American Pipit Anthus rubescens
American Pipits occur each winter and can be found with some effort from mid-December through about the middle of January; some may arrive as early as the last week of November and depart as late as mid March, but they are difficult to find in those seasonal extremes and should not be expected. Their seasonal abundance is a dramatic change from 1881, when Maynard reported them as “exceedingly abundant” around the Jacksonville area (Howell, 1932, p. 370).
In winter, a reliable place for them is Sheffield Regional Park off New Berlin Road, where they work the fields near the fishing dock and the athletic fields towards the back of the park. They can also be found on Black Hammock Island in some of the pastures, or occasionally at Huguenot Memorial Park along the edges of the dunes and wrack lines. On the west side of town, they favor the outfield areas of the softball diamonds at Ringhaver Park and the open fields at Taye Brown Regional Park and Westside Industrial Park. In recent years, Ringhaver has been the go-to spot to find them in the county where it is best to look in January and February.
Sprague’s Pipit Anthus spragueii
In all my research, I have not found any reports or records of a Sprague’s Pipit in Duval County. I chose to include this species because it is remotely possible to have one show up eventually, and birders should remain vigilant in looking for this species in winter months.