Hillsborough County organized and entered the June Challenge fray this year. It just looked like too much fun to miss.
In this our inaugural year we tallied 152 species ABA, 153 FOS (that is, using the Florida Ornithological Society state checklist, which includes Black-hooded Parakeet). We did not keep an unestablished exotics list but it would have been well under 29 (I'll report our favorite found exotic though, a White-cheeked Pintail in the Thonotosassa area on a breeding bird survey morning).
We learned a lot about birds in June in Hillsborough. Many of us learned a lot more about the great birding at the under-birded Wolf Branch Creek ELAPP, and many of us were surprised to learn of the great variety of shorebirds that can be found in June on the spoil islands in Hillsborough Bay... though notably these spoil islands are off limits except to approved volunteers. We learned how hot Egmont Key can be in June... That would be 'very hot'. And we all learned or re-learned some quirks of Hillsborough County geography that helped reel in some Gulf species. If we can figure out how to pull it off, there may even be the possibility of a Hillsborough pelagic in some future year, heading straight west from Egmont. Or maybe not! Maybe just a fishing trip instead.
Special thanks are owed to the Hillsborough participants from whom we received lists, comments and suggestions. Contributors included Brian Ahern, Cameron Cox, Lauren Deaner, Rocky Milburn (creator of our Hillsborough Birding Facebook group, which proved to be invaluable for data sharing and organization as the month proceeded-- I'm a definite Facebook convert), Sandy Arrison, Dan Irizarry, Mark McRae, Walter Mangold, Tim Mann, Dave Goodwin, Erik Haney, Danny Sauvageau, Mary Keith, Jason Guerard, Roger Cornelius, and our all-important girl on the water, Carol Cassels. Likewise, Ron Smith from across the bay generously offered suggestions and encouragement to us in our first try.
I had a feeling we were off to a good start when Ahern reeled off 100 species on the first day and Cox had a Tropical Kingbird on day 4!
Our species list in very rough phylogenetic order:
Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Canada Goose, Muscovy Duck, Wood Duck, Mallard, Mottled Duck, Redhead, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Wild Turkey, Northern Bobwhite, Pied-billed Grebe, Northern Gannett, American White Pelican, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Magnificent Frigatebird, Least Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron,Tricolored Heron, Reddish Egret, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture,, Osprey, Swallow-tailed Kite, Bald Eagle, Cooper's Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Clapper Rail, Purple Gallinule, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Limpkin, Sandhill Crane, Black-bellied Plover, Wilson's Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Black-necked Stilt, Willet, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Long-billed Curlew, Dunlin,
American Avocet,Western Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Short-billed Dowitcher, Long-billed Dowitcher, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Caspian Tern, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Least Tern, Forster's Tern, Black Tern, Common Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Black Skimmer, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian-collared Dove, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Monk Parakeet, Black-hooded Parakeet, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Mangrove Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Eastern Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Burrowing Owl, Barred Owl, Common Nighthawk, Chuck-Will's-Widow Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Gray Kingbird, Tropical Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, Florida Scrub-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, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Northern Parula, Yellow-throated Warbler, Pine Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Summer Tanager, Eastern Towhee, Bachman's Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Bronzed Cowbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Finch, House Sparrow
Best regards and good birding to all,
Charlie FisherTampa, FL
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