This morning I decided to head to Imeson Center and try to poke around some of the dirt bike trails closer to Heckscher Drive, with the main purpose of trying to get access to Turner Pond. Turner Pond is a huge freshwater pond that historically has held breeding Purple Gallinules and Least Bitterns, but it’s almost unapproachable due to the overgrowth.
I arrived around 8AM and as I walked back into the woods, I encountered hundreds upon hundreds of American Robins all over the ground and roosting in the smaller trees.
Mixed in with the Robins were a few small flocks of Cedar Waxwings and a group of around 300 Red-winged Blackbirds. I finally made it to the edge of Turner Pond, climbed a tree, and was afforded a pretty decent view.
I headed back to the truck and starting driving towards the small fenced pond at the warehouse when I came across a Western Kingbird. They’re an annual but fairly uncommon winter visitor in Duval County, and this is the third one I’ve found in Jacksonville this winter season (the other two at M&M Dairy in December).
I decided to bird the area on the other side of Heckscher Drive directly across from Imeson – this is an small wedge of old industrial space between Heckscher and the salt marsh, with a rail road track running down the middle. I found a lot of small landbirds there, including Swamp, Song, Savannah, and Vesper Sparrow. I also notched a Marsh Wren and some other “year birds”. There is a lot of access to cord grass and the marshes over there, so I’ll definitely be back early one morning to poke around for marsh sparrows.
All in all, a good morning – over 10,000 fitbit steps in the visit, over 55 species, and I didn’t encounter a single other human. My kind of relaxinig morning!