Birds on the Water Chestnut Mat – Aug 15, 2016

Great Egrets, Great Blue Heron, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 14, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Great Egrets, Great Blue Heron, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 14, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image)

The invasive Water Chestnut (Trapa natans) is discussed in an earlier mocosocoBirds post worth reading, here. The situation has not changed at the bodies of water mentioned in that article from 2015. This pernicious plant is eradicated wherever possible by concerned and energetic individuals attempting to conserve a vanishing habitat. It is a noble endeavor that should be supported, of course.

Unfortunately, many privately owned and remote locations are inevitably overrun by this particular invasive. This is evidenced at the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits and other locations from the aforementioned mocosocoBirds post from 2015.  Other locations in the northeast are documented in myriad sources discussing this subject.

The main lake at the Pits is part of a privately owned property whose owner could not care a bit about the plant that blankets nearly 75% of the water during the summer. One wonders what the local beaver family thinks of this salad mix encroaching upon their lodge.

What continues to be of interest to this observer is how avian wildlife is attracted to this recent addition to local aquatic culture. A visit to the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits early Sunday morning reinforced prior observations that birds do like Water Chestnut mats.

The Pits is one of the few reliable migrating shorebird locations in Morris County, and is a very modest one at that. The shorebird habitat this year, referred to as “the flats”, is in the poorest condition seen in recent years. The usual shorebird flats are flooded enough to keep out the peep and other usual species. The areas of the flats not waterlogged are choked with shin-deep vegetation.

So, where is a hungry migrating shorebird to feed at The Pits? The Water Chestnut buffet mat! Sunday morning, twenty-eight Least Sandpipers, two juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs along with eleven Green Herons, a varying number of Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons, a small group of Red-winged Blackbirds and occasional other fly-by species were all partaking of whatever it is they are finding on this suffocating tangle of invasiveness. Even the solo Killdeer (usually there are 20-30 here this time of year) a juvenile Spotted Sandpiper and a genuinely Solitary Sandpiper were at the edge where the mat meets the little available mud.

Least Sandpipers, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 14, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Least Sandpipers, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 14, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

In previous years, Little Blue Herons, Cedar Waxwings, Double-crested Cormorants and (nature help us) Wood Ducks, Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, etc. have all been seen relishing in Water Chestnut-infested ponds in Morris County.

You may rightfully hate it, but we are forced to live with it. It is an aquatic version of Kudzu and people will never be able to get rid of all of it.

Lesser Yellowlegs, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 14, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Lesser Yellowlegs, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 14, 2016 (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.


@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.

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


Finis


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

Summer Birds in Morris and Somerset – Aug. 8, 2016

American Coot, Pied-billed Grebes, Common Gallinule

American Coot, Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 8, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

American Coot, Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 8, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Five pioneer birders blazed a route to the eastern shore of Deerhaven Lake this morning in search of the marsh birds of this section of the Newark Watershed (David and A.J. Bernstein, Louis Bizzarro, Roger Johnson, and this writer). A permit is required for entry.

Common Gallinules nest here, the only known Morris County location other than the Great Swamp NWR. They are found here in recent, successive years. Two adults and one juvenile were seen earlier in the season (see the post here). The juvenile has grown to full size and was the only Common Gallinule found today.

A surprise find was an American Coot (see the photo above). A search of the eBird database reveals this to be the only eBird-reported American Coot in July and August of 2016 in the entire state of New Jersey. Going back to June, the only other America Coot sightings on eBird are a pair of reports from Kearny Marsh.

Going back 10 years on eBird, today’s is the only American Coot reported in August in NJ except for a De Korte record and some from Forsythe NWR, Cape May and Mannington Marsh – and those reports are sparse. There are not many more for July during that same period and none in the interior part of the state.

As for nesting records in NJ, the Breeding Bird Atlas of the 1990s (Birds of New Jersey The NJ Breeding Bird Atlas, New Jersey Audubon, 1999) has only four confirmed nests for American Coot: what appear to be Wallkill NWR, Mannington Marsh (2) and Kearny Marsh.

The following American Coot entry is excerpted from The Birds of New Jersey: Status and Distribution (William J. Boyle, Jr., Princeton University Press, 2011):

“A population explosion in the 1950s and 1960s produced 300 nesting pairs in 1962 (Bull 1964) and similar numbers persisted into the 1980s (RNJB 9[4]:82). By the time of the Atlas, however, statewide breeding numbers had been reduced to a remnant few pairs, a situation that continues today.”

