3rd Annual CBC4Kids Was For the Birds!
Kids were getting in on the Christmas Bird Count when Duval Audubon held its 3rd Annual CBC4Kids (Christmas Bird Count For Kids). Participants began by learning birding basics in a Binocular Boot Camp. Then they moved on to hit the trails with experienced birders to count as many birds they could in one hour.
Despite a cold and windy day, 36 children along with about 40 adults spotted over 200 birds and 26 different species. Highlights included a pair of Bald Eagles, a Barred Owl, a Red Shouldered Hawk, Pileated Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Pied-billed Grebes, Yellow-throated Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Northern Flickers. After tallying their findings, the children were treated to a program by the Jacksonville Zoo’s WILD Ambassadors. The Ambassadors introduced the children to a box turtle, armadillo, amazon parrot and a boa constrictor. Wild Birds Unlimited of Julington Creek and Publix provided the kids with refreshments and supplies.
The annual event is held each year at Camp Chowenwaw and is geared toward 8–16 year olds; although younger children still enjoy the day.
CBC4Kids is modeled after the centuries old Audubon Christmas Bird Count and celebrates nature, parks, education and outdoor family fun. A huge thanks to all of our volunteers and sponsors, Camp Chowenwaw, the WILD Ambassadors, Wild Bird Unlimited of Julington Creek and Publix. You helped make this year a wonderful success!
Let's Go to Trinidad in 2017!
In celebration of Asa Wright Nature Centre's 50th anniversary, they are offering to donate $100 to our chapter when anyone books a trip to Asa Wright Nature Centre in 2017 through Caligo Ventures. They offer guided group tours, independent birding ventures or relaxing lodge stays. They are having special anniversary tours featuring 'birding celebrities' throughout the year. You can go during one of those weeks or anytime during the year. Just remember to mention you would like the donation to go to Duval Audubon Society. For more information on booking your trip, go to caligo.com
Asa Wright Nature Centre has a rich history with Audubon. In 1967, visionary Audubon members rallied behind three influential people who had a dream. Renowned wildlife artist Don Eckelberry, prominent ornithologist and conservationist Erma Fisk and Russell Mason of Florida Audubon Society joined forces to make their dream become reality. Donors around the country helped them purchase the Spring Hill estate in the rainforest and the famous Oilbird cave thus creating the first non-profit, conservation focused trust and eco-lodge in the Carribean.
To get a sense of what you might see, take a look at one of our member's photos from a visit over New Year's last year. Trinidad and Tobago
Pete Johnson receives Grimes Environmental Award for 2016
Congratulations to our own Pete Johnson, this year's recipient of the Grimes Foundation Environmental Award. This award is presented annually by the Grimes Foundation and Duval Audubon Society to a deserving individual who has worked to make our environment and community a better place. Pete Johnson has devoted much effort over the years into conserving and improving habitat at our now 510 acre preserve in Orange Park, Florida. We are grateful for his efforts.
Carol Grimes presenting the award - photo courtesy of Carol Bailey-White
Retiring Board Member, Carole Adams, Recognized For Her Leadership With Audubon
Carole Adams, a longtime board member of Duval Audubon, was recognized at our monthly program meeting on November 21st, 2016 for her dedication and leadership to our chapter and Audubon’s mission.
Carole’s ‘spark bird’ was a Northern Cardinal which she recorded at the young age of ten while a Junior Audubon member living in Kansas with her grandparents. Fast forward twenty years and she found herself getting serious about birding and Audubon - so serious that she gave up being a passive member and became education chair of her local Audubon chapter in New York. It didn’t end there, however, and she became a board member and served two terms as chapter president. In June 1996 she received the Meritorious Service Award from the Council of New York State and the National Audubon Society.
After taking an early retirement from the New York State Office of Mental Health, she moved to Jacksonville in 1997. Carole says she had no intention of getting actively involved with the local Audubon chapter. She held out for a little over six months! Since that time she has been on the board of Duval Audubon serving in various capacities from Education Chair to President. In addition, she has been a Director on the Audubon of Florida Board.
Carole notes that there have been environmental challenges as well as many rewarding experiences during her years with the Duval Audubon Society. In September, 2003 she was presented the Barbara Stephens Award by the Civic Round Table of Jacksonville in recognition of her valuable contributions to the Jacksonville community. In December, 2009 she was the recipient of the Carol and Bob Grimes Environmental Award. November of 2010 garnered a Presidential Recognition by the National Audubon Society Board of Directors for Outstanding Service and Dedication. She was featured in the April 2009 issue of "Water's Edge" magazine and has given countless workshops. Her “Birding 101” was a popular draw as well as her “Owl Prowls”.
