December 2012 Ten Best
It was a good month for birds of all kinds, but I’m limiting this post to what I think were the “ten best”. Of course, I’ll have to start by making it a “baker’s dozen” by adding three “new” Florida birds I saw in December. The first new bird I saw was a “rare” Red-necked Grebe.
Razorbills were another rarity I finally saw on December 29th, during the Duval County Christmas Bird Count (CBC). These sea birds have invaded Florida’s coastline in unusually large numbers this year. Speculation has been that this was a fall out from Hurricane Sandy, since they began appearing after that event.
The other new bird for me, a Red-throated Loon, was also seen on the CBC.
Now for December’s “top ten”. The first two birds are ones I also saw on the CBC—a juvenile male Common Eider (another rare bird) and a male Bufflehead.
I had visited Ft Clinch at Amelia Island (Nassau County) earlier in the month in hopes of finding a Razorbill, but without luck. However, I did see a number of first winter Bonaparte’s Gulls feeding in the ocean.
A shorebird survey at Huguenot Park (Jacksonville) yielded a Purple Sandpiper (another rarity), a Hooded Merganser male and a resident Osprey.
The rest of my “ten best” birds were seen at the Beach and San Pablo ponds in Jacksonville. Returning birds there included Ring-necked Ducks, Killdeer and a Wilson’s Snipe.
Finally, rounding out my “ten best” list was this Red-tailed Hawk, which I saw for the first time near the ponds.
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Phil Graham–Photo Naturalist