Red-throated Loon, Rusty Blackbirds, Sunday Field Notes, Apr. 7, 2013

Oh, so close

See woodcreeper.com’s map from 11:00 p.m. last night (Saturday) to see how close all of those migrants are to Morris and Somerset counties and New Jersey in general. The migration effect was not experienced this morning in the mocosocoBirds area. This week should bring an influx of species to reassure cold weather-weary, and migration-anxious New Jerseyans.

Red-throated Loon at Lake Hopatcong

ID photo of a Red-throated Loon, Lake Hopatcong, NJ, Apr. 7, 2013 (digiscoped by Jonathan Klizas).

ID photo of a Red-throated Loon, Lake Hopatcong, NJ, Apr. 7, 2013 (digiscoped by Jonathan Klizas).

(Click on the photo for a larger image).

Morris County sweeps the loons is the subtitle to this article. A Red-throated Loon (RTLO) was visible this afternoon from the north side of Bertrand Island, Mt. Arlington. Wind made the water choppy and passing motor boats did not help the situation. Two alternate plumaged Common Loons were in the same area. The RTLO was a pale, slender snake compared to those. The above photo was the best that could be done. All of the loons were feeding and would surface only briefly enough to locate them before they went down again. With this sighting, Morris County has had all of the regularly occurring loons of New Jersey in 2013. In fact, all three species were seen in two days of April 2013, the Pacific Loon of Boonton was seen yesterday (but not today. I tried).

Lake Hopatcong is the largest body of fresh water in all of New Jersey. Albeit, the entire shoreline is developed and motor boats are a-plenty from now until the lake freezes again. But it is so big. Looking north from Bertrand Island is like viewing an inland sea. Some interesting species have to drop in their occasionally.

Rusty Blackbirds at Troy Meadows

Rusty Blackbirds, Troy Meadows, NJ, Apr. 7, 2013 (photo by Jonathan Klizas).

Rusty Blackbirds, Troy Meadows, NJ, Apr. 7, 2013 (photo by Jonathan Klizas).

The first sizable group of Rusty Blackbirds in our region in 2013, 60+ individuals, was at Troy Meadows this morning. In fact, this is the largest group of Rusty Blackbirds recorded in the entire state of New Jersey in 2013, so far, based on eBird data. Otherwise, Troy Meadows was dominated by American Robins, Song Sparrows and Red-winged Blackbirds. Flocks of female Red-wingeds comprised the bulk of the 450 Red-winged Blackbirds counted.

Fox Sparrow at Troy Meadows, NJ, Apr. 7, 2013 (photo by Jonathan Klizas).

Fox Sparrow at Troy Meadows, NJ, Apr. 7, 2013 (photo by Jonathan Klizas).

Troy Meadows also had singing Fox Sparrows, scattered groups of American Tree Sparrows and lingering Dark-eyed Juncos.

Melanie Lane Wetlands – North End Construction Site is Off Limits

Branches of Tree Swallows at Melanie Lane Wetlands, NJ, Apr. 7, 2013 (photo by Jonathan Klizas).

Branches of Tree Swallows at Melanie Lane Wetlands, NJ, Apr. 7, 2013 (photo by Jonathan Klizas).

At least 30 Wilson’s Snipe were at the Melanie Lane Wetlands early this morning. 2 Wood Ducks, 8 Gadwall, 8 Northern Shovelers, 35 Green-winged Teal, 2 Blue-winged Teal, 1 American Coot and 120 Tree Swallows were viewed (Jonathan Klizas). Later in the day, 2 Greater Yellowlegs and 2 Great Egrets were added (Simon Lane).

PLEASE NOTE: The bad news is that the north end access to the wetlands, the construction site, is Strictly Off Limits. I was informed by a security officer this morning that everything enclosed by fencing is private property. We do not want to create problems, so, if you visit Melanie, please respect property boundaries and do not park where the trailer and port-a-john are, or anywhere within the fence enclosure. Avoid the construction site. This is illegal trespassing. Of course, everything outside of the fence is wetlands and accessible to those who have a creative imagination.

Pine and Palm Warblers

Morris County’s first Pine Warbler for 2013 was recorded today at the Great Swamp NWR (Simon Lane). The mocosocoBirds region’s first two Palm Warblers were seen from the Lord Stirling Park side of the Passaic River today (Simon Lane).

Other Notes

From Leslie Webster:
Report from Loantaka Brook Reservation: 1 Greater Yellowlegs was present at Kitchell Pond this morning, along with 2 Blue-Winged Teal, 9 Green-Winged Teal, 2 Gadwall, 6 Mallard, and the Mute Swan. Several small groups of Golden-Crowned Kinglets were making their way through the trees in the woods. I’m also picking up more Eastern Phoebes than usual.

From Susan Simovich:
My husband and I bird our area of Lake Hopatcong, Picatinny Arsenal and the Lake Denmark area. We also do the fall Picatinny Peak hawkwatch.
Currently our yard still has one Fox Sparrow, several Juncos, Tree and Song sparrows, Chickadees and we had our first Phoebe singing yesterday. Lake Winona (our backyard) had 5 Ring-necked Ducks and two pair of Bufflehead as of yesterday. At one point we had all three Mergansers hanging out but I didn’t see this section in time to let folks know.

Today on Picatinny, we were doing the Bluebird trail maintenence but were a bit late – we already have 3 Bluebird eggs in one nest and a pair building in another box. Phoebe singing on post as well.

From Roger Johnson:
Common Raven today at North Branch Park, Bridgewater Twp.

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