Summary of the Fall Season
1 Aug – 30 Nov, 2015
Duval County, Florida
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.
The 2015 Fall Season was unremarkable in terms of weather and perhaps as a result there were no notable “fallouts” during the season. The county did produce quite a nice list of migrants with some particularly notable shorebird records.
In mid-November, several reports of Snow Goose included one from Hanna Park on 14-18 November, two at M&M Dairy 19-22 November, and one at Sheffield Regional Park on 27 November. Gadwall arrived in early November and were reported in higher than usual numbers, with as many as twenty observed at Perdue Pond Wildlife Area on 27 November. American Wigeon followed similar suit with even more impressive numbers – up to 43 at Perdue. Overall, waterfowl observations are up again this year with twenty-five different species reported during the period.
Horned Grebe is normally a December arrival, so one reported from Huguenot Memorial Park on 19 November was notable.
Least Bittern continued at Imeson Center from the summer season through 6 August, and another was heard at Westside Industrial Park on 6 October.
Glossy Ibis sightings persisted throughout the season across the county, perhaps indicating a more consistent expansion of their typical range and abundance. Local birders are encouraged to scrutinize them for possible White-faced.
Mississippi Kites were observed in low numbers through early August, with a late date of 24 August reported from Hyde Park. A single Broad-winged Hawk was reported from Hanna Park on 16 October, and even more notable was a Short-tailed Hawk recorded on 1 October in Mandarin, providing just the second verifiable county record.
Notable rail observations include a King Rail at Ringhaver Park on 1 November and a Purple Gallinule at Westside Industrial Park from 4-6 October. The Gallinule was found and recorded by JC Knoll and provides the first county record of this former breeding species in over two decades. Limpkins have been breeding in the county since at least 1984-85 and continue their stronghold at Westside Industrial Park.
Thirty-one species of shorebird were recorded during the season, with several notable records. On 7 September an Upland Sandpiper was recorded at M&M Dairy and remained through the 12th. Birders searching for the Upland on the 7th recorded two Buff-breasted Sandpipers that remained through the 13th, and on the 12th the third county record of Baird’s Sandpiper was recorded in the same location. The area in which these three notable shorebirds occurred simultaneously is being eradicated in favor of yet more warehouses, so the glory days of M&M Dairy is unfortunately behind us. The fall’s only White-rumped Sandpiper was recorded there 8-9 October. On 6 October, the county’s second record of Ruff came from the restricted Dayson Basin, which is unfortunately inaccessible to the public.
Franklin’s Gull has become one of the more anticipated species of the fall, and as many as four could be seen at Huguenot Memorial Park from 11 October through 1 November. This year marked the first time they were reported inland with one recorded on the docks at Lakeshore marina. A single Long-tailed Jaeger was recorded at Little Talbot Island on 5 November, providing the first known verifiable county record.
White-winged Dove sightings are still worthy of mention; as many as two were recorded at the Jacksonville Zoo’s educational center from 11-30 November.
A Willow Flycatcher was carefully studied at Reddie Point Preserve on 4 October.
Cliff Swallows were reported sporadically throughout August, but 55 reported from Theodore Roosevelt on 12 September is enough to raise an eyebrow. None of the reports were supported by photo.
A single Golden-crowned Kinglet was reported from Tille Fowler Regional Park on 11 November.
Thirty-one species of warbler were reported in the county, which is a high water mark for certain. Notable species include a Golden-winged reported from Reddie Point 7 October, a Nashville on 18 October, a Cerulean on Fort George Island 8 August, and a rare-in-fall Blackpoll recorded in Ortega on 13 November. A Wilson’s Warbler cooperated from 18-24 at Reddie Point.
On 15 November, a Lark Sparrow was recorded in Eastport and remained through the end of the season. On 21 November, a Le Conte’s was reported from the same location. A Dickcissel at Reddie Point Preserve on 7 September was the first in the county in several years.