Summary of the Summer Season
1 Jun – 31 July, 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 report.
The season’s most significant waterfowl sighting was six Fulvous Whistling-Ducks near M&M Dairy (Duval) at Autumn Glen subdivision off New Berlin Road on 21 June. These were undoubtedly the same birds observed last season at M&M, and a remarkable observation in NE Florida in any year.
Four Black Scoters could be found at Huguenot Memorial Park (Duval) from 1 June through 5 July, and three remained in Salt Run (St. Johns) from 5-15 June. This is the second consecutive summer the species lingered into the summer months in Northeast Florida.
Red-breasted Mergansers are uncommon in summer, and there were just two reports this summer: one from Six Mile Landing (St. Johns) on 5 June and another off Heckscher Drive (Duval) on 23 June.
A Common Loon was reported in Salt Run from 29 June through 12 July.
On 2 June, single Cory’s Shearwaters were reported from St. Augustine (St. Johns) and from Huguenot Memorial Park during coastal seawatches. Two Great Shearwaters were also reported during that same seawatch in St. Augustine, along with three Wilson’s and two Band-rumped Storm-Petrels.
Least Bittern is a breeding species in NE FL but can be difficult to find. The most reliable location continues to be Six Mile Landing where they were reported 5-18 June. A single observation in Jacksonville came from Heckscher Drive on 22 June.
On 19 July, approximately 225 Roseate Spoonbills were video recorded roosting in the Timucaun Preserve (Duval) , marking perhaps the single greatest congregation of the species ever recorded in NE Florida.
Glossy Ibis continue to be more regular in Duval and Nassau counties than in years previous. Two were reported from Amelia Island SP (Nassau) on 22 July, and a small flock was regular throughout the season at M&M Dairy and nearby Sheffield Regional Park.
King Rail observations included one from Heckscher Drive 22 June and another from the GTM NERR (St. Johns) on 11 June. A very rare in the region Purple Gallinule was reported from Six Mile Landing (St. Johns) from 15-20 June.
Limpkins continued their strong foothold in Jacksonville’s westside location, with 16 individuals (including six chicks) reported throughout the summer season.
Notable shorebird observations start with another consecutive of year of successful American Oystercatcher nesting at Huguenot Memorial Park. Whimbrel were consistent at Huguenot throughout the season, but were much less frequent in St. Johns County, with just a handful of observations around the GTM NERR. Two very early White-rumped Sandpipers were reported from Fort Clinch State Park (Nassau) on 9 June.
A single lingering Bonaparte’s Gull was recorded at the GTM NERR dam on 7 June. The Iceland Gull at Huguenot Memorial Park stayed from the spring season throughout the summer season and was easily located along the interior mud flats on most visits. A single Arctic Tern was reported from St. Augustine on 2 June, and Black Terns arrived at the local beaches around 19 July.
Kingfishers are very scarce in late spring and summer; observations in St. Johns and Flagler County started increasing 15 July.
Hairy Woodpecker was recorded on several occasions deep in Faver-Dykes State Park (St. Johns) from 20-26 June.
An Eastern Wood-Pewee was observed on the trails of the GTM NERR on 26 June. Acadian Flycatchers cooperated at Seaton Creek Historic Preserve the last week of July, where they were recorded on the 26th and 27th.
This season was also highlighted by two distinctly different Scissor-tailed Flycatchers; one at the GTM NERR (8-11 June) and an adult male located at M&M Dairy on 5-6 July. The Duval County bird was the first observation in the county since 1997.
A Florida Scrub-Jay was recorded at Washington Oaks Gardens SP (Flagler) from 8-24 June.
On 5 July, an early Cliff Swallow was recorded along Route 100 in Flagler County.
A pair of American Robins successfully fledged young near the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, and were recorded from 23-28 June. The species was also documented nesting again this summer in Hyde Grove (Duval).
Louisiana Waterthrushes arrived in early July and were easily found on the roads of Fort George Island (Duval) 12-13 July, where a high count of six was recorded this year. An early Northern Waterthrush was observed at Cedar Point Preserve (Duval) on 13 July. Prairie Warblers were recorded and suspected breeding in Faver-Dykes SP (5 June). Hooded Warblers could still be found in July at Seaton Creek.