Morris Lakes, Sandhill Cranes, Rough-legged Hawk, AOU Proposals, Nov. 22, 2014

Morris Lakes

Frozen Budd Lake, NJ, Nov. 22, 2014 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Frozen Budd Lake, NJ, Nov. 22, 2014 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

A survey of most of the larger lakes of Morris County today proved that this has been a cold week, especially for November. The northwestern lakes of Mt. Hope, Musconetcong and Budd are 100% frozen. The ice is strong enough to support a goose and is effective in chasing away all of the waterfowl that should be here on this date. Other than a few gulls and stray Mute Swans, these lakes are barren of birds.

Lake Hopatcong has picked up some of the victims of the ice. North of Nolan’s Point is frozen as well as south of Bertrand’s Island to Hopatcong State Park. The major portion of water remains ice free as well as pockets of water along certain parts of the shore. This is where the majority of birds are.

Here are the numbers: 112 Canada Geese, 145 Mute Swans, 6 Gadwall, 86 Mallards, 3 Lesser Scaup, 95 Bufflehead, 50 Hooded Mergansers, 2 Common Mergansers, 312 Ruddy Ducks (so that’s where some of the Mt. Hope Ruddys went), 2 Common Loons, 1 American Coot.

Heavily cropped photo of a Common Loon at Lake Hopatcong, NJ, Nov. 22, 2014 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Heavily cropped photo of a Common Loon at Lake Hopatcong, NJ, Nov. 22, 2014 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Taylortown Reservoir (next to Pyramid Mountain) in Montville Twp. is also a victim of 100% icing, yet the other larger bodies of water nearby in Kinnelon and Montville remain mostly ice-free.

Lake Valhala has a modest 29 Ring-necked Ducks, 7 Bufflehead, 12 Hooded Mergansers, 2 Common Mergansers and 6 Ruddy Ducks.

The attractive Butler Reservoir, was interesting with 4 Ring-necked Ducks, 21 Bufflehead, 57 Hooded Mergansers, 2 Ruddy Ducks, an adult Bald Eagle and a lone Snow Bunting on the rocks along the edge of the north causeway on Fayson Lakes Road.

Split Rock Reservoir remains low in water volume due to the dam roadway refurbishing project. Present were: 10 Bufflehead, 6 Hooded Mergansers, 92 Common Mergansers (it is not uncommon to get numbers over a thousand here) and 194 Ruddy Ducks.


8 Sandhill Cranes in Franklin Township

8 Sandhill Cranes, Franklin Twp., NJ, Nov. 22, 2014 (photo by Alan Boyd)

8 Sandhill Cranes, Franklin Twp., NJ, Nov. 22, 2014 (photo by Alan Boyd)

Earlier this month, this space expressed concern that only two Sandhill Cranes were at the Randolph Road fields (usually there are more) and was this low number a forewarning of the demise of the cranes at this location. Fortunately, that concern is withdrawn. Eight Sandhill Cranes were reported yesterday seen in two different groups of four.  This is the highest known count in Somerset County. Today, all eight were together and photographed (Alan and Cheryl Boyd via eBird). The link to Alan’s Flickr photostream where you can enjoy more of his Sandhill Crane photos is here.


Rough-legged Hawk at Troy Meadows

Roger Johnson reports a light-phased Rough-legged Hawk soaring today above the marsh north of Troy Meadows Road. Fox Sparrows are also present there.


AOU Proposals

As posted yesterday at Ornithology Exchange and later tweeted by @mocosocoBirds, the American Ornithologists Union Committee on Classification and Nomenclature of North American Birds (NACC) posted a new set of proposals cataloged as 2015-A.

Three of the proposals are:

  • Split Painted Bunting into Passerina ciris (Eastern Painted Bunting) and P. pallidior, (Western Painted Bunting).
  • Split Le Conte’s Thrasher into Le Conte’s Thrasher and Rosalia Thrasher.
  • Move American Tree Sparrow out of the Spizella genus and into Spizelloides.

These are proposals only and requires a vote of the committee to take effect.

