Winter is coming

The days are getting shorter again. We’ve already lost a minute and three seconds of daylight! I can feel the Seasonal Affective Disorder starting to take hold. Sigh.

Gina Kent of Gainesville’s own Avian Research and Conservation Institute has a request: “In the past you’ve helped locate Mississippi Kite nests for orphan chicks. Do you know of any active territories this year? Whether you’ve located the actual nest or not, it’s super helpful to know where birds are being seen regularly. Some chicks may be flighted and able to release with/near foraging adults and recent fledglings. Thanks for any help you can give. Folks can email me at with info.”

This may be the last email before the June Challenge ends on Saturday at midnight. So remember to send me your totals by then. We’re not counting Black Swan, Swan Goose, Greylag Goose, Indian Peafowl (peacock), or Helmeted Guineafowl this year (but Whooping Crane, Mallard of any description, and Muscovy Duck are all okay). So no need to worry about separating ABA countables from uncountables. We’ll be having our June Challenge party on Sunday the 8th. Details later.

Bob Carroll hiked out Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve yesterday morning and found the ever-elusive Hairy Woodpecker “about half way along the Red Trail on the western edge of the property, maybe about opposite the entrance.” I think Bob’s the only Alachua County birder who’s found one this June. Here’s a trail map for reference (with the Red Trail marked R):

There have been a few sightings of Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at Sweetwater Wetlands Park lately. Cindy Boyd saw it most recently, at 8:15 on the evening of the 25th, from the roofed shelter on the back side of Cell 2, looking at the opening in the trees where Sweetwater Canal used to be. Adam Zions had seen one at Sweetwater on the previoius evening.

Cindy also sighted a Broad-winged Hawk at San Felasco’s Millhopper Road parking lot on the 27th, and sent this great email: “Just as I was almost off the trail, about 50 yards east of the kiosk on the yellow trail, I heard the Broad-winged calling. I looked up and couldn’t see it. It sounded just a little north of me. So I whipped out my phone and played the call a couple of times. Within 30 seconds it was soaring right overhead. I’m so glad I fell in love with birds!”