30 Aug 2015 – August Duval County Twelve Day Big Year (12DBY):

Key August 12DBY target species: Yellow Warbler, Piping Plover, Cliff Swallow, Bank Swallow

Final August 12DBY results: 62 ABA countable species, 8 eBird checklists, 2,950 individual birds observed.

Best targets achieved: Yellow Warbler

This month’s 12DBY sort of got away from me a little bit. My plan was to scour for the swallows and then declare the 12DBY the following day, which I did – but the payoff wasn’t quite there. I spent the last week in Arizona for work, and managed a couple days birding SE AZ again by extending a weekend. I tallied some excellent western species there, including White-eared Hummingbird, Lucifer Hummingbird, Plain-capped Starthroat, Sinaloa Wren, and Black-capped Gnatcatcher. When I got back in town I realized I hadn’t done this month’s competition so I headed out on the 29th and did manage three new county year birds: Least Flycatcher, Cliff Swallow, and Bank Swallow.

This morning I began at Huguenot Memorial Park, where the tide was extremely high (perhaps a result of former Tropical Storm Erika) and the beach was largely inaccessible. I was really hoping for the swallows and a Piping Plover to add to my total, but didn’t manage it. I then headed to the southern tip of Little Talbot Island State Park to scan the ocean for pelagics and the beach for plovers. I saw some Black Terns but the beach was under water all the way to the dunes, which is really unusual for this area.

I picked up Marie and headed to Westside Industrial Park, where we found a Yellow Warbler along the edge of the pond near Jesse B Smith Court. We added a few more nice day birds there, including 2 juvenile Limpkin and 4 adults. We drove around Jones and Cisco Roads, checking the fields for “grass pipers” or swallows over any ponds, but things were very still.

After lunch I tried Eastport Wastelands for the Least Flycatcher again, but all three entrances were flooded due to recent heavy rains and I wasn’t going to risk it even in my 4×4. I decided to finish the afternoon back at Huguenot at low tide, but it wasn’t very active and I couldn’t find a Piping Plover or single swallow.

So, I finished August with 1 new species for the 12DBY – a Yellow Warbler. That brings me to 203 this year in 8 days, which isn’t too shabby. Next month I’ll plan on either declaring on any staked out grass pipers or waiting until the third week of September to target migrant warblers and thrushes.

New 12DBY species: Yellow Warbler.

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