Gull-billed Tern, Common Gallinule – June 16, 2017

Gull-billed Tern at Great Swamp NWR

One of the most extraordinary bird sightings of recent memory in Morris County occurred this morning as a group of birders watched and documented a Gull-billed Tern at the Great Swamp NWR.

The Gull-billed Tern was viewed from the Freinds Blind at the Wildlife Observation Center on Long Hill Road. The eBird checklist submitted by Andrea Robbins contains text documentation and photos.

The comment section of the eBird checklist is a model of the pertinent aspects a first observer should document of the sighting when submitting a checklist of a local mega rarity. Besides mentioning the important field marks of the subject bird, the observer also gave details as to why other species were eliminated. The link to the checklist is here.


Common Gallinule at Duke Farms

Common Gallinule, Duke Farms, Hillsborough Twp., NJ, June 15, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Since found on June 7 by Louise Wilkens, a Common Gallinule inhabits Wood Duck Lake at Duke Farms and continues to be seen as of today. This is a special sighting as few of this species occur in Somerset County and none before this record are thoroughly documented.


Clay-colored Sparrow at Six Mile Run

Clay-colored Sparrow, Franklin Twp., NJ, June 11, 2017 (photo by Jeff Ellerbusch)

The Clay-colored Sparrow at Six Mile Run was last reported on June 11 but it is not known if anyone specifically tried to find it since then. Jeff Ellerbusch has an excellent field recording of the Clay-colored Sparrow’s song. The link for that recording is here.


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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Clay-colored Sparrow in Somerset Co. – June 5, 2017

Clay-colored Sparrow, Franklin Twp., NJ, June 5, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Susan Treesh found a Clay-colored Sparrow on Sunday, June 4 near the blue trail in the fields of Six Mile Run, Franklin Twp. The sparrow continues today in the same area. Ray Duffy supplies accurate coordinates for viewing the bird: 40.477759,-74.562553.

Clay-colored Sparrow (CCSP) is a rare spring visitor to New Jersey, especially inland. The Six Mile Run CCSP sings its 2-3 part buzz “song” every few minutes, at least while this observer was present. An example of the song was recorded by Jeff Ellerbusch on June 4. That recording is here.

Clay-colored Sparrow, Franklin Twp., NJ, June 4, 2017 (photo by Chris Thomas)

Six Mile Run is part of the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park. It contains over 3,000 acres of what once was planned as a reservoir and is now grassland and forest habitat instead. Besides a virtual plethora of Field Sparrows, the area also has Grasshopper Sparrows, Willow Flycatcher and other species typical of the area. Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve is nearby making this section of Somerset County an excellent location to get one’s fill of Grasshopper Sparrows, Blue Grosbeaks, et al.


Lesser Nighthawk: gone

Somerset County’s other glamourous avian vagrant, the Lesser Nighthawk of Lord Stirling Park, has not been seen since Friday evening, June 2.

More than 130 people used eBird to document the Lesser Nighthawk. Many others visited the Nighthawk as well making for an impressive gathering of birders over the course of eight days.


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 Morris County, Somerset County | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Prothonotary Warbler, Gulls, Lesser Nighthawk – May 31, 2017

Prothonotary Warbler at Lord Stirling Park

Prothonotary Warbler, Lord Stirling Park, NJ, May 29, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

The Prothonotary Warbler (PROW) at Lord Stirling Park is usually seen carrying nesting material on visits to the nest box. This is viewed from the enclosed blind on the west side of Branta Pond. From personal and other accounts, this PROW has never been heard or seen singing. These are clues to the gender of this individual even without a plumage discussion.

Prothonotary Warbler, Lord Stirling Park, NJ, May 29, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

The following excerpt is from Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s Birds of North America: “Only female builds nest, although male often places foundation of moss in cavity during territory establishment…Males establish territories shortly after spring arrival, through intense and frequent vocalization and aggression against other males. Territory is centered on ≥1 nest cavities in which males place up to 8 cm of moss.”

Based on that criteria, the PROW in the photographs is a female as it has clearly been seen carrying twigs, grasses and other nesting materials but never moss. For a comparison, this observer watched a male PROW at the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits in May, 2016. It sang continuously only stopping to gather mossy material and placing it in one or two tree cavities. Unfortunately, it apparently never found a mate. This corroborates the Birds of North America statement.

