Category Archives: June Challenge

Green Birding in Southwest Volusia County, June Challenge 2017

Note: this post is back-dated

In June I did my own version of the Green Challenge. Like the standard challenge dictates, I was looking for birds in a single county. I allowed heard-only birds on my list though, and I only listed “green” birds. I had hoped to find 80 species, but I fell short, tallying 77 — the same total I had for this challenge in 2015 (the last time I tried). The complete list is at the end of this post.

Here are some photo highlights from the month.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk at Audubon Park | 05 June 2017

Sandhill Cranes
Sandhill Cranes at Audubon Park | 05 June 2017

I completed 29 checklists during the month. I went to 14 different local birding spots, plus counted birds at home and as I was biking in several locations. I ended up biking over 165 miles.

Limpkin
Limpkin at Lake Monroe Park | 08 June 2017

Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird at Quail Lakes Powerline Trails | 10 June 2017

On the 10th I went to the Quail Lakes Powerline Trails to look for a few target species: Eastern Bluebird; Eastern Towhee; Red-headed Woodpecker; Common Ground-Dove; Florida Scrub-Jay; and Northern Bobwhite. I found all of them, but the bobwhite and scrub-jay were extremely frustratingly heard-only. I stood around for a half hour waiting for a jay to pop up but I didn’t have any luck. What a ridiculous species to record as heard-only. As a consolation I added Killdeer, Northern Flicker, and Brown Thrasher here too.

Eastern Towhee
Eastern Towhee at Quail Lakes Powerline Trails | 10 June 2017

bear tracks
bear tracks at Quail Lakes Powerline Trails | 10 June 2017

Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker at Quail Lakes Powerline Trails | 10 June 2017

six-lined racerunner
Six-lined Racerunner at Quail Lakes Powerline Trails | 10 June 2017

The best finds of the month were Roseate Spoonbill and Pied-billed Grebe. A birding friend tipped me off on the spoonbill and I headed out on my bike just minutes later, with sunset fast approaching. I hadn’t seen a “green” Roseate Spoonbill for years, but the grebe was a big surprise — I’ve NEVER had one in June before. Purple Gallinule, Mottled Duck, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Yellow-throated Vireo were all also new green birds for June listing. I was also happy to find Least Bittern at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, and Purple Martin & Cooper’s Hawk at Gemini Springs.

Purple Gallinule
Purple Gallinule at Lake Monroe Conservation Area | 13 June 2017

birding at Mariner's Cove
Happy birder at Mariner’s Cove after finding a Yellow-billed Cuckoo | 18 June 2017

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron at Gemini Springs | 20 June 2017

Common Ground-Dove
Common Ground-Dove at Dewey Boster Park | 26 June 2017

Before the month began I made a list of past “green” June birds as well as some targets I thought I might have a chance to find. There were some big misses. Wood Stork, American Coot, and Wood Duck shouldn’t have been too hard, but they evaded me. If I had gone birding at a few spots I ended up skipping, I could have probably added Bachman’s Sparrow and Common Yellowthroat. I kept hearing Common Nighthawks on early morning runs but I drove to those. Each time I biked out after dark or before sunrise I struck out.

eastern cottontail
Eastern Cottontail at Dewey Boster Park | 26 June 2017

marsh rabbits
Marsh Rabbits at Gemini Springs | 27 June 2017

Great Egret
Great Egret at Gemini Springs | 27 June 2017

Green Heron
Green Heron at Gemini Springs | 27 June 2017

That’s it for June! In July I decided to have a running streak (where I ran at least a mile a day and ended up with 112+ total miles run, my first 100+ month!) so I didn’t get to bird too much.

GREEN BIRDING LIST JUNE 2017

BIRD DATE OBSERVED
1 Carolina Wren 06/01 home
2 Northern Cardinal 06/01 Gemini Springs
3 Northern Parula 06/01 Gemini Springs
4 Red-bellied Woodpecker 06/01 Gemini Springs
5 Common Gallinule 06/01 Gemini Springs
6 Mourning Dove 06/01 Gemini Springs
7 Little Blue Heron 06/01 Gemini Springs
8 Black-necked Stilt 06/01 Gemini Springs
9 Tricolored Heron 06/01 Gemini Springs
10 Red-winged Blackbird 06/01 Gemini Springs
11 Boat-tailed Grackle 06/01 Gemini Springs
12 Great Crested Flycatcher 06/01 Gemini Springs
13 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 06/01 Gemini Springs
14 Barred Owl 06/01 Gemini Springs
15 Chimney Swift 06/01 Gemini Springs
16 Downy Woodpecker 06/01 Gemini Springs
17 Pileated Woodpecker 06/01 Gemini Springs
18 American Crow 06/01 Gemini Springs
19 Wild Turkey 06/02 home
20 White-eyed Vireo 06/02 home
21 Blue Jay 06/02 home
22 Fish Crow 06/02 home
23 Tufted Titmouse 06/02 home
24 Common Grackle 06/02 DeBary Hall
25 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 06/03 home
26 Muscovy Duck 06/03 Deltona Landings
27 Great Egret 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
28 Great Blue Heron 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
29 Anhinga 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
30 Glossy Ibis 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
31 Osprey 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
32 Bald Eagle 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
33 White Ibis 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
34 Red-shouldered Hawk 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
35 Limpkin 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
36 Mallard 06/03 Deltona Landings
37 Mottled Duck 06/03 Deltona Landings
38 House Sparrow 06/03 Deltona Landings
39 Black Vulture 06/03 home
40 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 06/05 Audubon Park
41 Swallow-tailed Kite 06/05 Audubon Park
42 Sandhill Crane 06/05 Audubon Park
43 Cattle Egret 06/05 Audubon Park
44 Carolina Chickadee 06/05 Audubon Park
45 Double-crested Cormorant 06/05 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
46 Least Bittern 06/05 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
47 Least Tern 06/05 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
48 Barn Swallow 06/05 Deltona
49 Snowy Egret 06/06 Gemini Springs
50 Loggerhead Shrike 06/06 Gemini Springs
51 Northern Mockingbird 06/06 Gemini Springs
52 Red-tailed Hawk 06/06 DeBary Memorial Park
53 Roseate Spoonbill 06/07 Ft Smith/Drysdale Pond
54 Pied-billed Grebe 06/07 Ft Smith/Drysdale Pond
55 Purple Martin 06/08 Gemini Springs
56 Cooper’s Hawk 06/08 Gemini Springs
57 Northern Bobwhite 06/10 Quail Lakes
58 Eastern Towhee 06/10 Quail Lakes
59 Killdeer 06/10 Quail Lakes
60 Red-headed Woodpecker 06/10 Quail Lakes
61 Eastern Bluebird 06/10 Quail Lakes
62 Brown Thrasher 06/10 Quail Lakes
63 Common Ground-Dove 06/10 Quail Lakes
64 Northern Flicker 06/10 Quail Lakes
65 Florida Scrub-Jay 06/10 Quail Lakes
66 Green Heron 06/10 DeBary Country Club
67 Eastern Meadowlark 06/13 Lake Monroe C.A.
68 Purple Gallinule 06/13 Lake Monroe C.A.
69 European Starling 06/14 DeBary
70 Yellow-billed Cuckoo 06/18 Mariner’s Cove
71 Red-eyed Vireo 06/18 Mariner’s Cove
72 Pine Warbler 06/18 Deltona / Enterprise
73 Rock Pigeon 06/20 Lake Monroe Park
74 Turkey Vulture 06/20 Lake Monroe Park
75 Northern Rough-winged Swallow 06/21 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
76 White-winged Dove 06/26 Dewey Boster Park
77 Yellow-throated Vireo 06/27 Gemini Springs
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Posted in Gemini Springs, Green Birding, June Challenge, Volusia Birding | Leave a comment

Green Birding in Southwest Volusia County, June Challenge 2015

Last month I did my own version of the June Challenge. The idea of the Challenge is to see as many bird species as possible in a single county during the month. The Challenge was first issued 12 years ago as a way to encourage Florida birders to get out and bird during a hot month relatively lacking in exciting bird activity. In my version, I only counted “green” birds, and I counted heard-only birds. The complete list is at the end of this post. Here are some photo highlights from the month, plus some birding stats from my green effort for June 2015.

Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis)
Cattle Egrets at Festival Park, 01-JUN-15

turtle sp
Turtle at Green Spring Park, 03-JUN-15

I completed 26 checklists during the month, and ended up with 77 species. I went to 13 different local birding spots, plus counted birds at home and as I was biking in several locations. I ended up biking over 170 miles and walking at least 30 miles. My two biggest rides were to two new “green” locations for me: Festival Park in Deltona (about 21 miles round trip) and the Brickyard Slough tract of the Lake Monroe Conservation Area (about 20 miles round trip).

Green Heron (Butorides virescens)
Juvenile Green Heron at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, 03-JUN-15

Common Musk Turtle (?) (Sternotherus odoratus)
Baby Common Musk Turtle at Gemini Springs, 05-JUN-15

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
Eastern Bluebird at Quail Lakes Powerline Trails, 08-JUN-15

moon
The moon from Gemini Springs, 09-JUN-15

Best birds of the month were Eastern Bluebird (juveniles and adults at both Festival Park and Quail Lakes Powerline Trails); Least Terns at Konomac Lake and Gemini Springs; Black-necked Stilts at Konomac Lake (scarce at Gemini Springs this year); a surprise Laughing Gull at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp; Bachman’s Sparrow and Blue Grosbeak at Brickyard Slough (both new to my all-time green list); Northern Flicker along the East Regional Rail Trail; Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at Audubon Park; and Least Bittern at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp. The Least Bittern was seen on my sixth try when I didn’t even travel to the location for birding. Arthur and I biked out to watch the SpaceX launch. Before the launch I saw a bittern fly from the reeds to the shore and disappear — it was a really lucky sighting. Bummer launch though. šŸ™

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Red-tailed Hawk at Gemini Springs, 09-JUN-15

Great Egret (Ardea alba)
Great Egret at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, 10-JUN-15

Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla)
Laughing Gull at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, 10-JUN-15

MOM!!!!!!!
Boat-tailed Grackles at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, 10-JUN-15

Blue Grosbeak
Record shot of Blue Grosbeak at Brickyard Slough, 15-JUN-15

I did try to see as many of the species as possible. Birds like Red-eyed Vireo and Pine Warbler started out as heard-only, but I managed to see them and a few other skulkers. Five remained heard-only, though: White-eyed Vireo; Northern Bobwhite; Common Yellowthroat; Yellow-throated Warbler; and White-winged Dove. I really tried to catch a look at a bobwhite who sounded like he was calling from underneath my feet, but he never came into view. The other species also remained frustratingly hidden in thick foliage.

Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)
Eastern Towhee at Brickyard Slough, 15-JUN-15

Marsh Rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris)
Marsh Rabbit at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, 17-JUN-15

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna)
Limpkin at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, 17-JUN-15

Southern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor priapus)
Southern Black Racer at Dewey Boster Park, 22-JUN-15

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)
Juvenile Loggerhead Shrike at Dewey Boster Park, 22-JUN-15

Barred Owl (Strix varia)
Juvenile Barred Owl at Gemini Springs, 23-JUN-15

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck at Audubon Park, 26-JUN-15

My biggest miss was Brown-headed Nuthatch, which I had hoped to see at Brickyard Slough. I had hopes of seeing Roseate Spoonbill at Trout Lake, but it was completely dead there with poor conditions for waders. In all I’m pretty pleased with how I fared during a month with near-record temperatures noted each week.

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)
Anhinga at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, 26-JUN-15

Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
Raccoon at Audubon Park, 29-JUN-15

Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus)
Ring-necked Snake at Audubon Park, 29-JUN-15

