2017 New Jersey Bald Eagle Report – Dec. 2017

Bald Eagle, Morris County, NJ (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Further down on this page is a link to the 2017 New Jersey Bald Eagle Project Report, released on December 4.

Larissa Smith, Biologist and Volunteer Manager of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ and Kathleen E. Clark prepared the report. Larissa offered the following comments in a message to the project volunteers:

“In 2017 the number of active nests stayed about the same as in 2016, but fledging was down from the past three seasons with 190 fledged. The productivity rate of 1.25 young per active nest is still above the required range of 0.0 to 1.1 for population maintenance. There could be several factors affecting the productivity including weather conditions and food supply. Last season there were also reports of “intruder” eagles at several nests which did disrupt the nesting attempts of several pairs. Every nesting season is different and we learn something new about nesting eagles every year.”

Here is the link to the report:
2017 Annual NJ Bald Eagle Report


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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November Birds; Christmas Bird Counts – Nov. 26, 2017

Northern Shrike, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, Nov. 23, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

A Northern Shrike continues at the Great Swamp NWR where it is present since October 24. The Shrike is seen most often at the overlook on Pleasant Plains Road but is also occasionally seen at the Bluebird Lot.

Thanks to Chuck Hantis for these beautiful photos of the Shrike taken on Nov. 23.

Northern Shrike, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, Nov. 23, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)


Christmas Bird Counts

Only two Christmas Bird Counts (CBC) in Morris and Somerset Counties have firm dates at this time. The dates and the count followed by the compiler’s contact information follow. Help is always needed for this invaluable data collection exercise. Besides, it’s fun.

  • Saturday, December 16, 2017: Great Swamp and Watchung Ridges CBC – Simon Lane: greatswampCBC at gmail dot com
  • Saturday, December 23, 2017: Boonton CBC – Jonathan Klizas: boontoncbc at gmail dot com

No information is currently available for the Somerset County CBC usually run on the third weekend of the CBC cycle.

An up-to-date list of CBCs in New Jersey is at the following link: CBCs in New Jersey.


Other birds

12 (!) Sandhill Cranes were seen at the Zaraphath Corn Fields today (Susan Treesh).

The drake Eurasian Wigeon, present since Nov. 4, continues as of today at Clark Drive, Mt. Olive Twp. (Alan Boyd).

Tundra Swans returned to the Lake Forest region of Lake Hopatcong this week (Alan Boyd). The trend in recent years is that varying numbers of Tundra Swans spend the winter at Lake Hopatcong as long as open water exists.

A Cackling Goose found at Lake Parsippany on November 17 by Alex Bernzweig continues as of Nov. 24.

Cackling Goose with Canada Geese, Lake Parsippany, NJ, Nov. 24, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

A Red-breasted Merganser, female Greater Scaup and two Common Loons and not much else were at Boonton Reservoir this morning.


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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Scott Weidensaul at The Raptor Trust, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017

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Northern Shrike continues at Great Swamp NWR – Nov. 12, 2017

Northern Shrike, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, Nov. 12, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

Here is an update to the earlier post from today.

Chuck Hantis reports the Northern Shrike continues this afternoon at the overlook on Pleasant Plains Rd., Great Swamp NWR. The refuge was closed for hunting the previous four days. This is the first report of the Northern Shrike since Nov. 6.

Thanks to Chuck for the update and the photograph.


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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Sandhill Cranes, Waterfowl, etc. – Nov. 12, 2017

Sandhill Cranes

For what is at least the eleventh year in a row, Sandhill Cranes have returned to Somerset County. Terry Carruthers saw between 8 and 10 cranes on November 9 while traveling on I-287. The cranes were in a Superfund site they apparently have a fondness for as they spent time there in previous years as well.

The cranes were seen Saturday at the same Superfund site by Jeff Ellerbusch while he was traveling on I-287. Barbara McKee saw from 8-10 cranes as well as a smaller group flying overhead while bike riding on the Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath later that day. The cranes were seen in flight today in Bridgewater in the general location of the Superfund site.

Randolph Road, Franklin Township is where most people see the Sandhill Cranes. However, soybeans were planted there this year, not the corn the cranes prefer. This was also the scenario two years ago making the cranes more challenging to find.

The Mettlers/Weston Rd. area north of Colonial Park is a favored spot but it is not known what was planted there this year. Also, check the cornfields behind the college at Zarephath.

Note: it is not advisable to enter the Superfund site mentioned earlier for (hopefully) obvious reasons.


Waterfowl and other birds

Bonaparte’s Gull, Lake Musconetcong, NJ, Nov. 12, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Three Bonaparte’s Gulls were at Lake Musconetcong today. Up to six were seen here Oct. 31-Nov. 2.


Waterfowl and gulls are gradually moving into the Morris and Somerset areas for the winter, possibly propelled by the previous days’ frigid weather.

