Redheads, Red-breasted Mergansers, Lakes, Mar. 25, 2013

Split Rock Reservoir

Split Rock Reservoir remains a mystery as to how such a scenic spot can have so few birds. 1,500 Common Mergansers were there one week ago which is a highlight for the reservoir. This morning there were 10 Common Mergansers, 6 Bufflehead and 1 Ring-billed Gull – that is it.

Mt. Hope Lake

The Mt. Hope Lake totals follow:
Mute Swan – 72
Gadwall – 36
Mallard – 2
Ring-necked Duck – 2
Lesser Scaup – 2
Bufflehead – 4
Hooded Merganser – 7
Ruddy Duck – 125
American Coot – 8

The Bald Eagles are on the nest.

Lake Musconetcong 

Visibility was poor on Lake Musconetcong and Budd Lake this morning. The snow was falling at a difficult-to-see-halfway-across-the-lake rate and was also melting on the eyepiece of the spotting scope and the binoculars. It was difficult viewing to say the least.

2 Eastern Phoebes in the snow was an interesting sight at Lake Musconetcong. 15 Buffleheads, 12 Common Mergansers, 6 Ring-necked Ducks and typical species were all that could be seen.

Budd Lake

Redheads at snowy Budd Lake, NJ, Mar. 25, 2013 (Photo by Jonathan Klizas).

Redheads at snowy Budd Lake, NJ, Mar. 25, 2013 (Photo by Jonathan Klizas).

The waterfowl at Budd Lake were cooperative as most were close to the north end. The totals:
Redhead – 6
Ring-necked Duck – 35
Greater Scaup -2 – male and female, distinctive frontal lobe sloping to the back, wide nail in the bill. There may have been others among the Scaup raft and could have been fodder for debate, despite the poor visibility, but only dead-on obvious ones were counted.
Lesser Scaup – 100
Common Merganser – 300
Red-breasted Merganser – 3 total – at least 1 drake at north end (see picture); at least 1 male, 1 female at south beach before flushing.
American Coot – 1 – I wonder if this is the same lone Am. Coot present at the lake all winter into spring

Red-breasted Merganser at snowy Budd Lake, Mar. 25, 2013 (an attempt at a photo by Jonathan Klizas).

Red-breasted Merganser at snowy Budd Lake, Mar. 25, 2013 (an attempt at a photo by Jonathan Klizas).

Lake Parsippany – the Pacific Loon is gone

Apparently the snow was only in the western part of Morris County mid-morning. There was no precipitation at all at Lake Parsippany later in the morning. A sub-adult Bald Eagle flew over the lake and stirred all of the gulls into the air.

The Pacific Loon can be officially thought of as gone. It was not seen yesterday by a number of people and was not seen today. 375 Common Mergansers remain as well as 13 Hooded Mergansers, 11 Ruddy Ducks, 10 American Coot and the usual species in the lake.

The Pacific Loon was not seen at Boonton Reservoir this morning.

Other Field Notes

Simon Lane found a female Red-breasted Merganser (RBME) with Common Mergansers at Ravine Lake, Far Hills. It has been a productive year for RBME in both Morris and Somerset Counties.

From Leslie Webster:
The farm ponds across Loantaka Road from the Loantaka Brook Reservation parking lot have been yielding some interesting ducks. Yesterday there were 5 Ring-necked ducks and 2 Hooded Mergansers. Kitchell Pond, in addition to 160 Canada Geese and 7 Ring-billed Gulls, had 6 Green-winged Teal, down from 18 a few days ago.

From Zach Bantren:
Took a drive though Colonial Park in Franklin Township on my way home:
3 Wood Ducks,
12 Ring-necked Ducks
12 Mallards
1 Hooded Merganser
1 Double-crested Cormorant

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