Audubon Beats the Heat and Sets Record

Courtesy of Skidaway Audubon
Some plants and animals may be stressed during these hot and humid days, but the weather hasn’t stopped Skidaway Audubon volunteers from lending a hand to Mother Nature and helping to make a difference in this treasured island environment. Best. Season. Ever - The 2020 Diamondback Terrapin rescue project has set a new record! To date, the volunteers have re-nested more than 3,200 eggs from more than 380 nests. The previous record was set in 2018, with 2,822 eggs and 320 nests. The volunteers who rescue the eggs from the sand traps and place them in protected hatcheries are grateful to the many golfers, workers, and residents who have alerted them to turtle and nest sightings, and who have expressed support during this very challenging time. The record results may be due to warmer weather and Skidaway Audubon’s 10 years of rescuing and hatching eggs and releasing the baby turtles to help restore diamondback terrapin populations. Dedicated Diggers - Volunteers tending the gardens at Sparrow Field dig in early and conclude their valiant efforts at 10 a.m. due to the heat. Excavation work for a small pond is nearing completion. Tallow Terrors - The Tallow Terrors, a team of volunteers who remove invasive tallow trees throughout the island, continued to work in the woods and on several private properties despite the heat and brought the number of tallows removed to date to 52,872. A highlight this month was the elimination of two seed trees. The team appreciates all of the phone calls and emails they receive on the location of tallow trees, and all of the cooperation from homeowners, The Landings Association, and all other involved parties. Bat Abodes - Out on the golf courses, two bat houses have been relocated to attain proper sun exposure, and two new bat houses have been added. Moon flowers, which open at night when bats are active, have been planted near one of the relocated houses. The highly scented flowers attract insects, which in turn attract the insect-loving bats to the bat house. With golf course approval, additional moon flowers will be planted near a second bat house. If they prove successful in attracting the island’s bats to the bat houses and away from residences, more moon flowers will be planted at other bat houses. Moon flowers are native, non-invasive annuals that will likely overwinter in the coastal environment. Bluebird Trail - Orioles have been sighted nesting in the Spanish moss. Some birds, including yellow-throated warblers, northern parulas, and orchard orioles, build their nests in clumps of Spanish moss. Residents are advised to check for nests before removing moss from a tree. Along the trail of bluebird nesting boxes monitored by Skidaway Audubon volunteers, the second round of baby birds are fledging, and there are reports of a third brood of bluebirds throughout the trail. It is estimated that the third brood will fledge around mid to late-August. Volunteers are repairing and replacing the birdhouses on an as-needed basis between broods, and new information has been added to the bird trail website ( Website Update - The Skidaway Audubon website ( has been updated. Click on “Projects” and select Bluebird Trail to find new options for making donations. Under the first option, for a $20 donation, donors will receive four charts with 20 or more photos on each, showing the daily growth of a baby bird, from a hatchling to a fledgling. The second option is for sponsorship of an entire bird trail. There are 12 trails that comprise the Dave Scott Bird Trail along The Landings Club’s six golf courses. Sponsorship of one of the 12 trails is available for a charitable donation of $850. Weather Stations - The weather stations have experienced problems and are now offline. The problem seems to be interfacing with Weather Underground and is being addressed. Fortunately, the weather station at Skidaway Farms has been flawless. Are you Interested in supporting Skidaway Audubon? Membership is just $35 a year and is available through Friends of Skidaway Audubon. To join, or for more details, visit or contact Egg-cellent Work - Skidaway Audubon’s Diamondback Terrapin rescue and release program set a record this summer, rescuing hundreds more eggs from the sandtraps than in any prior year. Pictured at left, volunteer prepares to place an egg in the hatchery where it will be protected from predators. 

This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website.

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