January 2015 Home & Away
HOME– First the birds I saw this month in Jacksonville. Red-shouldered hawks are common here year-round, but are always worth another look, especially up close.
Around two dozen Ruddy ducks continue to winter at Hanna Park–mostly females and a couple of males.
Along with the usual Anhingas and Brown pelicans, and some Robins passing through.
Other local birds I saw included Ring-necked ducks, a thrasher and an eagle looking for a meal.
Eastern bluebirds were also plentiful, but getting a good look at the “blue side” (back) of the bird is usually difficult, since they often face the sun when feeding.
AWAY – I also had the opportunity to do some birding downstate (Orlando-Titusville-Daytona) where I saw a good number of ducks, including scaup, shovelers, gadwall, wigeon, pintail and teal.
Also, a Reddish egret in breeding colors, and American Avocets.
Finally, a new bird for my “life list”, a Common merganser. A winter rarity in Florida this bird like other ducks usually looks more graceful in the water than on land.
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Phil Graham–Photo Naturalist