Wednesday, January 27, 2016

June Challenge Recap - June 30, 2015

I had such a great month looking for as many species as I could in Hernando County.  There are not many participants in this area, but I was second after a birding couple who go out together.

I learned a lot for next year.  I didn't even fully start until mid-month, and didn't know many of the locations to visit until the end of the month.  I am not sure if I will get as many birds next year though, because I just kept getting lucky!

Some of my favorite moments were when two bobwhite quails ran out in front of my car (male and female) and I did not have them on the list yet ans so I started yelling "bobwhites!!"  I had got some great moments at Weeki Wachee park including beautiful shots of a night hawk, who was playing injured to get me away from a hidden nest.  I also got a life bird at the park with the northern rough-winged swallows, and they were so close and so visible there.  At pine island toward the end of the month I saw (and photographed) a brown pelican.  It was the most excited I have ever been to see a pelican, as it is not often found during the Hernando June Challenge.  Two great birds at Hernando Beach neighborhood with the house finch and barn swallow.  Maybe the best was the way that June Challenge ended with baby Eastern Kingbirds, a new bird for the list, a new breeding record for the area, and added to the bird atlas.

Found many parks to visit later in the year when the weather is nice, and learned more about the June Challenge and the best places to visit for next June.  I photographed as many birds as I could, but my goal for next year is to photograph all species seen.  Can't wait!

Brooksville Water Treatment Plant - June 30, 2015

Went to visit this spot both morning & afternoon, but nothing too substantial here to report.

Above photo taken this morning. I don't usually get up any earlier than I have to on a work day, but today was special because it is the last day of June Challenge!

 I did see this yellowlegs in the afternoon!

Powerline & Lockhart Roads - June 30, 2015

Ok, so this was the best find ever for the last day of June Challenge!  These are Eastern Kingbirds, which are not on my list yet, and not only that, but they are two babies with one adult.  After reporting this to the birders, I was told that it is the only breeding record for this area and will be added to the bird breeding atlas.  Awesome way to end the month!

Bystere Lake - June 30, 2015

Also stopped at Bystere Lake to look before work today.  Good thing I did!  I saw the Egyptian Geese that were reported here yesterday and got some photo evidence.  I can sort of count these for June Challenge.  There are actually two totals reported, one with ABA-countable birds, which these are not in this county, and one with all birds seen while out.  The other thing that is strange is that Ebird does not want to accept these geese as a sighting on that website because they are only countable in south Florida.  I think eventually they will spread and have populations throughout Florida, but for now it is causing a controversy about if they should be able to be reported on Ebird.  Just glad to see them though!

Pine Island - June 29, 2015

Getting down to the last couple of days of June Challenge, I was able to add two birds here tonight: willet (so common!) and royal tern (also common). Also purple martin and more!

Fox Squirrel, Dade City - June 29, 2015

It was cool to get a shot of the two types of Florida squirrel on my way in to work today.  I did not have my zoom lens with me unfortunately, but just glad to have a camera since I usually don't bring one at all.

Pine Island (Evening) - June 28, 2015

And one more check to Pine Island park to end the night.  Actually paid the fee to get out and look.  Was hoping for a reddish egret, but got some nice sunset shots instead.  I did get one more bird for the challenge too: a yellow-crowned night heron. I loved seeing the baby mottled ducks too.


Hernando Beach (Afternoon) - June 28, 2015

One more check through the Hernando Beach neighborhood to see if there is anything different here in the afternoon.  I did find the barn swallow again, but nothing new.

Bayport Park - June 28, 2015

A nice looking red-bellied woodpecker at the park today.  I often find these here hiding acorns in the palms.

Brooksville Water Treatment Plant - June 28, 2015

Checked the landfill, the water treatment plant, and the sewage treatment plant, still hoping to see an eagle...that is the life of a birder!  Saw many species, including many rough-winged swallows at the sewage plant by Weeki Wachee but nothing new for the challenge.  Finally found the bald eagle across from Linda Pederson park.  I pulled over to get a photo, but he was just too quick!

Pine Island - June 28, 2015

Next was Pine Island, where I found a short-billed dowitcher, a new species for the challenge.  Also saw barn swallows, green heron, tricolored heron, and a few others.  The best moment was when a brown pelican flew over.  It doesn't seem too exciting, but I have been looking for one all month for June Challenge!

Hernando Beach (Morning) - June 28 2015

Went back to Hernando Beach again this morning.  I found a couple of house finches, no barn swallow, but about 30 purple martins.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Hernando Beach, Gulf View Dr. - June 27, 2015

After Weeki Wachee, still looking for places to try now that I am at the last few days of June Challenge, and amazingly there were still more birds to find.  First tried the Hernando Beach area and got some great shots of a house finch (which I never see!) and a barn swallow on the wires in the neighborhood.  Also finally found some mallard ducks.  Also checked out other streets in the area, but none had as much as this one did.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Weeki Wachee Preserve - June 27, 2015

Was hoping to find a brown thrasher here today in a different area of the park (it was the drive-in day), and I was surprised I actually did find one!  One more for June Challenge.  The best find though was a tree full of beautiful purple martins.

Brooksville Water Treatment Plant - June 24, 2015

Finally stopped at the water treatment plant  on my way home and saw 23 sandhill cranes!

Trillby Road - June 24, 2015

Took the long way home today through Trilby Rd. area.  I was so excited to find two nighthawks flying together and calling.  I have never seen two together before.  Unfortunately they were too fast for a photo, but here is another photo from a nearby road.

Campus Lake - June 24, 2015

Most days during the June Challenge I am working, but luckily I have a great drive through nature on the way.  I also have a pretty good view when I get there too!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Weekiwachee Preserve - June 21, 2015

Lots of other birds and animals at the park today.  Heard a bobwhite, and saw northern parula, great crested flycatcher, white eyed vireo, northern rough-winged swallow, eastern towhee, and found what I was looking for..summer tanager!  The biggest surprise was what I later determined to be a brown-headed cowbird and added ruby-throated hummingbird to the June challenge list.  Also saw some other animals: rabbit, gopher tortoise and halloween pennant dragonfly.