December 2011 Castaway Island
Castaway Island Preserve in Jacksonville is located just north of Beach Boulevard on San Pablo Road. It is easy to walk and at times is quite active. This month it was loaded with Waxwings and Robins.
It was also the first time I was able to get fairly close to a Kingfisher, and a Great-horned Owl.
The owl appeared to be holding some kind of prey against its body. An immature Bald Eagle was also perched for a while in the pines.
Just a mile south of the preserve, I found a lone female Bufflehead at the Beach & San Pablo Ponds behind the shopping center.
Christmas Bird Count (CBC)
To end the year I had the privilege of participating in the CBC (an annual nationwide event) for Duval County. I was teamed with Martin Cooper, whose specialty is ducks, as we spent the day after Christmas covering the Arlington area of Jacksonville. The highlights for our count included Buffleheads, Mergansers, and a Common Loon on the water. Also, Kingfishers and an immature Bald Eagle flying overhead.
Finally, we ended our count with the common Eurasian Collared-Dove.
Ironically it was the only one reported for the day! I believe the total count for the 2011 CBC was well over 100 different species.
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Phil Graham–Photo Naturalist
NEXT POST January 2012 – Red-Tailed Hawks: Sparrows, Waxwings, Gannets and More!