Gulf Coast Birding Festivals 2018

I can’t decide what I like best: Spring migration or Fall migration.  Living on the Gulf Coast, it sort of doesn’t matter because we’re never without birds.  When the Robins leave the far north of America and Canada, they winter here.  We know it’s spring when they leave.  Warblers fly in on stormy Fall weather for a brief stay before heading south across the Gulf of Mexico.  But they pass through again in the Spring.  Hummingbirds  cross our area north and south and also west and east.  Shorebirds are bountiful in the winter along the Southern coast.  That’s probably my favorite time for bird watching.

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Birding Festivals bring in a lot of economic power to communities that hold them.  Birding Tourism is counted on in many areas of our country and not just along the Gulf Coast, but I’m partial to the Gulf Coast so want to spread the news about upcoming bird festivals from Texas to the Florida Keys.

The week of April 17-22 brings The Galveston Featherfest to Coastal Texas.    They’re hosting a family festival, field trips, seminars and there are workshops for photographers.

April 13-15th you can join in the events at the Great Louisiana Birdfest.  It features tours, night birding, a photo workshop, socials and other field trips.  Seems to me it’s a premier festival; you might see me there.

The Grand Isle Migratory Bird Fest is scheduled for the weekend of April 20.  There are plenty of family activities, workshops, and field trips.  They’ll have bird banding, a class on binoculars and spotting scopes, a trip to the butterfly dome and an art exhibit.  And in the Fall in Louisiana, you’ll find Hummingbird and Butterfly Festivals in Folsom and Lafayette.

Alabama has it’s Coastal Bird Fest in October (Oct 3-6, 2018), however, the state is host to other events in the Spring.  Among these are the bird banding at Ft. Morgan.  This year it is scheduled from April 17-21.  There are usually two locations for banding at this site.  It’s lots of fun.  A few years ago I was able to hold a bird and release it after it was banded; so sweet.  If you get the opportunity to go, please do so.

Dauphin Island, Alabama is an amazing place to visit during migration.  I highly recommend it. The best time to visit the Bird Sanctuary is from March 1 to April 30.

Now, for Florida.  This state is so large and lined in miles and miles of coast that it’s going to be hard to list all the festivals that take place there in my little blog.  So, I’m going to point you to The Annual Florida Bird Events for more information.

Don’t forget your birding trail maps and guides in each state.  If you’re driving, you can usually get a copy at each state’s Welcome Centers along the interstate.  Texas has amazing interactive online birding maps for the Upper Texas Coast , Central Texas Coast, and Lower Texas Coast.  Louisiana has the America’s Wetland Birding Trail along the Great Gulf Coast. You’ll also find the Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail, the Alabama Gulf Coast Birding Trail, and the Great Florida Birding Trail which is so extensive it’s available in regional maps.  You can find information about them all online or stop at a Visitor’s Center to pick up a copy of the maps.

International Migratory Bird Day is always the second weekend in May.  This is a day to celebrate, well, bird migration!  Bird Day is celebrated in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central and South American and the Caribbean.  There is so much information about it you should just go to the website: www.birdday.org.

Happy Birding!

This is a repost with current event dates of an article from 2015. The information is subject to change and therefore not guaranteed to be accurate. Check the event websites before making your plans to attend anything listed in this article.
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The Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal

Are you a beachcomber?

Do you like to keep track of things, like …

  • the shells  you found on a certain day
  • who you spent the day beachcombing with
  • the other cool things you found on the beach, like a sea bean or a toy
  • your favorite beaches and favorite beaches to comb
  • your bucket list of beaches you want to visit

The Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal is a fantastic new journal created by me, Eileen Saunders aka the Crafty Beachcomber, just for you.  2-the-ultimate-beachcombers-journal-cover-1

This journal is a 6″x9″ paperback. It fits easily into …

  • your beach bag
  • a zip-top plastic bag to keep it dry and sand free at the beach
  • a standard tablet cover for safe keeping

This comprehensive journal has dedicated space for …

  • beachcombing diary
  • sketch pages
  • a coloring page
  • an info section on things that can wash up on the beach
  • a place to log in your non-shell finds
  • sea glass log
  • sea pottery log
  • a shell life list consisting of common N. American sea shells from coast to coast
  • a beach life list and a beach bucket list, and
  • there’s a section to record what you do with your booty

If you can find a better Beachcomber’s Journal, buy it. If not, buy this one.

The Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal makes a great gift for your beach-loving friends who love to keep track of their stuff.

Now, if you are like me, you take photos of what you find and send the pictures to friends, family or your online social media of choice.  What I think would really round out this Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal is to make a photo book each year to compliment your dairy.  While I do not have a coupon offer for any of these photo books here today, follow me on Facebook at the CraftyBeachcomber for some special money-saving coupons to make your own photo book.

With Christmas and Hanukkah just around the corner, head over to Amazon right now to order your copy of my new book: The Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal. Thanks!

Keep Calm and…

What a fad: Keep Calm and ….

