Henslow’s Sparrow, Somerset County – June 23, 2019

Henslow’s Sparrow, Somerset Co., NJ, June 22, 2019 (photo by Jeff Ellerbusch)

What’s the big deal? It’s just another Henslow’s Sparrow in Somerset County. They are practically annual summer visitors albeit on inaccessible private property and in tiny numbers. They have nested in the county so the Negri-Nepote bird could find a mate.

However, this is 2019. Since approximately the 1950s, the Henslow’s Sparrow population has dropped precipitously in the northeast to the point where they are virtually absent.

Here is a screenshot of the June 23, 2019 eBird distribution map for Henslow’s Sparrow. This gives an accurate picture of the current status of this species (click on the picture for a larger image):

eBird species map, Henslow’s Sparrow, June 23, 2019

Fortunately for birders, the current Henslow’s Sparrow is using publicly-accessible Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve in Franklin Township for a possible nesting situation.

This individual was found and correctly identified yesterday, June 22 by Jeff Ellerbusch and seen yesterday and today by a multitude of eager observers looking for a post-spring-migration-early-summer adrenaline rush. Interestingly, this Henslow’s was probably present on June 6 based on photos that have come to light in the past twenty-four hours.

Here is an indication of how times have changed. This is the Henslow’s Sparrow account in A List of Birds of Morris County written by E. Carleton Thurber and published by the True Democratic Banner newspaper in 1887 (NOTE: recent taxonomic updates change Henslow’s genus from Ammodramus to Centronyx):

(Ammodramus henslowii) Henslow’s Sparrow. Rather common summer resident, but very local. The only places that I know of its being found are, a large meadow near Horse Hill, and in Wheeler Swamp near Littleton.

Horse Hill is present-day heavily developed Cedar Knolls. Littleton is swallowed up by Parsippany-Troy Hills.

Here is an excerpt from Bill Boyle’s The Birds of New Jersey, Status and Distribution:

Stone (1937) called Henslow’s Sparrow a “common summer resident” of the Cape May Peninsula at that time, and even at mid-century they were still uncommon and local breeding birds throughout New Jersey (Fables 1955, Bull 1964).

The Henslow’s Sparrow of today invokes the ghosts of Henslow’s Sparrows’ past. Even more of a motivation to protect what’s left of this critical habitat before it’s gone.


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 | Leave a comment

Mourning and Kentucky Warblers – May 30, 2019

Mourning Warbler

Mourning Warbler, Troy Meadows, Morris Co., NJ, May 30, 2019 (photo by Warren Van Varick)

(Thanks to Warren Van Varick for the use of his photo. Clicking on the photo brings you to his Flickr photo where you can browse his other Mourning Warbler images.)

Seeing or hearing one Mourning Warbler in spring migration is a special treat. May 2019 is becoming an embarrassment of riches in Morris and Somerset Counties. One, two, and maybe more, Mourning Warblers are reported from Troy Meadows since May 22 through today, May 30. One, in particular, has frequented the same brushy location since May 22 through May 30.

Mourning Warblers are reported from Lord Stirling Park from May 26 through today. North Jerseyans should feel fortunate. Other than one stray report from Burlington County, the eBird database shows no other Mourning Warbler reports for New Jersey in 2019 south of I-195.


Kentucky Warbler, Lewis Morris Park, Morris Co., NJ, May 30, 2019 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

For at least the second year in a row, a Kentucky Warbler is present at Lewis Morris Park. The Kentucky Warbler was found on May 27 near the end of Doe Meadow Road (park at the uppermost Sugarloaf lot), the same location where one was found in 2018.

Kentucky Warbler was a regular spring visitor and occasional nester in the 1980s and early ’90s from Jockey Hollow to Sherman Hoffman Sanctuary but absent in most years since. New Jersey is the northern extreme of this species’ nesting range.

Kentucky Warbler, Lewis Morris Park, Morris Co., NJ, May 28, 2019 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

Thanks to Chuck Hantis for the Kentucky Warbler photos. Clicking on the image above will bring you to his Flickr page.

Kentucky Warbler, Lewis Morris Park, Morris Co., NJ, May 28, 2019 (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


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

The Raptor Trust Benefit – May 19, 2019




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Black-headed Grosbeak Photos – Apr. 21, 2019

Black-headed Grosbeak, Morris Twp., NJ, Apr. 20, 2019 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

The Black-headed Grosbeak of Morris Township continues for the third day. Since the bird was found by Andy Boulcott on April 19, at least 80 single checklists have been submitted to eBird using the eBird hotspot created for this event: stakeout Black-headed Grosbeak, 17 Forest Dr., Morristown (2019). Not everyone uses eBird so it is not a stretch of the imagination to say that well over 100 people have visited 17 Forest Drive.

