Geese have been in the news lately. A Pink-footed Goose in Hunterdon (and hypothetically in Somerset) and a bi-county Ross’s Goose in Somerset and Hunterdon made the rounds. A Barnacle Goose was reported in Mercer County during the past weekend. What is a birder to do but to check out a flock of geese while driving agricultural roads in Hillsborough Township? This is what Jeff Ellerbusch did this afternoon, but what he found instead is the first known and documented record of a Lark Sparrow in Somerset County. The Lark Sparrow was found near the hedgerow located east of the driveway to Hillsborough Farm on Hillsborough Road in Hillsborough Township. The Lark Sparrow and the many White-crowned and Song Sparrows feed on the ground next to the hedgerow. The farm is private property so please stay off the grounds. The birds can be viewed from the side of the road. The bird was still present when Jeff and I left at 4 p.m. Beware of two things:
1. With the construction of the Hillsborough Town Center, the re-routing of Rt. 206 and the closure of Homestead Rd., Hillsborough Rd. can be very busy with all types of vehicular traffic.
2. There are many (10+) juvenile White-Crowned Sparrows present. Be careful in correctly identifying the Lark Sparrow. A few adult White-crowned Sparrows are also present as well as Song, Savannah, White-throated (1) and House Sparrows. The birds can be maddeningly difficult to see in the grasses and vegetation. Occasionally they flush into the hedgerow for short periods. The white tail feathers of the Lark Sparrow are obvious once they are seen.
A stated previously in this post, this is the first known and documented record of Lark Sparrow in Somerset County as amazing as that reads.