Every time of year is wonderful in Florida. In winter, you have birds visiting from the north. In summer, the residents are raising young. There is always something wonderful to see no matter the time of year. We’ve also had whale sightings this year. Last year was terrible. A couple Northern Right Whale’s with their calves have been spotted off the coast. That’s very good news indeed!
I became the local coordinator for the National Audubon Society’s Climate Watch. National Audubon has developed models to predict changes in bird populations as a result of the changing climate. They are seeking to validate those models. They have chosen to start the program by monitoring the presence of two species, bluebirds and nuthatches, during a winter and summer count. These species were selected based on strong predictions of range shifts. More species will be included in the future.
The winter count is January 15 to February 15 each year. Based on analysis of the Audubon population predictions, I chose bluebirds as the species to begin our efforts. National Audubon predicts a reduction in the presence of bluebirds in our area in summer and a stable presence in winter. More information on the program can be found at www.audubon.org/conservation/climate-watch.
Regis came with me on the first day I went out to survey bluebirds. Since I was busy with binoculars and eBird, he became responsible for the camera. For the past 3 years, I have been trying to get decent pictures of the Hooded Mergansers that show up every winter. We saw them during the count and Regis got the following picture. Nice job!
He also got a nice picture of an immature blue heron.
I take Dart for a walk every morning. Lately, almost every morning, the bluebirds are hanging around our house or the neighbors’ houses. I hear all their twittering before I even see them. But, while I’m out counting bluebirds, there are few to be seen or heard. Unbelievable!