Friday Bird and Butterfly Notes – July 31, 2015

Nymphaea odorata, Timberbrook Lake, July 31, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Nymphaea odorata, Timberbrook Lake, July 31, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

July 31: another flip of the monthly calendar as summer moves into a more intense southbound migration phase.

A pair of Louisiana Waterthrushes remain at Timberbrook Lake in the highlands of Rockaway Township. One sang loudly as if it was April.

Louisiana Waterthrush, Timberbrook Lake, NJ, July 31, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Louisiana Waterthrush, Timberbrook Lake, NJ, July 31, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


At the Great Swamp NWR, Simon Lane reports Barn, Tree, Bank, Cliff, Northern Rough-winged Swallows and Purple Martins on the move as well as 20 Eastern Kingbirds and Least Flycatcher.


From Mike Newlon at Glenhurst Meadows:
“Only cicadas are singing – even the Indigo Bunting and Field Sparrows have quit. Swamp hibiscus in full bloom. Only bird of note: a Woodcock flushed from the trail between the ponds. A big patch of Purple Loosestrife in the southeast corner is attracting butterflies – including a very fresh Horace’s Duskywing and Zabulon Skipper. 16 species of butterflies total.”


The same 25-30 Great Egrets, 20+ Great Blue Herons, 30 Killdeer and Least Sandpipers continue to work the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits and, especially, neighboring Walker Avenue Wetlands in Passaic County. A few butterflies on July 28 broke the routine. Incidentally, if last year is any indication, the Pits will soon have impressive numbers of Viceroys.

Variegated Fritillary, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, July 28, 2015 (Jonathan Klizas)

Variegated Fritillary, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, July 28, 2015 (Jonathan Klizas)

Viceroy, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, July 28, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Viceroy, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, July 28, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


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Weekend Bird and Butterfly Notes – July 26, 2015

Bird Notes

These are summer’s light times on the local birding front. Song is diminishing. Young birds abound. Southbound migration is underway. Shorebirds such as Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and Least Sandpipers are present in the proper habitats.

Butterflies

A Little Yellow was found by Jeff Ellerbusch at Finderne Wetlands on Friday, July 24. This is the first documented Little Yellow in the 21st century for Somerset County. Jeff was fortunate to fire off a few exposures as the butterfly flew by rapidly and out of view. The photo is good enough for a positive identification.

Little Yellow
(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

The best online resource for New Jersey butterflies is the website maintained by the North American Butterfly Association’s North Jersey Butterfly Club. The main link for that site is here.


Yesterday, July 25 at Duke Farms, Mike Newlon photographed a Juniper Hairstreak and a Giant Swallowtail.

Juniper Hairstreak, Duke Farms, NJ, July 25, 2014 (photo by Mike Newlon)

Juniper Hairstreak, Duke Farms, NJ, July 25, 2014 (photo by Mike Newlon)

Giant Swallowtail, Duke Farms, NJ, July 25, 2014 (photo by Mike Newlon)

Giant Swallowtail, Duke Farms, NJ, July 25, 2014 (photo by Mike Newlon)


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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.


Finis


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The Pits and Walker Ave. Wetlands – July, 23, 2015

 

Egrets and Herons, Walker Ave. Wetlands, NJ, July 23, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Egrets and Herons, Walker Ave. Wetlands, NJ, July 23, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The Lincoln Park Gravel Pits (The Pits) has a long history in Morris County birding, especially in the 20th century decades of the 60’s and 70’s. Accessibility is a major problem since the 1980’s . Currently, The Pits are treated as private. The only known public access is available on the berm separating the swim club and the water chestnut clogged lake of The Pits in the western section, although this is not easy to find or to get to. Otherwise, if you wish to visit The Pits, this territory falls under the categorical phrase mentioned many times in this space: “You are on your own.”

