Results of The June Challenge

Deep, deep in the labyrinthine recesses of the Alachua Audubon Society web site are some rarely-visited pages. One of the most interesting and useful – or so we thought when we created it – is “Meet the Birders of Alachua County,” which displays a photographic gallery of birders you might meet on the trail. “Who was that long-haired hippie?” you might think, and looking through the photos – which can be enlarged by clicking on them – you’d say, “Aha! It was Andy Kratter!” Or, “Who was that fellow with the noble beard, the beard of a prophet?” And you’d look at the “Meet the Birders” page and say, “So THAT’S Bob Simons!” See how useful that can be? However Alachua County has many more birders than photos in the gallery. So if you’re not in there, please send me a recognizable photo of yourself, with or without binoculars, and I’ll add it to the page.

The bicentennial of the birth of Henry David Thoreau is coming up on July 12th. I stole a rock from Walden Pond in 1980, so I’ll take that out and contemplate it. You should do something too, to commemorate the birth of the man who wrote, “I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.” One thing I especially like about Thoreau is his emphasis on knowing your own local patch: “Give me the old familiar walk, post office and all, with this ever new self, with this infinite expectation and faith, which does not know when it is beaten. We’ll go nutting once more. We’ll pluck the nut of the world, and crack it in the winter evenings. Theaters and all other sightseeing are puppet-shows in comparison. I will take another walk to the Cliff, another row on the river, another skate on the meadow, be out in the first snow, and associate with the winter birds. Here I am at home. In the bare and bleached crust of the earth I recognize my friend.” A great American naturalist. A great American, period.

Mike Manetz won the Fourteenth Annual June Challenge with a total of 117 species, none of them non-countable exotics. Lloyd Davis and Anne Casella tied with 112 ABA-countable species, but Lloyd broke the tie and earned second place by finding four exotics in addition to his ABA-countable birds. Mike, Lloyd, and Anne all saw remarkably high percentages of the 121 species seen in Alachua County during June. In 2012, I won the Challenge by seeing 90% of the total number of species recorded. By comparison, Lloyd and Anne saw 92.6% and Mike saw an amazing 96.7%. Great performances all! In the under-16 category, Nora Parks-Church won first place with 71 species, Maddy Knight won second place with 65 species, and Owen Parks-Church won third place with 63 species. All 44 of this year’s participants should give themselves a pat on the back for a job well done. Photos below show Lloyd Davis receiving his award and Mike Manetz receiving the trophy at the June Challenge party that Becky Enneis hosted on July 8th. Special thanks to Danny Shehee for being the official photographer. The final results are below the pictures, and the count of all the bird species seen in Alachua County during June is at the bottom.


Mike Manetz 117/0
Lloyd Davis 112/4
Anne Casella 112/0
Danny Shehee 111/4
Chris Cattau 110/3
Howard Adams 109/3
Brad Hall 108/3
Rex Rowan 108/0
Craig Parenteau 106/0
Deena Mickelson 103/3
Cindy Boyd 101/3
Tina Greenberg 101/3
Barbara Shea 101/3
Jennifer Donsky 100/0
John Hintermister 95/0
Austin Gregg 94/0
Debbie Segal 92/1
Conrad Burkholder 92/0
Bob Knight 85/1
Colleen Cowdery 83/0
Pratibha Singh 82/0
Erin Kalinowski 79/0
Bob Carroll 77/0
Trina Anderson 76/0Geoff Parks 75/0
Glenn Israel 73/0
Danny Rohan 72/1
Linda Holt 72/0
Nora Parks-Church 71/0
Adam Zions 71/0
Barbara Woodmansee 70/0
Bob Simons 66/0
Tom Wronski 66/0
Maddy Knight 65/0
Becky Enneis 64/0
Owen Parks-Church 63/0
Sue Pulsipher 58/0
Scott Knight 54/0
John Martin 48/0
Emily Schwartz 48/0
Erika Simons 43/0
Will Sexton 37/0 (Will specifies that he saw 37 species in June WITHOUT doing a June Challenge)
Debbie Spiceland 37/0
Cayley Buckner 20/0

Scott Flamand writes, “I am never in the same area for all of June. So I have yet to do the Challenge. This year I made up my own. It is a multi-state challenge. The rule was that I had to see every bird from inside my car. I traveled 4986 miles across ten states. My numbers were 146/1. There were a few nice birds like Varied Bunting, Mexican Jay, White-headed Woodpecker, Williamson’s Sapsucker, Arizona Woodpecker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, and Acorn Woodpecker. My one non-ABA bird was a Black-throated Magpie-Jay south of San Diego, where there’s a small population descended from escaped pets. I also picked up a lifer, but not from my car (a Rose-throated Becard).”

Alachua County’s June Challengers found 121 species during the month, or 126 counting the exotics. They included rare breeders like Broad-winged Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Hairy Woodpecker, and Gray Catbird, semi-regular visitors like Whooping Crane, Brown Pelican, and American White Pelican, and a few late and early migrants like Blue-winged Teal, Spotted Sandpiper, Louisiana Waterthrush, and American Redstart. Only a handful of really unexpected birds were seen, an injured Gadwall at Newnans Lake, a drake Ring-necked Duck stranded for some reason at Barr Hammock, and an adult male Painted Bunting singing at the La Chua Trail one afternoon. Here’s the complete list in the new and even-more-confusing American Ornithological Society order, with asterisks marking the exotics:

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
*Swan Goose
*Greylag Goose
*Black Swan
Muscovy Duck
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Mottled Duck
Ring-necked Duck
*Helmeted Guineafowl
Northern Bobwhite
*Indian Peafowl
Wild Turkey
Pied-billed Grebe
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Common Ground-Dove
White-winged Dove
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Common Nighthawk
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
King Rail
Purple Gallinule
Common Gallinule
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Whooping Crane
Black-necked Stilt
Spotted Sandpiper
Laughing Gull
Wood Stork
Double-crested Cormorant
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Least Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Swallow-tailed Kite
Mississippi Kite
Bald Eagle
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged hawk
Short-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Barn Owl
Eastern Screech-Owl
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Burrowing Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Loggerhead Shrike
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Purple Martin
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
House Sparrow
House Finch
Eastern Towhee
Bachman’s Sparrow
Yellow-breasted Chat
Eastern Meadowlark
Orchard Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Louisiana Waterthrush
Prothonotary Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Pine Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Summer Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Painted Bunting