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at Audubon Park, 29-JUN-15

GREEN BIRDING LIST JUNE 2015

DATE BIRD OBSERVED
1 1-Jun-15 Chimney Swift home
2 1-Jun-15 Great Blue Heron Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
3 1-Jun-15 Boat-tailed Grackle Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
4 1-Jun-15 Fish Crow Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
5 1-Jun-15 Osprey Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
6 1-Jun-15 Red-winged Blackbird Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
7 1-Jun-15 Anhinga Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
8 1-Jun-15 Bald Eagle Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
9 1-Jun-15 Tricolored Heron Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
10 1-Jun-15 Mourning Dove Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
11 1-Jun-15 Limpkin Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
12 1-Jun-15 Little Blue Heron Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
13 1-Jun-15 White Ibis Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
14 1-Jun-15 Red-shouldered Hawk East Regional Rail Trail
15 1-Jun-15 Eastern Bluebird Festival Park
16 1-Jun-15 American Crow Festival Park
17 1-Jun-15 White-eyed Vireo HEARD ONLY: Festival Park
18 1-Jun-15 Turkey Vulture Festival Park
19 1-Jun-15 Black Vulture Festival Park
20 1-Jun-15 Sandhill Crane Festival Park
21 1-Jun-15 Cattle Egret Festival Park
22 1-Jun-15 Killdeer Festival Park
23 1-Jun-15 Northern Mockingbird Festival Park
24 1-Jun-15 Mallard Festival Park
25 1-Jun-15 Northern Bobwhite HEARD ONLY: Festival Park
26 1-Jun-15 Wild Turkey East Regional Rail Trail
27 1-Jun-15 Northern Cardinal home
28 1-Jun-15 Carolina Chickadee home
29 1-Jun-15 Tufted Titmouse home
30 1-Jun-15 Ruby-throated Hummingbird home
31 1-Jun-15 Blue Jay home
32 1-Jun-15 Red-bellied Woodpecker home
33 2-Jun-15 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher home
34 3-Jun-15 Snowy Egret Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
35 3-Jun-15 Great Egret Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
36 3-Jun-15 Green Heron Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
37 3-Jun-15 Carolina Wren Green Springs Park
38 3-Jun-15 House Sparrow Deltona Landings
39 3-Jun-15 Rock Pigeon Deltona Landings
40 5-Jun-15 Northern Parula Gemini Springs
41 5-Jun-15 Purple Martin Gemini Springs
42 5-Jun-15 Pileated Woodpecker DeBary Memorial Park
43 5-Jun-15 Muscovy Duck DeBary
44 7-Jun-15 Common Grackle DeBary
45 7-Jun-15 Eurasian Starling DeBary
46 7-Jun-15 Barred Owl Swamphouse Bench
47 7-Jun-15 Barn Swallow Fort Florida Rd
48 7-Jun-15 Least Tern Konomac Lake
49 7-Jun-15 Black-necked Stilt Konomac Lake
50 7-Jun-15 Great Crested Flycatcher DeBary
51 8-Jun-15 Eastern Towhee Quail Lakes
52 8-Jun-15 Brown Thrasher Quail Lakes
53 8-Jun-15 Red-tailed Hawk Quail Lakes
54 8-Jun-15 Cooper’s Hawk Quail Lakes
55 8-Jun-15 Red-headed Woodpecker Quail Lakes
56 8-Jun-15 Common Ground-Dove Quail Lakes
57 9-Jun-15 Common Gallinule Gemini Springs
58 9-Jun-15 Glossy Ibis Gemini Springs
59 9-Jun-15 American Coot Gemini Springs
60 10-Jun-15 Laughing Gull Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
61 10-Jun-15 Red-eyed Vireo Green Springs Park
62 10-Jun-15 Downy Woodpecker home
63 15-Jun-15 Bachman’s Sparrow Lake Monroe C.A. Brickyard Slough
64 15-Jun-15 Florida Scrub-Jay Lake Monroe C.A. Brickyard Slough
65 15-Jun-15 Swallow-tailed Kite Lake Monroe C.A. Brickyard Slough
66 15-Jun-15 Wood Duck Lake Monroe C.A. Brickyard Slough
67 15-Jun-15 Common Yellowthroat HEARD ONLY: Brickyard Slough
68 15-Jun-15 Blue Grosbeak Lake Monroe C.A. Brickyard Slough
69 15-Jun-15 Wood Stork Lake Monroe C.A. Brickyard Slough
70 15-Jun-15 Loggerhead Shrike Deltona path spur
71 16-Jun-15 Pine Warbler Spring-to-spring Trail
72 21-Jun-15 Black-bellied Whistling Duck Audubon Park
73 21-Jun-15 Northern Flicker East Regional Rail Trail
74 21-Jun-15 Yellow-throated Warbler HEARD ONLY: Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
75 22-Jun-15 White-winged Dove HEARD ONLY: Dewey Boster Park
76 28-Jun-15 Least Bittern Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
77 29-Jun-15 Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Audubon Park
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Posted in Gemini Springs, Green Birding, June Challenge, Volusia Birding | 1 Comment

My 2012 June Challenge results

I first learned about the June Challenge last year, but our move to Florida was too late in the month for me to participate. This year I set a goal of 75 species, which I reached — just! The complete list is at the end of this post.

