5 Sandhill Cranes on Randolph Road, Franklin Township were witnessed by Jeff Ellerbusch this afternoon. This is the same number of cranes that spent the winter of 2011-12 in and around the same location. The Cranes have been seen sporadically since late November, usually in groups of three and two. There is no guarantee of viewing the Cranes as there is a plethora of corn-stubble fields in the region providing many feeding and hiding spots.
Elsewhere, Jeff found a female Northern Shoveler, 1 American Coot, 2 Ruddy Ducks and 5 Ring-necked Ducks on the southernmost pond on Van Cleef Rd. 1 Bufflehead and 2 American Wigeon were at Colonial Park. As modest as these species seem, they are good finds in duck-habitat-starved Somerset County. Where it has an abundance of geese, Somerset County has a paucity of ducks.
At noon, no geese were seen at the corner of Lamington Rd. and Black River Rd., the Ross’s Goose spot.
From Ken Hart:
What appeared to be the Ross’s Goose may have been present among the Canadas and one Snow Goose at 4:45 PM today in the corn stubble field at Lamington & Black River Roads. Big, scattered flocks were landing between 4:30 and 5PM, perhaps a thousand geese total, with more coming before I left. I couldn’t positively ID the possible Ross’s at that distance. It was pure white to the Snow Goose’s slightly gray upper side, and waddled around much faster and more actively than the surrounding Canadas, and appeared slightly smaller than the Snow Goose. Anyone arriving at by 4:30 (especially with a scope) might have better luck.