A Loon, Waterfowl, Common Redpolls and Winter Wrens, Dec. 2, 2012

Morris County’s favorite (and only) Red-throated Loon continues at Budd Lake, Mt. Olive Township. It was seen at the north end of the lake this afternoon, floating towards the abandoned “Boat House” tavern and boat launch. In the past week the Loon has been observed in practically every section of the lake. At least one of the Greater Scaup is still present with the Lesser Scaup. Common Mergansers and at least one Hooded Merganser were present with the many Canada Geese and Gulls. A single skein of 60 Snow Geese (not an easy species to find in Morris Co.) flew south over the lake, calling continuously.

Red-throated Loon, Budd Lake, NJ, Dec. 2, 2012 (Photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Red-throated Loon, Budd Lake, NJ, Dec. 2, 2012 (Photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Lake Musconetcong had 94 Hooded Mergansers, high count for 2012 in Morris County. Hundreds of American Crows were flying eastward in the late afternooon.

Mt. Hope Lake has had a dramatic drop in Ruddy Duck numbers: 97 today, where there were 650 one week ago. 168 Ring-necked Ducks were the dominant species today. 71 American Coot represents the high count for 2012 in Morris County. Small groups of Gadwall, American Wigeon, Am. Black Duck, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead and Hooded Merganser were also on the lake. One of the two resident Bald Eagles roosted in a tree near the nest.
Winter Wrens have been more noticeable this autumn. eBird numbers back up this observation. In November of 2011, 91 listings of Winter Wren occurred in New Jersey; in November 2012: 234 listings. Some of this can be attributed to increased reporting on eBird…but not that much.

Jeff Ellerbusch found 4 separate Winter Wrens in the Great Swamp this afternoon: 3 at the Friends Blind at the Wildlife Observation Center on Long Hill Road, Harding Township and another at the overlook on Pleasant Plains Road. A Marsh Wren and 6 Common Redpolls were also at the Friends Blind. An American Woodcock was observed at the overlook.

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