Northern Bobwhite
June Challenge birds must be seen; I was lucky to see this Northern Bobwhite as they are more often heard-only on my checklists

Part of the point of the challenge is to get birders out in the field in a hot, traditionally boring time of year for birding. The heat got to me, I admit, and I didn’t get out as much as I would have liked. In the end I added 30 checklists to eBird in June, and a few of those were incidentals to add species expressly for the challenge (like the single-bird lists featuring Common Nighthawk, House Sparrow, and European Starling — all seen in parking lots).

baby Florida Scrub-Jay
I went to Lyonia Preserve to look for Florida Scrub-Jays and was delighted to find several babies

Another point of the challenge is to get birders to try new birding locations. I birded three new-to-me spots in Volusia: Heart Island Conservation Area; Palm Bluff; and Lake Ashby Park. Each brought me at least one species seen nowhere else during June, and as a bonus I got some new scenery in an otherwise “boring” month.

Limpkin
The only Limpkin I saw all month was at Lake Ashby Park

I studied eBird checklists to determine some target species. Two species were surprises because they weren’t recorded by other Volusia eBirders in recent Junes: Barn Swallow and Least Bittern. My best birds were Common Nighthawk, new to my Volusia list, and year birds Black-crowned Night-Heron and Great Shearwater (seen offshore during strong east winds). I added a few birds in the last week by specifically seeking them in suitable habitat. In this way I picked up Common Ground-Dove, Loggerhead Shrike, and Ruby-throated Hummingbird. If I had taken the time I very likely could have gotten Eurasian Collared-Dove, Bachman’s Sparrow, and House Finch. My biggest misses were Glossy Ibis and Wild Turkey. I just didn’t get out enough. Without the push of the Challenge, though, I surely wouldn’t have seen this many birds during June. Maybe next year I will try for 80…?

June Challenge List 2012

1 Double-crested Cormorant – Phalacrocorax auritus
2 Brown Pelican – Pelecanus occidentalis
3 Osprey – Pandion haliaetus
4 Laughing Gull – Leucophaeus atricilla
5 Least Tern – Sternula antillarum
6 Royal Tern – Thalasseus maximus
7 Mourning Dove – Zenaida macroura
8 Fish Crow – Corvus ossifragus
9 Northern Cardinal – Cardinalis cardinalis
10 Red-winged Blackbird – Agelaius phoeniceus
11 Boat-tailed Grackle – Quiscalus major
12 Great Egret – Ardea alba
13 Snowy Egret – Egretta thula
14 Tricolored Heron – Egretta tricolor
15 Reddish Egret – Egretta rufescens
16 Cattle Egret – Bubulcus ibis
17 American Oystercatcher – Haematopus palliatus
18 Rock Pigeon – Columba livia
19 White Ibis – Eudocimus albus
20 Red-shouldered Hawk – Buteo lineatus
21 Common Gallinule – Gallinula galeata
22 Barred Owl – Strix varia
23 Red-bellied Woodpecker – Melanerpes carolinus
24 Downy Woodpecker – Picoides pubescens
25 Pileated Woodpecker – Dryocopus pileatus
26 Blue Jay – Cyanocitta cristata
27 American Crow – Corvus brachyrhynchos
28 Tufted Titmouse – Baeolophus bicolor
29 Northern Parula – Setophaga americana
30 Anhinga – Anhinga anhinga
31 Great Blue Heron – Ardea herodias
32 Black Vulture – Coragyps atratus
33 Carolina Chickadee – Poecile carolinensis
34 Carolina Wren – Thryothorus ludovicianus
35 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – Polioptila caerulea
36 Turkey Vulture – Cathartes aura
37 Great Crested Flycatcher – Myiarchus crinitus
38 White-eyed Vireo – Vireo griseus
39 Red-eyed Vireo – Vireo olivaceus
40 Northern Mockingbird – Mimus polyglottos
41 Brown Thrasher – Toxostoma rufum
42 Brown-headed Nuthatch – Sitta pusilla
43 Eastern Towhee – Pipilo erythrophthalmus
44 Red-tailed Hawk – Buteo jamaicensis
45 Sandhill Crane – Grus canadensis
46 Eastern Bluebird – Sialia sialis
47 Yellow-throated Warbler – Setophaga dominica
48 Wood Duck – Aix sponsa
49 Wood Stork – Mycteria americana
50 Little Blue Heron – Egretta caerulea
51 Limpkin – Aramus guarauna
52 Cooper’s Hawk – Accipiter cooperii
53 Northern Bobwhite – Colinus virginianus
54 Green Heron – Butorides virescens
55 American Coot – Fulica americana
56 Killdeer – Charadrius vociferus
57 Sandwich Tern – Thalasseus sandvicensis
58 Chimney Swift – Chaetura pelagica
59 Common Yellowthroat – Geothlypis trichas
60 Common Grackle – Quiscalus quiscula
61 Common Nighthawk – Chordeiles minor
62 House Sparrow – Passer domesticus
63 Red-headed Woodpecker – Melanerpes erythrocephalus
64 Florida Scrub-Jay – Aphelocoma coerulescens
65 European Starling – Sturnus vulgaris
66 Great Shearwater – Puffinus gravis
67 Ruddy Turnstone – Arenaria interpres
68 Black-crowned Night-Heron – Nycticorax nycticorax
69 Barn Swallow – Hirundo rustica
70 Swallow-tailed Kite – Elanoides forficatus
71 Roseate Spoonbill – Platalea ajaja
72 Common Ground-Dove – Columbina passerina
73 Loggerhead Shrike – Lanius ludovicianus
74 Least Bittern – Ixobrychus exilis
75 Ruby-throated Hummingbird – Archilochus colubris

