Longspurs and Snow Buntings

Lapland Longspur Calcarius lapponicus Lapland Longspurs have occurred periodically over the decades at Huguenot Memorial Park, which (until recently) was the only location in Duval County I had been able to find reported observations. On 25 November 1973, one was reported from the north dunes area (Hintermister) along with two Snow Buntings. The next record…

Waxwings

Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum Cedar Waxwings are a fairly common winter species but can be missed as often as they’re seen. Waxwings usually arrive in late November in small numbers and can be found with some effort throughout December and January, when their numbers are highly variable. Their abundance seems to swell in early March, and the…

Falcons

Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway There are three reports of Crested Caracara in Duval County, one of which is a confirmed “record”. The first was documented by Sam Grimes (1944), who stated that on 18 April 1925: “I saw a lone caracara at a point near Cassat Avenue, the present western boundary of the city of Jacksonville….

Shorebirds

In terms of shorebirds, we are fortunate to have some of the best prime birding locations on the east coast (and perhaps all) of Florida. Duval County has miles of coastal beaches, but it is almost not worth looking for most shorebirds on our beaches south of the St. Johns River. It is true that…

Petrels & Shearwaters

There are no known county records of Albatross, Northern Fulmar, or Black-capped Petrel, but there have been five species of shearwater observed in Duval County over the years. While most of the observations have been offshore on pelagic outings, there are occasions where shearwaters can be viewed from land…particularly Great Shearwaters. To quickly summarize seasonality:…

Loons and Grebes

Red-throated Loon Gavia stellata Red-throated Loons occur annually and arrive as early as mid-November, but can best be seen from shore in mid-to-late December and throughout January; some linger into early February. Indeed, the oldest known report comes from Harold Axtell, who reported five individuals off Atlantic Beach on 2 February 1940 (Grimes, 1943). Other early…

Grouse, Quail, & Allies

Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus Although this species is present year-round, Grimes (1944, p.57) noted that it was usually “mid-March before the loud, clear whistle” is heard here and that still holds true today. He also noted that they were evenly distributed throughout the county, which I do not find to be the case today – certainly…

Summary of the Winter Season – 2013-2014

Summary of the Winter Season 1 Dec 2013– 28 Feb 2014 Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam & St. Johns 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…

Arlington Ponds

Map / GPS Parking: There is no real parking lot as of the time of this writing since the best ponds are in a future development area that is surrounded by a chain link fence. Ambitious birders can park on the east side of SR 113 in the shopping center and take the sidewalks to…