The Audubon Observer, October 2023
Hooray for our new 2023-2024 season for Duval Audubon Society. This marks the beginning of our monthly programs, field trips and special events. We started out in September with our Bird Walk for Beginners, Crosby Sanctuary Work Day followed by the Open House and lastly the monthly program meeting. We also started the fall season of our Lights Out Northeast Florida (LONF) initiative, which collects data on the impact of light pollution and building/window collisions on migratory birds. In October we will have a bird banding field trip, bird walks and a program featuring an author’s talk.
We are always looking for people to volunteer and contribute to our field trips and provide any good ideas for program events. We are also seeking a Director of Volunteers on the Board. Another position that will open in the spring is the Volunteer Manager for Lights Out Northeast Florida. Carol Bailey-White has been in that role and after doing an extraordinary job will be stepping down in December.
We are also in need of a volunteer to coordinate the annual Jacksonville Christmas Bird Count (CBC), typically held on the Saturday after Christmas at multiple locations within the Jacksonville CBC count circle. Please email us at email@example.com if you would be interested in (or have questions about) managing this important annual count in December.
I have to give a shout out to the two schools who helped out with the September Crosby workday. They cleaned up the trails, common areas and native plant garden. The Ridgeview High School Earth Club and St. Johns Country Day School's Interact Club provided almost 100 volunteer hours in one day!
~ Rich Egan, President
WHAT'S NEW AT CROSBY SANCTUARY
September was a great month at our Crosby Sanctuary! Fall migration season kicked into full swing by mid to late September. More on that later. The real stars of September were our wonderful volunteers and visitors who came to the workday on the 16th and open house on the 23rd. They were treated to one of the best Septembers in recent memory as far as weather and lack of mosquitos! Participants were treated to seasonally mild temperatures for September on both occasions. The dryer than usual early September also kept the mosquitos at bay.
At our first workday of the season we had a big contingent of students from Ridgeview High School and St Johns Country Day School, as Rich mentioned above. They helped do maintenance on the native plant garden, trails, birdfeeders, washed our tool trailer, and more. Together with our adult volunteers we logged 94 volunteer hours between 28 total volunteers! Thank you to all who participated.
At our first open house of the season we had 60 visitors show up through the course of the day! It was amazing to see so many folks who love nature out there enjoying themselves. The Ridgeview Earth Club overachievers showed up again and helped refresh the trail blazes on our red and green (hill top) trails north of the power lines. Thanks to Ridgeview HS biology teacher Donna Foley who organizes and leads them out there. Donna is also one of the best birders at Crosby who consistently finds great species of birds and records them on eBird's Crosby Hotspot page. Check it out!
Finally, the hawk watch starting at 10 AM was a hit. It started out slow but heated up with sightings of not one but two Short-tailed Hawks, one light morph and one dark morph!!! We also saw plenty of soaring vultures, Red-shouldered Hawks, an early American Kestrel, Wood Storks, White Ibis, Great Egrets, Anhinga, and more. Jessica Dyszel was the star of the show leading us on a bird walk and then the hawk watch. She helped many participants get new life birds such as Northern Waterthrush and Louisiana Waterthrush (not really thrushes but migrating warblers), which were actively foraging along both sides of the trail through the swamp. At one point we were able to hear them both calling and Jessica pointed out a slight but noticeable difference between their calls. So cool!
~ Pete Johnson, Vice President and Crosby Sanctuary Director
Hi everyone and happy Fall Birding to all. Possibly you are one of the many people who love all things Pumpkin Spice and the color orange, well it's YOUR time - enjoy it! I sure loved seeing the Blackburnian Warbler with the brilliant orange plumage that a birder friend was nice enough to point out for me recently at Hanna Park, so I guess I’m in good company.
Here are the highlights for both of our Bird Friendly projects: Shorebird Stewarding and Lights Out Northeast Florida:
The 2023 Shorebird Stewarding season has wrapped up successfully for the year! We are grateful to be able to provide bird stewarding volunteer services to all of our shorebird partners. This includes City of Jacksonville’s Huguenot Memorial Park leadership and staff, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Nassau County Parks & Recreation leadership and staff, US Fish and Wildlife, Florida Shorebird Alliance partners, and lastly, the Ribault Club for our 2023 Volunteer Kickoff event. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to protecting our endangered seabirds and shorebirds this year! We can’t wait to see you at the 2023 Volunteer Appreciation Lunch in October. The “2023 Florida Shorebird Alliance Data at Work Report” will be released in November, so please stay tuned for our next update on the good news!