Her citizen science activities included shorebird monitoring. In May 2009 while conducting a routine shorebird survey at Huguenot Memorial Park with Lesley Royce and Doris Leary, she had the most exciting shorebird experience of her life. It was the discovery and identification of a Greater Sand Plover, an Asian bird that somehow made its way to the beach in Jacksonville. The sighting of this vagrant made only the second western hemisphere record and a first for the state of Florida. Birding doesn't get much more exciting and rewarding than that! The moral of this story is keep birding because you never know what you might see!
Visit Crosby Sanctuary!
“It’s my happy place!” – Carol Bailey-White
You’ve heard us talk about it before, but now it’s time to visit! Crosby Sanctuary, with over 500 acres of bottomland swamp and oak hammock, hides in the heart of suburban Clay County, Florida. Owned by Duval Audubon Society, this limited access nature preserve is home to a full biodiversity of native plants, mammals, birds, and reptiles and is now included in conservation lands mapping by Clay County and the Florida Natural Areas Inventory. A visit there provides respite amidst a busy, congested backdrop of human development. Just last week on our monthly field trip we saw 25 species of birds as well as 3 deer and a rabbit! Other times we’ve seen otter and gopher tortoise.
Although not open to the public, field trips and work days are offered the fourth Saturday of every month (except December) from September to May at 8 a.m.; just show up at 427 Aquarius Concourse, Orange Park. Duval Audubon Society members, their families and friends also have access to this sanctuary through the Board members. Private tours for your group can be arranged by calling Sanctuary Directory Pete Johnson at 904-536-4806 or DAS Vice President Carolyn Antman at 904-477-9807. See you there!
Our fall season is about to begin!
A note from the Chapter President, Judy Jeffas:
Our new season is upon us so let's recap the previous season and give you a preview of the next one.
We have continued to make improvements at our Crosby Sanctuary in Clay County. These include a new bridge over a wide culvert on the main trail, a new kiosk at the North entrance in the Orange Park Country Club and some benches to rest on along the main path. Unfortunately, we had a large unanticipated expense at Crosby when we discovered that there was a Pine Beetle infestation and several dozen trees had to be cut down to prevent the infestation from spreading to nearby areas.
We had a great turnout at our second annual Christmas Bird Count for Kids at Camp Chowenwaw with 46 youth participating. Our Youth Outreach Director, Christina Dembiec, has started the Northeast Florida Young Birders Club for high school age students.
We moved the end of the year breakfast to a new location at the Arlington Lion's Club Park. This event was well attended and we will reserve this location again for next year.
We have some great programs scheduled for our upcoming season. Members should be receiving their print copy of our annual calendar in the mail any day now. If you're not a member, we hope you'll join. Also, our calendar can be downloaded and printed here.
We have kept many of our favorite field trip sites and added a few new areas to explore. This year we are asking for advance notice for those who want to share photos at the potluck dinner meeting in December so that we can allow more members to participate. Details are on the web site. For information about the camping weekend events, feel free to contact me at 904-612-7036.
Thanks to all our great volunteers last season. There are still numerous volunteer opportunities such as Eagle Watch (training coming up on September 17th), Crosby Sanctuary work days, Christmas Bird Count for Kids, shorebird stewarding or the Great Backyard Bird Count events so we hope you'll participate. Now mark your calendars and join us for fun and adventure as we kick off this next season!
EagleWatch Volunteers Complete a Successful Season!
A shoutout goes to all our EagleWatch volunteers for their efforts monitoring our Bald Eagle nests in Northeast Florida for the 2015-2016 season! We had 46 volunteers monitoring 39 nests with 32 successful fledglings. A special thank you goes to Ann Harwood-Nuss for all her volunteer work coordinating the program and keeping it going.
There is more work to be done and we are getting geared up for the 2016-2017 season. A special training session will be offered on Saturday, September 17 from 10:30-noon at Deerwood Country Club, 10239 Gulf Club Drive, Jacksonville. Be there to become a volunteer and help grow Florida’s eagle population. Please note pre-registration is required to attend since space is limited. Details are on the calendar.
For more information about EagleWatch, see our report under the drop-down menu under Conservation and also go to fl.audubon.org.