and fall migrations. Northern parulas and yellow-throated warblers can be found in spring and summer. Clapper rails and marsh wrens can be seen and/or heard in the marshes throughout the year.

Fee: Museum and picnic areas free. For tour of grounds and plantation house: $5 per adult, $4.50 per senior (62 and older), $2.50 for children ages 6-18.

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Plantation tours on the hour 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Telephone Number: (912) 264-7333

Fun Things to Do: Explore the museum and learn about early rice culture.

Directions: Exit I-95 at SR 251 (Briardam Road) which is Exit 49. Travel east on SR 251 to the Junction of US 17. Turn right (south) onto US 17 and continue through Darien. The entrance to the historic site is on the left approximately six miles south of Darien. See the map.

Jekyll Island - Causeway

Description: The Jekyll Island Causeway cuts across the marshes of Glynn County, made famous by the poet Sidney Lanier. These rich salt marshes are home to an amazing array of birds and other wildlife. Two different sites along the causeway are identified as being great places to watch birds.

Types of Birds: Shorebirds, wading birds, birds of prey, waterfowl

Best Birding Seasons: Shorebirds (all), wading birds (all), birds of prey (all) waterfowl (winter)

Specialties: Osprey, bald eagle, clapper rail, northern harrier, roseate spoonbill, red knot, black-necked stilt, white ibis, wood stork

Tips: Shorebirds are best seen at low tide from mid-summer through spring. Look for nesting ospreys in spring and summer. Listen for clapper rails and marsh wrens in the salt marshes. Watch for northern harriers flying low over the marsh in winter. Look for roseate spoonbills in summer.

Fee: None.

Hours: Open 24 hours a day.

Telephone Number: (912) 264-7218

Fun Things To Do: Visit Jekyll Island, Georgia's "Smilin' Island".

Directions: Take Exit 29 at the junction of I-95 and US 17. Take US 17/SR 520 north to the SR 520 split. Turn right onto SR 520 and begin looking for the Colonial Coast Birding Trail signs that mark the two birding sites identified along the causeway. See the map.

Jekyll Island - North End Beach

Description: This site is situated at the northern end of Jekyll Island at the mouth of St. Simons Sound. Although the beach is more limited than at the south end, the mix of beach, forest and saltwater habitats provides excellent birding opportunities.

Types of Birds: Songbirds, shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl, gull-like birds

Best Birding Seasons: Songbirds (all), shorebirds (all), wading birds (all), waterfowl (winter), gull-like birds (all)

Specialties: Least tern, red-throated loon, scoters, American oystercatcher, black skimmer

Tips: Warblers are best seen during spring and fall migration. Thousands of scoters and scaup raft just offshore in winter. Look for ospreys throughout the year. Look for common and red-throated loons fishing off the beach. Walking southward along the beach is sometimes difficult at high tide.

Fee: $5 per vehicle or $45 annual ParkPass.

Telephone Number: Toll-free 1-877-4JEKYLL (453-5955)

Fun Things To Do: Look for wildlife while bicycling around the island. Watch gulls and other birds following fishing boats. In summer, take a guided turtle walk and look for nesting loggerhead sea turtles. Learn about the fascinating life of the island and surrounding nearby marsh on a guided marsh or nature walk. For more information on coastal wildlife viewing opportunities, call (912) 635-2284.

Directions: Take Exit 29 at the junction of I-95 and US 17. Take US 17/SR 520 North to the SR 520 split. Turn right onto SR 520 and continue on to the toll booth at the east end of the Jekyll Island Causeway. Pay the parking fee and travel until the road intersects Beachview Drive. Turn left onto Beachview Drive and drive 4.5 miles to the north end of the island. Parking lot will be on the right. See the map.

Jekyll Island - South End Beach

Description: This birding site is located on the beach at the southern tip of Jekyll Island.

Types of Birds: Shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl, gull-like birds

Best Birding Seasons: Shorebirds (all), wading birds (all), waterfowl (winter), gull-like birds (all)

Specialties: Black skimmer, American oystercatcher, marbled goodwit, jaegers, south polar skua, northern gannet, piping plover, glaucous gull

Tips: Look for shorebirds around high tide from mid-summer through spring. Carefully examine gulls; rare gull species are sometimes found here. Don't disturb resting birds, give them a wide berth. Look for scoters, loons, mergansers, buffleheads and other waterfowl swimming offshore.

