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

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. 🙁

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

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


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
Share the birds, share the love!
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