Big Talbot and Fort Clinch – a birding twofer

Big Talbot Island State Park (Duval County, FL) opens at sunrise – perfect for birders. I often start here, bird for a couple of hours, and then drive north to Fort Clinch State Park, which opens at 8:00 AM. At Big Talbot, wading birds are returning to Spoonbill Pond. This week there was a smallContinue reading “Big Talbot and Fort Clinch – a birding twofer”

Mannerly Laughing Gulls

One day, I came out of a sandwich shop juggling a soft-drink and a single slice of pizza draped precariously across a paper plate. As I stepped through the door, something large and white whooshed past my shoulder. I looked down to discover every bit of cheese had been lifted from my pizza. Although manyContinue reading “Mannerly Laughing Gulls”

Is it a Mallard or Mottled?

David W. Foster is one of the top birders in Duval County, Florida. He is also a regional reviewer for ebird.org, and follows-up on data submitted to the web site. I recently submitted a list that reported 33 Mottled Ducks at Spoonbill Pond (Big Talbot Island State Park, Duval County, FL). David was kind enoughContinue reading “Is it a Mallard or Mottled?”

Skeeters, Rain, and Closed Bathrooms

GTM Reserve officially re-opens tomorrow (June 6, 2020), and visitors will once again pay a small fee to access the park. The web site says that the bathrooms at the park’s entrance will remain closed for renovations, but visitors can use the Port-o-let in the interim. Maybe. Last week it was gross. This week, IContinue reading “Skeeters, Rain, and Closed Bathrooms”

Birding on the GTM Red Trail

Yesterday was my day off, so instead of birding in the afternoon, I was able to get an early start. I arrived at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM Research Reserve) just before sunrise. I wanted to traverse the Red Trail, which is the reserve’s longest at 5.8 miles. I had packedContinue reading “Birding on the GTM Red Trail”

Eighteen Miles on a Xooter Scooter

This week, I returned to Camp Milton, where I rode my Xooter scooter to the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail intersect, turned left, and headed west. But this day was different than the others. Changing the pushing-foot on my scooter came naturally – and switching feet regularly increased my endurance. I also carried a lightweight backpack, whichContinue reading “Eighteen Miles on a Xooter Scooter”

Birding on Dune Ridge Trail

Although I’ve visited Little Talbot Island State Park (Florida) several times, I’ve never walked the Dune Ridge Trail. So this week, I decided to investigate this four-mile loop. Driving into the park, there is a crosswalk. The trail starts here, and this is where most people begin their hike. Passing through the ranger’s booth, hikersContinue reading “Birding on Dune Ridge Trail”

Birding at GTM Research Reserve

Yesterday I went to Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM Research Reserve), which is one of my favorite birding spots. Since most people who visit here are nature-lovers, who simply want to relax in peace, it is usually quiet enough to practice birding by ear. The entry to the reserve is along A1A,Continue reading “Birding at GTM Research Reserve”

Birding and the Xooter – The Paths Intersect

Scooter-birding at Big Talbot Island A couple of weeks ago, I took my Xooter scooter to the bicycle trail at Big Talbot Island (Jacksonville, FL). I parked at the trail’s mid-point lot and traveled south, a distance of roughly 2 miles (4 miles round-trip). I was eager to test my skills on this curving, meanderingContinue reading “Birding and the Xooter – The Paths Intersect”

Fiddler Crabs

One of my favorite places to go birding is Spoonbill Pond at Big Talbot Island State Park (Jacksonville, FL). Over the past two weeks, the pond has had a greenish cast. Today there was algae along the bank, and the water level seemed low. Although I spotted forty species, there were few birds in theContinue reading “Fiddler Crabs”