Suspected of nesting here for years, breeding confirmation was ascertained today as a family of six Pied-billed Grebes was seen swimming through Sweet-scented Water Lilies, Spatterdock and the open water.

Pied-billed Grebe family, Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 8, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Pied-billed Grebe family, Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 8, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

A Virginia Rail was heard by some of the observers today. Seven Lesser Yellowlegs flew in and around the marsh area. A side trip to the north side of the lake produced a pair of Common Ravens, former and maybe current nesters on the Green Pond Mountain escarpment. A Red-breasted Nuthatch was seen and singing in the mature Norway Spruces where Green Pond Road crosses over the marsh.


Olive-sided Flycatchers in Bernards Township and Roxbury Twp.

A late afternoon report today from Mike Hiotis:
“I had an Olive-sided Flycatcher in the scope at Mountain Park, Bernards Township around 2 PM this afternoon.This is a mixed use park just north of the Pingry School on Martinsville Rd. Both the dark vest about the chest and flanks and the white side rump patches were visible as it sallied about and landed on different dead branches. This was in the northwest end of the park beyond the ball fields.(MH)”

After this post was published, it was learned that another Olive-side Flycatcher was also seen this afternoon in Roxbury Township, Morris County (Alan Boyd).


Other summer birds

Black-crowned Night-Heron, Parsippany, NJ, July 31, 2016 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

Black-crowned Night-Heron, Parsippany, NJ, July 31, 2016 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

A pair of Black-crowned Night-Herons have been at Jefferson Rd. Pond since the spring. Rob Fanning reports seeing one of the pair carrying sticks some time ago.


An adult Red-headed Woodpecker was at Troy Meadows, Aug. 1 (Rob Fanning). They are apparently nesting at Troy Meadows this year.


Somerset County produced a collection of shorebirds during the past week. On July 31, Selody Sod Farm had 8 Semipalmated Plovers, 42 Killdeer, 1 Upland Sandpiper, 5 Least and 2 Semipalmated Sandpipers (Jeff Ellerbusch).

Duke Island Park has had Killdeer, Spotted, Solitary and Least Sandpipers, and Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs (many obs.)


A Common Loon, assuming it is the same one, has spent the summer at the north end of Boonton Reservoir.


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.


@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.

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


Finis


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

Common Gallinules, Little Blue Heron – July 15, 2016

Common Gallinules of Deerhaven Lake

Common Gallinules, Deerhaven Lake, NJ, July 15, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Common Gallinules, Deerhaven Lake, NJ, July 15, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Click on the heavily cropped photo for a larger image. If you look closely, you will see a Common Gallinule adult feeding with its offspring, the Gallinulet. Another adult is hidden behind the tuft of Phragmites to the right of the juvenile.

This is the fourth consecutive year Common Gallinules are found at Deerhaven Lake and the second consecutive year that breeding is confirmed. This species has probably been here for decades. The only other known breeding location for this species in Morris County is the Great Swamp NWR.

A Pied-billed Grebe was also seen today by the intrepid bushwhackers Roger Johnson, Louis Bizarro and this writer. Although not confirmed, Pied-billed Grebe is a probable nester here, as well.

By this time of summer, the heronry at Deerhaven is mostly vacated by this year’s Great Blue Heron fledglings and adults. 40 of these creatures is a typical number earlier in the season. 13 or so were seen today. The many Wood Ducks are in eclipse plumage. A Pine Warbler was singing in the woods on the Green Pond Road side of the lake.


Little Blue Heron at The Pits

A juvenile Little Blue Heron was observed at the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits on Wednesday, July 13. The Little Blue was seen briefly near the shorebird flats before flying off in the direction of the Walker Avenue Wetlands in Passaic County, which is directly across the Pompton River from The Pits.

This is the only known report of Little Blue Heron in Morris and Somerset Counties for 2016.


Much thanks to the Morris County Library system for providing Internet access so this post can be published. The mocosocoBirds headquarters in Morris Township is without power for a second day due to a violent thunder storm that ripped through Morris County and elsewhere Thursday afternoon. Thousands of households are without power.

