Spoonbill Pond 20 June 2020

June is notoriously slow, especially for shorebirds, but it’s also notoriously rewarding for those that get out and do some birding. Yes, Diane, I’m talking about you (Variegated Flycatcher or Hudsonian Godwit, anyone? ). Of course those birds were found in June in St. John’s County, so why not Duval?

What great birds were seen in Duval County in June, you might wonder – how about South Polar Skua, Brown Booby, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Purple Gallinule, Sabine’s Gull, Long-billed Curlew, Cory’s, Great, and Sooty Shearwaters, Crested Caracara, Short-tailed Hawk, and Shiny Cowbird.

I’m off the next 9 days, so plan on covering the county pretty well over the next week to see what I can turn up.

Big Talbot Island State Park, Spoonbill Pond. 20 June 2020.

I arrived at Spoonbill around 7a.m. and was treated to the serene view pictured above. Not a lot of shorebirds, but did manage many Willet, a few Semipalmated Plovers, and some Greater Yellowlegs. Breeding species like Wilson’s Plover and Black-necked Stilt were curiously absent today. Overall, I tallied 40 species at a location in June, which isn’t too shabby.

Grass/algae

The pond is really thick with some kind of grassy algae (pictured above), and is so matted in some areas that the ducks can basically walk on it.

I noted an adult Reddish Egret in the pond, along with many other more expected waders like Snowy and Great Egrets, Green Heron, Tricolored Heron, Wood Stork, and of course a slew of Roseate Spoonbills. (This is “Spoonbill Pond” after all).

Spoonbill Pond, from the back side.

I walked down to the beach and along the back of the pond, setting up at a nice vantage point. You can see how you can set up your scope to view the birds more closely, without entering the roped off area. A bonus is that the morning sun is at your back from this side of the pond, versus glaring in your face. I continued south and entered the maritime hammock trail at Big Talbot Island.

Maritime Hammock trail. Big Talbot Island State Park.
Overlook along the hammock trail.

The trail was a little buggy, but I picked up Eastern Towhee, Blue Jay, Pileated and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Great Crested Flycatchers, Northern Parula, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-eyed Vireo, and Summer Tanager.

Bike / pedestrian paved path at Big Talbot Island State Park.

I was also treated to interesting humanoid smells… first was an older fisherman that smelled like a week old ashtray that had been washed out in flat beer, followed by a young man a minute later that smelled like David Lee Roth in the California Girls video…or at least what I imagine DLR smelled like….coconut tanning oil and hairspray.

Boardwalk leading to Spoonbill Pond.

I made it around the loop and back to the boardwalk, and subsequently the parking lot. The only notable birds on the way back were four Gull-billed Terns flying around and barking over the pond.

“Eastern” Willet. Digiscoped. 20 June 2020.

The loop walk is right at 3 miles and makes for a pleasant outing.

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