December 2013 Four New
December went out with a bang with four new “life birds”! The most spectacular was a Snowy owl which was first sighted in Duval county (Jacksonville) December 28. I believe the last one was reported in 1999, almost 15 years ago.
Also showing up the week before was this male Harlequin duck, another rare visitor to Florida.
Earlier in the month, over in Gainesville (Alachua county), I saw my first Rusty blackbird and a Common goldeneye.
I saw several pairs of ducks (male and female) on local ponds, including Canvasbacks, Hooded mergansers, Ruddy ducks, Blue-winged teal, Redheads and Ring-necked ducks.
I also got some close views of other birds this month–a Purple sandpiper, Red-shouldered hawk, Chipping sparrow, Black Skimmer, Lesser Black-backed gull and Sanderling.
Finally, to top it off, my best look at an American kestrel to date!
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Phil Graham–Photo Naturalist