The file describing all of the proposals can be found here


View eBird checklists and other data at the following links.
Click on the Checklists tab of the BirdTrax applet to display the most recent checklists. Click on this icon, checklist-nobox ,to view the contents of the checklist:


@mocosocoBirds at Twitter is another communications stream. Instant field reports and links of interest are tweeted throughout the day. The latest tweets appear on the sidebar of this page. One can follow mocosocoBirds at Twitter or link to @mocosocoBirds.

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How many Sandhill Cranes?, Nov. 21, 2014

Sandhill Cranes, Franklin Twp., NJ, Nov. 21, 2014 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Sandhill Cranes, Franklin Twp., NJ, Nov. 21, 2014 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Earlier this week, what were two Sandhill Cranes in the Randolph Road area became four. These birds are a daily visitor to the Randolph Road corn stubble fields. Speculation started to grow that there may be more. Today, Larry West wrote an eBird report of 8 Sandhill Cranes that he witnessed at 4:30 p.m.:”Continuing birds. First there were 4 in the field opposite Apgar Drive. Tall, overall grey, red and white face. (They) Flew off, neck outstretched with legs trailing. 4 more joined the group and flew over the treeline in the waning twilight.”


Elsewhere, it was simply cold and windy today. Ice will continue to form on the area’s lakes and ponds overnight. The forecast for Monday is a high temperature of 66 degrees F – an faint echo of summer and autumn before settling into winter.

The next few days should produce the first full autumn report of waterfowl on some of the many Morris County lakes.


View eBird checklists and other data at the following links.
Click on the Checklists tab of the BirdTrax applet to display the most recent checklists. Click on this icon, checklist-nobox ,to view the contents of the checklist:


@mocosocoBirds at Twitter is another communications stream. Instant field reports and links of interest are tweeted throughout the day. The latest tweets appear on the sidebar of this page. One can follow mocosocoBirds at Twitter or link to @mocosocoBirds.

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Canvasbacks and other ducks, Nov. 19, 2014

Ice at Lake Musconetcong, NJ, Nov. 19, 2014 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Ice at Lake Musconetcong, NJ, Nov. 19, 2014 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The image above is looking southwest from the Washington St. park area of Lake Musconetcong at 4:15 p.m. Ice extends from the shore in the foreground to the peninsula with Norway Spruces and across the lake to the Sussex County side. It is November 19 and an aria from Samuel Barber’s opera Vanessa comes to mind. It is aptly titled: “Must the winter come so soon”.

Just beyond the ice at Lake Musconetcong was the largest congregation this season of Hooded Mergansers in the mocosocoBirds region, 53.


The recent cold weather has increased the number of and diversity of duckage in the Morris area. 6 Canvasback were found at Lake Parsippany this afternoon (Julie Buechner) along with 11 Bufflehead, 14 Hooded and 28 Common Mergansers, 21 Ruddy Ducks a Pied-billed Grebe.


@mocosocoBirds at Twitter is another communications stream. Instant field reports and links of interest are tweeted throughout the day. The latest tweets appear on the sidebar of this page. One can follow mocosocoBirds at Twitter or link to @mocosocoBirds.

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4 Sandhill Cranes in Franklin Township, Nov. 18, 2014

Sandhill Cranes, Franklin Twp., NJ, Nov. 18, 2014 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Sandhill Cranes, Franklin Twp., NJ, Nov. 18, 2014 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Two Sandhill Cranes were first reported approximately November 6, earlier in the month than most, if not all, of the previous 7 years they have wintered in the Franklin Twp. area. In today’s blustery, bitter cold (17 degrees F wind chill at 3:30 p.m.) the crane count doubled, as reported this morning by David Bernstein, getting the total closer to the numbers of recent years. The cranes are faithful to the corn stubble field on Randolph Road as they are seen daily at this location for the past two weeks.


From Pete Bacinski, Saturday Nov. 15:
“We had a nice day at the Great Swamp NWR for my All Things Birds field trip. Mike Mandracchia and I hit the Lord Stirling field on Lord Stirling Road and tallied four Cackling Geese. We came back with the group later only to find one still present. Other highlights were a Pied-billed Grebe in the pond by the bridge on Pleasant Plains Road as well as great looks at a male American Kestrel near the Bluebird lot. Scherman-Hoffman provided a bunch of Purple Finches and a Fox Sparrow.”


