Seasonal Sightings

This calendar is intended to be a general guide to seasonal flora and fauna events in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia. Weather and other climatic factors may cause variations by several weeks.

 

January

  • Waterfowl are active in the river and creeks.
  • Coots congregate near the river edge during calm waters forming large “floats” sometimes exceeding several hundred birds.
  • Bald eagles are incubating their eggs.

February

  • Ospreys begin nesting.
  • Other birds of prey including red-tailed hawk, red-shoulder hawk, and American kestrel can be seen hunting for food. Redbud, Chicksaw plum, Cherokee rose, and fragrant yellow Jessamine begin blooming.
  • Seed-filled cones fall from the slash pine trees.

March

  • On warm days, alligators, turtles, and snakes can be seen basking along the river and creek banks.
  • Early spring “peepers” call at dusk.
  • Bald eagle young begin to fledge and take their first flights from the nest.
  • Wild iris bloom throughout the swamp.
  • Gopher tortoise become active with warmer daytime temperatures.
  • Lizard’s tail begins to bloom in the swamp.

April

  • Alligator bellow territorial warnings, near the creek and the river as mating begins.
  • Birds of prey, such as eagles and ospreys are feeding their young.
  • Black bears begin to move about after winter inactivity.
  • Swamp rose and titi begins to bloom in wet thickets along the river and creek shorelines.
  • Wisteria and Confederate jasmine begin to bloom.
  • Red sorrel begins to bloom along the roadsides.

May

  • Gallberries begin to produce tiny white flowers.
  • Bald eagles migrate north for the summer.
  • Newborn fawn appear.
  • Gopher tortoises lay their eggs.
  • With warmer water temperatures, manatees return to their summer ranger and can be seen in the shallows along the rivers and creeks.

June

  • Tarflowers and beargrass begin to bloom. Over a dozen species of frogs can be heard calling in the evenings.
  • Magnolia and bay trees begin blooming.
  • Nighthawk and chuck-wills-widow frequent the evening sky, scooping insects from the air.
  • The nighthawk often creates a “sonic boom” while diving for insects.
  • Pesky mosquito, yellow fly, tick and gnat populations peak during the summer rainy season.

July

  • Resident bird species are abundant. Grackle, cardinal, fish crow pileated woodpecker, red-winged blackbird, meadow-lark, barred owl, mocking bird, belted kingfisher, Carolina wren, ground dove, and anhinga can be seen.
  • Bucks are displaying their velvet-covered antlers.
  • Deep red cardinal flowers and swamp hibiscus begin to bloom in the swamp.

August

  • Alligator nests begin to hatch and young can be heard “clucking” to their mother.
  • Goldenrod and yellow-eyed grass beings to bloom in the pine flatwoods. Water hemlock begins to bloom in the swamp.
  • Tiny juvenile snakes, lizards and toads scurry for cover to escape predation. Black bear cubs wean from their mother.

September

  • Bald eagles return for winter and breeding. They spruce up old nests or build new ones.
  • Fall migration to Central and South America begins for many species of neotropical birds including great crested flycatcher, chuck-wills-widow and nighthawk.
  • Bucks begin rubbing off summer velvet from their antlers.

October

  • Black bears are active, feeding on acorns, nuts and berries.
  • Bald eagles are mating. Turkey Vultures can be seen gliding on the thermal air currents.
  • Manatees begin migration to warmer springs for the cold winter months.

November

  • Bald eagles begin laying eggs.
  • Cypress needles turn golden brown. Aster and false willow begin to bloom along the river shoreline.
  • Cooler weather causes dormancy among many reptiles and amphibians. Gopher tortoises hole up for cold winter months.

December

  • Otters can be seen along the river and creeks.
  • Wild grape leaves turn bright yellow. Many deciduous tree leaves display winter colors before falling. With the leaf loss during the winter season, the river swamp canopy opens.
  • Winter concentration of aquatic wading birds and waterfowl are peaking.