The following photo is of neighbor’s property up the street covered in fallen trees.

Morris Twp. NJ, the day after the storm of July 14, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Morris Twp. NJ, the day after the storm of July 14, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Further up the street: what a tree falling on a power line can do.

Morris Twp. NJ, the day after the storm of July 14, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Morris Twp. NJ, the day after the storm of July 14, 2016 (iPhone 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.


@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.

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


Finis


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

Red-headed Woodpeckers – July 6, 2016

Red-headed Woodpecker, Chatham Twp., NJ, July 4, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Red-headed Woodpecker, Chatham Twp., NJ, July 4, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Morris and Somerset Counties are the regional hotspot for Red-headed Woodpeckers (RHWO) this summer of 2016.

This cyclical species is more apparent in the Morris and Somerset area this summer than in recent years. Juveniles are reported, so breeding is taking place. Spring and summer residents of this species usually follows a heavy winter influx of Red-headed Woodpeckers. While there was a slight movement this past fall and winter as witnessed by the Christmas Bird Counts in December 2015, it was not at all extraordinary. Great Swamp CBC counted 3 RHWOs and the Boonton CBC tallied 6.

Following is a list of recent Red-headed Woodpeckers sightings:

  • Two adult RHWOs were found on Saturday, July 2 at Passaic River County Park in Chatham Township by Tom Halliwell as he was conducting the annual Great Swamp Butterfly Count. The adults remain as of today.
  • An immature RHWO is reported from Old Troy Park, July 6 (Joseph Barbieri via eBird).
  • Two RHWOs were observed at Lord Stirling Park: one near the Passaic River and the other by the boondocks boardwalk (Jeff Ellerbusch). This can mean that these same individuals are circulating through the west side of the Great Swamp NWR.
  • Four RHWOs were at Troy Meadows on June 26 (Roger Johnson). Two of the woodpeckers are juveniles.
  • RHWOs are reported from the swamp at Pyramid Mountain in Montville (David Blinder).
  • 1 adult RHWO was seen by Ben Barkley at the Howe Nature Trail at Colonial Park, Franklin Twp. He has a second-hand report of two juvenile RHWOs seen there as well.

The last two entries on the list were added after the post was originally published.

With all of these RHWO sightings, the usually reliable picids at Glenhurst Meadows/Long Hill Wetlands are probably in attendance but have not been reported.

Red-headed Woodpecker, Chatham Twp., NJ, July 4, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Red-headed Woodpecker, Chatham Twp., NJ, July 4, 2016 (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.


@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.

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


Finis


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

Pine Siskin and Red-breasted Nuthatches – June 30, 2016

Pine Siskin at Troy Meadows

Pine Siskin, Troy Meadows, NJ, June 30, 2016 (photo by George Valladares)

Pine Siskin, Troy Meadows, NJ, June 30, 2016 (photo by George Valladares)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

The subject of this post is appropriate for January 30 – but June 30? Six months later?

Dave Hall led a New Jersey Audubon field trip today at Troy Meadows. An unexpected Pine Siskin was observed and photographed near the small parking area and the gas pipeline on Troy Meadows Road. Many thanks to George Valladares for sharing his photos. There are only a few records in the eBird database for Pine Siskins in this time period in New Jersey .

Pine Siskin, Troy Meadows, NJ, June 30, 2016 (photo by George Valladares)

Pine Siskin, Troy Meadows, NJ, June 30, 2016 (photo by George Valladares)


Red-breasted Nuthatches

Adding to the unusual bird calendar are recent Red-breasted Nuthatch reports from several locations in the Somerset area and elsewhere in New Jersey. Lord Stirling Park (Ben Barkley), Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve (Jeff Ellerbusch) and Ann Van Middlesworth Park, Hillsborough Twp. (Vicki Scwartz) in Hillsborough all have observations of this species in recent weeks.

Historically, Red-breasted Nuthatches appear periodically in the summer months in New Jersey and can be local breeders. However, they are virtually absent from the Morris and Somerset County region for the past few years.


Other Bird Notes

The Yellow-throated Warbler at Colonial Park is not reported since June 26, more than likely due to the absence of anyone looking for it.