4 Redheads were seen at Lake Parsippany, Nov. 11 but not today.

3 Long-tailed Ducks were at Boonton Reservoir, Nov. 11.

Hooded Merganser numbers are growing at Lake Musconetcong with 70+ seen today.

Hooded Merganser, Lake Musconetcong, NJ, Nov. 12, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Over 70 Buffleheads were at Lake Hopatcong this morning. One can easily see 100+ later in the season. 132 Mute Swans were tallied this morning but the annual wintering Tundra Swans have yet to appear at the lake.

Buffleheads, Lake Hopatcong, NJ, Nov. 12, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Bald Eagles are getting ready for next year’s brood. The Mt. Hope eagles were observed copulating on the nest this morning. The Lake Hopatcong pair was evident near the nest today.

Bald Eagles, Lake Hopatcong, NJ, Nov. 12, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


A very late “Brewster’s” Warbler (Blue-winged x Golden-winged Warbler hybrid) was found along Troy Meadows Rd. on a frigid Nov. 10 morning by Rob Fanning.

The Eurasian Wigeon of Mt. Olive Twp and Lake Musconetcong was last seen on Nov. 6.

The Great Swamp NWR was closed for hunting the previous four days. There is no update on the Northern Shrike which was last reported on Nov. 6.


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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Surf Scoter, Eurasian Wigeon, Red-throated Loon, Northern Shrike – Nov. 5, 2017

An adult male Surf Scoter at Lake Parsippany capped a productive five-day period of local rarities in Morris County. The Scoter was viewed throughout the day, resting with its head tucked in. Occasionally, it would lift its head showing off its orange bill.

Surf Scoter with Ruddy Ducks and Buffleheads, Lake Parsippany, NJ, Nov. 5, 2017


The Red-throated Loon of Boonton Reservoir continues for a  fifth day. The Great Cormorant found on November 1 has not been seen since.

Red-throated Loon, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Nov. 5, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


A drake Eurasian Wigeon was found yesterday, November 4, at the Clark Drive swamp in Mount Olive Township. A Eurasian Wigeon spent last fall and winter in the western lakes of Morris County.

Some may remember Clark Drive from 2012 when up to 18 Redheads were in the corporate pond. The swamp fed by Wills Brook on the northeast side of the railroad tracks is a productive waterfowl spot. The species present Nov. 4 included the Eurasian Wigeon, 3 Northern Shovelers, 35 Gadwall, 12 American Wigeon, 4 Green-winged Teal, 6 Am. Black Ducks, a Pied-billed Grebe, 2 Great Blue Herons and 2 American Coot as well as Mallards, Canada Geese and a Belted Kingfisher.

Eurasian Wigeon, Mt. Olive Twp., NJ, Nov. 4, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


A Magnolia Warbler at the Tilcon Lake area of Mount Olive Twp. on Nov. 4 was both a surprise and a probable locally late date for this species.

The Northern Shrike continues at the overlook on Pleasant Plains Road in the Great Swamp NWR. Some people saw it today and some didn’t.

Morristown’s White Ibis at Speedwell Lake was seen through yesterday, Nov. 4 but not today. It could simply be in an inaccessible location or flown to warmer climes.

Vesper Sparrows were seen today at the Great Swamp (many observers), and the old, defunct Hanover airport in Troy Meadows (Jeff Ellerbusch) where two late western Palm Warblers were also present.


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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Northern Shrike at Great Swamp NWR – Nov. 3, 2017

A Northern Shrike, more than likely the same individual found by Patrick (DiMarco) Finch on October 24, was relocated November 1 by Fred Weber at the Great Swamp NWR and seen by many observers today, Nov. 3.

The Northern Shrike was seen at the tops of dead trees, shifting from perch to perch, generally north of the overlook on Pleasant Plains Road. A spotting scope increases the chance of a decent view. The Shrike was a little too far for decent photographs (besides, this writer’s DSLR is currently in Canon rehab).

Northern Shrike, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, Nov. 3, 2017 (documentation photo by Alan Boyd)

PLEASE NOTE: The Great Swamp NWR will be closed Saturday, November 4, due to hunting.

Formerly an almost annual location for wintering Northern Shrikes, the species has been absent from the Great Swamp in recent years.


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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November White Ibis, Red-throated Loon, Other Birds – Nov. 1, 2017

White Ibis with Great Egret, Speedwell Lake, Morristown, NJ, Nov. 1, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Morristown’s White Ibis continues at Speedwell Lake as of November 1. This Ibis is approaching historic status. According to the eBird database, the only November records for White Ibis in November in the northeast, north of the Delmarva Peninsula are records from 2012 in Rhode Island and Cape May, 2011 in Pennsylvania, 2015 in Burlington County and 1979 in Connecticut. Further west are records from western New York in 1990 and northeastern Ohio in 2011.

