From: Rex Rowan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Alachua County birding report
Alachua County birders, remember to report your final June Challenge totals TO BOB CARROLL at email@example.com by midnight on June 30th. Report them in the following format: Total number of species you saw, followed by the number of ABA-countable species, then a forward slash, and then the number of non-countable species. In other words, if you saw 99 ABA-countable species and 2 non-countable species, you would submit “101 (99/2).” Non-countable species are: Black Swan, Graylag Goose, Swan Goose, and Mallard (including wild-looking Mallards and various domestic forms including the all-white Pekin ducks). Everything else, including Muscovy Duck and Whooping Crane, is countable (non-countable species will serve to break a tie). If you have any questions about this, ask Bob Carroll at the email given above. Also let Bob know if you’ll be attending the June Challenge party at Becky Enneis’s house in Alachua at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1st. There will be prizes and a big honking trophy. Bring a covered dish and your beverage of choice.
Did I say Whooping Crane? Why yes, yes I did. Peter Polshek reported a Whooping Crane from the La Chua observation platform on the 26th. It was still there today.
Also present today was a pair of Broad-winged Hawks that Peter discovered opposite the Mill Creek Preserve parking lot on the 24th. The parking lot is east of High Springs on County Road 236, just 0.3 mile west of its intersection with County Road 241. Lloyd Davis got a picture: https://www.flickr.com/photos/74215662@N04/18597406293/in/dateposted-public/
Yet another Short-tailed Hawk – the sixth in the past month – was seen by Matt Bruce and Mike Manetz over SW 20th Avenue near Hogtown Creek on the 26th.
The Lesser Scaup – if it’s a Lesser and not a Greater – remains visible off the La Chua observation platform. There has been a lot of discussion about head shape, bill size and shape, and the extent of white in the wing, but there has been no generally-agreed-upon conclusion as to the bird’s identity. Here’s a Lloyd Davis photo from a few days ago: https://www.flickr.com/photos/74215662@N04/19217954415/in/dateposted-public/
In case you’re still looking for a Great Horned Owl for your June Challenge list, Frank Goodwin writes, “I stumbled upon one at Morningside Park this morning (Sat.) just after 8:30 a..m., in the woods just north of the main parking lot.” He got a photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/74215662@N04/19030399838/in/dateposted-public/
Adam Kent issues the following invitation (… or Challenge!).
“Now that the June Challenge is almost over, how about the July Throw Down? Can you find evidence of breeding Alachua County birds that are still missing from Florida’s second Breeding Bird Atlas? You can report sightings that will be part of the historical record, plus win a nifty prize*!
“Despite having probable or confirmed breeding evidence for almost 100 bird species in the county, we still only have weak breeding evidence for the following species: Glossy Ibis, Wood Stork, Belted Kingfisher, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Broad-winged Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Barn Owl, Hairy Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Gray Catbird, Yellow-throated Warbler, and Prairie Warbler.
“Some of these species may not breed here (e.g., the kingfisher), while others such as the Yellow-throated Warbler are fairly common. If you’ve noticed any behaviors that indicate one of these birds is likely breeding in the county, please contact Adam Kent (kestrelkent <at> yahoo.com). In addition to the obvious examples of breeding evidence such as a nest or recently-fledged young, other good indicators of breeding include: an individual bird singing in the same place on two occasions more than 7 days apart; a male-female pair seen in suitable breeding habitat; courtship behavior; distraction displays; or attacking predators near a potential nesting site.
“In addition to the birds listed above, the following birds were recorded on the state’s first atlas (1986-1991), but not yet on this atlas: Black Rail, American Woodcock, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Wood Thrush, Swainson’s Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Painted Bunting. If you find any of these birds in the county before the end of July, please let Adam know.
“Please be as specific as possible when giving directions to where the bird was seen, such as “1/2 mile south of the intersection of roads A and B.” GPS coordinates are even better and most smart phones can take them now with free programs. Hope to hear from you with your sightings. Thanks.
“*Oh yeah, what about that prize? It’s a morning of birding with Adam learning about breeding birds of the county. The winner will be the person who finds breeding evidence for the most species listed above in this email. Birds sighted during the June Challenge count as long as you can provide a date and location.”
Remember to get your results in to Bob Carroll by the 30th, and to attend the June Challenge party on the 1st!