The Trumpeter Swan has vacated Lake Musconetcong, where it was last reported on June 19. This is believed to be the same individual who has spent much of 2016 in Sussex County (Montague and Hyper Humus) and could show up anywhere.


Butterflies

Monarch, Lord Stirling Park, NJ, June 30, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Monarch, Lord Stirling Park, NJ, June 30, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

It is 4th of July Butterfly Count season. Just as birders partake in Christmas Bird Counts, butterfliers census the local butterflies in July. A schedule of counts can be found at the following page of the North Jersey Butterfly Club of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA). Scroll down the page to view the list:

NABA Butterfly Counts in New Jersey.


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.


@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.

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


Finis


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

Yellow-throated Warbler, other bird notes – June 22, 2016

Yellow-throated Warbler, Colonial Park, Franklin Twp., NJ, June 21, 2016 (photo by Ken Eberts)

Yellow-throated Warbler, Colonial Park, Franklin Twp., NJ, June 21, 2016 (photo by Ken Eberts)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

In 2014, a Yellow-throated Warbler spent much of the spring in the mature White Pines and oaks, north of the parking lot at the van der Goot Rose Garden section of Colonial Park in Franklin Twp. Dozens of people were able to observe the warbler during its stay. The species was missed in the park during 2015 despite extensive searching.

Yellow-throated Warbler is not an expected species in Somerset County or anywhere else in much of the interior of New Jersey. The main breeding populations are centered around Cape May County and at scattered locations along the Delaware River with an ongoing population at Bull’s Island in Hunterdon County. It is not often encountered during migration.

Yesterday, June 21, Ben Barkley located a singing Yellow-throated Warbler in the same location at Colonial Park as that in 2014. Other birders were able to observe it throughout the day. Many thanks to Ken Eberts for sharing his photos with mocosocoBirds.

The Yellow-throated Warbler continues at Colonial Park today. It sang incessantly between 6:00-6:30 this morning. An iPhone 6 Plus recording of its song is here. Please note that the Rose Garden is west of Mettlers Road which is the opposite side of the road as the main section of the park.

Yellow-throated Warbler, Colonial Park, Franklin Twp., NJ, June 21, 2016 (photo by Ken Eberts)

Yellow-throated Warbler, Colonial Park, Franklin Twp., NJ, June 21, 2016 (photo by Ken Eberts)

It will be left for others to debate whether this individual is the nominate Setophaga dominca dominica, the “coastal” Yellow-throated Warbler, or if this is the midwestern sometimes white-lored S. d. albilora, or “Sycamore Warbler”


Other Bird Notes

Grasshopper Sparrows and at least one male Blue Grosbeak continue at Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve.

A Trumpeter Swan continues to hang out with the Mute Swans at Lake Musconetcong.

Sandhill Crane fans can be happy come November. Corn is planted on Randolph Road, Franklin Township this year instead of soy beans. This has been a popular drive-up-and-see-the-cranes spot for years, but only when corn is planted.


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.


@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.

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


Finis


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

Sunday Bird Notes and a Geography Lesson – June 12, 2016

Beaver Brook Trail – South

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia), Rockaway R. WMA, NJ, June 11, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia), Rockaway R. WMA, NJ, June 11, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Yesterday, June 11, Tim Vogel and this writer hiked the southern half of the Beaver Brook Trail in the Rockaway River WMA. This is arguably one of the most grueling trails in Morris County. Starting at the parking lot at Taylor and Berkshire Valley Roads in Jefferson Twp., the hike followed the white-blazed trail along the ridge, all the way to the PSE&G Susquehanna-Roseland Project powerline – a rugged round trip of over four miles.

Worm-eating Warblers are numerous along the trail. Nine evenly spaced singers were tallied. Other warblers encountered were Louisiana Waterthrush, Hooded, Chestnut-sided, Black-and-white and Yellow Warblers, American Redstarts, Common Yellowthroats and abundant Ovenbirds. The ridge was alive with singing Wood Thrushes, Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Eastern Wood-Pewees, etc.

A highlight of the walk was Mountain Laurel which was in peak bloom, especially along the southern portion of the ridge.

The following photo shows an abandoned nest in a rock formation suitable for a Black Bear dwelling. It seemed like the eggs in the nest, if that’s what they are, were rotted. In any case, it is an impressive structure. Please comment to this post if anyone has an idea to what species built it.

