April 2012 New Places

Spring migration was well underway, and one of the best places to see some special birds was the backyard of Lesley and Owen Royce, in north Arlington (Jacksonville).  Their yard is well stocked with feeders, which attracted several pairs of birds (male and female), including Red-breasted  and Blue Grosbeaks, and Indigo and Painted Buntings.

Red-breasted Grosbeak (Male)

Blue Grosbeak (Male)

Indigo Bunting (Male)

Of course they also had the usual residents including Catbirds, Chickadees, Carolina Wrens, Cardinals, etc. and this Brown Thrasher watching all the activity.

Brown Thrasher

Another new spot for me was Six Mile Landing at the north end of Guana Lake in St Johns county.  Terry Jennings, Diane Reed and I saw a good number of birds there including Black-necked Stilt, Lesser Yellowlegs, White Pelicans and a Tricolored Heron in breeding plumage.

Black-necked Stilt

Lesser Yellowlegs

White Pelican

Tricolored Heron

Also, behind us on the shore I shot this Goldfinch, which to me looks more like a painting than a photo.

American Goldfinch

The St Johns county Agricultural Center, just south of the St Augustine Outlet mall is another good birding location.  Diane, Terry and I were looking for warblers this time.  I saw my first Prairie Warbler, and then a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher we thought might be nesting in the area, as it flew back and forth between a tree and a bush.

Prairie Warbler

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

We also saw a Shrike, and a Killdeer giving the “broken wing” display, possibly trying to distract us from a nearby nest.

Loggerhead Shrike

Killdeer (“Broken wing” display)

Fort Mose is just north of St Augustine, where we went to look for a Great Horned Owl.  We saw it high up in the pines but too obscured for a clear shot.  However, we did get good looks at Red-bellied Woodpeckers (male and female), and a pretty Black-and-white Warbler.

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Male)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Female)

Black-and-white Warbler

Lastly, I joined a Duval Audubon Society field trip to Fort George Island and Kingsley Plantation, which are just north of the St Johns river in Jacksonville.  A good number of local birds and migrating warblers were seen, but my favorites were a Painted Bunting and the Blackpoll Warblers.

Painted Bunting

Blackpoll Warbler

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Phil Graham–Photo Naturalist

NEXT POST   April 2012 – Old Spots: Red Knots, Wood Ducks, Grackles and more Warblers!