The June Challenge in Alachua County … and Beyond!

From: Rex Rowan <rexrowan@gmail.com>
To: Alachua County birding report

The massive June Challenge trophy has a new home. Despite being a relative newcomer to Alachua County and spending the first week of the month in Maine, Jonathan Mays beat everyone else to win The Tenth Annual Alachua County June Challenge! An amazing performance. And if you look at the following list, you’ll see quite a few performances that are only fractionally less amazing. We had 48 participants this year and sixteen of them saw 100+ species. Of course the point of The June Challenge is not to win, or to get a big list, the point is to have fun, to get out in the fresh air and (when you can find it) sunshine and to see some beautiful birds, and I hope every participant considers himself or herself a winner in that respect. Here are the final standings:

Jonathan Mays  116 (114/2)
Rex Rowan  114 (112/2)
Howard Adams  113 (111/2)
Lloyd Davis  113 (111/2)
Adam Zions  113 (111/2)
Barbara Mollison  112 (110/2)
Ron Robinson  110 (108/2)
Anne Kendall  109 (107/2)
Marie Zeglen  109 (107/2)
Frank Goodwin  105 (103/2)
Danny Shehee  105 (103/2)
Chris Cattau  104 (102/2)
Maralee Joos  103 (101/2)
Ria Leonard  103 (101/2)
John Martin  102 (100/2)
Anne Barkdoll  102 (99/3)
Barbara Shea  101 (99/2)
Samuel Ewing  97 (96/1)
Dean Ewing  96 (95/1)
Bob Carroll  96 (94/2)
Irma Harris  91 (91/0)
Phil Laipis  91 (91/0)
Felicia Lee  90 (89/1)
Helen Warren  89 (87/2)
Sharon Kuchinski  88 (87/1)
Becky Enneis  88 (86/2)
Judy Bryan  87 (87/0)
Tina Greenberg  86 (85/1)
Elizabeth Martin  84 (84/0)
John Hintermister  83 (83/0)
Steven Goodman  83 (82/1)
Conrad Burkholder  82 (80/2)
Erin Kalinowski  81 (78/3)
Matt Kalinowski  81 (78/3)
Ignacio Rodriguez  80 (78/2)
Debbie Segal  79 (79/0)
Barbara Woodmansee  76 (75/1)
Francisco Jiminez  72 (70/2)
Geoff Parks  67 (65/2)
Mary Landsman  65 (65/0)
Nora Parks  65 (63/2)
Bob Knight  64 (64/0)
Emily Schwartz  64 (64/0)
Sidney Wade  63 (61/2)
Carol Huang  61 (59/2)
Owen Parks  44 (42/2)
Bill Enneis  42 (42/0)
Kathy Fanning  34 (34/0)

And here’s the complete list of the 129 bird species recorded (by at least one person) in the county in June:

