Jeff Ellerbusch reports 7-8 Cliff Swallow nests, 5 that are active, above the Raritan River on the I-287 bridge that crosses over Weston Canal Rd. in Franklin Township. N. Rough-winged, Bank, Barn, Tree Swallows and Purple Martins also were seen over the river. This continues the expansion of known Cliff Swallow nests in the Morris and Somerset County area. The nest sites include the Easton Ave./ D&R Canal I-287 Bridge nest site also in Franklin Township. Jeff states that there were no nests at the Weston Canal bridge and only one active nest at the Easton Avenue bridge in 2011 (there are at least 6 at Easton Ave. in 2012). Morris County’s only known Cliff Swallow nest site is the Rt. 202 overpass at the Boonton Reservoir. 20 Cliff Swallows were seen there this past Sunday. The history of the Boonton Cliffs is unknown.
Melanie Lane Pond in Hanover Township has been active with shorebirds and wading birds the past week. As reported on July 7, a record (for Morris County) 20 Great Egrets were present on that date. The number has leveled to about 7 since then. A handful of Great Blue Heron juveniles remain. A pair of Green Herons is usually present or flying overhead. Considered a Morris rarity as of last week, the Black-crowned Night-Heron becomes officially categorized as a MoCo trash bird: 3 adult or nearly adult Black-crowned Night Herons have been present most mornings this week. Shorebirds are coming in. 25 Least Sandpipers, 3 Lesser Yellowlegs, 3 Spotted Sandipers, 1 Solitary Sandpiper, and the Morris County Killdeer Association (Eastern Chapter) of at least 16 members have been at the pond this week.
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