Monday, June 29, 2009

Jay Watch

Besides being wonderful photographers and generous friends, Charlie Corbeil and Vince Lamb are both Florida Master Naturalists and active in Florida scrub-jay activities. Vince invited me to travel with them to a Jay Watch scrub-jay survey this past Saturday. I couldn't go, but he was kind enough to write up this guest blog, and he and Charlie contributed photos. Here is Vince's report:

Photo by Vince Lamb

Jay Watch is an annual survey of Florida Scrub-jays conducted at approximately 67 sites in 14 counties to monitor the status of this threatened bird. During 2002, the Nature Conservancy developed Jay Watch, utilizing volunteers to perform annual surveys. Buck Lake Conservation Area, a property located northwest of Titusville, has been included in the annual survey since 2007.

Photo by Charlie Corbeil

Maria Zondervan, biologist with St. Johns River Water management District, leads the surveys at Buck Lake. The 2009 survey took place on June 27-29. After a briefing session each morning, the participants were driven to selected locations. After confirming that no predators were present, each participant played a recorded scrub-jay call at intervals for several minutes and observed for scrub-jays. The numbers of adult birds and the number of fledglings were recorded. Band information was optionally collected. Calling and observing was repeated at six locations per participant.

Fledgling scrub-jay Photo by Vince Lamb

Juvenile scrub-jays are distinguished by the brown feathers on their heads until their first molt, typically in September. Jay Watch is conducted in June and July to allow the observers to detect the juveniles, which represent reproductive success. Seeing the juveniles with the scrub-jay families is always a treat.

Juvenile scrub-jay Photo by Vince Lamb

The Buck Lake Conservation Area, managed by The St Johns River Water Management District, is located north of State Road 46 and west of I-95, The eastern portion of the 9,638-acre property includes oak-palmetto scrub, the chosen habitat of the Florida Scrub-jays. The Jay Watch volunteers observed many other species of birds on the property, including a great horned owl, red-shouldered hawks, blue-jays and red-bellied woodpeckers.

Photo by Charlie Corbeil

Florida Scrub Jay
Florida Scrub Jay Watch
2008 Jay Watch Report
Florida Master Naturalist Program
Buck Lake Conservation Area
Vince Lamb Photos
Charlie Corbeil Photos
Our "it's a wild world" post with Charlie's fledgling pix


Caroline said...

What a coincidence...I was jay watching just before I checked your blog this morning! I discovered yesterday that part of the blue jay mob that I fed all winter is building a nest in the big ponderosa pine in the yard next door. We watched them carrying nest material while we were eating dinner on the deck last night. I'd love to see a scrub jay, that would be a first.

Vickie said...

It is always heartening to learn about people watching over a species that is in trouble. Wish I could have been there for the survey. Enjoyed the images and info. and visited the juvenile images, too. They're great.

Anonymous said...

Love the pictures and the descriptions - thaks Vince!

Maria Z.