  1. Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
  2. Swan Goose – Anne Barkdoll, Duck Pond, June 12
  3. Graylag Goose – Duck Pond and Red Lobster Pond, several observers and dates
  4. Black Swan – Duck Pond and Red Lobster Pond, several observers and dates
  5. Muscovy Duck
  6. Wood Duck
  7. Mallard
  8. Mottled Duck
  9. Blue-winged Teal – La Chua observation platform, throughout the month
  10. Lesser Scaup – John Hintermister, Rex Rowan, Newnans Lake, June 25
  11. Ruddy Duck – John Hintermister, Rex Rowan, Newnans Lake, June 25
  12. Northern Bobwhite
  13. Wild Turkey
  14. Pied-billed Grebe
  15. Horned Grebe – John Hintermister, Rex Rowan, Newnans Lake, June 25
  16. Wood Stork
  17. Double-crested Cormorant
  18. Anhinga
  19. American White Pelican
  20. Least Bittern
  21. Great Blue Heron
  22. Great Egret
  23. Snowy Egret
  24. Little Blue Heron
  25. Tricolored Heron
  26. Cattle Egret
  27. Green Heron
  28. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  29. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron – a pair nested and produced three young at Possum Creek Park
  30. White Ibis
  31. Glossy Ibis
  32. Roseate Spoonbill – La Chua observation platform, pretty much throughout the month
  33. Black Vulture
  34. Turkey Vulture
  35. Osprey
  36. Swallow-tailed Kite
  37. Mississippi Kite
  38. Bald Eagle
  39. Cooper’s Hawk
  40. Red-shouldered Hawk
  41. Broad-winged Hawk – five observers, four locations, June 10-23
  42. Short-tailed Hawk – Adam Zions, Jonathan Mays, Marie Zeglen, Palm Point, June 29-30
  43. Red-tailed Hawk
  44. American Kestrel
  45. King Rail
  46. Purple Gallinule
  47. Common Gallinule
  48. American Coot
  49. Limpkin
  50. Sandhill Crane
  51. Whooping Crane
  52. Killdeer
  53. Black-necked Stilt
  54. Greater Yellowlegs – Samuel and Dean Ewing, Powers Park, June 14
  55. Laughing Gull
  56. Ring-billed Gull – Anne Kendall, several other observers, Powers Park, June 5-7
  57. Least Tern – Rex Rowan, Mike Manetz, Andy Kratter, Palm Point, June 8
  58. Caspian Tern – Jonathan Mays, Powers Park, June 8
  59. Forster’s Tern – Jonathan Mays, Palm Point, June 27
  60. Rock Pigeon
  61. Eurasian Collared-Dove
  62. White-winged Dove
  63. Mourning Dove
  64. Common Ground-Dove
  65. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  66. Barn Owl
  67. Eastern Screech-Owl
  68. Great Horned Owl
  69. Barred Owl
  70. Common Nighthawk
  71. Chuck-will’s-widow
  72. Chimney Swift
  73. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  74. Belted Kingfisher – Irina and Frank Goodwin, Lake Alice, June 16; several observers, Newnans Lake, June 25-30
  75. Red-headed Woodpecker
  76. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  77. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  78. Downy Woodpecker
  79. Hairy Woodpecker – Rex Rowan, Adam Zions, Jonathan Mays, LEAFS, June 10-23
  80. Northern Flicker
  81. Pileated Woodpecker
  82. Eastern Wood-Pewee
  83. Acadian Flycatcher
  84. Great Crested Flycatcher
  85. Eastern Kingbird
  86. Loggerhead Shrike
  87. White-eyed Vireo
  88. Yellow-throated Vireo
  89. Red-eyed Vireo
  90. Blue Jay
  91. American Crow
  92. Fish Crow
  93. Purple Martin
  94. Tree Swallow – Lloyd Davis, Palm Point, June 2
  95. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  96. Barn Swallow
  97. Carolina Chickadee
  98. Tufted Titmouse
  99. Brown-headed Nuthatch
  100. Carolina Wren
  101. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  102. Eastern Bluebird
  103. Gray Catbird – Jonathan Mays, Paynes Prairie, June 7
  104. Northern Mockingbird
  105. Brown Thrasher
  106. European Starling
  107. Cedar Waxwing – Judy Bryan, Lake Lochloosa, June 4
  108. Prothonotary Warbler
  109. Common Yellowthroat
  110. Hooded Warbler
  111. American Redstart – Ron Robinson, at his backyard birdbath, June 1-2
  112. Northern Parula
  113. Pine Warbler
  114. Yellow-throated Warbler
  115. Yellow-breasted Chat
  116. Eastern Towhee
  117. Bachman’s Sparrow
  118. Summer Tanager
  119. Northern Cardinal
  120. Blue Grosbeak
  121. Indigo Bunting
  122. Red-winged Blackbird
  123. Eastern Meadowlark
  124. Common Grackle
  125. Boat-tailed Grackle
  126. Brown-headed Cowbird
  127. Orchard Oriole
  128. House Finch
  129. House Sparrow

No one found a Wood Thrush this year, and there were no early fall warblers (though we had one spring-migrant American Redstart at the beginning of the month). Water levels were higher than usual, so there were almost no shorebirds. Our single tropical storm was unproductive. Under these circumstances, 129 species was impressive.

We weren’t the only birders doing The June Challenge this year. I’ve heard that 54 other birders in 24 other Florida counties participated as well. And there were June Challenges in other states and in England. The founder of The June Challenge, Becky Enneis, went on a birding trip to Alaska with Linda Holt and Bob Carroll, and did a Challenge during the first eight days of the month; you can drool over their list, thick with life birds, here. Former Gainesville birder Steve Collins organized a Challenge in Texas. I haven’t seen the complete results yet, but Steve sent me his own results for Lubbock County, which can be seen here. Matt Hafner organized a Challenge in Harford County, Maryland, and has tabulated the results on the Harford Bird Club’s website. Jay Keller of San Diego County, California, exceeded our winning total by 108 species (!!!) and posted his list here; you can see photos of some of his June discoveries on his Flickr page. And farthest afield, our one international entry, from Kim Tarsey and Sue Cooper of the county of Norfolk, England, who tell me they had a bad year but ended up with 121 species.

All I can say to Jonathan Mays is, “Congratulations. And wait til next year!” To everyone else, I hope you had half as much fun as I did. Now … did I just hear a Louisiana Waterthrush? It must be time for fall migration….

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