Prothonotary Warbler, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, May 21, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


Gulls in Somerset County

Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Hillsborough Twp., NJ, May 30, 2017 (photo by Jeff Ellerbusch)

New Jersey ornithological history is being made in Somerset County. 145 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were at Opie Road on May 31 (Jeff Ellerbusch). As far as is known, this high a total has never been recorded this late in spring before in New Jersey.

This group is made up of mostly 1st through 3rd cycle gulls and have been present in varying numbers throughout the spring. The gulls wander between the Norz Farm Fields and Opie Road. Lately, they are absent early in the morning bringing up the question: where do they go? The Hunterdon County reservoirs, Round Valey and Spruce Run, are likely answers, possibly Merill Creek in Warren County, but no observations from there are recorded.

40 Ring-billed Gulls were with the Lesser Black-backed Gulls on May 30. Semipalmated Plovers have been observed there recently. Jeff also had an alternate plumaged Black-bellied Plover at Opie Road on May 30. This is a rare bird for Somerset County (and an even rarer species in Morris County).

Black-bellied Plover with Ring-billed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Hillsborough Twp., May 30, 2017 (photo by Jeff Ellerbusch)


The Lesser Nighthawk of Lord Stirling Park

Lesser Nighthawk, Lord Stirling Park, Somerset Co., NJ, May 27, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The Lesser Nighthawk (LENI) continues to inhabit Lord Stirling Park. Last evening, this observer was present when the LENI lifted off at 20:08 and hunted over Esox Pond before disappearing out of sight. It was a treat to see the LENI in flight rather than the roosting pose, as in the above photo, familiar to the many people who come to view this southwestern vagrant.

The news came through the birding texting services today that The Raptor Trust was planning to capture the LENI and relocate it. The latest word mocosocoBirds knows of is that this plan is shelved for now and that The Raptor Trust will wait and see for a week. Hopefully, The Raptor Trust will let nature take its course and not try to move the LENI once again.


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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Prothonotary Warbler, Lesser Nighthawk at Lord Stirling Park – May 29, 2017

Prothonotary Warbler at Lord Stirling Park

Prothonotary Warbler, Lord Stirling Park, Somerset Co., NJ, May 29, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

The Lesser Nighthawk of Lord Stirling Park is the object of attention in the area since May 26. However, it is not the only avian attraction at Somerset County’s Environmental Education Center. A Prothonotary Warbler on the west side of Branta Pond is also giving excellent photo opportunities for its admirers.

The Prothonotary Warbler (PROW) was found on May 26 by Kirsten Abildskov and Piper Weldy. It is viewed from the enclosed blind on the west side of Branta Pond next to Bullfrog Pond where Yellow-breasted Chats have been observed in recent years (but not this year).

Four bluebird boxes are viewable from the blind. Three are inhabited by noisy House Wrens. The fourth, the farthest on the right when viewed from the blind, is being used by the PROW as it is seen carrying nesting material throughout the day. It will disappear from view for extended periods, 15-20 minutes or so, before returning with more nesting material.

Does the PROW have a mate? None have been observed yet. Prothonotary Warblers have frequently nested in recent years along the Passaic River separating Lord Stirling Park from the Great Swamp NWR. In most years, this is as far north as Prothonotary Warblers nest in New Jersey.

Prothonotary Warbler, Lord Stirling Park, Somerset Co., NJ, May 29, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


The Lesser Nighthawk Continues

Lesser Nighthawk, Lord Stirling Park, Somerset Co., NJ, May 27, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

People continue to visit Lord Stirling Park to view the remarkably cooperative Lesser Nighthawk (LENI). Every day, the LENI roosts in the same spot at the edge of the main path near the kiosk. Cones are set up to alert walkers to avoid that area. What is this LENI’s story and how long will it continue its routine at Lord Stirling Park?

Here is the history of this bird as far as we know as compiled by Jeff Ellerbusch and edited by mocosocoBirds:

The Lesser Nighthawk was originally found and photographed the morning of May 26 by Ben Barkley along the entrance trail near the kiosk. Seen only on the ground; short primary projection, with p10 obviously shorter than p9 which was easily visible when viewing the inside of left wing; significant buff spotting on primaries; outer end of what was visible of the white-ish/buffy wing bar appeared to be just short of, or about level with, the end of tertials; overall a buffy, stocky looking Nighthawk. Aside from a few minor adjustments it only moved when a chipmunk nearly ran into it, which happened 3 times, and when it defecated, at which point it slowly shuffled in a nearly perfect 90-degree turn, took care of business, then slowly shuffled back to its original position.

