My last visit to Huguenot

Huguenot dunes at sunrise. 21 August 2020.

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!”.

Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean as seen from the top of the jetty wall. 21 August 2020.

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.

Beach and jetties. Sunrise at Huguenot. 21 Aug 2020.

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.

Sea turtle. Huguenot Memorial Park. 21 Aug 2020.
View of Huguenot beach from the jetties.

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).

Mayport Naval Air Station at sunrise. 21 Aug 2020.

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.

Huguenot signage…one last time.
21 Aug 2020. Exiting Huguenot one last time.

On exiting, I noticed the arrow points west…I took that as a good omen.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Vikki Ottrando says:

    Good luck with your move. It is a loss for our community here but perhaps you could continue reporting to us Floridians about the birds in Arizona. For me, I am particularly interested in raven sightings though I do not know if they live in that part of the country. Good health and wellness to you!

    1. Kevin Dailey says:

      Thank you Vikki, yes, AZ has Common and Chihuahuan Ravens. I’ll keep posting if you keep reading! 🙂 More to come. Take care, Kevin

  2. Sandra Bak says:

    I have so enjoyed your news letter.
    Best of luck to you

    1. Kevin Dailey says:

      Thanks Sandra… good birding to you!

  3. Laura Hare says:

    I’m new to your site but have enjoyed learning about birding Huguenot…
    you’ll love AZ, huge and varied state!

    1. Kevin Dailey says:

      Thank you Laura! I’ll keep the stories coming from AZ….I hope you’ll continue to read them! If you ever have questions about Huguenot, let me know!

  4. Mark Dolan says:

    Wow, I am so happy to have found this site, though apparently a little late as you have just settled in Arizona. I’m from Jacksonville and birded there in the 90s and early 2000s and live in Mississippi where I teach at Ole Miss.

    1. Kevin Dailey says:

      Thanks Mark, hope you don’t mind you’re cited in a here a few times from the birds you found back in the day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *