Date: 9/8/17 7:16 am From: Sheila Willis <swjxw1...> Subject: [GABO-L] Hurricane Irma S. GA news; Swift Night Out
Hope you are fine and are going to be safe in the coming days. Everyone, no matter where, will be on our minds.
For those who are heading inland in S. GA which looks to be in the current track of Hurricane Irma before too long, you might want to know that some of the motels in Waycross (WARE) have already been filling up as of yesterday. Most folks are from the coast, as happened last year with H. Matthew. So, if you are wanting Waycross to be your destination, I'd suggest getting here asap or be prepared to go further inland. Traffic is getting much heavier coming into town too. Some stores here are running out of water & food but some said they would get more by today. Last year they did use Waycross as an evacuation center.
Besides the human aspects to these storms, I have also been thinking about how many of our most important national wildlife area have or will be affected in these recent weeks. Aransas NWR, the winter home of WHOOPING CRANES where I once worked, is near Rockport, TX which took the landfall for Harvey. For FL, the Everglades is due to be in the center for Irma and there's a chance it will pass near/over the Okefenokee which had that huge fire recently. Not to mention our coasts again, such as Cumberland Is. which had much dune damage & destruction of public docks, etc.
Additionally, we all know migration for birds & butterflies is underway, so I can't even imagine what our critter friends are or will be going through as we still have more storm chances left. Doesn't help to know that hurricanes have always been a part of the migration season. So, the birds, etc. will be on our prayer list too.
In the middle of all this, can you believe that tonight through Sun. night is Swift Night Out? That's the annual check for roosting, migrating CHIMNEY SWIFTs across the continent made by volunteers who count at least on one of those nights & report it to the Driftwood Wildlife Center. Folks count as the birds drop into the chimneys or other structures for ~30 min. before sunset. Here's the link to their site: http://www.chimneyswifts.org/page247.html
I will make an attempt to check at least tonight & hopefully for the other two nights here in Waycross (WARE) as our Okefenokee Bird Club has done for many years. Our roost is at Magnolia Apts. just ne. of First Presbyterian Church (Ava St. at Hill) & e. of USHwy#84 (Plant Ave.) in Waycross. There is a big chimney on the w. side of the complex & we are allowed to sit quietly on the grass & watch. Anyone is welcome to come (bring a chair or blanket). Of course, rain will cancel & I do expect some to say the least but hoping a shot at tonight & Sat.
They put on quite a show w/ chattering, swirling, making giant circles & a figure-8 before dropping by singles or small groups into the chimney. We have had them in the thousands, though recent years the number has varied & dropped some, but it is still a fantastic show!! I will really be wishing them safe journeys south. This will be at the height of their movement but there are still a few more weeks to go as their numbers dwindle.
Again, everyone take care. We are all in this together.
Sincerely, Sheila Willis Native American-Naturalist Talks & Tours Okefenokee Bird Club Waycross, WARE, GA