Fee: $5 per vehicle parking fee or $45 annual ParkPass.

Hours: Open 24 hours a day.

Telephone Number: Toll Free 1-877-4JEKYLL (453-5955)

Fun Things To Do: Take a guided turtle walk and look for nesting loggerhead sea turtles. For information on other wildlife viewing opportunities, call (912) 635-2284.

Directions: Take Exit 29 at the junction of I-95 and US 17, then take US 17/SR 520 north to the SR 520 split. Turn right onto SR 520 and continue to the toll booth and the east end of the causeway. Pay the parking fee and continue straight ahead until the road intersects Beachview Drive. Turn right on Beachview Drive, traveling south. Look for the soccer complex and "Glory" boardwalk on the left. Turn left into the parking lot at the complex and walk the boardwalk to the beach, then turn right to continue to the southern tip of the island. See the map.

Melon Bluff Nature Preserve

Description: This 3,000-acre privately-owned nature preserve is located on lands that were once part of an old rice plantation. The area offers opportunities to view birds in saltmarsh, woodland and creek swamp habitats.

Types of Birds: Songbirds, wading birds, waterfowl, shorebirds, birds of prey, marsh birds

Best Birding Seasons: Songbirds (all), wading birds (all), marsh birds (all), waterfowl (winter), birds of prey (winter)

Specialties: Wild turkey, wood stork, clapper rail, roseate spoonbill, painted bunting

Tips: Look for warblers during spring and fall migrations. Listen for marsh wrens and clapper rails.

Fee: $3 per person

Hours: 12-5 p.m. on Saturdays Sept. 15-May 15. Closed May 15-Sept. 15 (but open by appointment year-round).

Telephone Number: (912) 880-4500

Fun Things to Do: Check out the Nature Center for special events (such as river tours, birding hikes or picnics). Book a room in the Palmyra B&. Rent a sea kayak.

Directions: Take Exit 76 and travel east on Islands Highway approximately 3.2 miles. The Nature Center is on the right. See the map.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Description: This 396,000-acre area is the largest national wildlife refuge in the eastern United States. The refuge is a vast peat bog containing 70 islands. The swamps, forests, "prairie wetlands" and waterways provide habitat for more than 234 species of birds.

Types of Birds: Songbirds, waterfowl, birds of prey, wading birds

Best Birding Seasons: Songbirds (all), waterfowl (winter), birds of prey (all), wading birds (all)

Specialties: Sandhill crane, red-cockaded woodpecker, prothonotary warbler, northern parula, Bachman's sparrow

Tips: Take the Swamp Walk, a 3/4-mile boardwalk that leads to a 30-foot tall observation tower overlooking a wetland prairie. This is a great spot to view wading birds, waterfowl and alligators. Winter is the best time to view sandhill cranes. Spring is an ideal time to spot endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers along Swamp Island Drive. Look for these birds bringing food to their young housed in cavities dug in live pine trees.

Fee: $5 per vehicle.

Hours: 1/2-hour before sunrise to 7:30 p.m. May 1-Oct. 31; 1/2-hour before sunrise to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 1-April 30

Telephone: (912) 496-7836

Fun Things To Do: Take a boat trip into the swamp. Visit the Chesser Island Homestead. Canoe and/or camp in the vast refuge.

Directions: The Suwannee Canal Recreation Area is the eastern entrance to the refuge, located 11 miles southwest of Folkston off SR 121/23. Take SR 121/23 south from Folkston eight miles to the Okefenokee N.W.R. entrance sign. Turn right and proceed three miles to the Visitor Center and Recreation Area. See the map.

Richmond Hill J.F. Gregory Park

Description: This unique park is operated by the City of Richmond Hill. The area is dominated by a 300-acre rice field that predates the Civil War. A three-mile walking trail runs along the top of a dike that encompasses the field, which today is a wooded wetland.

Types of Birds: Songbirds, wading birds, waterfowl

Best Birding Seasons: Songbirds (all), wading birds (all), waterfowl (winter)

Specialties: Prothonotary warbler, wood duck, barred owl

Tips: Look for warblers during spring and fall migrations. Prothonotary warblers are best seen from April to June.

Fee: Free.

Hours: Daylight hours

Telephone: (912) 756-3345

Fun Things to Do: Look for otters, beavers, alligators and armadillos while walking the trail.