The southern part of The Pits borders on the Pompton River which forms the boundary between Morris and Passaic Counties. Directly on the south side of the Pompton River and across from The Pits is a gem known as the Walker Avenue Wetlands (Walker Ave.) in the township of Wayne. Granted, this is in Passaic County and mocosocoBirds focuses on Morris and Somerset Counties but The Pits and Walker Ave. are joined at the river, so to speak. It is unfair to think of one without the other. This observer on many occasions has watched herons, egrets, shorebirds, etc. fly south over the southern treeline of The Pits, more than likely headed for Walker Ave.

The eBird hotspot for Walker Ave. lists 184 species. The link for the hotspot is here. A Reeve (the term for a female Ruff) was here during the summer of 2002 propelling Walker Ave. into the New Jersey birding consciousness. Stilt, Baird’s and Buff-breasted Sandpipers along with Wilson’s Phalarope have also been recorded at Walker Ave. Viewing the eBird hotspot will show the reader an impressive species list for this location.

Use Walker Avenue in Wayne to access the wetlands. Park at the end of the road and explore. This morning, after wondering where the Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets that were seen in double-digits at The Pits  the past week had gone, a trip to Walker Ave. showed they had moved to Passaic County.  30 Great Egrets and 26 Great Blue Herons were in the northeast section of the wetlands in the late morning. The above photo shows approximately half of them. Also present were Green Herons, Wood Ducks, an immature Bald Eagle flying low over the wetlands, which the herons and egrets ignored, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, etc.

The screenshot of a map below shows the general layout of The Pits and Walker Ave. and the human congestion surrounding the area creating an oasis effect.

Pits and Walker Ave


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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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Birds and Water Chestnut (Trapa natans) – July 18, 2015

Water Chestnut (Trapa natans)

Speedwell Lake, Morristown, NJ, July 15, 2015 (iPhone pano by Jonathan Klizas)

Speedwell Lake, Morristown, NJ, July 15, 2015 (iPhone pano by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Readers may be unaware of this suffocating invasive, but Water Chestnut is quickly taking over selected ponds and lakes in Morris County as well as many locations in the northeastern United States.

This is not the same Water Chestnut used in Asian-style cuisine. This is a plant, that if gone unchecked, could become the aquatic equivalent of Kudzu. Read on.

Here is a brief history of the plant in New England, quoted from the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England web site:

“Sometime before 1879, Trapa natans was intentionally planted by a gardener at the Cambridge botanical garden in Fresh Pond, Cambridge, MA. This gardener reported planting it in other ponds as well. It was also distributed up to Concord, MA, where it was planted in a pond near the Sudbury River. By 1899, it was extremely invasive in the pond and the river, and needed to be pulled out. There is an 1859 record from Concord, MA, but notes on the specimen and from the New England Botanical Club indicate that this date is in error, and that it was actually from 1879. By 1920, Trapa natans had reached western Massachusetts. Since then, it has spread into Lake Champlain in Vermont, the Nashua River in New Hampshire (1998) and most recently the Connecticut River in Connecticut in 1999. Any area that is downstream of these incursion sites is threatened.”

It has spread into New York, New Jersey, Delaware and elsewhere. As the above photo from Speedwell Lake shows, Trapa natans becomes a thick mat, blanketing the surface of an entire body of water, sucking the oxygen and nutrients from the water and suffocating any other vegetation in its domain. The mats it creates severely limits light penetrating the water creating a negative effect for the health of the aquatic ecosystem.

Speedwell Lake in Morristown is a dammed section of the Whippany River. It has historical significance as well. Alfred Vail ran an ironworks here in the 19th century. It was at his homestead, part of what is now Speedwell Village, that Vail and Samuel Morse first demonstrated the electric telegraph.

Of course, since Speedwell Lake is part of the Whippany River, seed pods from this invasive can travel downstream. The Whippany River merges with the Rockaway River in Parsippany, soon connecting with the Passaic River, etc.

Most of Speedwell Lake is now covered with Water Chestnut. As far as this observer can remember, this has occurred in the past five years or less.

Lake Musconetcong has been fighting this invasive plant with hand-pulling events and special dredging machines. Lake Hopatcong has alerted the populace to be aware of this invader. Both of these locations are lake communities with many watchful eyes and dedicated volunteers working to rid their waters of Water Chestnut.

