The Southwest Morris Winter Count on January 13 was very successful, despite very low visibility all day. We tallied 87 species, our 5th highest count in 29 years. Significant birds included the following:
3rd record – Red-headed Woodpecker (2 in Chester)
4th record – Lapland Longspur (Long Valley) and Virginia Rail (2 in the Musconetcong River marshes)
5th record – American Pipit (60 in Long Valley)
6th record – Lesser Scaup and the now expected Common Raven
8th record – Snow Goose, Pied-billed Grebe and Common Redpoll
10th record – Snow Bunting (Long Valley again)
New high counts were recorded for Snow Goose (10), Belted Kingfisher (14), Red-headed Woodpecker and American Pipit.
On the negative side:
Rusty Blackbird was missed for only the second time, Wilson’s Snipe for the 6th time and both American Wigeon and Gray Catbird for the 9th time.
New low counts for a species that is seen every year are significant since we have had some truly abysmal counts over the years: Mallard came in with only 333, Blue Jay with 57, Black-capped Chickadee with a measly 83 and Northern Mockingbird with only 10.
Next year’s count will be on the third Sunday in January, the 19th. I’m sure it will be the best of all!