Tuesday, April 24, 2018

June Challenge Recap - June 30, 2017

Ended up with 94 species in Hernando County with nearly 100 checklists submitted to Ebird during the month.  Not as many species as last year: 2016 (104 species), but more than the first year 2015 (88 species).

However, there was a new, more arduous format for entering results this year, so I seem to have been the only person in Hernando County to do it.  So, I guess I won!  The last two years I came in second to Steve & Jane Mann who I know were birding out there this month too!  Guess it was a good thing I submitted though, or there would be no entries for Hernando.  Here is a collage of 81 species photographed.  Not pictured are American Crow, American Kestrel, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Brown Pelican, Carolina Wren, Chimney Swift, Clapper Rail, Double-crested Cormorant, European Starling, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Muscovy Duck, Sanderling, and Semipalmated Plover.

Snakes at Chassahowitzka WMA - June 30, 2017

Last spot of the day was Chassahowitzka.  I was lucky enough to see two species of snakes: yellow rat and pygmy rattler.  I love seeing snakes, and it is so rare even with being out in the woods so much!

Also a nice photo of a towhee and one of the upland habitat that makes up the majority of the habitat of Chassahowitzka.   Great way to end the June Challenge!

Birding at the Hernando Landfill - June 30, 2017

When I watched the movie "The Big Year" several years ago, I wondered if I would ever go looking for birds at a landfill, which is pretty common, but I had never done, until today.  I still needed Bald Eagle on my list for the month, and I knew this would be the best place to see one.  They were so friendly when I told them, "I have a strange question. I am here to look for an eagle...". They told me right where to go!

Also got some black and whites of all the birds that were there.  These is the largest collection of birds in Hernando county for sure.

Red-cockaded Woodpeckers at Croom Forest - June 30, 2017

Starting out the very last day of the June Challenge in Hernando, and the very first park visited really made my day!  I was hoping for the Red-cockaded woodpeckers, which are very endangered, and I had never seen before, and they were there!

First time walking on the opposite side of the street from where I usually go looking for them, and they were right there!  You can even see the bands in some of the photos.  Each RCW is banded and closely monitored.  Aside from this group, there are a few other small populations in Florida, the closest being in Citrus county.

Hernando Birding - June 23, 2017

Spent the morning birding the very eastern portion of the county: Mountain Lake, Ayers/Hayman and Lockhart Roads, Richloam and Silver Lake, Bystre Lake, Spring Lake, Hunters Lake,  and then ended the day at the very western portion: Hernando Beach and Pine Island.  Again, not too many pictures, but do have a few to share starting with swallow-tailed and Mississippi kites:

Also stopped to look at how many flies the cows deal with in the summertime!  

 Finally, my favorite dragonfly, the haloween pennant, a small frog, and a colorful house finch

Friday, April 13, 2018

WeekiWachee Preserve - June 21, 2017

Another nice day at the park!  Several photos of wildlife, flowers, insects, and a few landscapes to share from today.

Hernando Birding- June 17 & 18, 2017

Continued with Hernando birding with a stop to Croom Forest as well as many other locations over the weekend aside from Chassahowitzka, including Kettering, Powerline, and Lockhart roads, Hernando Beach, Heather Golf Club, Jenkins Creek, Linda Pederson, Pine Island, Bayport, Silver Lake, Bystre Lake, Lake Townsend, McKethan Lake, and Lake Lindsay.  

One great thing about doing the June challenge three years now is that I have gotten to explore the county and found many very nice natural areas I would not have found otherwise!  Didn't get too many photos, but here is some of what I found, starting with a couple of shots of the beautiful pine forests at Withlacoochee State Forest's Croom Tract:

House finch (family) on Croom Road
Red-shouldered hawk and Sunner Tanager at Croom Forest
Summer Tanager
Purple Gallinule running across Lake Lindsay
House sparrow and brown cowbird family in Hernando beach neighborhoods
And many others including black bellied whistling ducks, red-headed woodpecker family, barn swallows, eastern kingbird, and pine warbler.

Wildlife at Chassahowitzka WMA - June 17, 2017

Also saw many species of wildlife and birds at the park and got photos of a few to share.

White-tailed Deer Fawn

Six-lined Racerunner Skink


Swallowtail Butterflies on Thistle

Sherman's Fox Squirrel (endangered)

Scenic Views at Chassahowitzka WMA - June 17, 2017

I visited Chassahowitzka a few days ago and again today to find some more Hernando birds for June Challenge.  I never knew there was this crazy sinkhole that goes down to an underground cave system where some people go diving.  Also has gators in it, which is strange for upland habitat.