From: Rex Rowan <email@example.com>
To: Alachua County birding report
Harrison Jones, a grad student who’s studying winter feeding flocks, sends out this invitation to anyone who likes birds and/or beer: “The graduate student organization in the Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation is organizing an outreach event with First Magnitude Brewing. We will have around twenty students presenting their research in a poster-presentation style format, but without the jargon and the statistics of a formal scientific presentation. I realize that it is late notice, but we would be delighted if Alachua Audubon could join us this Wednesday, November 18th, from 6-8:30 PM at First Magnitude Brewing Company for the event. I know that there will be several bird-related presentations, including one from yours truly, if that might sway some members to attend. More broadly, there will be an interesting sampling of research projects on a range of topics both local and abroad.” See you there!
Bob Carroll writes that The Third Thursday Birding Society will be Rubbing The Nose Of The Working Man In It one day late this week: “Due to the expected rain we’re meeting on FRIDAY (not Thursday) at 8:30 AM in the parking lot at Sweetwater Wetlands Park. The address is 325 SW Williston Rd. in Gainesville. If you use Google Maps, you can search for “Sweetwater Wetlands Park, SW Williston Rd” and it will give you the exact location. Lunch will be at La Pasadita on NW 6th Street in Gainesville. Please let me know if you plan to join us.” You can RSVP to Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the earliest Golden-crowned Kinglets ever recorded in the county was seen at Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve on the 31st. Debbie Segal wrote, “I found a single Golden-crowned Kinglet at Longleaf Flatwoods this morning. We parked at a gate that is about 1/4 mile north of the main entrance of Longleaf Flatwoods on the west side of CR 325 (the same side of the road as LL Flatwoods). We walked through the gap next to the gate, and immediately inside the property on the north (right) side of the mowed dirt road, we heard a lot of bird sounds coming from the brush. I thought I recognized one of the calls as a GCKI so I played its call. One emerged from the brush immediately. I quickly turned off the tape and waited for Felicia Lee to arrive. The kinglet continued to call during that time. When Felicia arrived, I played the tape again, and the kinglet emerged from the brush again and stayed in the open for a few minutes. Dave Peppar took the attached photo of the bird.” Here’s Dave’s excellent photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/74215662@N04/22455309963/in/dateposted-public/
Like most birds, Red-winged Blackbirds grow a new set of feathers in the fall, to replace those worn out by the exertions of nesting season. In males, this fresh plumage is especially beautiful. Jet-black feathers are tipped with reddish-brown, and you get a bird that looks something like this: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-gRr-4-_gIpE/UPnFPc8acwI/AAAAAAAAEdg/LH-v2jc8UoU/s1600/IMG_7985.JPG I saw several Red-wings in that plumage at Magnolia Parke this morning while searching unsuccessfully for early Rusty Blackbirds.
I saw several American Robins there too. My first robins of the fall flew over during the Hague Dairy field trip on November 7th, but on the morning of the 14th someone opened the floodgates. Flights of robins went over all morning, most appearing to move east. The day before, Bob Duncan had written from Pensacola, “This morning until about 9:30 a.m. there was a huge movement of Red-winged BBs, Robins, Yellow-rumps, Goldfinches, Waxwings and other assorted winter visitors over Gulf Breeze. Thousands of birds passed over from about 7 a.m. to about 9:30 a.m. Everywhere you put your binos on the sky, from near treetop level to birds only visible in binos, there were large flocks of birds. Truly one of the heaviest movements in a long time. Few put down to feed, most continued back to the mainland, having apparently overshot during the night.”
More winter birds: Ben Ewing saw the season’s first Hooded Mergansers, four of them, on the UF campus on the 10th. The main arrival of American Goldfinches began on the 11th (four observers, three locations) and they’re now being seen all over the county in small numbers, mainly as flyovers.
I was finally able, after two weeks without internet, to put up a blog post about the Chimney Swifts at the Seagle Building on October 27th. It’s worth your time, if only for the amazing videos of thousands of swifts: http://fieldguide.blogs.gainesville.com/631/a-sky-full-of-birds/ At Gina Kent’s suggestion, I sent these videos to Paul and Georgeanne Kyle at the Chimney Swift Conservation Society, who replied, “This is spectacular. We are unaware of any other roosts of this size so far south and so late in the season. We forwarded this to all of the participants of a major Chimney Swift forum in North Carolina a few weeks ago. Thanks so much for sharing!” Since the blog post went up, Sam Ewing has reported even more Chimney Swifts – three on the 15th, the latest free-flying swifts ever recorded in the county.
Bubba Scales reports that he saw a flock of 15 Sandhill Cranes flying south over NW Gainesville at midday on the 16th. This is a little early for migratory cranes to arrive, but only a little.
Remember First Magnitude on Wednesday, and Third “Thursday” on Friday!