Gainesville birding news! (If “birding” is very, very loosely defined.)

From: Rex Rowan <>
To: Alachua County birding report

The Alachua Audubon Society invites you – members and non-members alike – to celebrate conservation, birds, and the holidays at our Holiday Social at 6:30 on Friday evening. This festive event will include hors d’oeuvres, beverages, and a silent auction – one of our important annual fund raising events. This year’s Holiday Social will be held at the Mill Pond Clubhouse. Directions: From Newberry Road, turn south on NW 48th Boulevard (across from Gainesville Health & Fitness). Drive south about 2 blocks. Look for tennis courts on the right. The Clubhouse is right next to the tennis courts on the right. Look for our Alachua Audubon signs! Here’s a map if you need one. You can park anywhere along the entrance road.

There’s a new pay station, and a raised entrance fee, at La Chua: “We have moved the honor box for La Chua Trail from the trail head to smack in the middle of Camp Ranch Road effective Friday, December 5th. The fee will now be $4.00 per car for everyone using the parking area (including Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail users). The fee will be for all vehicles parking in that lot (whether accessing the La Chua Trail or the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail). Visitors put the fee in the envelope, tear off the stub, put the envelope with fee in the honor box, then put the stub on their vehicle dash. If they have an FPS annual pass or Friends membership card, they can place that on their dash instead of the envelope stub.” (An FPS annual pass is good for admission to all of Florida’s state parks; a Friends of Paynes Prairie membership card is good for 12 admissions to Paynes Prairie per year.)

Don’t forget that you can set up carpooling for Alachua Audubon field trips, using the “Leave a Reply” function of the individual field trip pages on the web site. Here are the pages for the next three field trips (including Saturday’s walk at La Chua):

I noted half a dozen Ring-billed Gulls flying over the Waldo Road Walmart on the 25th, and I figured that gulls would be in all the area parking lots thereafter, but I haven’t seen even one since then. There were, however, about 100 on Newnans Lake on the 27th, and a flock of 13 Herring Gulls flew over Tuscawilla Prairie on the 29th, probably bound from the Atlantic Coast to the Gulf Coast.

On the 24th Linda Terry wrote, “Just witnessed 3 crows killing another crow. I knew it was possible but had never witnessed it.” I asked if the corvicidal trio had eaten the dead bird afterward, and she replied, “They were trying to eat some.” I guess that’s why they call it a murder of crows.

If you have Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” streaming service, you can sit down this very minute and enjoy “Birders: The Central Park Effect,” a very good one-hour film about the birds and birders of New York City’s Central Park. The trailer is here (I should note that the only instance of bad language in the movie made it into the trailer): Incidentally, one of the birders interviewed in the film, Catherine Hamilton (the younger woman at 0:26 in the trailer) is an excellent bird artist:

Did you see in the Sun that 1,000 acres of land between Waldo Road and Newnans Lake is being set aside as a state forest? Yes sir it is: Click on the little map immediately to the left of the photo to see the extent of it.

Last of all, since the Christmas Bird Count is approaching, here’s a special request for those of you who live within the Gainesville Count circle – essentially Gainesville, Micanopy, and Rochelle: Please keep an eye on your feeders, and if you’re getting daily visits from any unusual birds, like a hummingbird, a Dark-eyed Junco, a Pine Siskin, a Purple Finch, a Painted Bunting, or anything else that strikes you as out of the ordinary, please send me an email and let me know. We’ll be sure that a Christmas Count team stops by and tries to add it to the day’s tally.