Saturday, September 24, 2016

June Challenge Recap - June 30, 2016

Last year, I never expected to see as many as 88 species again in Hernando County during the month of June.  This year, however, I knew many more places to go and started on June 1st.  That first day of June, I got 65 species, and the last day I saw 62 (although only three were added to the list that day).  The same birding couple who won last year (I got second last year too) was way out ahead again this year, but I noticed several others on Ebird were doing just as well as I was, not sure why none of those people submitted their results, but they sure helped me find many of the birds I was looking for by posting on Ebird!

After preparations at the start of the month, I was hoping for a total of 100 birds, and I ended up with 106, and 100 of those photographed!  I saw three life birds for Florida: brown-headed nuthatch, hairy woodpecker, and clapper rail.

 These are some of my favorite moments:
  • June 1: At the first spot of the day (Bayport) I find a common loon and three horned grebe. Both are winter birds in Florida, and I saw neither last year.  June challenge is off to a great start.  
  • June 3: A tiny baby clapper rail runs out into the road at pine island drive and I pull over and get out to chase it (my first clapper rail in Florida).
  • June 7: Saw three hummingbirds together (and one more later in the day) after tropical storm Colin moves through the state.
  • June 10: Another winter species found, white pelicans on Bystre Lake, and then later in the day, a rare sighting of a Mississippi Kite soaring over Lockhart Rd.
  • June 13: Driving around dirt roads before work at Richloam area of Withlacoochee State Forest and find a brown-headed nuthatch, the second life bird of the month.
  • June 19: A flicker woodpecker in the same patch of trees as last year in Chassahowitzka WMA
  • June 24: Found one baby Eastern Kingbird on Lockhart Rd. and realized it was another successful nesting season for the kingbird family there.
  • June 30: Early fall migrants, two kingfishers are around Bystre Lake.  I was the first one to see this species in Hernando during June!  

Actually, several of my favorite moments this month were not even bird sightings:
  • Family of river otters playing at Jenkins Creek
  • Baby water snake hunting for food in the water at Linda Pederson
  • Terrapin turtle nesting at Pine Island, a life reptile, :)
  • Bobcat in the road at Chassahowitzka 
  • Walking through the fog at dawn in the quiet old forest at Withlacoochee Croom Tract
  • Photographing beautiful light streaming through the trees at Withlacoochee Richloam Tract
Still think there is a chance to beat this total next year, but it will be very difficult.  Looking forward to it already!

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