Summertime, and the birdin’ is … sort of slow, actually

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

Well, we’re past the solstice. We’ve lost eleven minutes of daylight since June 21st; sunrise this morning was nine minutes later, sunset two minutes earlier. The birds have gotten quieter. I worked in my back yard for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon and during that time I heard only one American Crow and one Fish Crow. I saw a Great Crested Flycatcher, and it made me wonder when I last heard that familiar wheep! They’re usually silent during the latter half of the summer, and then start calling again in August, a few weeks before their departure for Latin American wintering grounds. When was the last time you heard a Northern Cardinal singing?

I did hear a Northern Mockingbird two days ago, imitating the song of an Eastern Phoebe, which it wouldn’t have heard since March.

Speaking of vocalizations, Frank Goodwin recorded a young Carolina Wren practicing its song in his yard on the 21st and posted it to xeno-canto. It’s a curiously random series of phrases, barely recognizable as a Carolina Wren:

The best bird seen in the past couple of weeks was a Shiny Cowbird, the county’s seventh-ever, that Lloyd Davis spotted at Sweetwater Wetlands Park on July 5th. He got a photo:

Equally interesting – perhaps more so – is a singing Painted Bunting reported in eBird by Jessica Burnett on the 11th. Mike Manetz made a general inquiry about this, and learned that Rick Stransky had seen a male in the same location the week before. This would be only the second July record for the species in the county, and its presence in midsummer raises the question of nesting. Painted Buntings have never nested in Alachua County, so this is intriguing. Keep an eye out for a female or a family group if you go out there this weekend.

Early fall migrants continue to show up … slowly. Barbara Shea saw a Greater Yellowlegs at La Chua on the 27th, and it was seen again on the 1st by Lloyd Davis. The fall’s first Spotted Sandpiper was reported at Sweetwater Wetlands Park by Trina Anderson on the 12th. Ben and Sam Ewing have found three Louisiana Waterthrushes in the Loblolly area in the two weeks beginning on the 30th, but the Black-and-white Warbler seen by Adam and Gina Kent at their SE Gainesville home on the 14th was the first since Tina Greenberg found one in her west Gainesville yard in the final days of the June Challenge.

I’m still blogging for the Gainesville Sun, though I didn’t accomplish much on my vacation. Here’s a post on Steven Goodman and Sam Ewing’s victory in Georgia’s Youth Birding Competition:

And here’s an Indigo Snake story: