THE MONTH IN REVIEW – JUNE 2014
A Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, first found in late May, was again reported at Florida Botanical Gardens on June 1st. Three different birds were at Brooker Creek Preserve June 8th with two still seen consistently thru the 17th. An amazing 11 Black-bellieds were at Sawgrass Lake Park June 6th (S.Tavaglione), and was the largest congregation ever reported in Pinellas. A pair of Canada Geese spent the early part of the month at Lake Pasadena. Redheads were at Tierra Verde in early June, one at Dunn WTF Jun 1st (W.Meehan), a female at the Tides Golf Club June 13th (J.Clayton & S.Tavaglione) and a male at Lake Maggiore June 15th(P.Plage). A Ring-necked Duck found across from Pinellas Park High School in late May was seen through the end of June (W.Meehan).
A Common Loon found at Gandy Beach June 10th (D.Sauvageau) was then spotted resting on the beach June 19-20 (M.Burns et al.). It is unknown if it died there or moved on. A photographed Horned Grebe between Caladesi and Honeymoon islands was a first for June in Pinellas (D.Sauvageau). A juvenile Northern Gannet was off St. Pete Beach June 8th (T.Ploger). Several flocks of American White Pelicans were noted in St. Petersburg, but none larger than the 68 photographed June 19th (S.Tavaglione). Larger still, was a flock of 120 over Three Rooker Bar Jun 4th (D.Sauvageau).
Four Short-tailed Hawks, all dark-morphs, were reported far from one another on June 7th. The only reported Purple Gallinule was one, mid-county, June 4th (J.Fisher).
Black-necked Stilts enjoyed a great breeding season in and around the Pinellas County Dump with at least 35 pairs noted (fide R.Smith). Four Greater Yellowlegs lingered at Three Rooker Bar Jun 4th (M.James, ph.) with at least one still there on the 18th (D.Sauvageau). Two Whimbrel were at the Skyway Rest Area Jun 6th (J.Clayton, ph.) and others were at South Anclote Key Jun 18th and Three Rooker Bar Jun 18th (both D.Sauvageau, ph.). White-rumped Sandpipers were at Three Rooker Bar (2) Jun 13th (P.Plage) and South Anclote Key (1) Jun 18th (D.Sauvageau). A Dunlin remained at Fort De Soto’s East Beach through at least June 7th (T.Ford et al.) with two others seen at Three Rooker Bar June 4th (M.James). An adult Great Black-backed Gull was photographed at Indian Shores June 21st (A.Nulph) and marked Pinellas’ first record of that species in June. A Gull-billed Tern was at Weedon Island Preserve Jun 1st (R.Harrod, ph.) and three others were well-photographed at the County Dump Lake Jun 8th (R.Smith et al.). The first Black Tern of June turned up at Fort De Soto Park on the 15th (E.Plage) and the 21 at South Anclote Key Jun 18th was the highest concentration (D.Sauvageau). Also on the 18th Sauvageau photographed 38 Common Terns at South Anclote.
Always difficult to find in June is Yellow-billed Cuckoo. There were several scattered reports this month; at Bonner Park Jun 2nd (S.Tess), at Boyd Hill Jun 3rd (J.Clayton), at Brooker Creek Jun 8th (M.Burns et al.), and at Brooker Creek Jun 19th (T.Mast, ph.). Quite the surprise must have been the adult Red-headed Woodpecker seen in flight at Mangrove Bay Jun 29th (D.Margeson). An Eastern Kingbird was also a surprise at Fort De Soto Park Jun 1st (S.Tavaglione) and more expected was one at Brooker Creek Jun 8th (T.Mast & R.Smith). Tape-recorded singing was a Black-whiskered Vireo, mid-Pinellas, Jun 21st (J.Fisher).
Brooker Creek Preserve was where five Brown-headed Nuthatches (locally high count) were seen and photographed Jun 8th (m.obs.). Rather south in Pinellas in June were a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers at Boyd Hill Jun 3rd (S.Tavaglione & J.Clayton). There was one, possibly two Gray Catbirds at Weedon Island Preserve Jun 13th (S.Tavaglione, ph., J.Clayton). The only reported Summer Tanager was a singing male at Brooker Creek Jun 8th (R.Smith & T.Mast, ph.). A great find was a pair of Blue Grosbeaks at Brooker Creek Jun 8th (M.James, ph., et al.). Margeson reported a fly-over Bobolink Jun 4th at north St. Petersburg.
July actually marks the beginning of fall migration for a lot of birds, especially the shorebirds. If you visit your favorite shorebird location a couple of times per week you’ll soon discover that on each visit there are a few more birds present than you what you’d seen the visit before. By the end of July expect good numbers of Semipalmated Plovers, Marbled Godwits, Red Knots, dowitchers and the small peeps. Watch, too, for an early returning Piping Plover.
The terns will have hatched their young by now and area beaches should see chicks of Least, Royal and Sandwich Terns begging their parents to be fed. If you check out Gandy Beach or the Courtney Campbell Causeway beach you’ll surely see dozens, if not hundreds of Black Terns, Least Terns and maybe an unexpected Gull-billed Tern. Common Terns are also present in July, but usually in low numbers.
If you’re a hummingbird fan you should think about putting up your feeder at the end of the month. You’ll have to clean it every 2-3 days because of the heat, but believe me they’ll find your feeder in late July. Not sure if they’re local breeding birds that are just dispersing afterwards or birds from farther north that are beginning their fall migration, but they can be seen more regularly in late July than the first week of the month.
Prothonotary and Hooded Warblers nest in Florida and annually are reported in Pinellas by the end of the month. They, too, are on the move. Others migrant passerine species to watch for during the month include Louisiana Waterthrush, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart and Orchard Oriole.