Bird Nest, Rockaway R. WMA, NJ, June 11, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Kizas)

Bird Nest, Rockaway R. WMA, NJ, June 11, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)


Geography Lesson No. 1

People may not be cognizant of the borders that Morris shares with its neighboring counties. Keep in mind that Morris County, located in the north central section of New Jersey, shares more county borders, seven, than any other county in New Jersey. The bordering counties are Sussex, Passaic, Essex, Union, Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren.

This situation is exacerbated by eBird hotspots which can generalize locations. For example, two eBird hotspots exist for Lake Musconetcong: Lake Musconetcong – Morris and Lake Musconetcong (Sussex).

For those visiting the Trumpeter Swan at Lake Musconetcong, please know where you are. The Musconetcong River is the Morris-Sussex border in this area. Lake Musconetcong is a dammed portion of the river meaning that the shorelines are either in Morris or Sussex depending on where you are situated. If you are in Stanhope or anywhere on the northern shore of the lake, you are in Sussex. Koclas Drive in Netcong, the location where most observers are viewing the Trumpeter Swan, is firmly in Morris, as is the entire south shore of the lake.

Look at the map here: the Musconetcong River feeds the lake from the east (the river’s source is Lake Hopatcong) and exits by the bridge at the west end of the lake on Ledgewood Ave. North of the river is Sussex; south of the river is Morris. Yes, this means that you can have a bi-county experience twitching the Trumpeter, as many birders already have.


Other Notes

Green Heron, Lake Denmark, NJ, June 12, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Green Heron, Lake Denmark, NJ, June 12, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Here is a good example as to why scientific binomial nomenclature is preferred in identifying nature’s biota. The following familiar aquatic plant, labeled as Sweet-scented Water Lily in Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, may be known elsewhere as American White Water-lily, Fragrant White Water-lily, Fragrant Water-lily, White Water-lily, Sweet-scented White Water-lily and Beaver-root. Those labels may seem poetic but create a variety of unnecessary confusion when Nymphaea odorata says it all.

Sweet-scented Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata), Lake Denmark, NJ, June 12, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Sweet-scented Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata), Lake Denmark, NJ, June 12, 2016 (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.


@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.

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


Finis


Posted in Morris County, Somerset County | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Trumpeter Swan at Lake Musconetcong – June 11, 2016

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Musconetcong, NJ, June 11, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Musconetcong, NJ, June 11, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image)

A Trumpeter Swan was found and photographed by Alan Boyd yesterday, June 10, at Lake Musconetcong. Viewing is from Koclas Drive. Please respect the property owners if you go. This means, stay on the road and do not go on the grass edge of the lake which is private property.

The waters of central to southern Morris and northern Somerset Counties were tainted a few years ago with a brood of captive origin Trumpeter Swans that circulated the area. Some of the mocosocoBirds posts regarding these swans are in the following list:

During the period from December 2013-April 2014, a trio of Trumpeter Swans visited Assunpink WMA in Monmouth County. These swans were determined to be legitimately wild and became the first accepted records of the species in New Jersey (see the NJBRC 2015 report here).

Trumpeter and Mute Swans, Lake Musconetcong, NJ, June 11, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Trumpeter and Mute Swans, Lake Musconetcong, NJ, June 11, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

As far as is known, the Bernardsville “pets” have not been seen in the wild, i.e. roaming around the lakes and ponds of Morris and Somerset Counties, since the end of 2014. Building the case for the current Trumpeter Swan as a bird of wild origin is the possibility that it is the same individual viewed at Montague in Sussex County this past winter. General appearance and size are the factors leading to that conclusion, along with the observation that the swan has not been seen in Montague since May.

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Musconetcong, NJ, June 11, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Musconetcong, NJ, June 11, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The 1st and third photos in this post are heavy crops meant to display significant features of the Trumpeter Swan. The top picture shows the diagnostic V-shaped forehead and bill. The third photo shows the steep slope of the head and bill and, if one looks closely enough, the joining of the eyes with the black of the bill (Click on the photo for a larger image).

The middle photo attempts to show the relative size of this particular Trumpeter Swan with the approximately 96 Mute Swans at the lake. The Trumpeter is slightly smaller than the Mutes. Even though Trumpeter Swans are generally the same size as Mute Swans, it will be accepted that this Trumpeter is within the size range for the species, albeit on the runt side of the size scale.