As mentioned above, our Lights Out Northeast Florida (LONF) initiative is in full swing. With fall migration gaining steam, our dedicated volunteers are making a difference by walking established routes in downtown Jacksonville at dawn several days a week, and surveying bird deaths and injuries resulting from building and window collisions. We know this is very disheartening but do not despair - we have an action plan in progress. With the help of our amazing volunteers we now have almost three full years of survey data. This survey data is the golden ticket and driver for our 2023 awareness and outreach campaign. As of this month, we can report that our awareness events are beginning to take hold and gaining attention by our local legislature, our Mayor, corporations, and private citizens. We send a big thank you to Mike Taylor of the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens and his “Bird-Friendly Audit” service that we just started to offer to local businesses. One of the biggest wins is that Lindsey Pest Services is the first company to sign our Commercial Building Lights Out Pledge! We are sure that after Mike conducted the Bird Friendly Audit the pledge was a slam dunk! Thank you Lindsey Pest!
Downtown Vision, Inc. has been very helpful in getting our message out to many downtown stakeholders and decision makers. We have also been collaborating with National Audubon, Audubon Texas, and our Florida Chapters to unite forces and ignite awareness. As you may be aware, Kim Lamb has joined Duval Audubon’s Board of Directors as Program Manager - welcome, Kim we are so grateful to have you. Kim is not only a route walker for Lights Out Northeast Florida but has also joined the LONF Outreach Team! Kim has revised our volunteer package and has been leading bird friendly awareness initiatives for key corporations and their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) directors.
In closing, thank you to our two partners, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and St. John’s Regional Audubon. Their assistance, connections, knowledge and support is a game changer. Stay tuned for the next update, we are sure to make you smile.
~ Elizabeth Filippelli, Conservation Director for Duval County
OCTOBER BIG DAY
October Big Day is coming up on October 14th, and it's a great opportunity to join thousands of other nature lovers around the world and share your love of birds by counting and reporting all of the birds you find on that day (midnight to midnight in your time zone), no matter where you are!
Participating is easy: first, sign up for an eBird account if you don't already have one; second, watch birds during that day, for as little as ten minutes or as long as you like; and third, report your bird sightings to eBird - that's it! You can use the free eBird app to report your sightings on your phone (it's so easy), or report them on the eBird website. Your checklists will help scientists better understand global bird populations, serving to identify vulnerable species that need further attention and solutions to protect them. Plus, eBird is even providing free access to their spectacular Birds of the World database from 8am ET Friday, October 13th through 9am ET Monday, October 16th, so you can learn more about your favorite bird species all weekend.
October Big Day is a fun and exciting way to participate in worldwide community science efforts, so get out there and find some birds!
~ Carol Bailey-White, Editor
NASSAU COUNTY CONSERVATION
As a Nassau County resident and a Duval Audubon board member, I recently had the pleasure of attending a fall celebration meeting (replete with champagne) hosted by Conserve Nassau at the Amelia Island Story & Song Bookstore. The presentation focused on the organization’s multifaceted conservation work as well as its role in coordinating the Nassau Conservation Network (formerly known as Amelia Island Conservation Network).
A number of different speakers addressed the issues near and dear to the heart of Conserve Nassau: sustainable land use, promotion of wildlife corridors and native plants, preservation of dunes, and understanding the impact of climate change. While all the presentations were engaging, I particularly appreciated Dr. Frank Hopf’s talk on the Amelia Island dunes, detailing their past and present state along with what needs to be done to ensure their flourishing in years to come.
Key to Conserve Nassau’s mission is facilitating strategic communication and collaboration among local conservation organizations through the Nassau Conservation Network (NCN). This roundtable of major conservation and preservation groups (including Duval Audubon Society) is committed to coordinating efforts focused on protecting natural resources, marine, ocean, and wildlife. To encourage volunteer involvement, the website includes links to each of the participating organizations.
~ Nora Bertacchi, Corresponding Secretary
DUVAL AUDUBON ACTIVITIES IN OCTOBER
Here's what's happening this month:
Hope to see you soon!
Duval Audubon Society, Inc.