White-rumped Sandpipers

I have White-rumped Sandpipers flagged as “rare” in eBird in the counties I review because they’re a scarce migrant that is often mis-identified. I cringe every time I get a report that relies most heavily on “I saw the white rump in flight”. Not to say that you can’t see the rump on a bird…

Wood-Warblers Family: Parulidae

Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla I only found one historical report of an Ovenbird in reviewing decades of published observations; it was of one reported by Julie Cocke on 28 May 1989 (Stevenson & Anderson, 1994). Ovenbirds are essentially an early fall to summer species, but can be incredibly uncommon in winter. In spring, they tend to arrive…

Sparrows and other Emberizids

Green-tailed Towhee Pipilo chlorurus There is one record of Green-tailed Towhee in county history, a bird recorded by Samuel Ewing at Little Talbot Island State Park on the morning of 3 March 2016. I spoke with Sam that evening at the location and he said he came across the bird quite by accident; he walked the…

Thrushes

Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis We enjoy Eastern Bluebirds year-round in the Jacksonville area, where they are very evenly distributed throughout Duval County. The earliest record of the species comes from Sam Grimes, who documented a nest with four eggs on 6 April 1930 (Howell, 1932, p. 366). Today they are still a common breeding species…

Finches, Euphonias, and Allies

House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus It’s interesting to note the arrival of House Finch in Florida and in Duval County; Edscorn (1976) noted that they did not occur in Florida through 1975, but was obviously foreshadowing their arrival in the state as the species continued to push south from New York. The first report from the…

Cardinals, Grosbeaks, and Allies

Summer Tanager Piranga rubra Summer Tanager is a fairly common breeding species in Duval County, with the earliest documented nesting occurring on 15 May 1934 when a set of eggs was collected and sent to a museum (Stevenson & Anderson, 1994). As of 2020, they are still regular (but declining) breeders in the area, and…

Chickadees, Titmice, and Nuthatches

Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis Carolina Chickadees can be found year-round throughout the county, and although they breed in many locations they can often be missed in regular locations at certain times of year. The peak time to observe them is between mid September and mid October, suggesting either post-breeding dispersal or some fall migration or…

Martins and Swallows

Purple Martin Progne subis Purple Martin is a species in serious decline in recent years and can be difficult to find in Duval County, even when searching for them. There are some early observations from February, but most arrivals are reported beginning the first week of March. They can be found throughout the spring and…

Tyrant Flycatchers

Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens Eastern Wood-Pewees arrive in early April, but are actually quite tough to find in April and May. They are a limited breeding species in the county, dating back to 11 June 1932 when a nest’s eggs were collected (Stevenson & Anderson, 1994). Stevenson and Anderson (1994) also noted that Sam Grimes collected eggs…

Waterfowl

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis The first county record of Black-bellied Whistling-Duck was a single bird reported by Carole Adams on 3 May 2003 that remained through 14 May that year (Pranty, 2003). They remained very scarce in the area until 2010 when their abundance skyrocketed. To provide some context of their rarity prior to 2010,…

Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers

Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers provide some of the most challenging and enjoyable birding opportunities in Duval County, and we are extremely fortunate to have many favorable and highly desirable birding destinations to see them. Huguenot Memorial Park is without a doubt the best place to observe these species and to search for the more uncommon…

Hummingbirds

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris  Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are our most common and expected hummingbird species. There are a very few that remain through the winter, and they really start arriving in numbers in the early spring (mid-March). Aside from watching feeders, you can often find them while taking a leisurely walk at places like Reddie Point Preserve,…