The last bluebird chick has fledged, thus ending the 2018 bluebird nesting season at Flatwoods Park! We have a total of 183 fledglings (162 bluebirds, 8 Carolina chickadees, 13 tufted titmice). See attached spreadsheet for detail. This year has been one of the best nesting seasons since I began monitoring 14 years ago. Not only did we have a lot of fledglings, but we had very few missing eggs and/or chicks and few chick deaths. That makes monitoring much more satisfying when there are few surprises when I open a box. The only down-side to this year, was that no bluebirds nested in our spy-cam box, for the first time ever! We will try again next year!
The park is still very wet and I saw lots of water birds, including great egrets, little blue and great blue herons, and ibis. I've attached pictures of a few blooming plants I saw today, including the aquatic duck potato or arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea), morning glory vine (Ipomoea cordatotriloba), Michaux's milkweed (Asclepias michauxii), host plant of the Monarch and Queen butterflies, and one little wildflower that is easily overlooked, the Florida elephant's foot (Elephantopus elatus).
Many thanks to all bluebird sponsors for making this one of the best years ever for me, Tampa Audubon, and the bluebirds. The sponsorship money, $691.00 in 2018, enables us to keep all the bluebird boxes in tip-top shape, with effective predator guards, creating a safe and dry environment for the birds to raise their young. It also pays for printing brochures for educational purposes and for keeping the spy-cam working. Because of the sponsorship program, the Flatwoods Park Bluebird Trail has become a self-sustaining program, which it was not before.
In January, I will send out a notice to all current sponsors giving you all the information for signing up again for the 2019 bluebird nesting program, if you choose. Also, in October, when it is not so hot, I will be moving and repairing a few boxes on the trail and will be looking for volunteers to help with this job. It usually requires 3 - 4 hours on the chosen day. So if you are interested in helping, please send me an e-mail and I'll notify you whenever we choose a date.
Thanks again for all your wonderful support. Tampa Audubon needs your continued support to complete all its various projects, like the Flatwoods Park Bluebird Trail.