The NJ Bird Record Committee began reviewing White Ibis records in 1996 and includes the 2012 Cape May sighting. There are no records of White Ibis later than October prior to 1996, actually prior to 2012. The history of this White Ibis can be followed on these posts:


Red-throated Loon, Great Cormorant, Bonaparte’s Gulls at Boonton Reservoir

An unusual Red-throated Loon was observed at the north end of Boonton Reservoir this afternoon by Rob Fanning and yours truly. It is unusual as it has a darker than expected neck as if vestiges of alternate plumage remain. The only photos obtainable are useless due to the distance and poor light.

Also at the northern end, a Great Cormorant was on the western shore before flying to the eastern shore. Morris County seems to get a quota of one Great Cormorant every fall. Once again, poor light makes for a mediocre photo.

Great Cormorant, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Nov. 1, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

At least two Bonaparte’s Gulls were at the south end of the reservoir this afternoon.


Other Birds

As many as five Bonaparte’s Gulls were at Lake Musconetcong this afternoon (Alan Boyd). At least some of these were present on October 31 as well.

American Pipits have occasionally visited Florham Park Fields in recent weeks. Chuck Hantis captured the following images late in the day on October 30.

American Pipit, Florham Park, NJ, Oct. 30, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

American Pipit, Florham Park, NJ, Oct. 30, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)


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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White Ibis continues in Morristown – Oct. 25, 2017

White Ibis, Speedwell Lake, Morristown, NJ, Oct. 25, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

The White Ibis of Speedwell Lake, Morristown continues as of late this afternoon, Oct. 25. The previous post about this Morris rarity is here.

Yesterday, Chris Thomas saw the Ibis fly from the lake in a southeasterly direction at approximately 5:40 PM. Lake Pocahontas, another section of the Whippany River is close-by in that direction, making a potentially suitable evening roost site.

This afternoon, Chuck Hantis saw the White Ibis in the far western section of Speedwell Lake. At 4:30, he saw it fly in a westerly direction further up the Whippany River. Lots of riverine nooks and crannies exist that the Ibis can hide in.

Here is a screenshot of an eBird-generated range map of current White Ibis sightings along the Atlantic coast. The northernmost pinpoint is Morristown’s White Ibis. As one can see, the next closest is Cape May and the Delmarva peninsula.

Thanks to Chuck Hantis for his photos from today. Click on the photos for larger images.

White Ibis, Speedwell Lake, Morristown, NJ, Oct. 25, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

White Ibis, Speedwell Lake, Morristown, NJ, Oct. 25, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

White Ibis, Speedwell Lake, Morristown, NJ, Oct. 25, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

White Ibis, Speedwell Lake, Morristown, NJ, Oct. 25, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)


A report of a Northern Shrike at the Great Swamp NWR appeared on eBird yesterday, Oct. 24. The bird was apparently seen in the afternoon but not since. There are photographic reports of Northern Shrikes from Connecticut on Oct. 22 and Massachusettes, Oct. 23-24. The species has been absent in the Morris area since 2012.


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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White Ibis in Morristown – Oct. 23, 2017

White Ibis, Speedwell Lake, Morristown, NJ, Oct. 23, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Look who is back. A White Ibis is actively feeding at Speedwell Lake in Morristown. Speedwell Lake is not regularly visited by birders so the Ibis may have been at the lake all along unbeknownst to the birding public. Nick Russo says he did not see it during a few recent visits.

It is anyone’s guess where this juvenile White Ibis has been frequenting the past six weeks. Of course, that is if one alleges this White Ibis is the same one found by Chuck Hantis and seen by others at Troy Meadows on September 7, 2017 and by Nick Russo at the same Speedwell Lake two days later on September 9.

Speedwell Lake is approximately seven miles in a straight line from the location the White Ibis was seen along Troy Brook on Sept. 7. White Ibis remains a New Jersey Review Species. The NJ Bird Record Committee may consider this to be one and the same White Ibis.

Along with the White Ibis, Speedwell Lake in Morristown has had its modest share of interesting birds over the years: Cackling Goose on a few occasions, Little Blue Heron, Great Egrets can usually be found here into the autumn. Green and Great Blue Herons are regulars during the summer. Ducks are plentiful when the water remains open during the winter months. Various swallow species and Chimney Swifts frequent the lake. Unfortunately, the invasive Water Chestnut (Trapa natans) takes over the lake during the summer.

Speedwell Lake is actually a dammed section of the Whippany River, across Speedwell Avenue from Speedwell Village, Alfred Vail’s historic site. It is a popular park. An asphalt path runs alongside the lake and is part of Morris County’s Patriots Path system.

White Ibis, Speedwell Lake, Morristown, NJ, Oct. 23, 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.


Finis


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