Spring Venture to Jackson Park
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Because Wednesday is a hunting day at the gamelands, we decided to head to Jackson Park instead, and it turned out to be a great substitute as we finished the day with 68 species and 11 warbler species!
The day began foggy, cool and cloudy, with not many birds singing. Gray Catbirds abound in the park, and it was one of the first birds we got a glimpse of. As the morning progressed the fog cleared and the birds became much more active. American Redstarts were probably the most common warbler we had, seeing them on every trail we walked on. A Worm-eating Warbler teased us with its distant song, but we were unable to locate it. On the Warbler Trail, we had good looks at Northern Parula and White-eyed Vireo (extremely common here), as well as migrating Scarlet Tanagers and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, on their way to higher elevations. One of the highlights was a male Pileated Woodpecker foraging low on a tree within 15 feet of the group. Walking down the Bottomland Trail (opposite the Warbler Trail across the creek) we got excellent looks at Black-and-White and Hooded Warblers, as well as Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos. We also walked down the paved walkway on the Oklawaha Greenway, where we had excellent looks at Chestnut-sided Warbler and Common Yellowthroat.
After lunch we poked around the park a little longer, searching for any transient warblers that might be passing through. We were rewarded with excellent looks of a Palm Warbler, with a beautiful yellow wash extending from the breast to the undertail coverts, and pumping its tail.
We finished the day at Hooper Lane, where we were amazed to find a flock of over 150 Bobolinks in the alfalfa fields on the Jeffress Road end. Much of the area was still flooded from all the rain we got just a few days before, but most of the shorebirds had moved on. We were able to located 2 distant Lesser Yellowlegs, the only shorebirds in sight, and we enjoyed watching the Tree and Barn Swallows swooping overhead, catching insects on the fly, with a lone Cliff Swallow mixed in. Though Jackson Park is best known for its productivity during fall migration, it's a great spot to visit during the spring as well!