Alachua Audubon Society

A chapter of the National Audubon Society

First fall migrants

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On the 27th Lloyd Davis saw a Louisiana Waterthrush at San Felasco Hammock’s Moonshine Creek Trail (the loop trail south of Millhopper Road, adjoining the parking lot). He writes that he found it “about half way between the two bridges, following the creek.” This was the county’s first fall migrant, one week after the last day of spring. One thing that The June Challenge has given us in its fourteen years is an awareness of how early some southbound migrants can get here: Louisiana Waterthrush is recorded almost annually during the last week of June, and in 2013 we had three different Black-and-white Warblers during the last few days of the month.

On that subject, Trina Anderson saw the fall’s first Belted Kingfisher today at Powers Park, “flying and chattering across the canal entering the lake.”

If you still need King Rail for the Challenge, you might be interested in this from Anne Casella: “Lloyd Davis told me about some King Rails at the Bolen Bluff platform. I went out there on Thursday and there were at least three and one of them flew in when I played my app. They were much more cooperative than the Sweetwater King Rail who grunted at me two days in a row but never came into view.”

I just got back from a week and a half visiting my son in upstate New York. On the second leg of the drive home, from North Carolina to Gainesville, I occupied myself by watching for the earliest indicators that we were entering the ecological South. Most came in southern South Carolina – an Anhinga flying over I-95 along the Pocotaglia River, a Great Egret and a Snowy Egret near Orangeburg, a road-killed alligator and a cypress tree along the Combahee River, a cabbage palm at Yemassee, and a road-killed armadillo just south of Savannah. I didn’t see any Cattle Egrets till Jacksonville. In New York, just as in Florida, there were white birds following the tractors in the fields – but in New York they weren’t Cattle Egrets, they were flocks of Ring-billed Gulls flapping slowly along.

Remember to send me your June Challenge results by midnight on the 30th. We’ll have a party, and present the trophy to this year’s winner, at Becky Enneis’s house on the evening of Friday the 8th. Stay tuned.

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