What about the hidden ponds and out-of-the way lakes? Melanie Lane Wetlands, a productive waterfowl, shorebird, heron and egret spot, but known to only a few people, is currently obliterated with Water Chestnut as well as being walled in by a state highway on one side and an office complex including a professional soccer team’s practice facility, on the other. Coincidence or not, it is an offshoot of the Whippany River downstream from Speedwell Lake in Morristown.

The photo below shows the current state of what was once referred to as Melanie Lane Pond. Most of the Water Chestnut coverage has occurred in the past two to three years illustrating how quickly this plant can dominate a body of water.

Melanie Lane Wetlands, NJ, July 18, 2015 (iPhone pano by Jonathan Klizas)

Melanie Lane Wetlands, NJ, July 18, 2015 (iPhone pano by Jonathan Klizas)

The larger lake at the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits is undergoing the same calamity. Only local residents and fishermen, a small hunt club and a very few birders know of this location. It is private property and doubtful the owner knows of, or has any interest in, managing the Water Chestnut invasion.

How do birds fare with the green mat? Some do quite well based on recent observations. Last summer, the Little Blue Herons and Green Herons of Lincoln Park and Melanie Lane feasted on the frogs and other creatures that use the Water Chestnut mat for their own purpose.

Wood Ducks seem to feel comfortable with Water Chestnut especially when the young ducklings use the vast mat for cover. Double-crested Cormorants will feed anywhere.

Double-crested Cormorant, Speedwell Lake, NJ, July 15 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Double-crested Cormorant, Speedwell Lake, NJ, July 15 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

One species that seems to be a constant at the Morris County Water Chestnut locations is the Cedar Waxwing as they have taken a considerable liking to the floating mats. Each location that this observer has visited has had up to 15 Cedar Waxwings catching insects off of the leaves. Red-winged Blackbirds, Swallow spp. and other species typical to a swamp/marsh habitat are utilizing the source.

Cedar Waxwings, Speedwell Lake, Morristown, NJ, July 15, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Cedar Waxwings, Speedwell Lake, Morristown, NJ, July 15, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

And, of course, certain mammals enjoy the endless aquatic salad bar, as well. Three other deer nearby were also enjoying the invasive repast when the following photo was shot. What is not illustrated by these photographs is the cumulative negative effect this plant has on the entire ecosystem.

Deer, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, July 17, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Deer, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, July 17, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Advertising animal adjustments to a new habitat does not intend to minimize the Water Chestnut issue. It is becoming a larger problem year-by-year and needs to be monitored and mitigated.

Report sightings of Water Chestnut to the following Rutgers contact:
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Morris County

Here is a quick guide to the invasion, written by the NJ Water Chestnut Task Force in 2010:
Water Chestnut: An Emerging Aquatic Invasive Species in New Jersey

Here is another sobering thought. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Conservation in a Changing Climate states that southern plants may soon migrate north. Kudzu cannot tolerate winter frosts. But if those northeastern winters change for the warmer, even by a few degrees… (If the reader is unfamiliar with Kudzu in the southeastern United States, perform an Internet search to get a taste of the devastation a single plant species can cause).


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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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Shorebirds – July 17, 2015

Morris

Least Sandpiper, Lincoln Park, NJ, July 17, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Least Sandpiper, Lincoln Park, NJ, July 17, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

It is not necessary to be on the coast to know that the southward migration of shorebirds has begun.  The modest Morris County shorebirding season started today with 5 Least Sandpipers, 8 Lesser Yellowlegs (they came as a group one minute and were gone the next), and 18 Killdeer at the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits. Wading birds are represented by 7 Great Blue Herons, 4 Great Egrets and 4 Green Herons.


Somerset

From Mike Hiotis, yesterday July 16:
“Had a Solitary Sandpiper at Skillman Park, Montgomery this morning (south side). Also, along Skillman Lane was one Semipalmated Plover in with a number of Killdeer.”


Information

Below is a link for an eBird generated bar graph for inland counties of northern New Jersey. Inland is defined by counties north of Trenton and west of any counties that touch the eastern border of the state and includes Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Mercer, Somerset, Morris and Passaic. The point of the graph is to see what shorebird and wading bird species can be expected in the north-central and north-west parts of the state for the remainder of July.

Note: the graph shows all species recorded in eBird only during July. Scroll down to view shorebird occurrences. The link is here.

Based on the bar graph and recent history of species reported, some of the migrants and wanderers in the wading bird and shorebird categories that could be seen to the end of July are listed below:

Little Blue Heron
Semipalmated Plover
Solitary Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper

Caspian, Common and Forster’s Terns are always a possibility, as well.


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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.


Finis


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Common Gallinules – July 16, 2015

Common Gallinules at Deerhaven Lake

Deerhaven Lake, NJ, July 16, 2015 (iPhone pano by Jonathan Klizas)

Deerhaven Lake, NJ, July 16, 2015 (iPhone pano by Jonathan Klizas)

Common Gallinules have been observed annually at Deerhaven Lake in Rockaway Township since 2013: one adult in June of 2013; one adult in June of 2014.

The species was missed on a visit in June 2015. Today, not only was one adult seen, but two chicks, and either a third chick or second adult, were viewed at the edge of the dried Phragmites – nesting status: confirmed.

Three of the four Common Gallinules are in the distant, blurry and heavily cropped photo below.

Common Gallinules, Deerhaven Lake, NJ, July 16, 2015 (distant and heavily cropped photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Common Gallinules, Deerhaven Lake, NJ, July 16, 2015 (distant and heavily cropped photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Common Gallinule (formerly Common Moorhen) is described as an uncommon and local summer resident in both the Birds of New Jersey (The NJ Breeding Bird Atlas, New Jersey Audubon, 1999) and The Birds of New Jersey: Status and Distribution (William J. Boyle, Jr., Princeton University Press, 2011). 

The Breeding Bird Atlas mentions an interesting point on page 220: “Common Gallinules require a complex marsh structure for successful breeding. This makes their distribution map a directory to some of the state’s most important wetland sites”.

The species entry of the Atlas goes on to mention the Walkill River system, the Hackensack Meadowlands, the Great Swamp and Mannington Marsh as examples of important wetlands as these are primary breeding territories of the Common Gallinule in the 1990’s. Based on the map for the atlas,  the only locations in Morris County found to have probable (none were confirmed) nesting of Common Gallinule were the Great Swamp and the Lake Denmark area. Hopefully, Deerhaven Lake, actually a swamp which is part of the Newark Watershed, will support this population for years to come.

Great Blue Herons, Deerhaven Lake, NJ, July 16, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Great Blue Herons, Deerhaven Lake, NJ, July 16, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

21 Great Blue Herons continue at the heronry although many of the birds of the year have fledged. Two Osprey drifted by overhead. An acrobatic trio of Common Ravens called and flew by the east end of the swamp. A pair of River Otters undulated in the water, passing in front of the Common Gallinules at one point. Plenty of Wood Duck ducklings and adults in eclipse plumage are spread throughout the wetlands. A Louisiana Waterthrush was calling and bobbing at a puddle in the woods.

After the Gypsy Moths

Four Birds Trail, Rockaway Twp., NJ, July 16, 2015 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Four Birds Trail, Rockaway Twp., NJ, July 16, 2015 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

In summer, the section of the Four Birds Trail depicted in the above photo in Rockaway Township at 7:06 AM is usually shaded under a solid canopy of the highlands forest. The photo illustrates what the 2015 Gypsy Moth infestation has done to the woodlands in much of northern New Jersey.

Tagged Great Egrets

Susan Elbin, the director of Conservation and Science for New York City Audubon, informs mocosocoBirds that Great Egrets were tagged this week in Jamaica Bay, New York. Please be on the lookout. A tagged Great Egret was found at Melanie Lane Wetlands, Hanover Twp. on July 17, 2012 and was a bird of the year tagged in New York.

