Saturday, July 12, 2014

2014 Jay Watch, Part 1

I headed out for the next Florida Scrub Jay count called Jay Watch for the 7th year? Loosing count by now. I have been there since the beginning. I was split between two sites this year and the first was at Buck Lake near Mims just North of Titusville, Florida. This area has had over 8 inches of rain in the past month and was wetter than any previous counts I have helped with.

Once the sunlight broke through the clouds the humidity was nearly overwhelming. Luckily, we found our first, and only, group of Scrub Jays at our first point. At least three birds were in this group and we began to try to get band colors as the sweat began to soak our clothes.

Florida Scrub Jay

The Florida Scrub Jays were not too cooperative and flew into and out of the oak nearby. Getting the birds in any good lighting was a chalenge.

Florida Scrub Jay

Finally, one of the Florida Scrub Jays came out to the edge of the branches and provided a good look for us to get a verify Green/Green/Dark Green/Silver on this adult bird.

Florida Scrub Jay

One more quick look before they all headed back into the branches and then we were off again to our next stops.

Florida Scrub Jay

We found no other Scrub Jays on our route today but that is how it goes from time to time. Other groups had some birds in their areas. On one of our last points I walked deeper into the scrub to try to locate other birds. Instead, I nearly stepped on baby Gopher Tortoise wandering through the landscape.

Gopher Tortoise

I was drawn even deeper into the scrub in hopes of getting a shot of the calling Bob White Quail I was hearing when a Loggerhead Shrike also honed in on the calls to investigate. Appears to me it was a juvenile checking out the noise.

Loggerhead Shrike

One of the members of today's watch managed to get a group shot of the bunch before we all left for the day. That's me in the green shirt with binoculars. I had been wearing my Jay Watch shirt for the past two years but I wore that one totally out. Back to my banding outfit.

Florida Scrub Jay Group

I couldn't resist the chance to get over to Black Point Drive in Titusville on the way home. I hadn't been there in ages. I had forgotten that they now charge a fee to get in there now. Had to dig around for the five dollars left on me. Not the best time of day or year to visit, but... Without many birds in view, I had to settle for a shot of flowers like the Gallardia blooming all along the Drive.


Midway along the drive I found a pair of Reddish Egrets bickering over feeding spots. Nice to see them again.

Reddish Egret

Trying to hide among the mangroves, a female Anhinga watches as I cruise by in the backstretch of the area.


The most seen species at Black Point today was the Red-winged Blackbirds. Females were flying here and there but the males were up and calling from spots all along the property.

Red-winged Blackbird

Tomorrow I head back to the other Jay Watch area, Lake Monroe Conservation Area and hope to find more Florida Scrub Jays to add to the count. I also find other interesting discoveries there from year to year. We shall see.

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