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


Posted in Morris County, Somerset County | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.


Finis


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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

Gulls on Opie Road, Hillsborough Twp. – Apr.25, 2017

117 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Opie Road

Breaking news:

The wet weather has dropped hundreds of gulls on Opie Road. Jeff Ellerbusch reports 1 Laughing Gull, 1 Iceland Gull, 117(!) Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 14 Herring Gulls and 500 Ring-billed Gulls. The gulls are mostly at the west end of Opie Road in the large sloped field. The 117 Lesser Black-backed Gulls obliterates the Somerset County record of 64 set on April 22. That total wiped out the previous county high.


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

Shorebirds at Troy Meadows – Apr. 23, 2017

Great Egret, Troy Meadows, NJ, Apr. 23, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo to view a larger image)

Morris County is bereft of shorebird habitat, as anyone familiar with the area knows. Suitable sites change season by season, year by year, so when one finds more that two species anywhere in the county during an outing, it is a good day.

Troy Brook coursing through Troy Meadows was busy today near the boardwalk crossing and the old eagle nest. Certainly not with any great numbers, but with Wilson’s Snipe, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpipers and a pair of Great Egrets keeping the brook company on a gorgeous, clear morning.

Greater Yellowlegs, Troy Meadows, NJ, Apr. 23, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Solitary Sandpiper, Troy Meadows, NJ, Apr. 23, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Despite environmental pressures from every side, Troy Meadows continues to be a wildlife oasis. A historically famous wetland to metropolitan ornithologists in the early 20th century, Roger Tory Peterson, Ludlow Griscom and Charles Urner to name a few, the main protector of Troy Meadows today falls under the duty of Wildlife Preserves…and you and me.

Keep Saturday, June 10, 2017, in mind. That is Troy Meadows Trash Clean-up Day from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Set your GPS to 275 Troy Meadows Rd., Parsippany, NJ to join in and participate.

Below is a view of Troy Meadows’ namesake, Troy Brook, with part of the old boardwalk peeking out of the cattails. The stories that boardwalk could tell! Certainly, many Morris old-timers can recall the many marsh birds encountered from there, and the occasional fall through a rotten or missing plank complete with creosote-stained pants, that many, including this writer, endured.

Troy Brook, Troy Meadows, NJ, Apr. 23, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


Other Birds

The two Red-necked Grebes found yesterday (see this post) continue to spend some restful time at the north end of Boonton Reservoir. Below is a photo with the typical distant Boonton Reservoir view. The grebes are visible from the footbridge at the north end but a scope is necessary unless you have an active imagination.

Red-necked Grebes, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Apr. 23, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


As much as Melanie Lane Wetlands has been abused and disturbed, it continues to be a magnet for birds. 2 Blue-winged Teal continue as they have the past week as well as 4 Northern Shovelers and 6 Green-winged Teal. 6 Great Egrets were in the water as well as a Great Blue Heron. 5 Greater Yellowlegs were together in a group earlier this morning signaling the beginning of Morris County’s modest spring shorebird season.


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

Red-necked Grebes; April birds – Apr. 22, 2017

Two Red-necked Grebes at Boonton Reservoir

Red-necked Grebes, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Apr. 22, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The first Red-necked Grebes in Morris County in 2017 and the only ones at Boonton Reservoir since April 2015 appeared on a rainy Saturday, this morning. The grebes were at the north end of the reservoir, just south of the dam, and were content to float and eventually rest.

Only one Ring-billed Gull was seen. A Common Loon, hundreds of swallows, and the residents of the island made up the reservoir’s bird life today. The Great Egret crowd of at least six was at their usual station at the base and middle part of the island.

A Black-crowned Night-Heron was seen at the north end of the island. Black-crowned Night-Herons are under-reported on the island because they are too hard to see considering the distance. The commotion of the Double-crested Cormorant and Great Blue Heron nests contributes to the visual cacophony. Visibility will be even more difficult when full leaf-out occurs in a few weeks.


Bald Eagles

Two eaglets were seen in the Mt. Hope Lake nest, and two more were visible in the Lake Hopatcong eagle nest. The eagles at Troy Meadows and Duke Farms had failed nests.


…and it rained Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Opie Road

Today’s wet weather brought a record high count for Somerset County of Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Opie Road in Hillsborough Twp. 64 were counted plus another 8 at nearby Norz Farm. The gulls were moving around so approximately 80 were probably in the area (Jeff Ellerbusch).

520 Ring-billed Gulls were also on Opie Road which is in Somerset County. This is interesting because you could barely find any gull in Morris County today.


