Swallows, a Purple Martin and Bonaparte’s Gulls, Apr. 2, 2013

The Raritan River Flyway is in full swing. Bonaparte’s Gulls (BOGU) have been moving up the river and finally crossed into Somerset County this afternoon. 13 BOGU were seen by Jeff Ellerbusch along the Delaware and Raritan Towpath. Herring, Ring-billed and Great Black-backed Gulls filled out the larid list. 2012’s first and highest count for BOGU was 327 on April 11. Wood Ducks, Am. Black Ducks, Mallards, Ring-necked Ducks, Bufflehead, 3 female Common Goldeneye, 18 Common and 3 Red-breasted Mergansers made up the waterfowl tally. 4 Osprey and typical song birds were observed. The most remarkable sighting by Jeff was the thousands of swallows moving up the river. He conservatively counted 2,000 Tree Swallows, 100 Northern Rough-winged Swallows and 20 Barn Swallows.

In complete contrast were the two Tree Swallows seen on blustery Lake Musconetcong and Budd Lake this afternoon. Budd Lake still has a sizeable Scaup raft of at least 120. Most, if not all, are Lesser Scaup with a few Greater Scaup interspersed. Today’s blinding glare and steady wind made Scaup identification difficult. The Common Merganser numbers are down to 26.

Lake Musconetcong had 12 American Wigeon, 19 Ring-necked Ducks, 34 Bufflehead and 22 Common Mergansers, Double-crested Cormorants and 4 American Coot.

Purple Martin

The pond in front of the clubhouse at Spring Brook Country Club in Morris Township is a modest magnet for swallows in early spring. 30 Tree Swallows and a lone Barn Swallow were coursing the pond this afternoon. A beautiful, glossy adult male Purple Martin was a surprise. Based on data from eBird and The Purple Martin Conservation Association this is the furthest north a Purple Martin has been reported in New Jersey as of today. There has been a push of Martins into southern New Jersey the past three days.

The Lone Tom of B’ville

From Jennifer Books:
Hi Jonathan – The lonely, confused tom turkey has returned to the Lukoil Gas Station in Bernardsville, NJ. This bird has been showing up every spring for years now and consequently has a bit of a celebrity status. He even has a story written about him, from several years ago, in our local paper, The Bernardsville News. Last I checked the article was still hanging in the station’s front office too. Sometimes the station even hangs a turkey crossing sign on one of their filling stations. The bird is quite tame and photogenic if anyone cares to drop by, but I would try to be discrete about doing so as it is of course a business. I feel bad though that as far as I know this bird has never secured a mate due to his constant obsession with his own reflection in the service station’s garage windows.

Glenhurst Meadows

From Ellen Waldstein at Glenhurst:
Lots of Phoebe calling 4/01 but not today (4/02) with the cold. Pintail, Mallard, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser and Wood Ducks. Killdeer were back this a.m. Rusty Blackbird both days. Fox Sparrow.

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