Cuckoos and Field Notes, May, 14, 2013

Both Black-billed and Yellow-billed Cuckoos were calling near the north gate (a.k.a. “closed bridge”) of Pleasant Plains Road, Great Swamp NWR early this morning. A Yellow-billed called near the overlook in the afternoon. Since the weekend, Black-billed Cuckoos are especially conspicuous relative to most years. eBird data shows that sightings of both Cuckoo species in 2013 are double what they were by May 15, 2012 in Morris and Somerset Counties.

From Brian Clough:
Hey Jonathan – I have a few interesting migrants to report from Hutcheson Memorial Forest (Franklin Township). We’ve had a Black-billed Cuckoo kicking around the woods for two or three days now. In my rounds this morning, I had a singing Hooded Warbler and a late-ish Ruby-crowned Kinglet along with the usual suspects. The former is an unusual migrant for this property. I’m always on the lookout, as they bred here in past decades. There’s still a surprising number of White-throated Sparrows kicking around the woods as well. What a strange spring this has been. Cheers! – Brian Clough

From Terry Carruthers:
Good to see so many Bobolinks turning up locally. A male was back on territory this morning at the Harding Twp. Fields off James Rd.

From Ivan Kossack:
Hi Jonathan – Still not too exciting at Bee Meadow Park but a noticeable increase in migrants today. The front pond was patrolled by a mixed group of about 20-25 Barn, Tree and Rough-winged Swallows. I also heard Yellow (4-5), Parula (1), Blackpoll (1), Yellow-Rumped (3-5) Warblers and 1 Common Yellowthroat. Baltimore Oriole numbers have increased as well. I saw at least half a dozen of them.

From Ken Hart:
In the woods around my house/along Black River Road today in Long Valley, there’s been a variant-plumaged male Scarlet Tanager singing incessantly–– all day long. The bird is mostly red with orange-yellow patches on the neck and sides, with small, very faint gray-white patches on the wing secondaries.

A male Wilson’s Warbler was observed early this evening at the north gate of Pleasant Plains Road, Great Swamp NWR (Jamie Glydon, Simon Lane).

Wilson's Warbler, Great Swamp NWR, May 14, 2013 (photo by Simon Lane).

Wilson’s Warbler, Great Swamp NWR, May 14, 2013 (photo by Simon Lane).

Also on Pleasant Plains Road, Morris County’s 1st Least Flycatcher of 2013 was observed this evening (S. Lane).


Southwest winds tonight – there is no precipitation event to contribute to fallout conditions, but we will take anything we can get this spring.

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