Two thirds of the way!

A reminder from Becky Enneis: “Please send only photos taken in June 2018 of birds that were in Alachua County. I’d like to start working on the slide show now, so don’t wait until the end of the month to send them. And I like photos of June Challenge birders in action, too! Send those if you have them.” Becky is at

Remember to submit your Alachua County results to me by midnight on June 30th (but if you’re outside of Alachua County, submit your results to Susan O’Connor at

There will be a June Challenge party at Becky Enneis’s place in Alachua on Sunday, July 8th, during which the results will be announced and the awards will be presented.

Now that the official business is out of the way, let’s get to the birds. The month of June is 2/3 over; you’ve got ten days to beef up your list and win this contest! I’m rooting for you, but don’t tell the others I said so.

Until yesterday the only King Rails reported this month had come from Sweetwater Wetland Park, one by Monica LeClerc on the 6th and one by Jonathan Mays on the 15th. But on the 19th Chris Cattau wrote, “King Rails have been very hard to come by this year (at least for me), but I finally got my eyes on one around 7:30 yesterday evening at Levy Lake Loop. It crossed the levee about 50 yards before the first covered bench along the north side of the prairie (so taking a right out of the parking lot it was a little over a mile down the trail). Also heard another call nearby.” Chris’s photo above. By the way, the “cough call” of the Least Bittern can easily be mistaken for a King Rail. In fact, I have a bad feeling that a pretty large percentage of the King Rails I’ve reported to eBird over the years were actually Least Bitterns (call begins at 0:04):

On the morning of the 14th, Dalcio Dacol saw a dark-morph Short-tailed Hawk “fly over SE 15th Street just a bit south of Boulware Springs Park. It seemed to be coming from the Prairie and moving in the general direction of Newnans Lake.” That’s the only Short-tailed reported in the county this month, though Andy Kratter saw a white-morph in the same general area around mid-morning on May 28th. Could they be nesting at Sweetwater Preserve or an adjacent part of Paynes Prairie? Anyway, sounds like a good area to stake out.

Chris Cattau – who’s certainly doing better than I am this month! – saw the drake Blue-winged Teal at Sweetwater Wetlands Park at 8 on Sunday evening. He wrote, “He’s here now but I didn’t see it when I walked by 2 hours ago.”

I asked Geoff Parks if he’d seen or heard the American Robin in his neighborhood recently. He said he’d been too busy to keep track, but he added, “My experience is that they sing really early in the morning—in May I heard him singing before any other diurnal birds were vocal. Really late in the evening as well. At more ‘normal’ times they’re not as obvious.” At 7:20 on the evening of the 19th he wrote, “Two males countersinging right now, one at NE 7th Terrace south of NE 23rd Avenue, one a block or so east.”

If you have an interest in ducks, geese, and swans, you might be interested in this new guide:

Here’s an instance of kleptoparasitism that would do a Pomarine Jaeger proud: