17 Vesper Sparrows at Duke Farm; Ducks at Mt. Hope Lake, Oct. 27, 2013

17 Vesper Sparrows at Duke Farm

After finding 14 Vesper Sparrows at Finderne Wetlands yesterday, Oct. 26, Jeff Ellerbusch outdid that by finding 17 Vespers at Duke Farms today. Most were in the general vicinity of the community garden. According to the eBird database and as far as is known otherwise, this is the most seen in New Jersey at one place during one day. 8 Eastern Meadowlarks and 6 White-crowned Sparrows were among the 51 species Jeff tallied.

900 Ruddy Ducks at Mt. Hope Lake

Other than Melanie Lane Wetlands, Mt. Hope Lake is the only body of water in the mocosocoBirds region with any appreciable number of waterfowl or any waterfowl at all. 900 Ruddy Ducks, a Morris county record, are spread out over the entire lake. One week ago, 175 were counted. 650 at the same location on Nov. 24, 2013 was the previous high count. The Ruddys were counted multiple times mainly because of my disbelief in there being so many. Here is today’s list:
33 Mute Swan
1 Wood Duck
34 Gadwall
3 American Wigeon
13 Mallard
8 Northern Shoveler
12 Green-winged Teal
15 Ring-necked Duck
900 Ruddy Duck
2 Pied-billed Grebe
19 Double-crested Cormorant
21 American Coot
24 Ring-billed Gull
1 Belted Kingfisher
The Trumpeter Swan of probable captive origin and likely an escapee from the Bernardsville group, is still at the lake keeping to his/her self. It has been there since spring.

Other Field Notes

Melanie Lane Wetlands also has waterfowl in more modest numbers and some shorebirds as well. 46 Gadwall, 16 Green-winged Teal, Great Egret, 1 American Coot, 8 Killdeer, 2 Greater Yellowlegs, 1 Lesser Yellowlegs and 2 Rusty Blackbirds.

A Vesper Sparrow continues at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Whippany. Another is at Florham Park Fields where there were also 6 American Pipits (Jamie Glydon). 3 were seen at Troy Meadows (Tom Smith).

A Purple Finch was at a feeder in Randolph (Linda Matula).

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3 Responses to 17 Vesper Sparrows at Duke Farm; Ducks at Mt. Hope Lake, Oct. 27, 2013

  1. Rick Wright says:

    You have to go back 70 years to find higher single-day counts of vesper sparrows in the state. Excellent!

    • Jeff Ellerbusch says:

      31 Vesper between Finderne and Duke over the weekend…which is around as many as I would expect in the County for an entire season. Surprising and very impressive.

  2. John J. Collins says:

    I too went to Duke Farms this afternoon for about an hour and 15 minutes. I did see at least 2 Vesper Sparrows and one White-crowned Sparrow immature that was singing! The bird that surprised me the most was an immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER that I found in the dead snags located on the right side of the road that runs south from the Community Gardens, almost at the end where there is a T intersection. The bird flew to the other side of the road and investigated woodpecker holes in all the trees thereabouts but kept coming back to the aforementioned dead trees. I also saw a Pine Warbler across from the Community Gardens on the main east-west road leading from the visitor’s center.

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