Horned Grebes and waterfowl in Morris County, Feb. 23, 2013

5 Horned Grebes in the distance at a misty Lake Parsippany, Feb. 23, 2013 (digiscoped by Jonathan Klizas).

5 Horned Grebes in the distance at a misty Lake Parsippany, Feb. 23, 2013 (digiscoped by Jonathan Klizas).

The lakes of Morris County are beginning to thaw. Budd Lake finally melted a good portion of the ice in the center of the lake. Simon Lane and I conservatively guesstimated 5,000 Canada Geese there this morning. 1 Redhead drake continues with a growing number of Lesser Scaup, 31. 3 Common Goldeneye, 8 Common Mergansers, 10 Bufflehead and a few Ring-necked Ducks were with the crowd.
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Lake Parsippany’s 6 Redheads from yesterday are gone, replaced today by 5 apparently storm-driven Horned Grebes who were resting as a group in the middle of the lake, observed by Dave Bernstein and me. 125 Ring-necked Ducks 5, Lesser Scaup, 5 Ruddy Ducks and 2 American Coots also were present.
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The Tundra Swans continue at Lake Hopatcong, viewable from South Lakeshore Road. Please use the parking area at the restaurant on Brady Road and walk in. South Lakeshore Road is very narrow with private residences. So far, the locals have been very friendly and interested about the waterfowl. Let us continue to be courteous, polite and respectful birders. An adult Bald Eagle flew in from the north across Brady Road Bridge. A drake Redhead rested with the first group of waterfowl south of the bridge. The Canvasback drake and Common Goldeneyes seen yesterday were still present today. I attempted an accurate count of the Ring-necked Ducks at this location and came up with 760 although I still think this under-counting them.

98 more Ring-necked Ducks are at Bertrand Island where some open water exists at the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club, possibly the only other significant open water on Lake Hopatcong. A female Common Goldeneye was also there. Cathy Millington eBirded and photographed a Red-breasted Merganser at this location yesterday, Feb. 22.

Here are totals for Lake Hopatcong:
127 Mute Swans
3 Tundra Swans – id’able. Others are probably present as well. Viewing conditions were poor today.
Gadwall – 3
Am. Wigeon – 6
Mallard – 10
Canvasback – 1
Redhead – 1
Ring-necked Duck – 760 plus 98 more at Bertrand Island for a total of nearly 860. It will be interesting to see how the numbers change in the next few weeks.
Lesser Scaup – 10
Bufflehead – 42
Common Goldeneye – 2 plus 1 female at Bertrand Island
Hooded Merganser – 1 plus 3 at Bertrand.
Ruddy Duck – 10
Bald Eagle – 1
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Jamie Glydon reports 4 Common Goldeneye from footbridge at the north end of Boonton Reservoir, Friday, Feb. 22.
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From Susan Treesh:
Hi Jonathan – While running errands in Franklin Township today (Sat) I stopped by my favorite “earlybird” Red-winged Blackbird spot, the (non-access) D&R canal point at Demott Lane. No RWBBs – yet – they’ve been moving through my backyard – but there was a colorful adult Red-shouldered Hawk calling and flying about the evergreens that line the entrance drive. I also stopped by Negri-Nepote long enough to run down to the pond, but only Mallards were on it. I do want to report, though, that it is nearly completely open and quite full, probably due to the frozen ground. Probably Snipe around, looks perfect for them now, but I didn’t want to spook all the Mallards into flying.

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4 Responses to Horned Grebes and waterfowl in Morris County, Feb. 23, 2013

  1. Dave Emma says:

    Why am I the only one not seeing these Goldeneyes? Are they really far out?

  2. Not necessarily far out in some cases, but more like being there when you are. Common Goldeneyes have been relatively and unusually wide spread in Morris County recently. Site fidelity, in most cases, has not been a common trait.

  3. Correction to the original post: the number of Common Goldeneyes seen at Boonton Reservoir on Friday, Feb. 22 was 4, not 14.

  4. Pingback: Pink-footed Goose not relocated; Sunday field notes, Feb. 24, 2013 | mocosoco Birds

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