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Posted in Florida, June Challenge, Volusia Birding | Leave a comment

Challenge changeover

On May 23rd I counted one of the most abundant birds in my neighborhood for the Bird-a-Day Challenge. With Osprey as my 144th bird, I’m finished in the game for 2012.

It was already getting tough at the beginning of May, but I was relieved to reach May 8th, so I could count some non-Florida birds on my list. Though I did a fair amount of birding, I didn’t manage to take one photo of any of my game birds during my visit to family and friends in Illinois May 8-15. They were all new birds for the year (May 10th’s Black-throated Green Warbler was my 200th bird of 2012).

When I returned home to Florida, I knew my days in the game were seriously numbered. My first day back, I had to use a neighborhood regular, the Northern Mockingbird. A lucky, rare flyover of Roseate Spoonbill at Gemini Springs gave me an extra day, as did the Common Nighthawk Arthur and I spotted at Epcot at the end of our visit on May 18th (I literally jumped up and down for that one – it saved me Rock Pigeon for another day). An eBird alert sent me to a previously-unknown-by-me wetlands in a neighboring town to find Semipalmated Plovers on May 19th. Everything else was entirely expected and a misery to check off each day. Now at least I have a nice goal for 2013.

And I am ready for the next game for this year: the June Challenge! I first learned about this by following the Florida birding listservs last year, and from this great post by favorite Florida blogger Limeybirder: June Challenge. We moved here late in the month so I didn’t participate.

Here is a brief description of the challenge that I swiped / paraphrased from a post on BirdForum:

In 2004 Becky Enneis proposed a contest. She was scandalized that most birders spent the summer indoors, and she thought that competition might motivate some of them to get out in the field during the warm months. And so The June Challenge was born.

There are some rules for this friendly competition:

– Birds must be seen. No heard-only birds.
– Keep county lists.
– Keep track of ABA and non-ABA species are on your list. Report them in this format:
Total (ABA countable / non-countable), e.g., 115 (112 / 3)

Last year, there were two participants for Volusia, coming up with totals of 120 (119 / 1) and 73 (73 / 0). I’m going to try to get at least 75, but that sounds very ambitious for an inland Volusia girl. We’ll see! I’m looking forward to trying out this new challenge. Good luck to all that continue with Bird-a-Day!

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Posted in Bird-a-Day Challenge, Florida, Green Birding, June Challenge | Leave a comment