Whips, Another 70+, and BRANT!

It’s been an interesting week…on Thursday evening (the 15th), Dave and I met at Cedar Point Preserve at 7PM to do some owling and look (technically more like “listen”) for Eastern Whip-poor-wills. We arrived with some light left in the day, so we walked back to where they’ve been doing a construction project using a lot of really heavy equipment. It turns out they’re building either a dock or more likely some sort of bridge over a creek way back on the property. I can’t tell what the neighboring property is, but will keep an eye on the development.

In any case, we had three Whips singing beginning at 7:57PM…March 13-30 is about the only time of the year you’ll hear them in full song, with the week around the 15th being the best. On the way back to the parking lot we picked up 2 Eastern Screech-Owls, a species I still hadn’t ticked yet this year.

On the 17th I birded Huguenot hoping for a Whimbrel or some other new arrival, and was treated to a really underrated species – the “eastern” Willet.

“Eastern” Willet. 17 Mar 2018. Huguenot Memorial Park, Jacksonville Florida.

Most people don’t seem to care about this bird specifically, but that will all change if/when it’s actually split from the ‘western’ Willet. It is a very different looking bird and based on plenty of reading, it’s actually genetically very different as well.

This morning I birded Spoonbill Pond where I tallied over 70 species in a single visit once again. I’ve written about “getting to 70” a few times, and this is now the 9th time I’ve done it in the “modern” birding era…the 5th of those 9 at Spoonbill Pond specifically. It was a beautiful morning and I walked the entire loop of the pond, finding a nesting pair of Great Blue Herons there for the first time.

Great Blue Herons. 17 Mar 2018.

I picked up three year birds at the Pond: Barn Swallow, Purple Martin, and Semipalmated Sandpipers, and was amazed at the numbers of shorebirds in what is left of the very dry pond. I was equally amazed at the erosion that’s occurred on the Nassau Sound side of the pond. I hadn’t been there since Hurricane Irma roared through last fall, but that beach is in bad shape.

On the way home, I stopped off at Sister’s Creek Marina to check on the Brant, and found it very close to the back dock, where it preened for about 20 minutes before jumping back into the water.

Brant. 18 Mar 2018. Jacksonville, Florida

Based on my exhaustive research on the birds in Duval County, this is just the third occurrence of the species here, and the first since 1973.

One thought on “Whips, Another 70+, and BRANT!”

Leave a Reply

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