The Cackling Goose continues at the Lord Stirling equestrian field today (Jim Mulvey via eBird).

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Sunday Bird Notes, Nov. 16, 2014

Merlin, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, Nov. 16, 2014 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

Merlin, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, Nov. 16, 2014 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

The White-rumped Sandpiper found yesterday at Tilcon Lake (see that post here) was not relocated this morning despite extensive searching of the lake shore. 2 Horned Larks were at the model airplane field across Kinney Road.


The Red-necked Grebe found yesterday continued at Boonton Reservoir this morning (Simon Lane). It was not seen in the afternoon. Present were 6 Horned Grebes, 2 Common Loons, 34 Gadwall, 7 American Black Ducks, 2 Lesser Scaup, 3 Bufflehead, 2 Hooded and 7 Common Mergansers, 3 Ruddy Ducks and an American Coot. 5 American Pipits were foraging on the shore (J. Klizas).

American Pipit, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Nov. 16, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

American Pipit, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Nov. 16, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


The Cackling Goose continues at Lord Stirling Equestrian Field (Tom Smith via eBird).

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Chimney Rock Hawk Watch – Season Stats 2014, Nov. 16, 2014

Chimney Rock 2014

Chimney Rock 2014

Season Stats 2014

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19 Raptors as Season Ends at Wildcat Ridge, Hibernia, NJ, Nov. 15, 2014

Wildcat Ridge
Hibernia, New Jersey, USA

Daily Raptor Counts: Nov 15, 2014
Species Day’s Count Month Total Season Total
Black Vulture 0 0 0
Turkey Vulture 0 0 0
Osprey 0 0 76
Bald Eagle 0 6 72
Northern Harrier 3 4 20
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 21 409
Cooper’s Hawk 1 4 121
Northern Goshawk 0 0 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 9 11 17
Broad-winged Hawk 0 0 6465
Red-tailed Hawk 4 29 52
Golden Eagle 0 0 0
American Kestrel 0 0 77
Merlin 0 0 7
Peregrine Falcon 0 0 5
Unknown Raptor 1 1 18
Total: 19 76 7340


Observation start time: 08:00:00
Observation end time: 13:00:00
Total observation time: 5 hours
Official Counter Tom Gorman
Observers:


Visitors:
5

Weather:
Initially 60% cloud cover, cold and windy. By 1100 hours cloud cover went to less than 5%. Winds from N/NW @ 10 gusting to 20 mph. Visibility unlimited. Temp range: 27-38F.

Raptor Observations:
All raptors were at high elevations and non-stop flights.

Non-raptor Observations:
The usuals: Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse, Downy Woodpecker, Junco, Red-tailed hawk, Raven, TV & BV’s. The very cool sightings were 2 skiens of 41 Snow Geese total and a small group of 11 Atlantic Brant.

Predictions:
Not applicable as season is officially closed.


Report submitted by ()
Wildcat Ridge information may be found at: http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/wldcthwk.htm

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Season Finale (66 Raptors) at Chimney Rock, Martinsville, NJ, Nov. 15, 2014

Chimney Rock
Martinsville, NJ, USA
Daily Raptor Counts : 11/15/2014

Species Day’s Count Month Total Season Total
BV 0 0 0
TV 0 0 0
OS 0 0 362
BE 4 26 220
NH 7 46 164
SS 10 205 2591
CH 6 39 255
NG 0 2 2
RS 28 204 367
BW 0 0 6472
RT 10 227 291
RL 0 0 0
GE 0 8 21
AK 0 5 880
ML 1 10 268
PG 0 0 3
UI 0 2 34
Total 66 774 11930
Hours 8.5 107.0 613.3

Notes : The 25th year of Chimney Rock Hawk Watch has now
concluded. The last raptor of the season was a Red-shouldered
hawk. Just prior to the Red-shouldered, three Northern Harriers
migrating together passed overhead. Although there were no
Golden eagles today, the season ended just one short of last
year’s record 22. Sincere thanks to all the volunteers who once
again put out an extraordinary effort and to Chris Aquila for
directing, organizing and sharing expertise for the benefit of
participants, the birds and the general public as well.
Already looking forward to next year!!!

