Jonathan’s Woods in Denville Township had 13+ Fox Sparrows, 8 in one tree at one point in time, 10+ Red-breasted Nuthatches, Golden and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Dark-eyed Juncos and lots of typical species of the area. A majority of the birds, including all of the Fox Sparrows and a number of Red-breasted Nuthatches, were preoccupied with the eastern periphery of the Cathedral Pines on Old Beech Glen Road. They especially were attracted to the debris on the forest floor – the debris of hundreds of White Pines that were felled by the powerful wind of Hurricane Sandy on Monday, October 29. Jim Florance, who was clearing the trail with a chainsaw when I was there, estimates that 800 trees were knocked down by the storm. The edges of the Cathedral Pines escaped, but the entire central section of the pines along Old Beech Glen Road is leveled. The pictures below do not even begin to illustrate the magnitude of the imagery seen in person.
The devastation to some of the pine groves in northern Morris County is shocking. The groves along Cozy Lake Road near Oak Ridge are destroyed. These are woods administered by the Newark Watershed. Some areas have acres of conifers snapped in half with the jagged remains of the trunk bottoms still pointing upward from the earth. Other areas have nothing but uprooted trees, which created a domino effect when they fell taking their neighbors along with them. I went out this morning looking for winter finches, but I could not tear myself away from these images of a storm’s destruction.
The images of fallen trees at Cozy Lake Road and Jonathan’s Woods are the icons I will remember but the northern end of Green Pond Road was hit as well, maybe not quite so dramatically. Fortunately, the nests of the heronry and the White Pines of Deerhaven Lake seem to have escaped annihilation.
Please share with us any other sightings of the storm’s effect in the mocosocoBirds region. Click on the image below for a larger version.