Tuesday, June 30, 2015

30 Days in June: Day 30, Wrapping Up

Rosegentian (Sabatia sp.)
Well, here it is. The 30th of June and the last day of the June Challenge, and the last day of my personal challenge to trek all over the county and beyond to say goodbye to some of my favorite natural areas. I have had a blast! It's been satisfying and exciting. And exhausting! I can't even say how many times this month I've looked out and said "I can't believe how beautiful this is". I've seen so many wonderful places and things and have spent time with my favorite people. This month of journeys has given me memories to last a lifetime.

Delta Flower Beetle on Carolina Redroot (Lachnanthes caroliniana)
On this final day I decided to visit several locations where I thought I could catch some of the birds I was still missing on my list. There are some places that I can go to again and again and they never get old. I made an early morning trip to La Chua Trail, which was still dewy and fresh after a morning morning rain.  The butterflies were active and the spider webs sparkled in the sun.

Palamedes Swallowtail

Variegated Fritillary

Golden Silk Orbweaver

Black and Yellow Argiope Orbweaver

I was hoping to see a Yellow Breasted Chat and thought I'd actually done it until I got home and looked at my photos on the big screen. My Chat turned out to be an Orchard Oriole. It was very far away, but I should have caught on when I saw a pair in a bush closer to the road. Oh well. No Chat.

Adult and Juvenile Orchard Orioles

The Lotus is still blooming and they are so gorgeous that I can't help but take more photos every time I see them.


American Lotus (Nelumbo lutea)

Down at the observation platform, I met up with fellow birders and we chatted about birds that we wish we had for our June Challenge list. They helped me find a Blue-winged Teal, and then a Wood Duck flew past us, giving me 2 new birds for my list. We looked in vain for the Scaup, but the Roseate Spoonbills were putting on a show and I spent a long time watching them and visiting with friends at the platform. The temperature was really cool and pleasant, almost the best weather I've experienced all month!

Roseate Spoonbill Flyover

Snowy Egret, Roseate Spoonbills and Black-necked Stilts
Later in the afternoon, I met Maralee and we drove to the other end of the county to visit Watermelon Pond and the Newberry Cemetery. We hoped to see Chuck-will's-widows and Fox Squirrels at Watermelon Pond but didn't see any. The trip to the Cemetery was more successful. We found 2 Great Horned Owls and a brilliantly colored pair of Red Headed Woodpeckers.

Great Horned Owl

Red-headed Woodpeckers

Driving down the road to Watermelon Pond, we saw what we were both hoping was a Northern Harrier, but were pretty sure was not, since that sighting would be very unusual. But it would have been very exciting. (During June, everyone wants to be the one to report something unusual or rare.) Later, on the same road, we actually did see a Northern Bobwhite out in the open, dozens of Eastern Kingbirds on the utility wires, and a Bachman's Sparrow that was just singing and singing. We also found a Glass Lizard squiggling across the dirt road.

Kingbird on the Wire

Glass Lizard

We headed home under the light of a beautiful full moon. We forgot to look for planets, though! The storm clouds that had threatened passed right by us and the Nighthawks buzzed overhead. It was a perfect end to a perfect month. Now it is time to clean my camera, put away the rubber boots, wash the car, spend some more time with my husband and dogs, and get packing for the move. I feel like I have said a proper goodbye to Florida and I think I'm ready to leave now. And I have a photo journal and blog to help me remember when I start to feel homesick.

Nighthawks on the First and Last Day

Full Moon

June Challenge Bird Count Grand Total: 100 Birds (96 ABA Countable/4 not countable)
Places Visited: 30, some more than once (See previous blogs!)

My June Challenge 2015 Bird List:
Black Bellied Whistling Duck
Muscovy Duck
Wood Duck
Mottled Duck
Blue Wing Teal
Northern Bobwhite
Pied-billed Grebe
Wood Stork
Double-crested Cormorant
Least Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-heron
Yellow-crowned Night-heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Swallow-tailed Kite
Mississippi Kite
Bald Eagle
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Purple Gallinule
Common Gallinule
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Whooping Crane
Black-necked Stilt
Laughing Gull
Rock Pigeon
White-winged Dove
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Common Nighthawk
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Acadian Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Loggerhead Shrike
White-eyed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Purple Martin
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Northern Parula
Pine Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Bachman's Sparrow
Summer Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
House Finch
House Sparrow
Black Swan
Greylag Goose
Swan Goose

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