The birding community cannot thank the Boulcott family enough for their generosity in opening up their yard so that others can view their western wanderer.

Please revise your checklist to use the stakeout hotspot as the location if you haven’t already. Submit a comment at the end of this post if you are not sure how to accomplish that.

Details of this rare visitor are described in these previous two posts:

Black-headed Grosbeak in Morris Twp.
Current Range Map

Chuck Hantis was present at 17 Forest Drive on Saturday, April 20, 2019, and captured stunning images of the Black-headed Grosbeak, one of which is at the top of this post and others which are presented below. Clicking on the photos brings you to Chuck’s Flickr page which is worthwhile checking out. There are lots of great photographs in his collection.

Black-headed Grosbeak, Morris Twp., NJ, Apr. 20, 2019 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

Black-headed Grosbeak, Morris Twp., NJ, Apr. 20, 2019 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

Black-headed Grosbeak, Morris Twp., NJ, Apr. 20, 2019 (photo by Chuck Hantis)


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Posted in Morris County, Somerset County | 2 Comments

Black-headed Grosbeak, current range map – Apr. 20, 2019

Many observers from near and far are enjoying Morris Township’s Black-headed Grosbeak today. Once again, our deepest thanks to Andy Boulcott and his family for their generosity and graciousness in accommodating all those wishing to view their star yardbird.

Remember, if you go, please follow these directions. Park on the road. Do not block the driveway. Walk up the cobblestone-like driveway. The small tree with the feeder that the BHGR frequents is at the end of the driveway. The Black-headed Grosbeak (BHGR) is easily viewable from there. Be kind; be respectful. There is no need to wander on their property.

How rare is this fellow? It is only the third New Jersey record in the 21st century and those may have been one-day wonders.

Most New Jersey records are from wintertime. Only two records are of long staying individuals that stretched into April.

Maplewood, Essex Co. 4 Feb – 9 Apr, 1960
Gloucester County 10 Feb – 14 Apr, 1965

The Morris Twp. BHGR is the latest spring record for New Jersey known of so far and the first April record in 54 years.

Even more revealing of the magnitude of this rarity is the following eBird range map showing the current status of Black-headed Grosbeaks in much of North America. Yes, that one pinpoint on the right coast is the only current record east of the Mississippi River. Why this bird is here is anyone’s guess.

Following is the distribution map of Black-headed Grosbeak courtesy of Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s

Birds of North America.


Finis


Posted in Morris County, Somerset County | 3 Comments

Black-headed Grosbeak in Morris Twp. – April 20, 2019

Black-headed Grosbeak, Morris Twp., Morris Co., NJ, Apr. 19, 2019 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Out all day Friday, April 19, this writer returned home sometime in the afternoon with text messages from friends referring to an alleged Black-headed Grosbeak submitted to eBird that day from a private home in Morris County. Reading the checklist, I opened the map and, by gosh, it’s barely over a mile from my house on Kemble Mountain on the other side of the ridge!

Emails between the homeowner, Sam Galick, and I gave credence to the remarkable report. The homeowner, Andrew (Andy) Boulcott graciously invited me to observe the bird at his house at 17 Forest Drive, Morristown. Alright, a geographical lesson: it is actually in Morris Township, a separate municipality from Morristown, but the township lacks a post office and zip code, so our searchable and mailing addresses are Morristown.

The male Black-headed Grosbeak (BHGR) was also gracious to give a long, continuous appearance. It does so today, Saturday, April 20 as well.

Andy and his wife were asked if it was okay for public notice of the BHGR on the various New Jersey social media venues, and they both agreed. Andy is from Sussex, England, his father is a birder, so he understands birders. The possible consequence of people in their yard was gently explained to them, but they still agreed.

If you go, please follow these directions. Park on the road. Do not block the driveway. Walk up the cobblestone-like driveway. The small tree with the feeder that the BHGR frequents is at the end of the driveway. The BHGR is easily viewable from there. Be kind; be respectful. There is no need to wander on their property.

This represents the 25th New Jersey record of Black-headed Grosbeak and the third for Morris County. It is also the latest in spring that this species is recorded in the state.

eBirders note: a hotspot is created for the BHGR. Please use stakeout Black-headed Grosbeak, (17 Forest Dr., Morristown). The URL is https://ebird.org/hotspot/L9077802

Many thanks to the generosity and kindness of the Boulcotts for allowing people to view this special bird on their property.


Other sightings

An adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron continues at Fairview Farm, Bedminster along with an American Bittern (Apr. 20).

Tim Vogel reports a female Long-tailed Duck at Cook’s Pond, Denville yesterday, April 19. This species has a penchant for showing up in unexpected places.


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 | 3 Comments

Anhinga over Great Swamp NWR (April 13 only); the passing of Pete Bacinski – Apr. 14, 2019

Anhinga, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, Apr. 13, 2019 (documentation photo by Adrian Smith)

There is magic at the Great Swamp Wildlife Observation Center on Long Hill Road, Harding Township. On Saturday, April 13, 2019, Adrian Smith scanned the skies and found a high, distant shape that could be nothing else but an Anhinga. It was in the vicinity of three Black Vultures, eventually drifting off in an east-northeast direction, and was gone soon after it appeared.

If accepted by the New Jersey Bird Record Committee this will be the eighteenth New Jersey state record and the first for Morris County.

Anhinga is appropriately known by its scientific genus/species label as Anhinga anhinga. Why call it anything else when its name “is derived from a Tupi (Brazilian) Indian name, anhingá or anhangá, for the devil bird, an evil spirit of the woods”, as described in Cornell’s Birds of North America.

The Wildlife Observation Center is the scene of some other extraordinary sightings for Morris County in recent years.

On May 21, 2011 a group led by Mike Anderson saw and photographed a Swallow-tailed Kite at the Friends Blind. The significance of this sighting is that it is the first Swallow-tailed Kite reported in Morris County in one hundred and twenty-four years, or since 1887 in other words (see Thurber’s list).

On June 16, 2017, a group of birders watched and documented a Gull-billed Tern also at the Friends Blind, the first and only record of this species in Morris County.

These are the records that immediately come to mind. Something must be in the air at that location for such extraordinary local sightings. Keep them coming, and with photographic documentation, please!


Pete Bacinski

Pete Bacinski, a New Jersey birding giant for decades, left us too soon on Thursday, April 11, 2019. Upon news of his passing, the genuine outpouring of love and affection for Pete on social media and mailing lists was extraordinary and is a testament to the positive effect he had on so many people. This writer knew him for over thirty years and can’t think of a warmer, more generous and giving person. He will be greatly missed but remembered by everyone he touched. Good birding, Pete.


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 | 1 Comment

Ross’s Goose in Morris County – Feb. 18-19, 2019

Ross’s Goose with Canada Geese, Long Valley, Morris County, NJ, Feb. 18, 2019 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Alan Boyd found a Ross’s Goose Monday, February 18 in a roadside pond near the Valley Brook Country Day School, East Valley Brook Road in Long Valley (Washington Twp.), Morris County. A number of other observers were able to see the goose during the afternoon.

Ross’s Goose with Canada Geese, Long Valley, Morris County, NJ, Feb. 18, 2019 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Ross’s Goose is a mega-rarity in Morris County with no previous well-documented records.

Ross’s Goose with Canada Geese, Long Valley, Morris County, NJ, Feb. 18, 2019 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The Ross’s Goose was floating with hundreds of Canada Geese.

Rob Fanning reports the Ross’s Goose continues this morning, Tuesday, February 19. Parking is restricted to the shoulder next to the pond. Use care if you go to view it as Valley Brook Road is surprisingly busy.


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 | Leave a comment

The 83rd Boonton Christmas Bird Count Report – 2018

Peregrine Falcon, Bee Meadow Park, NJ, Dec. 23, 2018 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

The 83rd annual Boonton Christmas Bird Count (CBC) occurred on Sunday, December 23rd, 2018. The day had sunny skies, temperatures above freezing, and a gentle breeze if any wind at all and was the meteorological opposite of the soggy 2017 count.

Before continuing with the summary:

Congratulations to Tim Vogel for participating in his 50th Boonton CBC!

All bodies of water were ice-free although sub-freezing temperatures in the autumn froze many ponds and lakes, chasing the waterfowl away at that time. The major natural event affecting this year’s count was flooding. Did the rains ever let up in 2018? Many low-lying areas were flooded and inaccessible. Knee-high boots were de rigueur in many locations.

86 species were tallied plus two count week additions. This is becoming the relative average in recent years of the Boonton CBC.