Other Birds

There is not enough space to write and not enough time to read all of the reports of returning bird species in the Morris and Somerset area at this time. It is best to use the eBird Region reports (links are given at the bottom of this post) to get a grasp of what is where and when.

This post closes with photos from this morning’s adventures. Click on the photos for a larger image.

Brown Thrasher, Troy Meadows, NJ, Apr. 22, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Rusty Blackbird, Troy Meadows, NJ, Apr. 22, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Double-crested Cormorants, Lake Hopatcong, NJ, Apr. 22,2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


Louisiana Waterthrush Video by David Blinder

Below, view a video of a Louisiana Waterthrush at Jonathan’s Woods in Denville from this morning, filmed by David Blinder. Very possibly, the embedded video will not show in the email version of the post but should display on the browser version of the post. If you do not see the video below, click on this link: Louisiana Waterthrush at Jonathans Woods NJ. You may need to click the start button on the transport to get the video rolling.


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

Trumpeter Swan, Rails, and Bitterns – Apr. 12, 2017

Trumpeter Swan at Lake Parsippany

Morris County’s first accepted record for Trumpeter Swan was in June of 2016 (i.e. considered to be of genuine wild origin). See the link here.

On Sunday, April 9, Californian Ben Newhouse photographed a dark-billed swan at Lake Parsippany. After viewing the photograph, it was determined to be a probable Trumpeter Swan. The swan was not present at Lake Parsippany either Monday or Tuesday, April 10 and 11.

Rob Fanning relocated the swan this morning, April 12. The swan was present throughout the morning which is when the following photos were taken.

The swan shows the features of a Trumpeter Swan: a long straight bill unlike the shorter slightly curved bill of a Tundra Swan

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Parsippany, NJ, Apr. 12, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for larger image.)

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Parsippany, NJ, Apr. 12, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The head comes to an edge, or point, towards the back of the head unlike Tundra Swan’s rounded head.

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Parsippany, NJ, Apr. 12, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

A ‘V’,  or point, is formed where the upper mandible meets the forehead, unlike the Tundra Swan’s rounded border. This is a key difference. The eyes merge with the black of the bill, whereas Tundra Swan’s eyes seem almost, but not quite, separate from the bill.

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Parsippany, NJ, Apr. 12, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Parsippany, NJ, Apr. 12, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The Lake Parsippany Trumpeter Swan shares a feature with the 2016 Trumpeter Swan in that they are both slightly smaller than the neighboring Mute Swans. Is this the same swan as last years? Probably not. The grayish plumage on the neck marks this as an immature Trumpeter Swan as was the 2016 swan.

To this observer’s thinking, this completely rules out the Bernardsville Trumpeter Swans as well. They have never been known to breed. It is thought the parents of the Bernardsville progeny were destroyed.

An excellent document for distinguishing Trumpeter from Tundra Swans is at David Sibley’s website, here.


Please note: Trumpeter Swan is a review species for the state of New Jersey. The NJ Bird Record Committee will review this record at a later date. Please send reports to the committee. Forms for reporting can be found on this page.


eBird users: if you visit Lake Parsippany and list this swan, please give detailed descriptions in the comment section mentioning all of the pertinent features. Photos are preferred. Simply saying “continuing” will cause an immediate invalidation of the record.

For now, on eBird, the Trumpeter Swan will be validated, or confirmed as end-users know it, as long as there is a detailed description (see the above paragraph). This is so it appears on the species map lists and any other reports that people use to find species of interest. If at a later date the NJ Bird Record Committee rejects the record due to unknown provenance or any other reason, all eBird records of this sighting will be invalidated.


Rails and Bitterns

Rails and bitterns are moving into appropriate habitats in the Morris and Somerset region.

American Bitterns were heard over Lord Stirling Park early on April 10. A Virginia Rail called near the overlook on Pleasant Plains Rd., Great Swamp NWR on the evening of Apr. 11 (Jeff Ellerbusch, et al).

This morning at Frelinghuysen Fields and Marsh in Harding Township, a visually reclusive Eastern Meadowlark sang often in the west field near the pasture. After flushing several Wilson’s Snipe near the small marsh in the west field, this observer was startled when an American Bittern rose up from vegetation near the edge of the marsh and flew westward out of sight towards property run by the Great Swamp Watershed Association. Not knowing if the camera was turned on or what settings were current, the photographer quickly fired off some blurry fly-away photos of which the following is the most usable, barely.

American Bittern, Harding Twp., NJ, Apr. 12, 2017 (documentation 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


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