This morning I birded “M&M Dairy” along New Berlin Road and Port Jacksonville Parkway, hoping for something like a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher while getting in a good bit of exercise. I have always enjoyed walking the area on Sundays because the businesses are closed, there is almost no traffic, there are good sidewalks, and it is rarely buggy in summer. Not to mention, I’ve seen 160 species of birds in this area over the last 20 years.
Pattillo has apparently bought the rights from the old M&M Dairy and is continuing the plan to build out 13 mega-warehouses on the 175-acre property, with another 315,000 square foot one going up next. Goodbye, Eastern Meadowlarks, Common Gallinule, Black-necked Stilt, Loggerhead Shrike, and many other species that have bred on the property for decades. I’m <this close> to suggesting we change the name of the hotspot from M&M Dairy to NorthPoint Industrial Park, as the dairy is gone (literally, even the house the owner lived in is gone).
On today’s visit, I noted the conspicuous and continued absence of any Loggerhead Shrikes on the property. Shrikes were once not only reliable breeders here, but almost “abundant”. I haven’t seen one there in all of 2020. I did note the continued presence of Wild Turkey, and saw 3 adults and 8 young, one of which is pictured above.
The pond above used to continue there to the left, but all that grassy area is fill dirt where they filled in half the pond last year.
A little further down the road, they’re doing some world-class infrastructure work as pictured below. They’ve dammed the creek along the power line cut, put in a small culvert, and built it up with – yes, with unopened bags of Quikrete (cement mix). It is no surprise that the creek is running with a glassy film over the water, undoubtedly some kind of fuel or paint drifting down from the nearby power plant or any other seepage based on how they’re “building” things here.
I did observe 38 species today on my walk, most notably the breeding turkeys, singing Blue Grosbeaks, a singing Painted Bunting, and a very unusual Royal Tern. Species notably absent were Canada Goose and Loggerhead Shrike.