Thursday Field Notes and Life After iGoogle, Oct. 31, 2013

From Dorie Cappiello:
“Lake Hopatcong is having it’s 5 year drawdown this year, so the north end has acres of mudflats. It is the lowest I have seen in over 15 years. So, plenty of waterfowl are on the small amount of water in the North end (north of the Brady Bridge). Lots of L. Scaup, A. Widgeon, Gadwall and the usual suspects, but yesterday, a flock of 9 Pectoral Sandpipers were working the mudflats. This change in the ecosystem may provide some interesting birding this Fall and Winter on Lake Hopatcong where the only regular shorebirds we get are Killdeer, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper and the occasional Yellowleg sp.”

[Editor’s note: Dorie also reported two possible Red-necked Grebes at the lake yesterday, Oct. 30, but not seen today.]

Other reports from the field.

Alan Boyd eBirded the following from Lake Musconetcong (which is also partially drawn down): 150 Mute Swans, 20 Gadwall, 3 Am. Wigeon, 2 Am. Black Ducks, 50 Pied-billed Grebe, 10 Am. Coot and the usual species occurring at the lake. Budd Lake had 5 Bufflehead, 1 Ruddy Duck, 4 Double-crested Cormorants and not much else.

The Pectoral Sandpiper of Melanie Lane Wetlands was eBirded again today (Julie Buechner). Joining it were 5 Wilson’s Snipe and the same collection of waterfowl that have been at the pond recently, i.e. No. Shoveler, No. Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Am. Coot and a Great Egret.

7 sparrow species were seen at Whippany’s Veteran’s Memorial Park this afternoon including 1 Vesper, 12 Savannah, and 2 White-crowned Sparrows (Jamie Glydon).

From Leslie Webster:
Appropriately for Halloween, two Great Horned Owls were calling back and forth at 5:30 AM this morning in suburban Madison. At least one has been present during the winter months in Madison for the past three years. Last year one was heard before Hurricane Sandy and not after. It’s good to have them back.

Life After iGoogle

iGoogle is defunct as of November 1, 2013. This is only meaningful to birders, myself included, who used the personal iGoogle web page as a host for various eBird related gadgets. Google announced a year ago that iGoogle’s demise would occur, so, I prepared for it by creating a freebee web site,, using Zachary DeBruine’s brilliant BirdTrax app. The BirdTrax app has three different views in its current manifestation: Sightings, Rarities and Checklists. Rarities is the default, mainly because it loads quickly, but you can view the data by either of the other two selections simply by clicking on their labels. I find Checklists to be the most useful. You can view every checklist entered in eBird for a location during the past week. Clicking around in the BirdTrax app will display the data in different ways.

Next to the BirdTrax app is a button labeled NJ Rarities @ eBird, which takes you to the eBird rarities page for that location. This lists the same sightings that appeared on the eBird iGoogle gadget but in a text format with more hyperlinks including the reporter’s checklist and photos, if any. Besides the state listing on the main page of, there is a Counties menu which has a similar layout for each of New Jersey’s 21 counties. The web site is public but the author is liable to change anything, including links, at a whim so be prepared. As stated earlier, I constructed this for personal use but anyone may utilize it…at your own risk. I simply do not have time to support another web site. (mocosocoBirds is unable to use BirdTrax on its web site due to, the host provider, blocking the use of javascript). Links for the rarities alerts and the Morris and Somerset county BirdTrax apps can be found on the upper right (top of the sidebar) of mocosocoBirds main page. Look for the headings eBird Rare Bird Alerts and eBird Checklists.


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1 Response to Thursday Field Notes and Life After iGoogle, Oct. 31, 2013

  1. Android, iPhone and any other smart phone users: use landscape position to view the BirdTrax app in a browser. Otherwise the Checklists menu will be cut off.

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