2 count-week species, Pine Siskin, and Hermit Thrush are part of the record although not included in the actual totals for the count day (count-week is defined as three days prior to and three days after the actual count date).

11,291 is the total number of individual birds tallied and is the lowest number since 6,344 were totaled in 1972. It is even lower than last year’s 12,596. 2017’s count day had wet, miserable weather which helps explain low totals. But what of 2018? It was a beautiful day albeit with many flooded conditions. A few other New Jersey CBCs also comment on the low number of individuals this year. Only the future will know whether this is a trend or a blip in the course of time. We should be concerned if this becomes the normal state of the Boonton CBC and CBCs in general.

Low numbers have many contributing factors. One could be a lack of coverage in certain areas where comprehensive censusing was the norm in prior years. It is accurate to say that all regions of the Boonton count circle are not covered as thoroughly as they once were and some are not covered at all anymore. The continuing habitat degradation throughout the region is a major factor as well. If an area isn’t officially preserved, it will be developed.

Another alarming factor is how participants in the field describe the day’s birding. A common assessment gleaned from participants was that the day’s count was “slow”. This is two years in a row with opposite weather conditions but with the same observational remark: Slow. 

Highlights and lowlights for this year’s CBC are below.

  • A Barn Owl was the first since 2003 and the 15th occurrence on the count.
  • An Eastern Phoebe was the 13th appearance on the count and the fourth in the 21st century (2001, ‘09, ‘16, ‘18).
  • One Peregrine Falcon is always nice to report. Two is even better in 2018. Peregrines were reported only three times in the first sixty-one years of the count (1936-96); none from 1955 through 1996; Peregrine Falcon is recorded 14 times in the past twenty-two years plus two years as a count week record.
  • 9 Red-headed Woodpeckers at Troy Meadows; none in 2017.
  • Red-bellied Woodpeckers – the 21st-century average is 141. All of the woodpeckers dipped in 2017 due to the miserable weather more than likely, but rebounded in 2018. Red-bellieds went from 51 in 2017 to 142 in 2018.
  • European Starling – interesting numbers in 2018. More Starlings have been tallied in the history of the Boonton CBC than any other species, 207,447. Only 1,118 were counted in 2018. This is the lowest total since 1970.
  • 32 American Tree Sparrows is the lowest total in the history of the Boonton CBC where the 83-year average is 640(!). The 21st-century average is 318; the past 10-year average is 192. See a pattern? 2017 and 2018 have totals less than 100. The only other year that occurred was the first year of the Boonton CBC in 1936 when five observers in one party birded for eight hours and counted 75 Am. Tree Sparrows.
  • 13 species were above their 21st Century average:
    • Northern Shoveler, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck.
    • Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture.
    • Red-shouldered Hawk, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon
    • Eastern Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl
    • Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker
    • Eastern Phoebe
  • Of course, this means 73 species were at or below their 21st Century Average. A sampling of regularly occurring species with precipitous average drops follows. Averages are based on 21st-century totals:
    • Canada Goose – down 36%. 2,816 is the fifth lowest total since 1983.
    • Gadwall – 84% off the average; 14 is the lowest total since 7 in 1995.
    • Am. Black Duck – down 80%. Read this: 43 is the lowest total since 1944, 74 years ago.
    • Mallard – down 68%. 307 is the lowest total since 1967.
    • Great Blue Heron – 53% off ave. 13 in 2018 and 2016 are the two lowest totals since 1989.
    • Red-tailed Hawk – 29% off ave. Although 2018’s total of 54 is much improved over 2017’s 22, the 21st-century pattern of overall decline continues.
    • Ring-billed and Herring Gulls were 63% and 69% off of their 21st-century averages, respectively.
    • Rock Pigeon – 206 in 2018 is the lowest total since counting for this species began in 1973. 2017’s 237 is the second lowest.
    • Mourning Dove – 35% off ave. 304 is the second lowest total since 1988 with 254 in 2009 the lowest.
    • Although improved from 2017’s soggy numbers, most woodpecker species were off of their 21st-century averages.
    • Am. Crows and Fish Crows were off by 78% and 34% respectively, continuing a trend for Am. Crow.
    • Black-capped Chickadee and Tufted Titmouse totals were off 63% and 65% respectively. 111 Tufted Titmouse is the lowest total since 1969. For perspective, the average total of Tufted Titmouse from 1991-2001 was 518.
    • Am. Robins were down 81%, but totals of this species vary greatly from year to year.
    • No. Mockingbird down 54% – a continuing trend. 40 is the second lowest total since 1972 with 2017’s 27 the first lowest.
    • European Starling and Am. Tree Sparrow are mentioned earlier in this article.
    • Sparrow species were down between 35-50%.
    • No. Cardinal – down 44%, 119 is the lowest total since 1972; 2017’s 122 is the second lowest.
    • Red-winged Blackbird – down 86%; 72 is the lowest total since 1970.
    • Rusty Blackbird and Common Grackle were down 93% and 83% respectively, but their numbers fluctuate greatly from year to year.
    • House Sparrow – down 58% continuing a recent decline. 2017 and 2018 represent the two lowest totals since 1971.

