by Sarah Evans
Despite a few close calls, we’re proud to report there were no Joro run-ins on our hike last Thursday! Ed Maioriello of Oconee Rivers Audubon Society led us through this beautiful property to observe migratory birds passing through Georgia. He noted 32 species of birds (ranging from the common grackle to the less seen wood duck), and that included one rarely seen outside of the coastal regions further down South. It may have been a chilly morning, but we nonetheless amazingly spotted a limpkin enjoying its standard snail diet in the North Oconee River headwaters. Our hikers also pointed out a variety of plants and insects, including a wooly bear caterpillar and Virginia Ctenucha moth.
The lumpkin wading in the North Oconee River on the ORLT easement. Photo by David Alan Tilson.
The ORLT conservation easement we hiked along Chandler Bridge Road in Jackson County is just down the road from where Vulcan Materials Company is proposing a new rock quarry. Many citizens oppose the open pit mine because of its proposed location atop the county’s largest water recharge area, in addition to the noise disturbance, water pollution, and habitat loss it would cause. In addition to ORLT, the Oconee Rivers Greenways Commission, Sandy Creek Nature Center, and Citizens for Sustainable Jackson County have all voiced opposition to the quarry, according to a recent Flagpole article.
Thanks again to Ed for leading the hike, and to the Schramms for hosting it on their property. That’s wrap on hikes/walks for us until next year, but stay tuned for ORLT 2024 event announcement!
Click the arrows to see all the photos by ORLT volunteer Sarah Evans!