Alachua Audubon Society

A chapter of the National Audubon Society

Bronzed Cowbird, Philadelphia Vireo, and other fall rarities

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

In only three days the County Commission will vote on whether to close one end of Barr Hammock’s Levy Lake Loop, turning it into an unwalkable ten-mile in-and-out trail, and more seriously, putting a handful of private citizens in control of your public property. The Sun editorialized about it yesterday: http://www.gainesville.com/article/20141024/OPINION01/141029870/1076/opinion?Title=Editorial-Keep-the-trail-open

Speaking of publicly inaccessible trails, La Chua will remain closed beyond the boardwalk through the end of the month. The boardwalk and Sparrow Alley are accessible, but the remainder of the trail won’t reopen until November 1st.

A Bronzed Cowbird was found by Adam Kent and Dean and Samuel Ewing at the Hague Dairy on the 15th. It was still there on the 23rd, when Matt O’Sullivan photographed it: https://www.flickr.com/photos/118053703@N02/15612468082/

Also on the 15th, an Oak Hall School field trip that numbered local birders Michael Martinez and John Dickinson among its participants discovered a Roseate Spoonbill and two Black Skimmers at the sheetflow restoration site. This was the 19th occurrence of Black Skimmers in Alachua County; the first one was discovered at Newnans Lake 73 years ago this month.

The county’s only Philadelphia Vireo of the fall was spotted by Samuel Ewing in his NW Gainesville yard on the 18th. Samuel photographed another bird that’s rarely seen in Alachua County during the fall, a Cape May Warbler that visited his yard on the 24th and 25th: https://www.flickr.com/photos/121511542@N02/15432413000/

I was late for the Bolen Bluff field trip on the 12th, and consequently missed the Bay-breasted Warbler and two Barred Owls, one of which was photographed by Alan Shapiro: https://www.flickr.com/photos/74215662@N04/15600277366/

Sparrows are arriving: the first Savannah was spotted on the 11th, and now they’re plentiful enough that Matt Bruce found 12 along the Levy Lake Loop on the 22nd; Adam Kent and Dean and Samuel Ewing found the season’s first Swamp Sparrow at the Hague Dairy on the 15th and counted 15 of them along La Chua just a week later; Jonathan Mays found the fall’s first Grasshopper Sparrow at La Chua on the 19th; and Matt O’Sullivan photographed the first Vesper Sparrow, a rather early one, at the Hague Dairy on the 23rd: https://www.flickr.com/photos/74215662@N04/15437448989/

A week from tomorrow, on Sunday, November 2nd, Avian Research and Conservation – the Gainesville-based organization that does satellite tracking on Swallow-tailed Kites and other birds – will have a fund-raiser at the First Magnitude Brewing Company just off South Main Street. Try one of their locally-brewed beers or their cider (“all ages welcome and we are kid-friendly”), chat with your fellow birders, and help ARCINST continue its valuable research: http://arcinst.org/events

Hey, it’s time to put Christmas Bird Counts on your calendar:
• Andy Kratter writes, “The Gainesville Christmas Count has new compilers! After years of dedicated and strong leadership, Howard Adams and John Hintermister are retiring. Bob Carroll and I are taking over. We will run the count pretty much identical to the way it has been run for the last 20 years, and keep the current geographical and personnel structure, including the team captains. The Gainesville CBC this year is on 14 December. Mark you calendars!” If you’re interested in doing the Count, email Andy at kratter@flmnh.ufl.edu
• Cedar Key’s Count will be Tuesday, December 30th. Contact Dale Henderson (dalehenderson2@icloud.com or 352-543-5166) or Ron Christen (ronrun@embarqmail.com or 850-567-0490) if you’d like to participate.
Other local Counts:
• Tuesday, December 16 – Ichetucknee/Santa Fe/O’Leno: Contact Ginger Morgan at 386-208-4313 or ginger.morgan@dep.state.fl.us Volunteers are needed.
• Thursday, December 18 – Melrose: Contact Joyce King (sjoyceking@comcast.net 352-475-1999) or Laura Berkelman (lberkelman@windstream.net, 352-475-2023) Volunteers are needed.
• Tuesday, December 30 (same day as Cedar Key) – Lake City: Contact Valerie Thomas at 386-466-2193 or v.thomas57@gmail.com Volunteers are needed.

Remember that the Barr Hammock question comes before the County Commission on Tuesday. Make plans to attend. The more of us there are, the more they’ll realize what “the public” means.

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