March 2012 Two By Two

There was lots of activity this month in Jacksonville (Duval County) as I birded some new and old spots.  I first visited the UNF (University of North Florida) Nature Preserve with Anne Turner, Diane Reed and Wenlang Lin.  We saw quite a few birds but the highlight for me was shooting two small ones that are difficult to capture–-a Brown-headed Nuthatch and the Carolina Chickadee.  Both usually flit about and rarely “sit still for a second”.

Brown-Headed Nuthatch

Carolina Chickadee

Afterward I went by an old spot, the Beach & San Pablo Ponds, and found a Killdeer and a pair of Ring-necked Ducks.


Ring-Necked Ducks

Another new spot for me was the Crosby Sanctuary, just south of the county line in Orange Park (Clay County).  It is managed by the Duval Audubon Society and access to the public is limited.  Diane, Pat Zaborsky, Terry Jennings and I toured the preserve.  The two highlights for me were several Red-shouldered Hawks in flight, and a mixed group of vultures perched in the woods–the king or queen and their court!

Red-Shouldered Hawk

Turkey and Black Vultures

Hanna Park also had a nice pair of birds–a chunky Carolina Wren that sat and sang for over ten minutes, and a good-looking female Cardinal.

Carolina Wren

Northern Cardinal (Female)

At Sunny Acres Park I saw a Hooded Merganser on a nearby pond, and a big “red” Robin perched in a tree.

Hooded Merganser

American Robin

At a favorite old spot, Howell Park, I found the resident Barred Owl and a winter visitor, the Palm Warbler.

Barred Owl

Palm Warbler

Finally, in an attempt to find a “new” bird, I crossed the county line again and headed west this time to Columbia county (Lake City) and the Osceola National Forest, in search of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker.  I was not disappointed and quickly found a female right where the park rangers told me to look.  Also, on the tree behind me was a Pine Warbler singing away.

Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

Pine Warbler

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Phil Graham–Photo Naturalist

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