Summary of the Summer Season
1 Jun – 31 July, 2013
Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Baker, Clay, Putnam, & Flagler Counties
Sight-only observations are considered “reports”. Those supported by verifiable evidence (photographs, video or audio recordings, or specimens) are called “records.” A county designation (in italics) accompanies the first-time listing of each site in this report.
There were some very significant observations in this year’s summer season, despite it being a short period and traditionally ‘slow’ birding season. The season was highlighted by a first county breeding record for Sandhill Crane and most significantly by a brand new addition to the state species list.
Reports of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks persisted throughout the summer season, including a report of them nesting in the cavities of cabbage palms at Six Mile Landing (St. Johns). Sightings of up to 8 individuals continued at the Lem Turner Spray Fields (Duval), and single individuals were recorded at the Purdue Road pond (Duval) and at Huguenot Memorial Park (Duval) on 3 June. Four of them were reported from Olustee Beach (Baker) on 15 June.
On 13 June, a Red-breasted Merganser was recorded in the St. Johns River at Helen Floyd Cooper Park (Duval). A few are recorded in the area each year during the June Challenge. On 26 June, a single Ring-necked Duck was recorded in a retention pond in Jacksonville.
A group of approximately 22 Black Scoters was present at Huguenot Memorial Park from mid-April and continued throughout the summer season. The single White-winged Scoter in the group persisted until 22 June.
Northern Bobwhites have been reported with increased frequency the last year and the summer season has been no exception. They were reported from western St. Johns County on 5 July, and could be heard calling at Sheffield Regional Park (Duval) the last two weeks of June. One was also recorded at Ringhaver Park (Duval) in June.
One Common Loon was reported during the season, on 2 June from Alpine Groves Park (St. Johns, adjacent to St. Johns River).
A single Sooty Shearwater was reported from Anastasia SP (St. Johns) on 24 June. A pelagic trip out of St. Mary’s Georgia on 2 June produced 6 Cory’s Shearwaters and 9 Red-necked Phalaropes in the waters offshore of Nassau County.
Glossy Ibis were regular the last two weeks of June through the first week of July at the north access of Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM NERR) (St. Johns).
Mississippi Kites could still be seen in decent numbers early in the season over the spray fields at Lem Turner and Lannie Road in Jacksonville, and as many as 20 Mississippi Kites were fairly regular at M&M Dairy (Duval) the first week of July. A group of Swallow-tailed Kites, including a least one fledgling, was recorded in Fernandina Beach (Nassau) on 12 July. Oddly, no reports of Mississippi Kites came from St. Johns or Flagler counties in the summer season (following no reports from the spring season).
One King Rail was reported at Olustee Beach (Baker) on 12 June.
On 23 June, Sandhill Cranes were recorded off New World Avenue on the extreme western border of Duval County. The 2 colts with 2 adults mark the first breeding record in Duval County, and were recorded as late as 4 July.
A pair of American Oystercatchers at Huguenot Memorial Park successfully fledged at least one chick this season. Up to 48 Semipalmated Plovers were observed 22 June at Huguenot.
There were no notable gull reports this season, outside of a single adult Lesser Black-backed Gull recorded at Huguenot Memorial Park 15 June.
Purple Martins were abundant the last week of June at Cecil Commerce Center (Duval), with as many as 200 birds lining the trees. The numbers were significantly lower by 4 July, with only 5 birds present.
On 5 June, Diane Reed recorded a Variegated Flycatcher at GTM NERR. Despite significant efforts the next few days by a large group of birders, the flycatcher was not relocated after 5 June. The Florida Ornithological Society Records Committee has officially accepted the record, which is the first Florida state record.
Prothonotary Warblers continued their confirmed nesting at Thomas Creek Preserve (Duval) and at the Crabshack restaurant on SR13 (St. Johns) on 5 July. On 6 July, the first Louisiana Waterthrush of the fall migration was reported in Orange Park (Clay).
A very rare breeding pair of American Robins produced at least one fledgling in Hyde Park (Duval) in early June, and another American Robin was reported in Ortega (Duval) on 14 Jun.
A rare-in-county Bachman’s Sparrow was reported along the edge of Durbin Preserve (Duval) on 12 July. Several were reported in the GTM NERR (St. Johns) on 4 June.
Orchard Orioles, Eastern Kingbird, Blue Grosbeak, and Indigo Bunting all were observed on territory at Sheffield Regional Park (Duval) in mid-June. In western St. Johns County, male and female Indigo Buntings were observed on 5 July.