See David Sibley’s web page, here, on separating Trumpeter from Tundra Swans. The article also includes other links for more information.

  • See Glenn Mahler’s photos of the Trumpeter Swan from today, June 11, on his eBird checklist here.
  • Alan Boyd’s photos from June 10 can be seen here.

If this sighting is accepted by the New Jersey Bird Records Committee as a bird of wild origin, it will represent the first legitimate record of Trumpeter Swan in Morris 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.


@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.

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


Finis


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

Bird Notes – June 5, 2016

Bobolinks of Harding Township

Bobolink, Frelinghuysen Fields, Harding Twp., NJ, June 5, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Bobolink, Frelinghuysen Fields, Harding Twp., NJ, June 5, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Bobolinks are in the fields on both sides of James Street at Frelinghuysen Fields in Harding Township. If you go, stay on the mowed bridle paths – unless you enjoy walking through neck-high grasses and thick cow vetch. Park only on the east side of James Street by the Frelinghuysen Fields plaque near the chain link gate.  Do not travel on Wexford Lane which is a private road. Do not park by the little red house on the west side of James Street.

A Grasshopper Sparrow has been reported from here recently but not detected by this observer. Red-winged Blackbirds are abundant. Five Bobolinks, mostly males, were seen concurrently in the east field and likewise in the west field. This means there are probably more Bobolinks in the fields.

The Frelinghuysen family (Rodney Frelinghuysen is the congressman from the 11th district, encompassing most of Morris County including the highlands) and the Harding Land Trust are to be applauded for keeping these fields in their preserved state.

Margetts Field on Blue Mill Road has had nesting Bobolinks in the past but none are currently in residence.


The Black Vulture of Sayre’s Farm

Black Vulture, Sayre's Farm, Morris Twp., NJ, May 27, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Black Vulture, Sayre’s Farm, Morris Twp., NJ, May 27, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Sayre’s Farm will not be found labeled on a Google map. It is a name created by this author to label a property formerly owned by Theodore Sayre in the the 19th century. According to county park maps, it is part of Lewis Morris County Park. Unfortunately, the old gravel driveway on Mendham Rd. is gated and locked, a recent development some 3-4 years ago. Prior to this, it was a local birding hotspot due to it’s variety of habitats in a small area.

Patriots Path courses through the back end of the property, so access is still available for those who enjoy a long walk. The Black Vulture in the above photo is alleged to be the same individual seen on the property’s barn for a few years now, and at all seasons.

He/she is usually solo. The barn has wide barn doors on one side (locked of course) with a 3-4 foot gap above the doors. The Black Vulture frequently roosts on the top of the doors. Rather than flying away as expected when a person approaches, the vulture flies into the barn, much to the observer’s surprise.


Lawrence’s Warbler in Lincoln Park

Lawrence's Warbler, Lincoln Park, NJ, May 28, 2016 (photo by Jill Homcy)

Lawrence’s Warbler, Lincoln Park, NJ, May 28, 2016 (photo by Jill Homcy)

On May 27th, Ivan Kossak found a Lawrence’s Warbler (Blue-winged Warbler x Golden-winged Warbler hybrid) behind the Sports Factory in Lincoln Park. It stayed long enough for Jill Homcy to get a photograph the next day. This is as close to a Golden-winged Warbler as has been found in Morris County this spring.

Incidentally, Ivan Kossak initiated a community project in 2016 to see how many species of birds can be found in his hometown of Lincoln Park: The Great Lincoln Park Bird Count. A Facebook community page is setup here, although a Facebook account is probably necessary to view it.


Other Bird Notes

Jim Macaluso found a Caspian Tern at Great Cove, Lake Hopatcong on June 1. Here is an edited excerpt of Jim’s account: “I was coming in from fishing at Hendricks Cove and was in front of The Jefferson House when I noticed a bird in front of me that wasn’t a gull…I had never seen a Caspian Tern at Lake Hopatcong before, despite fishing there for more than 40 years.”


A King Rail was discovered at Troy Meadows on May 27 by Mike Ostrow and was vocalizing through at least May 31 before falling silent. Apparently, the rail’s vocalizing decreased as the density and intensity of mosquitos at Troy Meadows increased. A recording of the King Rail clucking is here.


