A small park located at 15th Street and Bruce Drive provides a great view of the best birding spot on the island, recognized by its selection to the Colonial Coast Birding Trail. This inlet separates East Beach, a Holocene fragment of St. Simons south of the inlet, from Sea Island to the north.
The bar and inlet are good examples of Georgia’s barrier island-estuarine interface. The inlet and sand bars are constantly moving, changing shape, preventing vegetation from becoming established, and creating a resting place for many species of birds, as well as a feeding site for certain species. Resident birds seen here include laughing and herring gulls, willets, American oystercatchers, black skimmers, brown pelicans, black skimmers, and royal terns.
During warm weather, including fall and spring migration periods, bird watchers may identify black, sandwich, gull-billed, common, and Caspian terns; black-bellied, semi-palmated, and Wilson’s plovers; reddish egrets, marbled godwits, whimbrels, ruddy turnstones, sanderlings, red knots, and western sandpipers. Cold-weather birds include black-bellied and piping plovers; black-backed, and ring-billed gulls; Caspian and Forster’s terns; red-backed dunlins; and red-breasted mergansers.
As the southern part of Sea Island has grown, the northern end of East Beach has lost 1,640 feet of land since the Civil War, according to Schoettle. As you walk or bike south on East Beach toward Coast Guard beach, the homes fall away from the shore, due to the growth of the beach since 1930. These homes used to be beachfront property. They still are, but they are located much farther from the water.
Fishermen sometimes try their luck on Gould’s Inlet Dock, where tidal pulses attract many species of fish and other marine animals.
Directions: From Brunswick, cross F.J. Torras Causeway. Go left on Demere Road to East Beach Causeway. After crossing causeway, go left on Ocean Boulevard. Turn right at 15th Street and Gould’s Inlet Park is straight ahead.