Update 5/27/17: Jeff received word early on the morning of May 27 from Robert Blair of The Raptor Trust that a Lesser Nighthawk was released at the Raptor Trust this past Sunday, May 21. It was originally found in Hillsborough Twp. (Somerset County) on May 14. There were no apparent injuries; It was thin but not emaciated; it was tube fed, given insects, and was test flown and deemed ready for release after a week. Pictures taken by The Raptor Trust leave no doubt to the ID of this bird. The Raptor Trust is roughly one mile from Lord Stirling Park.

Update 5/27/17: The Lesser Nighthawk was actually found on Thursday, May 11, in a front yard on Steele Place in Hillsborough Twp. where it was picked up by St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center (Madison, NJ) and brought to The Raptor Trust. Thanks again to Robert Blair for the original info from early this morning regarding this bird and this new info with a corrected date and more precise original location.


Other Birds

Cedar Waxwing, Lord Stirling Park, NJ, May 27, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Large groups of Cedar Waxwings have invaded northern New Jersey, usually a good indication that the bulk of spring migration is nearly finished, but migrants can still be found.

A Gray-cheeked Thrush was seen May 26 at the Great Swamp NWR.

Gray-cheeked Thrush, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, May 27, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Birdcast’s Midwest and Northeast forecast for the rest of this week is here.


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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Lesser Nighthawk at Lord Stirling Park Update – May 27, 2017

By now many readers may have learned of yesterday’s (May 26) exciting find of a Lesser Nighthawk at Lord Stirling Park in Bernards Township. That post is here.

Jeff Ellerbusch of Warren Township received a message from The Raptor Trust earlier today which he relayed to the birding community. His message is reproduced here:

“All, I received word early this morning from Robert Blair that a Lesser Nighthawk was released at The Raptor Trust this past Sunday, May 21. It was originally found in Hillsborough Twp. on May 14. There were no apparent injuries; It was thin but not emaciated; it was tube fed, given insects, and was test flown and deemed ready for release after a week. I received pics, including a spread wing shot, from Robert and there is no doubt to the ID of The Raptor Trust bird. The Raptor Trust is roughly one mile from Lord Stirling Park.”


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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Lesser Nighthawk at Lord Stirling Park, Somerset County – May 26, 2017

Ben Barkley made a stunning find today along the main path near the Environmental Education Center at Lord Stirling Park in Bernards Township. What was first thought to be a possibly injured Common Nighthawk turned into a resting Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis).

To show how out of place this species is in North New Jersey and anywhere else in eastern North America, here is the distribution map of Lesser Nighthawk in North and Central America, courtesy of Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s Birds of North America.

Outside of Florida, records are nearly non-existent in the east with the only viable record from the northeast being the Lesser Nighthawk at Cape May in November, 2007. Is this species easily overlooked? Probably.

As of dusk this evening, Ben reports the Lesser Nighthawk was flying around Esox Pond and Branta Pond at Lord Stirling Park. The Lesser Nighthawk is apparently doing well.

A crucial difference in the flight appearance of Common (CONI) and Lesser Nighthawks (LENI) other than LENI is slightly smaller, is the placement of the vertical white patch on the wing. For LENI, it is closer to the tip of the wing, roughly two-thirds towards the tip. This may seem slight but it is noticeable. Ben has a photo showing this quite well.

As stated in Birds of North America: “The outermost (10th) primary of Lesser Nighthawk is shorter than the 9th, resulting in a wing that appears more rounded than that of Common Nighthawk.”

The coloring is also noticeably different in resting birds with the LENI having much buff coloring.

Here is the LENI at rest on the path at Lord Stirling Park late today. Click on the photo for a larger image.

Lesser Nighthawk, Lord Stirling Park, Somerset Co., NJ, May 26, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

For comparison, here is a Common Nighthawk photographed at Troy Meadows by Chuck Hantis on May 14.

Common Nighthawk, Troy Meadows, NJ, May 14, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

Congratulations to Ben for a spectacular find and for the presence of mind to ascertain the correct identification of the bird.

Note to eBirders: This is a New Jersey review species and as such will be submitted to the New Jersey Bird Record Committee for acceptance as the second state record. It will be validated (reviewer parlance), or confirmed (end user term), by this eBird reviewer but will be categorized as “In Review by BRC” until a decision is made by the NJBRC. Also, please give descriptions of what was seen in your comments. Avoid the perfunctory and meaningless “Continuing Bird” comment.


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 Morris County, Somerset County | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bird Migration Radar – May 17, 2017

Nothing to say, really. This simply means birds! This may be the most intense migration of the season.

Here is a larger sampling.


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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May Birds: Migrants and Gulls – May 13, 2017

May Birds at Troy Meadows

Tennessee Warbler, Troy Meadows, NJ, May 11, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

(Click on the photo for a larger image)

It is an absolute pleasure to witness the continued, growing interest in the bird life of Troy Meadows in Morris County. Neglected for years except for devoted locals, word of mouth and especially contemporary communications i.e., the Internet, have helped put Troy Meadows on the birding map once again. This is good news because Troy Meadows is always under development pressure from the surrounding area. The more publicity Troy Meadows gets as a valuable resource for natural study, the better.

Tennessee Warbler, Troy Meadows, NJ, May 11, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

The past week has seen a parade of migrants passing through on Troy Meadows Road. Tennessee Warblers are a highlight. This species is reported five consecutive days since Rob Fanning found one on May 9. Since then, 4 individuals at one time and multiples on most days are recorded.

Conditions during this period have not been ideal for migration which makes this observer surmise that the same Tennessee Warblers have stayed at this location. This species is an annual but not a common spring migrant through this area by any means. It is safe to say that in the current era most observers have few encounters with Tennessee Warblers during May making this a noteworthy week at Troy Meadows.

Northern Parula, Troy Meadows, NJ, May 9, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Other species during the week at Troy Meadows are 20 species of warblers including Wilson’s, Tennessee, Canada, Blackpoll, Bay-breasted, Black-throated Blue, and Magnolia Warblers. Also present were Least Flycatcher, Blue-headed Vireo, and Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos. Shorebird diversity has slowed down at Troy Brook but Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper and double-digit Solitary Sandpipers continue.

Magnolia Warbler, Troy Meadows, NJ, May 10, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Easily, the most remarkable Morris County bird this past week is a Sandhill Crane observed by Roger Johnson as it flew over Troy Meadows on May 11. This is the third known record for Sandhill Crane at Troy Meadows. The first was a bird present from April 13 to May 1, 1969, and the most recent record is from August 21, 1972, almost 45 years ago.


Gulls in Somerset County

Iceland Gull, Hillsborough Twp., NJ, May 10, 2017 (photo by Jeff Ellerbusch)

The unprecedented May 2017 invasion of gulls in Somerset County continues. 136 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 5 Herring Gulls, 400 Ring-billed Gulls and the Iceland Gull in the above photo were seen on May 10 by Jeff Ellerbusch at the Norz Farm Fields on River Road, Hillsborough Twp. As of yesterday morning, May 12, many of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls were still present eventually meandering towards the South Branch of the Raritan River.

Just as this post is to be published, Jeff Ellerbusch reports the following today, rainy May 13:

At Norz Farm:
300 Ring-billed Gulls
2 Herring Gulls
89 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

At nearby Opie Road:
1 1st cycle Bonaparte’s Gull
125 Ring-billed Gulls
3 Herring Gulls
28 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

All of these are new Somerset County records for late dates.


Other notes

The extraordinary Black-bellied Whistling-Duck from the Great Swamp on May 5 (see the post here) was never relocated in the immediate area. However, two Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were seen by many observers on May 7 at Cape May, the day following the World Series of Birding.


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 Morris County, Somerset County | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck at Great Swamp NWR – May 5, 2017

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck at Great Swamp NWR

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Great Swamp NWR, May 5, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Birders know that rainy days often bring more than precipitation. Chuck Hantis, a frequent observer at the Great Swamp NWR and an excellent photographer, was driving towards the overlook on Pleasant Plains Road this rainy afternoon when a duck not known to the Great Swamp was walking down the road. Chuck watched it travel for twenty-five yards, firing off a series of photos before the duck hopped into the woods a few yards before the entrance to the overlook.