New York City Audubon in partnership with New Jersey Audubon attached transmitters to two Great Egrets to see how they spend their days. They were caught at Wolfe’s Pond on Staten Island. One stayed in Staten Island for the most part, and the other went to the Raritan Bay. They both stopped at Hoffman Island which is the largest rookery in the Harbor Herons complex.


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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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Summer Bird Notes, Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Great Blue Heron, Lake Denmark, NJ, July 13, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Great Blue Heron, Lake Denmark, NJ, July 13, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Mid-July is a mix of summer breeding and migratory anticipation in the Morris Highlands and elsewhere. Greeting this observer at Lake Denmark early yesterday morning were 400 Common Grackles in one large, loose group. Most were in the woods along the edge of the marsh, exiting that location in groups of 10, 20, 30. All 400 eventually scattered, roosting in the nearby snags and trees. This was a transitory gathering. If someone came to the same place an hour later, none would be seen.

A Louisiana Waterthrush was singing and seen along the old mining railroad trail. Young birds are everywhere. Juvenile Eastern Bluebirds can be found in the trees. Green Heron numbers are growing. Tufted Titmice of different ages are scurrying about. There are many unrecognizable bird sounds this time of year.

Eastern Bluebird, Lake Denmark, NJ, July 13, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Eastern Bluebird, Lake Denmark, NJ, July 13, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


On July 11, Boonton Reservoir had at least 225 Double-crested Cormorants near the island. 26 Great Blue Herons, 1 Great Egret and 30 Ring-billed Gulls are also at the reservoir. Nesting Cliff Swallows are busy at the Rt. 202 bridge.


Mt. Hope Lake has 90 Mute Swans which does not come close to the 185 tallied in 2013. The alleged Bernardsville-captive-origin Trumpeter Swan has not been reported in 2015. One spent the previous two summers at Mt. Hope Lake. An adult Bald Eagle was near the nest. Two eaglets were reared this year at last report.


Three banded American Kestrels are currently in the Great Swamp along Pleasant Plains Road where there were none recently (Chuck Hantis). Are these Raptor Trust releases?

American Kestrel, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, July 14, 2015 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

American Kestrel, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, July 14, 2015 (photo by Chuck Hantis)


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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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Nests and Bird Notes, July 10, 2015

Great Egret in the Morris Highlands

Great Egrets are regular summer visitors in Morris County but mostly in the south and eastern sections of the county.  This is a relatively recent phenomena according to this observer as memory recalls that Great Egrets were not seen regularly during July in Morris 25-30 years ago.

The Great Egret high count for Morris occurred on July 19, 2012 when 21 were at Melanie Lane Wetlands. As many as 17 were at the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits during July 2014. Both of these locations are in the eastern section of Morris. The island at Boonton Reservoir has a large Great Blue Heron and Double-crested Cormorant nesting colony. For the past two summers at least, Great Egrets are regularly seen flying into and out of the island. The New Jersey Breeding Bird Atlas of the 1990’s has Great Egrets as only coastal nesters below the Piedmont.

A Great Egret is reported for the past two weeks in a Hibernia Brook wetland north of Meridan Road and east of Green Pond Road in Rockaway Twp. (Dennis Briede, Alan Boyd). It is unusual to see a Great Egret in the highlands in July. The range map of eBird shows no other July records at all in the Age of eBird for Great Egret in the Morris Highlands along the Green Pond Road area.


From Mike Newlon at Glenhurst Meadows:

“Bobolinks (2 males, 1 female) and Eastern Meadowlarks (3) still present in the field north of the community garden.

Two immature Orchard Orioles at the Gazebo at Glenhurst Nature Trail. The big thistle patch there is attracting several American Goldfinches.

Butterflies: 1 Broad-winged Skipper at Wagner Farm, on milkweed; 1 Common Checkered-Skipper in the oval in the Glenhurst parking lot. Neither allowed a photo. No Monarchs.”


