I’ve talked about the June Challenge before but for those newer to the blog I will go over the parameters of this particularly fun game of birding. The following was sent out by Rex Rowan from Gainesville Florida and summarizes it all.
The June Challenge begins on Sunday. This will be the fifth statewide (the eleventh 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 indoors like a bunch of, pardon my French, non-birders. The aim of the competition is to see as many species as possible within the boundaries of your county between June 1st and June 30th. The rules were laid down in 2004 by Alachua’s Becky Enneis, who originated the Challenge:
- Count only birds found within a single county, ideally the one you live in. Explore your home turf and find some new birding spots. (Doing more than one county is permissible, but each must be reported separately.)
- Each bird on your list must be seen, not just heard. There have been complaints in the past about the no-heard-birds rule. The most substantial objection involved the possibility that secretive birds would be harassed until they came into view. To this I’ll simply say: Respect the birds. Use tapes judiciously and avoid harassment. Rely on patience and birding skill.
- You’ll be competing with birders in your own county to see who can amass the longest individual list, but let the others know if you find something good so they can go out and look for it. It is, after all, a *friendly* competition. (A word about the individual competition. Some birders don’t like it, but it’s crucial to the Challenge. Counties with spirited competition make the most exciting discoveries, because the birders are always out looking for something new to beat their competitors. So the competition is both (a.) beside the point and (b.) absolutely essential. Both.)
- 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 number seen (number that are ABA countable / number that are not),” e.g., 115 (112 / 3). If your local population of an exotic species is recognized as established by the ABA, then any member of that population is an ABA-countable bird. Otherwise put it on your non-countable list. For instance, a bird belonging to an established population of Monk Parakeets would be ABA-countable. An escaped Monk Parakeet, or a Mute Swan in a city park, would not be.
- Send your list to me for the final compilation by midnight on Sunday, July 1st.
Last year we had 127 submissions from 29 Florida counties, plus submissions from counties in California (1), Colorado (4), Delaware (4), Georgia (2), New Mexico (1), and Texas (17), as well as one from Norfolk, England.
I started this morning at Wakodahatchee Wetlands. This is by far the easiest place to get pictures of a couple dozen species with very little effort. I was hoping to find the “Rare” but now long running Neotropic Cormorant and was happy to see it still near the nest. The skies were a little overcast but I still managed to pick up some nice species.
I next went over to Green Cay Wetlands and was able to add a few more species to my day list. The Least Bittern nest was the hot spot today as one of the eggs had hatched and both the male and the female were trading off turns sitting on the remaining eggs. This should make for some really great photography as the babies start climbing around. I did get a few shots but will wait till I get some better ones of the Bitterns. Here are a few from GC today.
The last place I recorded a bird was in the parking lot at home. We have had multiple families of Brown Thrashers around and this one posed nicely for me!
I’m going to try hard this year to photograph 100 species in the County this Month. Looking at Ebird I see that well over 125 species have been “seen” in the last week or so, so now it is just a matter of chasing them all down and hoping they all pose nicely for me!!!
Thank you so much for following and hopefully I’ll have a lot of posts for this month!!