The photos confirm the identification of the duck as a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck. Many thanks to Chuck Hantis for finding this rarity and for the superb photos.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Great Swamp NWR, May 5, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

The duck was not relocated despite three individuals searching. Perhaps the duck will be found again with the World Series of Birding on Saturday, May 6 and more people than usual out for spring migration.

If accepted by the New Jersey Bird Record Committee, this will be the 14th state record, the second in northern New Jersey (Wallkill NWR, Sussex County in 2011) and the first for Morris County. All of the state records have occurred since 2000. Other than the Sussex record, all others occurred in southern and coastal counties: Atlantic (2000, ’11, ’12, ’14), Cape May (2004, ’09, ’10, ’11), Ocean (2010), Monmouth (2010), and Salem (2015). Records in May-June 2016 were in Mercer, Salem and Cape May, probably of the same individuals.

The following distribution map, courtesy of Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Birds of North America will give an idea of the typical range of this neotropical duck.

The following screenshot of a map generated from the eBird database shows the locations for records of Black-bellied Whistling-Duck in the northeastern United States since 2000. Click on the map for a larger image.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Records since 2000 (eBird)


Other Birds

Also rain related, gulls continue to congregate at the Norz Farm Fields on River Road, Hillsborough Twp. when the weather is favorably wet. 62 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls and an Iceland Gull were all enjoying the moisture during the day (Roger Johnson).

These are exceptional and unprecedented gull records for the month of May in Somerset County.


Shorebirds in Morris County

Solitary Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Troy Meadows, NJ, May 3, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

The past week sees an influx of shorebirds in Morris County with Solitary Sandpipers leading the way. At least 18 Solitary Sandpipers were along Troy Brook at Troy Meadows on May 3. Also present were Killdeer, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted, Least, Semipalmated and 2 Pectoral Sandpipers.

Pectoral Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Troy Meadows, NJ, May 3, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

21 Solitary Sandpipers that could be seen were at the Fish Tract in Florham Park on May 4. This property offers many hiding places so more Solitary Sandpipers were certainly present than the number reported. Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs and Least Sandpipers fed on the partially flooded fields. A pair of calling Common Ravens flew over the tract while being chased by a screaming American Crow.

If visiting Fish Tract, be aware that the woods are owned by the borough of Florham Park but the flooded fields are privately owned. The area by the pump house going eastward is owned by the East Orange Water Company. None of this seems to phase the ATVs and dirt bikes that course through the area.

Least Sandpipers, Florham Park, NJ, May 4, 2017 (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.


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Posted in Morris County, Somerset County | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Birds of April Wrap-up – Apr. 30 2017

Little Blue Heron at Great Swamp NWR

Little Blue Heron, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, Apr. 30, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image).

Little Blue Herons are a mostly annual visitor to Morris County but often with only one or two reports. 2014 was the once-in-a-life exception as Little Blue Heron juveniles invaded the Melanie Lane Wetlands and the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits (see that post here).

An adult Little Blue Heron was found along Pleasant Plains Road, Great Swamp NWR on April 29 by Simon Lane. It continues through today, Sunday, April 30. Chris Thomas created a map on his eBird checklist with the exact location of the Little Blue Heron. The link for that map is here.

The Little Blue Heron was frequenting the field on the east side of Pleasant Plains Road opposite the two ponds on the west side of Pleasant Plains Road before reaching the 90° turn. It was hunting in a wet, marshy depression and could easily be hidden from view. On a few occasions, it flew to trees neighboring this field on both the north and south sides to roost momentarily before returning to the hunting area.


Other Birds

A pair of Snowy Egrets showed up April 29 at a private superfund site in Somerset County (Jeff Ellerbusch).

Snowy Egrets, Somerset Co., NJ, Apr. 29, 2017 (photo by Jeff Ellerbusch)

Elsewhere, bird migration is humming along. It could be a distorted perception, but it seems to this writer that species are arriving at slightly earlier than usual dates in 2017. It could also be the eBird phenomenon where everyone knows where everything is almost instantaneously that is causing this perception.

BirdCast.info has a northeast migration forecast through May 5, here.

Follow mocosocoBirds on Facebook. The link is here. It is quicker to publish information and photos sooner via that medium than through a blog. mocosocoBirds sees an increased usage of that medium in the near future.


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 | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment