Alachua Audubon Society

A chapter of the National Audubon Society

July 6, 2019
by Trina Anderson
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RESULTS OF THE JUNE CHALLENGE!

by Rex Rowan

The 2019 June Challenge wrapped up with a party at the home of Becky Enneis, who founded the contest in 2004. Winners were announced, prizes were given, good food was eaten, conversation was enjoyed, and we finished the evening with a slide show, photos of birds, birders, and scenery taking during the Challenge. So that’s it for this year. See you on June 1, 2020!

Click here for a list of all the species seen.

Here’s the complete list of those who participated:
Sam Ewing 115
Chris Cattau 113
Ben Ewing 112
Tina Greenberg 110
Rex Rowan 110
Deena Mickelson 109
Howard Adams 108
Pratibha Singh 108
Anne Casella 104
Tim Hardin 103
Bob Carroll 102
Brad Hall 102
Jerry Pruitt 101
Barbara Shea 101
Bob Simons 93
Becky Enneis 91
Debbie Segal 91
Erika Simons 88
Dean Ewing 84
Geoff Parks 79
Nora Parks-Church 79
Barbara Woodmansee 79
Tom Wronski 77
Owen Parks-Church 76
Linda Holt 73
Josh Watson 73
John Martin 71
Rob Norton 71
Liam Watson 70
Danny Rohan 51
Bob Knight 48
Cayley Buckner 39

May 23, 2019
by Trina Anderson
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AMERICAN KESTREL BANDING

Date: May 21, 2019 at 11:20 AM 
Subject: Ichetucknee Kestrels 

Bob,

I participated with Richard Melvin and Sam Cole in banding your kestrel chicks on Saturday.  There were 2 males and 3 females, and they were all good sized and Richard said they were a “good brood”.  By which he meant that they were calm, mainly because they were well fed.  Their parents, both, were taking very good care of them.  He also said 5 is the top number for any kestrel brood, so these birds were top notch.  I am so thrilled about this since I’ve been helping check boxes there for a while and this is the first year since 12, I believe, that there have been any eggs or chicks.
I thought you might like to see this picture of one of the chicks. I had never seen a chick before and I was delighted.
Have a great summer, Bob!

Valerie Thomas

April 1, 2019
by Trina Anderson
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KESTREL NEST BOX PHOTO UPDATE

March 28, 2019 we went to the Metzger Tract by Watermelon Pond (where the burrowing owls are) and found and photographed two boxes being used by kestrels, one with a male kestrel incubating eggs and the other with four eggs.  On last Tuesday, we went to the other side of Watermelon Pond on the Division of Forestry land and found four boxes occupied with screech owls incubating eggs.  The week before, we found eight boxes with kestrel eggs, most being incubated by female kestrels.  We still have more boxes to check, but it looks pretty good so far, and we are learning some interesting things  For instance, two boxes on utility poles in plain sight of each other and only perhaps 150 yards apart on the Shay property each had female kestrels in them incubating 5 eggs.  Kestrels arn’t supposed to nest that close together.  Attached are some of the photos we have been taking with our new pole camera.
Bob Simons

Female American Kestrel incubating eggs.

American Kestrel eggs.

Male American Kestrel incubating eggs.

Eastern Screech Owl incubating eggs.

February 2, 2019
by Trina Anderson
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SHE’S GOING “WHERE THE BOYS ARE.”

by Rex Rowan

On Wednesday, January 23rd, at the Tuscawilla Prairie, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service captured a 3½ -year-old female Whooping Crane wearing blue-over-yellow leg bands. Born in Lake County in 2015 – one of only a few Whooping Cranes hatched from a wild nest in Florida – she was about a year old when she found her way to the Evinston-Micanopy area. She remained there for the next two years, occasionally making brief forays to local crane hangouts like Paynes Prairie or the Kanapaha Prairie, and she was often seen by drivers on US-441 as she foraged among the marshy potholes of Tuscawilla. Because her chances of finding a mate there or anywhere else in North Florida were nil, it was decided to relocate her and some other unmated Florida Whooping Cranes to White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in southwest Louisiana. There she’ll join a population of non-migratory cranes that currently numbers 59, and there, hopefully, she’ll find a mate and get down to the important work of making more Whooping Cranes. White Lake Wetlands, which is more than three times the size of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, supported a breeding population of wild Whooping Cranes as recently as the 1940s. It seems a promising place for such a project.

Our other resident bird, identifiable by blue-over-silver leg bands and known to biologists as “1644,” was also a female. She was hatched in 2006 in Lake County by captive-reared cranes that had been released in central Florida in the 1990s – like the Tuscawilla bird, she was the product of a wild nest. She visited Alachua County for the first time in 2009, and liked it so well that she returned every year thereafter. In spring 2015 she decided to stick around. Beginning in June of that year and continuing through February 2017, she could be seen almost every day from the observation tower at the end of the La Chua Trail. In March of 2017 she relocated to Sweetwater Wetlands Park, where she spent the month thrilling visitors at very close range. And then … we don’t know. A crane was sighted near the Paynes Prairie visitor center in April and June, but its identifying leg bands could not be seen, so it might have been the Tuscawilla bird. There have been no positive sightings of 1644 since April 11, 2017. We can only hope she’s still alive somewhere.

As for Tuscawilla, we wish her many more years of life and many offspring. But it’s sad to realize that, for the first time since June 2015, Alachua County’s resident Whooping Crane population is zero.

Gainesville Sun story on crane relocation: https://www.gainesville.com/…/whooping-crane-may-be-relocat…
Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Whooping Crane page: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes
White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area: https://en.wikipedia.org/…/White_Lake_Wetlands_Conservation…