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.

Red-necked Grebe

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.

Razorbill

Razorbill

The other new bird for me, a Red-throated Loon, was also seen on the CBC.

Red-throated Loon

Red-throated Loon

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.

Common Eider

Common Eider

Bufflehead

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.

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull

A shorebird survey at Huguenot Park (Jacksonville) yielded a Purple Sandpiper (another rarity), a Hooded Merganser male and a resident Osprey.

Purple Sandpiper

Purple Sandpiper

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

Osprey

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.

Ring-necked Ducks

Ring-necked Ducks

Killdeer

Killdeer

Wilson's Snipe

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.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

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Thanks again,

Phil Graham–Photo Naturalist

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