Night-Herons, July 1, 2013

Black-crowned Night-Heron, Best Lake, Watchung, NJ, July 1, 2013 (photo by Jim Mulvey).

Black-crowned Night-Heron, Best Lake, Watchung, NJ, July 1, 2013 (photo by Jim Mulvey).

It has been stated in this space before that Black-crowned Night-Herons (BCNH) are not easy to find in Morris and Somerset Counties. That changes with July upon us. Not that they are abundant, only that you may be more likely to see one in the right circumstances. A few have been at the Boonton Reservoir recently. One was seen flying by the overlook on Pleasant Plains Road, Great Swamp NWR on Sunday morning (Simon Lane). They are somewhat annual at the Great Swamp.  Stanley Park in Chatham along the Passaic River is another regular spot. Melanie Lane in Hanover Township had a crew of 2-3 last summer.  They have been observed on the Boonton Christmas Bird Count 15 out of the 77 years of the count but only once since 1999. Both Best Lake and Watchung Lake in the borough of Watchung seem to be reliable in Somerset County. Jim Mulvey found a BCNH, probably  the same one he found a month ago, at Best Lake today. Other than that, records are few and far between.

Black-crowned Night-Heron, Best Lake, Watchung, NJ, July 1, 2013 (photo by Jim Mulvey).

Black-crowned Night-Heron, Best Lake, Watchung, NJ, July 1, 2013 (photo by Jim Mulvey).

Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are more scarce in the mocosocoBirds region as one would expect. One a year seems to be the recent average: 1 at Colonial Park, Franklin Twp. in 2013; 1 at Melanie Lane, Hanover Twp., 2012, 1 in Denville, 2011, etc.

Yellow-crowned Night-Herons made news in Morris County 84 years ago. The following excerpt is of historical interest. Lester Lewis Walsh of Ridgewood, NJ writes of a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at Troy Meadows (or as Mr. Walsh labels it: Troy Meadow swamp). The account is from the general notes section of The Auk, Vol. XLVI, October 1929, pp. 537-538.

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2 Responses to Night-Herons, July 1, 2013

  1. Dave Emma says:

    Wonder what bins were like in 1929.

  2. Theodore Chase says:

    I don’t remember whether I posted it to JerseyBirds, but I had a BCN Heron on the Delaware & Raritan Canal, a little south of the Ten Mile Lock (north of Zarephath) on June 16. Are BCN Herons considered to be much less common than, say, 50 years ago (when I was young in Massachusetts, and they were common, at least along the coast)? Ted Chase Franklin Twp

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