Whooping Crane and Belted Kingfisher, among other surprises

Has anyone found a dark blue field bag with an over-the-shoulder strap? I seem to have lost it. It was a nice one – a gift from Lloyd Davis – and it contained a small Panasonic camera, a Garmin Dakota GPS device, a Belomo hand lens, a laser pointer, a tape measure, and a compass. I’ve looked around the house and in the trunk of my car, so I must have put it down while birding and then walked away from it.

If your June Challenge list needs some San Felasco birds – Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Hooded Warbler, Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Vireos – join me at 8 a.m. Saturday at San Felasco’s Millhopper Road parking lot and we’ll do our best to check ’em off.

As I mentioned in the last birding report, Jennifer Donsky sighted a Brown Pelican from the boardwalk at La Chua on the 4th. I went down there right away and looked around, but I never saw it. On the 5th Bob Carroll emailed to tell me that it was still there, but that I needed to scan carefully to the southwest. So I went down there right away and looked around, but I never saw it. On the 6th Erin Kalinowski emailed to tell me that it was still there, to the southwest. So this morning I went down there and looked around, but I never saw it. Is this some kind of practical joke?

Two Belted Kingfishers were found this morning. Tom Wronski photographed this one at Sweetwater Wetlands Park. And Jennifer Donsky found another at the Tuscawilla Prairie. We occasionally see early arrivals from the north in late June, but it’s rare to find kingfishers at any other time of the month. These must be spending the summer.

Jennifer – who is kicking some serious birdie butt – also found a Whooping Crane at Tuscawilla this morning. This is the younger of the two Whooping Cranes that have been spending time in Alachua County in recent years. She fledged from a wild nest in Lake County in 2015, so she’s now three years old. She tends to favor the area around the Alachua-Marion county line, having been seen as far north as the Kanapaha Prairie and the southern edge of Paynes Prairie and as far south as McIntosh. She’s been at Tuscawilla since February.

Geoff Parks writes, “There’s at least one American Robin in our neighborhood again this year. We found a singing male on NE 7th Terrace near 23rd Avenue around 8 pm on the 1st.”

Bob Knight saw a Broad-winged Hawk on the 5th, over the intersection of I-75 and US-441 in Alachua. That’s the second Broad-winged reported this month; the first was at the Canterbury Equestrian Center just east of Newberry on the 3rd.

Adam Zions had mentioned to me that he often sees White-winged Doves in the neighborhood around Home Depot Pond. I’d never noticed that myself, but Linda Hensley saw one there on the 5th, “sitting on top of a lamp next to the pond,” so he must be right.

I haven’t heard any Northern Flicker reports, but Lloyd Davis eBirded them from the Watermelon Pond Wildlife and Environmental Area on both the 1st and the 5th. Has anyone checked for them at Northeast Park?

There are several species that can be tough to get on The June Challenge. If you see something good – Hairy Woodpecker, Blue-winged Teal, King Rail, Short-tailed Hawk, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Barn Owl, that sort of thing – be sure to let me know, so that I can share it with everyone else. Remember, it’s a friendly competition. Many a Florida birder has told me that his or her county lacks a cohesive birding community; “It’s not like Gainesville,” they tell me. We’re fortunate here. We’re friendly. So make it a friendly competition and share your good finds. Or I’ll punch you in the nose.

Remember your write-ins, if you’re using an electronic or printed checklist: Mallard, Burrowing Owl, Ring-billed Gull, Spotted Sandpiper, Common Loon, Bobolink, Snail Kite, American Robin.