Cory’s Shearwater in Madison (Aug. 1, not since) – Aug. 4, 2018

You read the title of this post correctly.

Robert Blair of The Raptor Trust informed mocosocoBirds a short time ago that on August 1, 2018: “a bird was left in our admit office that was found on Lorraine Ave. at the Route 24 overpass in Madison (Morris County). The bird turned out to be a Cory’s Shearwater. The bird was found on the side of the road and survived the night. It was transferred to Toms River Avian Care for further rehab and hopefully release.”

Amazing! And one more reason (not that any more are needed) to help support The Raptor Trust.


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.


The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.

@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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Posted in Historical, Morris County, Somerset County | Leave a comment

Birds at Boonton Reservoir – July 15, 2018

This is a quick note to document the number of birds seen at Boonton Reservoir this afternoon.

24 Great Egrets were all around the island which is by far, the most recorded at this location. The previous high total was 10.

49 Great Blue Herons were on the island and on the east shore of the reservoir. Most appear to be juveniles. 51 were tallied here on July 8.

382 Double-crested Cormorants were counted and it is quite possible 50+ were inadvertently left out of the total.

2 juvenile Black-crowned Night-Herons were seen on the north shore of the island.

Ring-billed Gulls are returning with approximately 70 reported today, the highest total since the middle of March.

Up to four Cliff Swallows were seen at one time. These are the nesting birds under the Route 202 bridge.


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.


The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.

@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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Cliff Swallows; Elegy for a Mute Swan – July 14, 2018

Cliff Swallow, Hillsborough Twp., NJ, June 22, 2018 (photo by Jeff Ellerbusch)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

During the 1980s, the center of Cliff Swallow breeding in New Jersey was at colonies on the Delaware River at Bull’s Island and Lambertville in Hunterdon County as well as several locations in Sussex and Warren Counties. The New Jersey Breeding Bird Atlas of the 1990s added scattered locations in northern New Jersey.

Since that time, Cliff Swallows have colonized bridges spanning the Raritan River from Middlesex to Somerset Counties. A new location was found this year at the Rt. 206 bridge viewable from Peters Brook Greenway, accessed from S. Bridge Street, Somerville.

Rt. 206 Bridge, Raritan River, Peters Brook Greenway, Somerville NJ (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas

Another newly discovered Cliff Swallow nesting site is the east bridge at Opie Road where 4 adults were seen flying to and from the bridge on June 22 (Jeff Ellerbusch).

The I-287 bridges over the Raritan may still host Cliff Swallow colonies. The Queens Bridge in South Bound Brook appears not to have any this year.

Cliff Swallow, Peters Brook Greenway, Somerset Co., NJ, June 29, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

In Morris County, the Boonton Reservoir colony remains small but stable.

Another nesting site in Morris County is at Two Bridges in Lincoln Park (and Wayne and Fairfield). Cliff Swallows were reported sporadically from here in recent years. The swallows are apparently nesting under the Morris/Essex bridge as are the many Barn Swallows.

For those so inclined, Cliff Swallow can be listed for three counties at Two Bridges as this point is the convergence of Morris, Passaic, and Essex Counties.

Two Bridges, Lincoln Park, NJ, July 14, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Two Bridges can be a productive waterfowl spot in winter. The Pompton River empties into the Passaic River at this location. The current keeps the water open when other bodies of water are frozen.

In memoriam: The Mute Swan of Kitchell Pond

Mute Swan at Loantaka Brook Reservation, Morris Co., NJ, Apr. 1, 2015 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

Years ago, two Mute Swans inhabited Kitchell Pond (or Lake, if you prefer) at Loantaka Brook Reservation. Approximately ten years ago, one of the swans was killed. The story this writer heard was that a family let their dog into the pond and it attacked one swan, mortally wounding it.

The lone remaining Mute Swan continued through this decade, a regular and familiar presence at the lake year-round (Kitchell Pond is one of the few bodies of water in the Morristown area that resists freezing as long as it can in the winter ).

This year, the story mocosocoBirds heard is that the swan became entangled in fishing line for a lengthy time, became weak and was in rough shape by the time The Raptor Trust was notified and took it in for rehabilitation. The Trust did the best they could, but the swan took a turn for the worse and was humanely euthanized to end its suffering.


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.


The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.

@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


Posted in Morris County, Somerset County | 2 Comments

The White Red-tailed Hawk of Watnong Mountain – May. 4, 2018

Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk, Morris Co., NJ, Apri. 8, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

The first time this writer saw the above white raptor was approximately January 2014 on Old Dover Road, Parsippany-Troy Hills, maybe sooner. Yes, I did a double-take, stopped the car and watched as the hawk flew to another tree, ascertaining the bird was not a hallucination. More reports began trickling in regarding the same hawk.

Years have passed and allegedly the same leucistic Red-tailed Hawk still inhabits the same woods edge at the base of Watnong Mountain, right around the corner from Greystone Psychiatric Hospital.

What has noticeably changed is that the hawk now appears to be completely white, whereas this observer remembers some gray blotches on the wings and body and red and gray streaks in the tail.

Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk, Morris Co., NJ, Apri. 8, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Based on it’s smaller size, the hawk is probably a male. It creates quite a stirring sight especially once the leaves are off the trees. It can be seen all seasons along Old Dover Road.

Mating is a possibility as the Great White Hawk was seen soaring with an alleged female late this afternoon.

Red-tailed Hawks, Watnong Mtn., Morris Co., NJ, May 4, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Watnong Mountain rises to approximately 965 feet. The eastern side of the mountain is developed with apartments and housing developments. The western and southern side is mostly untouched except for a power line, water tower, water tank, and a few other odds and ends. Mountain Way crosses the mountain.

A popular disk golf course accessed from Old Dover Road is near a pond, called a reservoir on maps, but this activity is relatively benign and birds are in the area, nonetheless. A trailhead is at a parking lot/playground on Mountain Way with various trails covering the mountain.

Watnong Mountain is not a birding destination to go out of your way to visit. It is one of the many locations this website is fond of promoting as a local area worthy of protecting and preserving.

Here is a photo display of some recent birds at Watnong Mountain.

Magnolia Warbler, Watnong Mtn., Morris Co., NJ, May 4, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Veery, Watnong Mtn., Morris Co., NJ, May 4, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Swainson’s Thrush, Watnong Mtn., Morris Co., NJ, May 4, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Wood Ducks, Watnong Mtn., Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ, Apr. 22, 2018 (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.


The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.

@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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Yellow-throated Warbler Hybrid – Apr. 22, 2018

Yellow-throated Warbler is an uncommon migrant in Morris and Somerset Counties. The past two days saw an unusual number of reports in the area. In these two counties, Yellow-throated Warbler reports totaling greater than zero is unusual.

Yesterday at Lord Stirling Park, Bernards Township, a Yellow-throated Warbler was observed closely and well-described by Ben Barkley. That is interesting enough in itself.

Today, April 22, a different Yellow-throated Warbler was viewed in the afternoon and photographed by Simon Lane and earlier by Tom Smith which show a possible hybrid between a Yellow-throated Warbler and a Yellow-rumped Warbler.

As always, click on the photos for a larger image.

Yellow-throated Warbler Hybrid, Lord Stirling Park, Apr. 22, 2018 (photo by Simon Lane)

Below is a photo of a classic Yellow-throated Warbler at Colonial Park, Franklin Twp. in 2014. Many of you may remember this individual. Note the solid yellow neck and upper breast and the white abdomen.

Yellow-throated Warbler, Franklin Twp., NJ, Apr. 16, 2014 (photo by Bill Dix).

Below is the Lord Stirling bird today with a necklace where some yellow should be.

Yellow-throated Warbler Hybrid, Lord Stirling Park, Apr. 22, 2018 (photo by Tom Smith)

Yellow-throated Warbler Hybrid, Lord Stirling Park, Apr. 22, 2018 (photo by Tom Smith)

Thickening the plot, note the faint yellow rump patch. Yellow-throated Warblers do not have yellow rump patches.

Yellow-throated Warbler Hybrid, Lord Stirling Park, Apr. 22, 2018 (photo by Tom Smith)

Putting these characteristics together equals a possible, if not probable, Yellow-throated Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler hybrid.

mocosocoBirds will attempt to get more information about this hybrid combination.


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.


The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.

@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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Little Gull in Somerset County – Apr. 15, 2018

The summer tease of the previous two days left in a hurry Sunday morning, April 15. The temperature was 40 F degrees, nearly 40 degrees less than the previous afternoon. Considering the species of birds seen this day, we need more of these drastic weather changes.


Little Gull

Little Gull following Bonaparte’s Gull, Branchburg, NJ, Apr. 15, 2018 (photo by Jeff Ellerbusch)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Somerset County’s first record Little Gull was found shortly after noon by Jeff Ellerbusch at Studdiford Drive in Branchburg Twp. Studdiford Drive is the bridge spanning the South Branch of the Raritan River and the short road that connects River Road in Hillsborough Twp. with South Branch Road in Branchburg Twp.

Little Gull following Bonaparte’s Gulls, Branchburg, NJ, Apr. 15, 2018 (photo by Jeff Ellerbusch)

The Little Gull accompanied 63 Bonaparte’s Gulls. It was viewed, photographed and not seen again, although some of the Bonaparte’s Gulls returned to the Opie and River Road areas of Hillsborough Twp.

The usual 140+- Ring-billed Gulls and 10-15 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also in the area.

The number of gull species seen in this area is remarkable. This is agricultural land with a river running through it. The nearest large bodies of water are the Hunterdon County reservoirs eight to fifteen miles to the west and Raritan Bay, twenty-five miles to the east.

Here is the cumulative gull list from Opie Road, River Road, and Studdiford Drive. All of these records are from recent years.

  • Little Gull
  • Bonaparte’s Gull
  • Laughing Gull – 2014, 2017
  • Mew Gull – Opie Rd., 2nd NJ state record. Jan. 3, 2017.
  • Ring-billed Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Iceland Gull
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull – Somerset County high total of 216 at Norz Farm Fields, River Road, March 2, 2018.
  • Great Black-backed Gull

Glaucous Gull hasn’t made it to this side of town yet. It is only reported from the other side of Hillsborough Twp.


Bonaparte’s Gulls in Morris County

It was a day for Bonaparte’s Gulls in the mocosocoBirds area. 150 Bonaparte’s Gulls were at Lake Hopatcong late in the morning between Nolan’s Point and Bertrand Island. A scope was mandatory for viewing as gulls in this area are distant, to say the least. This is the highest known count for Morris County. The previous high was 52 on April 13, 2017, at the same location.

A modest two Bonaparte’s Gulls were at Boonton Reservoir today.


Caspian Terns

3 Caspian Terns were viewed at Colonial Park by Robert Blair at 1 PM. The terns were seen diving in the pond across from the tennis courts. This is an outstanding record for Somerset County.


Sandhill Cranes

There were several reports of single Sandhill Cranes, Saturday, April 14 at Lord Stirling Park, Margetts Field in Harding Township, and the Great Swamp NWR.


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.


The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.

@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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April Migration; April Nesting – Apr. 14, 2018

April Migration

Louisiana Waterthrush, Watnong Mtn., Morris Co., NJ, Apr. 13, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photos for a larger image.)

Much to the relief of New Jerseyans, the worst of the endless winter weather appears to have left the region. The current long-range forecast does not show any temperatures below freezing for the next ten days. Spring migration is finally beginning its crescendo to May.

Anyone out in the field the past few days saw timely arrivals such as Brown Thrashers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Louisiana Waterthrushes, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Purple Martins, Broad-winged Hawks, American Bitterns, etc., etc.

Palm Warbler, Watnong Mtn., Morris Co., NJ, Apr. 13, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


April Nesting

At Deerhaven Lake, today, most of the approximately twenty-six Great Blue Heron nests were involved with incubation. While scanning the nests, a creature not looking anything like the other Great Blue Herons was seen in a nest below another heron nest.

Great Blue Heron and Great Horned Owl, Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, Apr. 14, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

This snag duplex apartment has a Great Horned Owl with at least one owlet in the lower unit, and a Great Blue Heron nest in the penthouse, not to mention numerous heron nests in the immediate area. It seems like they are coexisting peacefully.

The young owlet with its parent is in the photo below. As always, click on the photo for a larger image.

Great Horned Owls, Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, Apr. 14, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Deerhaven Lake is part of the Newark Watershed. A permit issued by the Watershed is necessary to enter the area.

Ducks are still numerous at the lake. Nearly 60 Ring-necked Ducks were present with 10 Green-winged Teal, 4 Bufflehead, 2 American Wigeon along with the resident 42+ Wood Ducks and a pair of nesting Pied-billed Grebes.

Earlier, an altercation between the two raptors in the photos below made for some interesting nature notes. The Osprey grabbed a fish one-hundred feet in front of this observer. It lifted out of the water and almost immediately dropped the fish because a Bald Eagle was about to take it for a ride. The eagle showed no interest in the fish and seemed only intent on chasing the Osprey out of its space.

Osprey, Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, Apr. 14, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Bald Eagle, Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, Apr. 14, 2018 (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.


The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.

@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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Boonton Reservoir Loonacy – Apr. 6, 2018

Common Loon, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Apr. 6, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

A Morris County record 48 Common Loons were tallied at Boonton Reservoir this afternoon. Most were in a loose group east of the peninsula towards the middle of the reservoir. All are in alternate plumage. The previous known high total was 42 at Lake Hopatcong, April 12, 2015.

Common Loon, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Apr. 6, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Three Bonaparte’s Gulls were resting in the water towards the northern end of the reservoir. Three basic plumaged Red-throated Loons were also in the northern half of the reservoir. These could be all or some of the same individuals present for the previous week and a half.


Wednesday, April 4 saw two Bonaparte’s Gulls, 11 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and the usual throng of Ring-billed Gulls at Norz Farm Fields , Hillsborough Twp.

Down the road at Opie Road that same day, a Pectoral Sandpiper and a pair of Greater Yellowlegs were seen in the flooded horse farm field. Female and male Blue-winged Teal were there the previous week.

4 Sandhill Cranes were a surprise to see east of the Orientation Center (a.k.a. The Farm Barn) at Duke Farms on April 4. Thanks to Jeff Ellerbusch for the Somerset County sightings.


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.


The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.

@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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Bird Migration in Earnest – Mar. 30, 2018

The doors of migration opened wide today.

Adult Iceland Gull with Herring Gulls, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Mar. 30, 2018 (photo by Simon Lane)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Let us begin at Boonton Reservoir.

4 Red-throated Loons, approximately 30 Common Loons, 3 Long-tailed Ducks, Horned Grebe, the continuing 2 Red-necked Grebes, at least 6 Red-breasted Mergansers, Tree and Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Eastern Phoebes, Golden-crowned Kinglets in the woods with Yellow-rumped Warblers, and an adult Iceland Gull found by Simon Lane at the south end of the reservoir viewed from Waterview Plaza on Route 46 East. Also seen by Simon was a migrating light morph Rough-legged Hawk.

Red-necked Grebe, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Mar. 30, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Budd Lake:
7 Long-tailed Ducks, a Red-throated Loon, Horned Grebe, and ~13 Common Loons (Alan Boyd).

Elsewhere:
– Palm Warbler and numerous Golden-crowned Kinglets at Troy Meadows (Rob Fanning).
– Palm Warbler at Lord Stirling Park (Dave Fantina).
– Lesser Black-backed Gull at Lake Parsippany (Roger Johnson)
– 50+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Norz Farm Fields in Hillsborough (Jeff Ellerbusch).

Other species on the move include Osprey, Turkey Vultures, raptors in general, Eastern Phoebes, Tree and Northern Rough-winged Swallows, etc., etc.

Migration for some, breeding time for others. The following spectacular Great Blue Heron photo is courtesy of Mike Newlon. Click on the photo for a larger image.

Great Blue Heron, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, Mar. 29, 2018 (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.


The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.

@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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Red-throated Loon, Red-necked Grebes at Boonton Reservoir – Mar. 27, 2018

Birds on the move

Bird activity is warming up after a dreary and endless winter. Joe Barbieri found a Red-throated Loon at Boonton Reservoir, March 26. It was seen by several observers today, March 27. Ray Duffy reports two Red-throated Loons today, as well. A very heavily cropped photo is below.

Red-throated Loon, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Mar. 27, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Also today, Roger Johnson located two Red-necked Grebes at the reservoir. A Red-breasted Merganser drake and Common Loon in alternate plumage are also present along with Ring-necked Ducks and a small handful of other duck species.

Red-necked Grebes, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Mar. 27, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The rookery on the island is busy with at least 24 Great Blue Herons and 70+ Double-crested Cormorants.

Great Blue Heron, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Mar. 27, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Boonton Reservoir is not just for water birds.

Pileated Woodpecker, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Mar. 27, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


Sandhill Cranes at Finderne Wetlands

For years, the Somerset County wintering Sandhill Cranes are typically viewed in Franklin Township near Weston Canal Road and other locations nearby. In the past two days, groups of two and four Sandhill Cranes have been seen flying over Finderne Wetlands. This is getting to be a late date for the cranes in the county.


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.


The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.

@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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