John Kee

Daily Totals
Bird Checklist Query
2014 Summary (standard)
Species Checklist for Nov 15, 2014
Hourly Stats Report

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White-rumped Sandpiper, Scoters and Grebes, Nov. 15, 2014

White-rumped Sandpiper in Mt. Olive Twp.

White-rumped Sandpiper, Mt. Olive, NJ, Nov. 15, 2014 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

White-rumped Sandpiper, Mt. Olive, NJ, Nov. 15, 2014 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

A White-rumped Sandpiper (WRSA) was discovered at Tilcon Lake in Mt. Olive Twp. by Alan Boyd today. Reporting this as a rare species in Morris County is an understatement. The only other record in the eBird database for the county is from 1970 although it is suspected other records do exist.

The WRSA is not easy to find. It is keeping company with a Killdeer in an out-of-the-way cove along the mid-northwest shore of the lake. Alan’s gracious generosity with his time was the reason others were able to see this bird late in the afternoon. The WRSA has a prominent supercilium, black legs, primary tips that extend beyond the tail and streaks down the flanks. A scope view showed the reddish coloration at the base of the lower mandible (this may be visible in the photos).

A late-in-the-season Spotted Sandpiper was also seen by Alan. It was not relocated in the late afternoon.

White-rumped Sandpiper, Mt. Olive, NJ, Nov. 15, 2014 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

White-rumped Sandpiper, Mt. Olive, NJ, Nov. 15, 2014 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


Black Scoters and Red-necked Grebe at Boonton Reservoir

From Tim Vogel and Tim Koebel:
Highlights:
Boonton Reservoir
Black Scoter 4
Horned Grebe 2
Red-necked Grebe 1
Hooded Merganser 10

Lake Parsippany
Northern Shoveler 1
Common Merganser 12

Mt. Hope Lake
Ruddy Duck 500+ [837, actually – Editor]
Ring-necked Duck- lots
Bald Eagle 1 adult

Cooper Rd., Denville
Bald Eagle 1 adult

Greystone fields, Parsippany
Red-tailed hawk 1 albino

Tim Vogel – Denville
Tim Koebel – Portland, Oregon


Vesper Sparrow at Troy Meadows

Via eBird, Tom Smith reports a Vesper Sparrow at Troy Meadows today in the trap shoot area along Troy Meadows Road. This has become a reliable Vesper Sparrow location over the years. A photo by Tom is below.
Vesper Sparrow


Sandhill Cranes in Franklin Twp.

The two Sandhill Cranes on Randolph Road, Franklin Township were reported by various observers today.

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Northern Goshawk (45 Raptors) at Chimney Rock, Martinsville, NJ, Nov. 14, 2014

Chimney Rock
Martinsville, NJ, USA
Daily Raptor Counts : 11/14/2014

Species Day’s Count Month Total Season Total
BV 0 0 0
TV 0 0 0
OS 0 0 362
BE 1 22 216
NH 0 39 157
SS 6 195 2581
CH 2 33 249
NG 1 2 2
RS 15 176 339
BW 0 0 6472
RT 19 217 281
RL 0 0 0
GE 0 8 21
AK 0 5 880
ML 1 9 267
PG 0 0 3
UI 0 2 34
Total 45 708 11864
Hours 8.0 98.5 604.8

Notes : Still getting decent numbers of Red-taileds and Red-shouldereds
on the NW wind. It is very likely that tomorrow will deliver the 3rd
best season for Red-shouldereds. Season’s 2nd Goshawk
today. Fox Sparrow. Hope to see everyone at “The Rock”
tomorrow!

John Kee

Daily Totals
Bird Checklist Query
2014 Summary (standard)
Species Checklist for Nov 14, 2014
Hourly Stats Report

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