Summary of the Summer Season – 2015

Summary of the Summer Season
1 Jun – 31 July, 2015
Duval County
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.

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks continued their stronghold in northwest Duval County, where they could be found throughout the season in an established breeding area at the intersection of Lem Turner and Lannie Road. As many as 45 could be seen at a time; while slightly down in numbers from the last year or two, it is still difiicult to believe this species is now becoming established in the county after only being first recorded here in 2003.

Other notable waterfowl this season included small numbers of Northern Shoveler, Blue-winged Teal, and Red-breasted Merganser in June, and two Lesser Scaup that remained at Spoonbill Pond throughout the season.

Several Least Bitterns discovered in spring at the Imeson Center pond in front of the old Sears warehouse remained through the season, where at least two pairs could be found on territory.

Glossy Ibis can be scarce in many seasons and even in some years, but they were found throughout the summer at Lem Turner and Lannie Road; one was recorded at Imeson industrial park on 18 July, and a single bird haunted Spoonbill Pond from 13 June through the end of season.

Broad-winged Hawk is a species most often seen in April during migration, but one was recorded on Little Marsh Island on 14 July.

American Coots are scarce breeders in NE FL, and on 11 July at least one pair was discovered to have produced three young in a pond about 30 feet from the interstate at the intersection of JTB and I-295.

A couple breeding pairs of Sandhill Cranes have been reliable for the last few years off New World Avenue in the western part of the county, and this summer continued that trend where 2-3 could be seen regularly around the Bridgestone building.

Rare in summer, a single alternate plumaged American Avocet was recorded at Spoonbill Pond on 16 July. Three White-rumped Sandpipers at Spoonbill from 1-15 June were notable, as was a single Pectoral there on 30 June and an alternate plumaged Stilt Sandpiper on 17 July. Another rare to uncommon species, Marbled Godwit, was recorded at Spoonbill from 25-27 July. A single Wilson’s Phalarope was reported in Dayson Basin on 14 July.

Notable landbirds included a Hairy Woodpecker recorded at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center on 13 June, providing the first photo-documented record in the county in at least two decades. An Eastern Wood-Pewee photographed at Julington-Durbin Preserve on 30 June suggested the species may be breeding in county. Acadian Flycatchers were once again confirmed on territory at Seaton Creek Preserve throughout the season.

15 Nov 2015 – November Duval County Twelve Day Big Year (12DBY):

Final November 12DBY results: 6 eBird checklists, 4 new 12DBY species
Best targets achieved: Piping Plover, Red-headed Woodpecker
Most unexpected species: Lark Sparrow at Eastport
New 12DBY species: Piping Plover, Red-headed Woodpecker, Orange-crowned Warbler, Lark Sparrow


The year is winding down, and while I have a list of potential target birds left there are no guarantees for adding new species. Unfortunately, I missed loads of migrant warblers and thrushes for the 12DBY and am now forced to target other obvious gaps in the list.

With that in mind, we started the morning at Little Talbot Island SP, where I quickly added Orange-crowned Warbler. A stop at Huguenot was productive overall, and yielded seven Piping Plovers, which was another 12DBY target.

Our next stop was Eastport Wastelands, where we’d seen the first patch record of Red-headed Woodpecker there the previous weekend. After finding both an adult and juvenile, we headed to the sparrow spot when to our amazement, the 11th known county record of Lark Sparrow popped up and allowed for world class scope views for over an hour. In fact, we had to just walk away from the bird like it was nothing special! That’s the second Lark Sparrow in that hotspot just this year; there’s no telling what has been inhabiting that acreage over the years!

After eleven days of the challenge I’m now at 215 species for Duval County, which is a county 12DBY mark that I’m confident will never be broken and I intend to add a little more to it next month. Reasonable birds I can still target include Canvasback, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Northern Bobwhite, American Avocet, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Field Sparrow, and Rusty Blackbird. If I choose to do my 12DBY on the CBC I’ll miss the duck opportunity simply based on my territory, but may rack up some rarities.