(Click photo for larger image).
The Iceland Gull of Mt. Hope continues as of this morning, Sunday, March 3, 2013. The Iceland Gull has appeared at Mt. Hope Pond shortly after 7:00 the past two mornings. The gulls (Iceland, 25-30 Ring-billed and a Herring or two) apparently roost at the back end, or hidden, part of Mt. Hope Lake. Today at 6:50, the gulls started flying around the back area of the lake for approximately ten minutes, the Iceland occasionally chasing some Ring-billeds. The Iceland Gull is unmistakable in flight. Besides it’s larger-than-Ring-billed-Gull size and pale coloration, it’s upper primaries are subtly, but noticeably, paler than its secondaries. After exercising at the the lake, the gulls start lazily flying over to Mt. Hope Pond one-by-one, less than a mile to the west. Yesterday at the pond, the gulls were alternately loafing, flying or foraging for a few minutes at a time. Today was all about loafing. The Iceland Gull never moved for the twenty minutes it was observed. The distant, digiscoped photo at the top of the page is the only pose the gull gave. The gull’s pattern the rest of the day is unknown. It was not at Mt. Hope Pond late in the afternoon on March 2. The possible alternate roosting site at Mt. Hope Lake is not viewable. If visiting Mt. Hope Lake, please respect the No Trespassing signs. Birders are tolerated at the end of Everment Road at the one car parking area and the tiny dock. The entire perimeter of the lake is administered by the Rockaway Township Sportsmen Club and owned by the Tilcon Corporation and is off limits. There is zero tolerance for trespassing (and they DO keep an eye on it).
The Glaucous Gull of Budd Lake was not found this morning. It has probably left the area. In fact, the number of gulls has decreased day-by-day since Wednesday. Even Lesser Black-backed Gulls were absent today, or hidden. 550 Herring Gulls, 155 Ring-billed Gulls and 5 Great Black-backed Gulls were the tally for this morning. However, this is not to say that there will not be an afternoon build up of gulls – who knows? 4,000 Canada Geese remain as well as 40+ Lesser Scaup, 100+ Common Mergansers and 5 Hooded Mergansers. Budd Lake had 500 Ring-necked Ducks on February 28. There were none seen today.
The loyal Redhead drake has returned to the corporate pond at Clark Drive in Mt. Olive Township. Any time this pond has had a thaw this winter, the Redhead is there. There was a high count of 18 Redheads on this same pond on Feb. 28, 2012.
The Redheads of Lake Parsippany continue. What were 3 drakes and 3 hens last weekend has grown to 4 drakes for a total of 7 Redheads. They continue to hang out with the two other Aythya species in the lake: 76 Ring-necked Ducks and 21 Lesser Scaup. 2 American Coot are still present. Common Merganser numbers have grown to 238.