It was originally a saying from the British government as a morale booster during the second World War.  “Keep Calm and Carry On” showed up on propaganda posters but because it was never really circulated on a wide scale, it didn’t quite catch on.  Back in the turn of this century someone found some remaining posters and now the saying is everywhere. The issue of trademark has arisen but I haven’t found anything yet to indicate the US or the UK have definitely deemed the saying trademarkable so it just keeps on keeping calm. Many an entrepreneur on both sides of the pond has decided what to Keep Calm or how to Keep Calm and are cashing in on this now-popular phrase.

In the jolly ol’ spirit of things I’ve come up with my own, and yes, mine do have something to do with the coast and the beach and just my life’s interests.  Hope you find them enjoyable.

Can you add any?  Comment below.

  • Keep calm and put your toes in the sand
  • Keep calm and stare at your seashell collection
  • Keep calm and watch the surf(C) eileensaunders
  • Keep calm and beach comb
  • Keep calm and surf
  • Keep calm and play with your seaglass
  • Keep calm and fill your beach bucket
  • Keep calm and sunbathe
  • Keep calm and bird watch
  • Keep calm and kick the sand
  • Keep calm and smell the salt air(c) eileensaunders
  • Keep calm and drink wine
  • Keep calm and catch a wave
  • Keep calm and swim with the dolphins
  • Keep calm and dream of summer
  • Keep calm and enjoy the waves
  • Keep calm and enjoy the sand
  • Keep calm and pretend you’re on vacation
  • Keep calm and protect the turtles
  • Keep calm and protect the nesting shorebirds
  • Keep calm, you’re almost at the beach
  • Keep calm, you’re almost at the lake
  • Keep calm and sit on the dock
  • Keep calm and watch the sunset
  • Keep calm and watch out for sharks
  • Keep calm and fish on
  • Keep calm, it’s just a hurricane(C) eileensaunders
  • Keep calm and coast
  • Keep calm and keep swimming
  • Keep calm and float on
  • Keep calm and enjoy the salt spray
  • Keep calm and drop anchor
  • Keep calm and moor your boat
  • Keep calm and shuck an oyster
  • Keep calm and paddle
  • Keep calm and float with the manatees
  • Keep calm and Ukulele on
  • Keep calm and Hula on
  • Keep calm and boat on
  • Keep calm and sail on
  • Keep calm and sway with the palm trees(C) eileensaunders
  • Keep calm and soak up the sun
  • Keep calm and make a sand castle
  • Keep calm and seine on
  • Keep calm and catch a fish
  • Keep calm and crawfish on

Need a t-shirt with any of these sayings?  Let me know, I’ll whip one up for you on my Etsy store, Crafty Beachcomber.

Shorebird Nesting Awareness and Greeting Cards

The Caspian Tern is one of my favorite shorebirds.  It is the largest tern out there, the size of a gull, and frequently nests near gull colonies.

These photos are a set that I am selling on blank greeting cards through my Etsy store, Crafty Beachcomber.  They are fixed to ivory cards measuring 5×6.5; the photos are 4×6 and are suitable for framing.

I always loved when the Caspian Tern came in flocks to the Siesta Key beach.  On a windy day, their black tuft would raise with the breeze like a spiked hair on an 80’s punk rocker.  I got so used to referring to them as the punk rock bird, I had to look up their actual name. Shame on me!

The cards are a limited edition of 100 and the proceeds will benefit Save the Chicks, a shorebird nesting awareness organization.  Money will be given to an organization that helps educate the public while protecting the nesting habitats of shorebirds.  Most of these birds nest in a scrape on the beach.  They, the nest and the eggs are mostly camouflaged and susceptible to destruction from beach goers, pets and, prey.  Beach towns usually rope off areas of the beach for these federally protected birds, when nests are found, but many people don’t respect this.  When you are at the beach this summer, please stay out of and away from roped areas  Protect our birds.

Visit Save The Chicks for more information about the Caspian Tern and why protecting birds is important.

Meanwhile, if you would like to order a set of 4 cards, please visit my Etsy store: Crafty Beachcomber.  Thanks.

Two in a Bush…

Two in a bush...

Two in a bush…

A Cedar Waxwing and a buddy.

This ends my photos of birds with great camouflage.  I enjoyed watching the Cedar Waxwings in the hedgerow across the street from my house.  I was only able to get one photo with multiple birds in it but they were in opposite corners of the picture and so I could not crop it.  Cedar Waxwings make such a lovely sound.  Can’t wait until next year to see them again.

Coastal Living’s Best Beaches

Woo Hoo!
Gulf Shores AL made it to Coastal Living’s list of the 21 Best Beaches. It is a really beautiful beach and especially relaxing along the west end past the crowds. Congrats!Gulf Shores west end (c) eileensaunders
Of these 21 Best Beaches, I’ve been to 8. I’ve also been to a lot of other amazing beaches which I’d consider best. For now, I’ll just enjoy Gulf Shores.
You can read the whole article here to find out where the other 20 beaches are.