Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A great meeting

St. Johns Audubon President Dan Hayes kicked off a great meeting last night, with many members reporting interesting bird sightings they have had in the last month. He then introduced us to our speaker for the evening, biologist and educator Mike Adams.

Mike had brought with him an eclectic series of displays relating to his topic of discussion, the conservation management of his property - the 94-acre Saturiwa Conservation Area.

Mike gave a fascinating lecture about the history of his property, located on the historic St. Johns River, both  since his own purchase of the property in 1989, and the years before that. He also spent quite a bit of time on the natural history of the property also, and the many species of birds and animals that frequent the place at different times of the year.

Later he answered questions from the audience, and offered his ecological field guide (ISBN 13: 978-0-615-69807-6). Note to Audubon members and fans, Mike offers guided tours of his property, and we plan to put him our our Field Trip agenda for the 2013-14 season!

In the meantime, more to come later, but note on your calendars:
May 14 - nature walk at Alpine Groves Park
May 20 - next Audubon chapter meeting at the St. Augustine Public Library
May 25 - field trip to Anastasia State Park

And then hopes that everyone will have a great summer. We may have more to follow here as well about the Shorebird Bird Stewarding program.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

April Chapter meeting

Where: St. Augustine Public Library 
When:  Monday, April 29
Time:  6:00 - 8:00 PM

Our next chapter meeting is coming up tomorrow night. Alas, our scheduled speaker had to back out at the last minute due to an unexpected surgery. But we'll still have a program to present to you! And other birders there to share experiences with. The meetings are always fun, so we hope you'll join us tomorrow night.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A sunny day for the birds

It was a warm and sunny day for our Neighborhood Nature Walk at the St. Johns Agricultural Center on Tuesday. What a change from last week's weather. There were five of us who showed up to see what birds might be seen on a warm spring morning.

There were mockingbirds a-plenty, singing so lustily that they nearly drowned out any other birds we might have had a hope of hearing. There were a few birds heard faintly in the distance - a northern parula, a Carolina chickadee, but it was hard to hear others.

Sadly we didn't see as many as we had hoped either. There were no herons, egrets, ibises or water birds in any of the ponds we passed. And we had hoped to see some warblers but our hunt was sadly lacking in that regard also.

We saw a single Savannah sparrow hopping in the distance.

And one of the overheard wires gave us several good views of a loggerhead shrike.

One serious hunt finally yielded a few good views of a brown thrasher, who had mostly kept himself just hidden enough to be hard to spot, ID, or photograph.

Among some of the good birds we didn't get photos of were the multiple killdeer, a great crested flycatcher, and a brown-headed nuthatch! Probably our best bird was the yellow-bellied sapsucker we all saw right in the parking lot as we were getting ready to start out on the walk.

However in my previous blog post, when I had said we might see other wildlife as well, it was not alligators I had in mind!

Despite the lack of birds it was still a nice morning to be out and about with other like-mined people, all sharing a common interest and enjoying the birds. Our total tally came to 18 species (unless someone reminds me of one or two I forgot) - those species being:

Turkey Vulture
Red-shouldered Hawk
Mourning Dove
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Great Crested Flycatcher
Loggerhead Shrike
Carolina Chickadee
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Eastern Bluebird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Northern Parula
Yellow-rumped warbler
Savannah Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird

Monday, April 8, 2013

Nature Walk - Agricultural Center

When: Tuesday, April 9, 9:00-11:00 AM
Meet: at front of the Ag Center

We hope you can join us tomorrow for our next scheduled Neighborhood Nature Walk. The Ag Center is always a favorite spot for nature walks because of its diversity which includes a native plant arboretum, vegetable gardens, fields for sparrows, ponds for long-legged waders, and power lines and fences which often sport bluebirds, doves, kestrels and more. You never know what you’ll find there. Everyone is
welcome on this easy walk.

Certainly we had a wonderful variety of birds seen here on our previous Nature Walk at the Ag Center, back in November. Now let's see what sort of birds the spring season may bring us!

And not only birds! We may see other wildlife there as well. The weather reports are predicting a nice morning, so it should be a great day for the birds.