Gentlemen, start your engines...

The June Challenge begins on Friday. This will be the third statewide (but
the ninth for Alachua County). For those new to the list I'll give a quick
summary: The June Challenge is a friendly competition designed to keep us
birding through the summer heat rather than cowering inside like a bunch
of, pardon the language, non-birders. The aim of the competition is to see
as many species as possible in a given county between June 1st and June
30th. The rules were laid down in 2004 by Alachua's Becky Enneis, who
originated the Challenge:

   1. Count only birds found within a single county. Explore your home
   turf. Find some new birding spots. (Doing more than one county is
   permissible, but each must be reported separately. No cumulative totals.)
   2. Each bird on your list must be seen, not just heard.
   3. You'll be competing with birders in your own county to see which of
   you can amass the longest individual list (i.e., Find Your Own Damn
   Titmouse), but let the other contestants know if you find something good so
   they can go out and look for it. It is, after all, a *friendly* competition.
   4. Any free-flying bird is countable for the purposes of the Challenge,
   but keep track of how many ABA-countable and non-countable species are on
   your list. Report them in this format: Total (ABA countable /
   non-countable), e.g., 115 (112 / 3). The list of ABA-countable birds is
   5. Send your list to me for the final compilation by midnight on Sunday,
   July 1st.

Last year we had over 68 birders who participated: over 63 submissions from
25 Florida counties, plus submissions from counties in California,
Delaware, Texas, and England. The final results were reported here:

Hints for new Challengers: Bird as much as you can during the first and
last weeks of the month, to get late spring and early fall migrants. Those
of you in landlocked counties, check your big lakes for coastal strays like
gulls, terns, and pelicans.

Finally, here's something to think about this year (and every year through
2016): You can easily work on the Breeding Bird Atlas while you're doing
The June Challenge. Sign up for an atlasing block by contacting BBA
coordinator Rick West at [log in to unmask]

Rex Rowan

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