Yesterday, I visited Huguenot Memorial Park in Jacksonville for likely the last time ever. The date – August 21st – would’ve been my father’s 80th birthday, but unfortunately we lost him in April 2004. I went to Huguenot that morning to see the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean for the last time in who-knows-how-long, as Marie and I are finally moving to Arizona…effectively today (August 22).
We’ve lived 5 minutes away from Huguenot for the last 19 years, and I’ve made some thousands of visits there, recording 464 complete eBird checklists and 193 different species of birds. I would hold Huguenot up as one of the top hotspots in Florida, and is arguably the best / number one hotspot on the entire Atlantic Coast of Florida. I am afraid it will continue to be tragically ‘under-birded’, as many of the active birders in the area average less than one visit every couple of months. Consider this my parting plea – go bird Huguenot….remember my mantra “When in doubt, go to Huguenot!”.
I made my way to the “jetties” and walked out along the sandbar adjacent the St. Johns River, where I really debated whether I should attempt scaling the slick, broken jetty wall one last time. This wall is around 12 to 15 feet high, and one slip could injure me to the point of not being able to finish packing or driving any of the 2,100 mile journey to Carefree. I found a place that had some ‘natural’ steps in the wall, and decided to risk it. The views (as always) were worth it.
A couple weeks ago, Marie and I found two sea turtles at Huguenot; on the 21st, I found one more (below). I am not a turtle expert, but I think this is “just” a green sea turtle, not a leatherback or something. If anyone knows for sure (hint hint, Diane), please let me know.
I took a few images of the beach and ocean from the jetty wall (one more above), and some of the sunrise over Mayport Naval Station (below).
I did see a few birds along the way, most notable for me were the American Oystercatchers as it’s unlikely I’ll see the species for some time.
On exiting, I noticed the arrow points west…I took that as a good omen.