Directions: Take Exit 90 and travel east approximately three miles to the junction of SR 144 and US 17. Stay on SR 144 and continue east to the junction of SR 144 and Cedar Street. Turn left on Cedar Street and go less than 1/4-mile on Cedar. See the map.

Savannah-Ogeechee Canal Museum & Nature Center

Description: This site contains remnants of an extensive canal system that linked the Savannah and Ogeechee rivers during the 1800s. Today the area is a recreational facility that highlights the natural history of this rich floodplain forest while preserving the historic relics associated with a once-thriving artery of commerce.

Types of Birds: Birds of prey, songbirds, wading birds

Best Birding Seasons: Songbirds (all), birds of prey (all), wading birds (all)

Specialties: Prothonotary warbler, northern parula, Swainson's warbler, wood duck, Mississippi kite, swallow-tailed kite

Tips: Look for beautiful prothonotary warblers and secretive Swainson's warblers in spring and summer. Look for warblers during spring and fall migrations. Watch the skies during spring and summer for Mississippi and swallow-tailed kites.

Fee: $2 per adult, $1 per child

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday

Telephone: (912) 748-8068

Fun Things To Do: Visit the nature center and museum to learn about the natural and cultural history of the area. Pick up checklists for wildflowers, reptiles and amphibians. Look for the fascinating wildlife residents of this diverse landscape. Examine the old locks constructed along the banks of the canal.

Directions: Take Exit 94 off Interstate 95 onto Ga. 204 (Fort Argyle Road). Travel west approximately two miles. The entrance to the site is on the left. See the map.

Skidaway Island State Park

Description: This state park is an island separated from the Atlantic Ocean by salt marsh and Wassaw Island. Skidaway Island State Park is characterized by tidal estuaries, salt marshes, salt flats, tidal rivers and mature maritime forests.

Types of Birds: Songbirds, shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl

Best Birding Seasons: Songbirds (all), shorebirds (all), wading birds (all), waterfowl (winter)Specialties: Osprey, painted bunting, pileated woodpecker, bald eagle

Tips: Warbler watching can be spectacular during spring and fall migrations. Look for nesting osprey in spring and summer. Listen and look for marsh wrens and clapper rails in salt marshes. Look for painted buntings during the spring and summer.

Fee: $5 per vehicle daily parking fee or $50 annual ParkPass

Hours: 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily.

Telephone: (912) 598-2300

Fun Things To Do: Walk the Sandpiper Trail to the viewing tower for a panoramic view of the salt marsh. Look for raccoons, alligators and deer.

Directions: Take Exit 164, Lynes Parkway, at the junction of I-16 and I-516. Head south on Lynes Parkway, which becomes Derenne Avenue. Continue down Derenne Avenue to Waters Avenue until it becomes Diamond Causeway. The sign for Skidaway Island State Park is on the right and the entrance to the park is on the left. See the map.

Tybee Island - North Beach

Description: Tybee Island is the northernmost barrier island on the Georgia coast. This popular vacation destination offers great birding opportunities. One of the best birding spots is located along the beach at the north end of the island.

Types of Birds: Shorebirds, gull-like birds

Best Birding Seasons: Shorebirds (fall, winter, spring), gull-like birds (all)

Specialties: Purple sandpiper, piping plover, northern gannets

Tips: This is the best place in Georgia to find purple sandpipers. Look for these birds in winter along the rocks and near the beach at high tide. Look for northern gannets, gulls and terns flying just offshore. Sandpipers, gulls and terns gather in flocks along the beach at high tide. Please do not disturb resting or nesting birds.

Fee: None

Hours: North Beach is open all day.

Telephone: (912) 786-5801

Fun Things to Do: Visit the Tybee Lighthouse, Tybee Museum and the Tybee Island Marine Science Center.

Directions: From Savannah take US 80 (Victory Drive) east approximately 12 miles. At the first traffic light on Tybee Island turn left onto North Campbell Avenue then left again on Van Horn (at dead end). Once on Van Horn, take immediate right onto Meddin Drive. The historic lighthouse is on the left and the North Beach parking lot is on the right, behind the museum and just past the corner of Meddin and Gulick Streets. See the map.

A visit to one or more sites along the Colonial Coast Birding Trail will provide you with the opportunity to see and enjoy the beauty of a kaleidoscope of birds and glimpse the fascinating history of this land and its residents.