July 2013 H & H Plus
July is usually a slow month for birding so I spent most of my time at Hanna & Huguenot Parks in Jacksonville (Duval County). You can always count on shorebirds at Huguenot with all the breeding activity (mainly terns and gulls) going on. However, we had a real treat this summer as several Scoters stayed at the park instead of making their usual trip to their northern (Canadian tundra) breeding grounds. The White-winged scoter was a “new” bird for me. While I’d seen the Black scoter before at some distance, usually flying by, I was glad to get a closer look this time.
The Oystercatcher chick showed some development since my last visit, but was still being fed oysters by the parents. And of course their were numerous Royal tern chicks on hand still begging to be fed. Wilson’s plovers, however, failed in their attempt to nest again this year.
I also saw my first of the season Reddish egret, along with the usual Osprey, Great Blue herons, Ruddy turnstones and Willets in the park.
Hanna Park also had some breeders. I saw a family of Common Gallinules (Moorhens). The chicks are kind of “ugly ducklings”, but eventually become attractive birds as adults.
Other water birds in the park included a Snowy egret and a Tricolored heron.
Also, the usual Anhingas, but this time a molting adult and a freshly plumed bird.
Osprey and Turkey vultures were on hand as well as a pair of Cardinals.
Finally, the “Plus” was having the opportunity to visit the Least tern breeding colony north of Huguenot to look for chicks. I didn’t see any chicks but there were plenty of adults and juveniles on the beach. For comparison I saw adult birds in summer and winter plumage.
And juveniles in gray and brown colors.
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Phil Graham–Photo Naturalist