Nests

The Great Swamp NWR has numerous nesting boxes set up throughout its vast property. The nesting status of these boxes is checked periodically throughout the season with the data collected by dedicated volunteers. Yours truly was fortunate to accompany Friends of the Great Swamp board of directors member, Jim Mulvey, during an inspection round this morning. Since it is late in the nesting season, some of the boxes were empty, either through recently fledged birds of the year or through no use at all.

The following photo shows a nest with three Eastern Bluebird eggs. This represents the second clutch of the season for the Bluebird parents.

Eastern Bluebird nest, Great Swamp NWR, July 10, 2015 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Eastern Bluebird nest, Great Swamp NWR, July 10, 2015 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

This next nest photo shows what House Wrens do with their time. This box was empty the previous week. Since then, House Wrens have stuffed the box with twigs so much that one wonders how they get in and out of the nest! This was not an isolated occurrence either, as a other boxes in the refuge are in the same condition, some with eggs.

House Wren nest, Great Swamp NWR,  July 10, 2015 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

House Wren nest, Great Swamp NWR, July 10, 2015 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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.


Finis


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Great Swamp Butterfly Count, etc., July 7, 2015

Male Eastern Tailed-Blue, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, July 5, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Male Eastern Tailed-Blue, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, July 5, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The annual Great Swamp Area Butterfly Count was held this past Sunday, July 5, 2015.  43 species and 1,756 individuals were tallied by the many particiapnts. As expected, Great Spangled Fritillary led the count with 270. Other species observed include: Horace’s Duskywing, Black Dash, Mulberry Wing, Common Sootywing, Tawny-edged Skipper, Zabulon Skipper, etc. 10 Monarchs were counted.

Black Dash on Swamp Milkweed, Great Swamp NWR, July 5, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Black Dash on Swamp Milkweed, Great Swamp NWR, July 5, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


Bird Notes

A Blue Grosbeak was found at Finderne Wetlands, July 6 (Jeff Ellerbusch).


The Yellow-breasted Chat at Lord Stirling Park was not seen or heard on July 5.


From Tim Vogel, July 5:
2 Common Ravens flying over Rt. 80 in Denville. They’ve become scarce lately.
2 Black-crowned Night-Herons on the Rockaway River, near St. Clare’s hospital (Denville) this afternoon (July 5).”


From George Eschenbach:
“A Common Raven landed briefly in the tall spruce trees behind our house in Madison. It called to a more distant Raven then flew off to the south. I think this is only my second sighting in the yard this year, they were much more regular last year.”


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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.


Finis


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Butterflies and random field notes, July 4, 2015

Red-spotted Purple, Wildcat Ridge, NJ, July 2, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Red-spotted Purple, Wildcat Ridge, NJ, July 2, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)


Butterflies are stealing the local nature news lately. An abundance of Great Spangled Fritillaries, Hairstreak spp. and other species are covering appropriate habitats during the past few weeks. Compton Tortoiseshells, Coral Hairstreaks and Tawny Emperors highlight the 20-plus species of butterflies seen at Wildcat Ridge WMA on July 2.

Not all is rosy in the butterfly world in 2015. This observer can count the number of Monarchs he has seen this year on the fingers of one hand. Swallowtails do not seem to be faring much better.

Compton Tortoiseshell, Wildcat Ridge, NJ, July 2, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Compton Tortoiseshell, Wildcat Ridge, NJ, July 2, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Coral Hairstreak, Wildcat Ridge, NJ, July 2, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Coral Hairstreak, Wildcat Ridge, NJ, July 2, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Tawny Emperor, Wildcat Ridge, NJ, July 2, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Tawny Emperor, Wildcat Ridge, NJ, July 2, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The best reference for New Jersey butterflies is the web page for the North Jersey Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association. The link for species accounts is here.


Take a walk to the Friends Blind at the Great Swamp NWR Wildlife Observation Center and be greeted at the bridge by a robustly vocal Marsh Wren.

Marsh Wren, Great Swamp NWR, July 4, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Marsh Wren, Great Swamp NWR, July 4, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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.


Finis


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