Blue Grosbeak, Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve, NJ, June 4, 3016 (photo by Chris Thomas)

Blue Grosbeak, Negri-Nepote Native Grasslands Preserve, NJ, June 4, 3016 (photo by Chris Thomas)

So far in June, Blue Grosbeaks are reported from Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve (many obs.) and Duke Farms (Jeff Ellerbusch). The only Morris County Blue Grosbeak report in 2016 is of a single individual at Bamboo Brook on May 11 (Bill Lynch).


And, in closing, a Brown Thrasher at the Moody Farm in Washington Valley, Morris Township.

Brown Thrasher, Moody Farm, Morris Twp., NJ, May 25, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Brown Thrasher, Moody Farm, Morris Twp., NJ, May 25, 2016 (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.


@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.

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


Finis


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Birds of Mahlon Dickerson Reservation – May 22, 2016

Scarlet Tanager, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Scarlet Tanager, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

The above photo is of one of the most confiding Scarlet Tanagers this observer can remember seeing. This male was asking to be photographed, oblivious to nine Homo sapiens nearby at the Saffin Rock-Rill section of Mahlon Dickerson Reservation.

A New Jersey Audubon All Things Birds field trip was led today by yours truly. Eight enthusiastic participants experienced the best of Mahlon Dickerson Reservation in Jefferson Township. Some of the participants continued with a side trip to Weldon Brook WMA in Sparta Township, Sussex County in the afternoon.

Pink Azalea (Rhododendron nudiflorum) is currently at its gorgeous peak, surrounding the ponds at Mahlon Dickerson Reservation.

Pink Azalea (Rhododendron nudiflorum), Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Pink Azalea (Rhododendron nudiflorum), Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Pink Lady’s Slipper was found on the forest floor in the “north woods”.

Pink Lady's Slipper, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Pink Lady’s Slipper, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

A Bullfrog seemed at ease on a comfortable mat of moss at the Saffin Rock-Rill section of the reservation.

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), Saffin Rock-Rill Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), Saffin Rock-Rill Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The birds were the main attraction. All of the expected species are in their place, busy with the endeavor of reproducing. Thanks to Rob Gallucci for sharing the following photo he took this afternoon of the Cerulean Warbler on the path next to Saffin Pond. In the morning, the Cerulean played hard to get for awhile but finally gave the entire group great looks for an extended period of time.

Cerulean Warbler, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (photo by Rob Gallucci)

Cerulean Warbler, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (photo by Rob Gallucci)

Least Flycatchers finally returned to Mahlon this week. One was incessantly vocal in the usual place this species appears every year, along the yellow-blazed trail of the Saffin Rock-Rill pond. A very well-fed Black Bear across the pond created a brief distraction from the repetitive chebek-chebek-chebek song of the Least Flycatcher.

Lots of breeding activity was witnessed: courtship, nest building, copulation and nesting. A Wood Thrush nest was carefully and respectfully observed.

Wood Thrush Nest, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (photo By Jonathan Klizas)

Wood Thrush Nest, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (photo By Jonathan Klizas)

The Pine Swamp trail has two Acadian Flycatchers. One was studied at length by all of the observers. A Northern Waterthrush was in its usual place but Canada Warblers were strangely silent. They are breeders here most years. Two Hooded Warblers were heard, with one seen very briefly by some.

Yellow-billed Cuckoos were noticeable, being seen and heard. Before the group of birders convened in the morning, a Black-billed Cuckoo was observed at Saffin Rock-Rill; at the same time, an Alder Flycatcher sang a definitive fee-BEE-o three times before vanishing.

A side trip to nearby Sussex County’s Weldon Brook WMA accessed via Pascoe Road produced the usual bounty of Prairie, Chestnut-sided and Blue-winged Warblers, Indigo Buntings, Eastern Towhees, etc. A warbler with a yellow cap, dark mask, gray back and sides and yellowish tinged wings flew into view raising everyone’s excitement – until it was determined to be a Brewster’s Warbler hybrid.

A Yellow-breasted Chat spent the spring and early summer here in 2015. This year, it looks as if an herbicide was applied to a large swatch of trees and vegetation under the power lines, destroying any chance of a return of the Chat to the same locale.


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.


@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.

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


Finis


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