The following species were reported by one party only. The species column is followed by the amount reported. The third column represents the percentage of occurrences in the 83-year history of the count:

Seen by only one party
Species Tot. % on CBC Comment
Northern Pintail 2 68.7 Varying totals over the years.
Green-winged Teal 2 67.5 Same as 2017 and the lowest total since 2 in 2000.
Redhead 11 47.0 scattered over the years.
Common Goldeneye 2 73.5 Was nearly annual through 2010; reported only twice since.
Wild Turkey 1 38.6 Where did they go? The average for the 21st century is 66.2!
Pied-billed Grebe 2 75.9 Typical; usually seen but very low in numbers.
Northern Harrier 1 81.9 Has been missed only three times since 1977.
American Kestrel 1 89.2 Despite the record count this fall at Cape May, local wintering numbers continue to decline. Missed in 2015 and 2017. Only one in 2016 and 2018. Despite the 89.2% occurrence rate for eighty-three years of the count, numbers in the 21st century are very poor.
Great Black-backed Gull 1 65.1 Was rare prior to 1969; Including a count week record, it has not missed since, barely.
Barn Owl 1 18.1 First record since 2003; only the 15th count it has been recorded.
Barred Owl 1 60.2 At least one is usually found somewhere.
Red-headed Woodpecker 9 45.8 Missed in 2017, this cyclical species is a Troy Meadows specialty.
Eastern Phoebe 1 14.5 The twelfth occurrence on the count.
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1 72.3 A feeder visitor kept this from being missed two years in a row.
Gray Catbird 1 59.0 First since 2015; was nearly annual for many years before that.
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1 66.3 You read that number correctly; not missed since 1983…barely.
Savannah Sparrow 2 72.3 Typical for this species.

As one can see from the previous table, every route is important to the overall count circle; every bird counts. 17 species were seen by one party only, showing how fragile the total species count is.

The following table shows notable species missed in 2018. The three different criteria for this table is species that were seen the previous year and not in 2018, or species having a >50% occurrence rate and missed, and other species of special interest. While this certainly can signal a decline in the species occurring in the count circle, keep in mind that the number of participants and parties has also decreased slightly over the years as well as an increase in property development and habitat degradation.

Notable Species Missed
Species % on CBC Comment
American Wigeon 81.9 3rd miss in 4 years after not being missed since 1989.
Greater Scaup 48.2 1 in 2017; sporadic through the years.
Red-breasted Merganser 13.3 1 in 2017. Most likely to be seen in spring.
Ruffed Grouse 61.4 Not reported since 2006. Nearly annual from the 1960s to the early ’90s.
Horned Grebe 28.9 3 in 2017; sporadic through the years.
Rough-legged Hawk 56.6 Last recorded in 2010. Rare since the 1990s despite its 56.6% occurrence rate.
Killdeer 63.9 Missed for the second year in a row, but numbers are small when it is recorded.
Wilson’s Snipe 62.7 Not recorded since 2014. Four years is the longest stretch without a record since the 1940s.
Long-eared Owl 61.4 Not since 2014.
Horned Lark 48.2 Not quite at 50% but mentioned here to illustrate the changes to a species occurrence; was nearly annual from the 1940s through the ‘70s. Recorded only five times since 1981.
American Pipit 32.5 30 in 2017; typically unpredictable.
Marsh Wren 38.6 1 in 2017; rare in the 21st century.
Hermit Thrush 67.5 A count week entry in 2018; missed in 2015 for the second time since 1972.
Eastern Towhee 79.5 Missed in 2012, as well, the only misses since 1966.
Chipping Sparrow 26.5 1 in 2017; one is reported every few years.
White-crowned Sparrow 36.1 Missed 4 out of 5 years; was annual from 1994 to 2013.
Eastern Meadowlark 49.4 Recorded in half of the Boonton CBCs but not since 2001 and only three times since 1985. How have times changed? 68 were recorded in 1953.
Brown-headed Cowbird 81.9 And this observer raked through the numerous Starlings at the Parsippany Transfer Station (Sharky’s Dump to old timers) trying to find one. This miss defies reason. Only one other miss since 1971 and that was in 1990.

Historical Tidbits

Below is the list of species occurring on all 83 years of the Boonton CBC.

  • American Black Duck
  • Mallard
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Blue Jay
  • American Crow
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Brown Creeper
  • European Starling
  • American Tree Sparrow
  • Song Sparrow
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Dark-eyed (Slate-colored) Junco
  • Northern Cardinal
  • American Goldfinch
  • House Sparrow

Here is the top ten of the total number of individuals for all 83 years of the count:

Species Total Individuals (83 years)
1 European Starling 207,447
2 Canada Goose 162,853
3 Common Grackle 126,085
4 American Crow 125,059
5 Mallard 63,907
6 Dark-eyed (Slate-colored) Junco 55,489
7 American Tree Sparrow 53,172
8 Red-winged Blackbird 43,503
9 Ring-billed Gull 39,161
10 House Sparrow 38,274

Mark your calendars. Next year’s count will be on Sunday, December 22, 2019.

This report is also at the following location on the mocosocoBirds.com website:

https://mocosocobirds.com/birds-of-morris-county-n-j/boontoncbc/2018-2/

A list of the species found on this CBC is at the following link:

https://mocosocobirds.com/birds-of-morris-county-n-j/boontoncbc/species-list/

You can also access these pages through the Birds of Morris County > Boonton Christmas Bird Count menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.

A wonderful 2019 to all!

Nature: respect, protect, preserve, and nurture it. Always be awed by its beauty.

Jonathan Klizas, Compiler

Boonton Christmas Bird Count

Posted in Christmas Bird Count, Morris County | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The White Red-tailed Hawk of Watnong Mtn.; Woody Guthrie and Greystone – Dec. 9, 2018

Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk, Watnong Mtn., Parsippany-Troy Hills, Morris Co., NJ, Dec. 9, 2018 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photos for either larger images or links to other websites.)

Watnong Mountain’s White (leucistic) Red-tailed Hawk is back for another winter, roosting along Old Dover Road in Parsippany-Troy Hills, just around the corner from Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital. This Red-tailed Hawk is hard to miss after the leaves have dropped. Look for a white mass among the brown and gray tones in the woods edge while cruising along Old Dover Road.

2018-19 represents the fifth year, at least, that this hawk has used the base of Watnong Mountain as a roost. It was last seen in the spring on May 4, 2018, soaring with an apparent female before reappearing in November. Sightings of the hawk during the summer months are undocumented and simply unknown.

One can fantasize that this raptor embodies the spirit of Woody Guthrie, soaring over the area where he was hospitalized at Greystone Park from 1953-58 due to Huntington’s Disease. For those unfamiliar with Woody Guthrie: look him up, study his work, appreciate how we are all beneficiaries of his legacy, and be grateful he existed for the short time that he did.

Woody Guthrie at Greystone Park, 1958

Woody’s family, including his son Arlo, paid weekly visits to him at Greystone. A Minnesota folksinger named Bob Dylan visited Woody at Greystone as did Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, and many other troubadours of a new and engaged generation, receiving the torch of social consciousness through music passed to them from the master.

Kirkbride Building, Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, Morris Co., NJ, June 24, 2015 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Woody resided in what he called Wardy Forty in the Kirkbride Building at Greystone. Unfortunately, this magnificent building, albeit in major disrepair, was demolished in October 2015 despite a passionate grassroots appeal for its survival. Those holding the pursestrings said it was not economically feasible to save it.

And so, along with much of the original Greystone Park grounds, another piece of history is laid to waste and replaced by a park with soccer and other playing fields and (gasp) two outdoor hockey rinks this observer has never seen used as well as field habitat desecrated by an unnecessary waste of asphalt named “Gov. Chris Christie Way”. Enough said.

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


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


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

@mocosocoBirds at Twitter is another communications stream. Instant field reports and links of interest are tweeted throughout the day. The latest tweets appear on the sidebar of this page. One can follow mocosocoBirds at Twitter or link to @mocosocoBirds.


Finis


Posted in Historical, Morris County, Somerset County | 3 Comments