Sunday Field Notes, Nov. 17, 2013

The current state of birds in the Morris and Somerset area leans towards red in the color spectrum: A Red-necked Grebe at Lake Hopatcong yesterday, numerous Red-headed Woodpeckers in certain locations and Rusty Blackbirds throughout the region.

The Great Swamp NWR is back in the news after a lengthy period. The Swamp was seemingly shut out from the influx of Red-headed Woodpeckers in the mocosocoBirds region until today when 4 were found along Pleasant Plains Road: 3 calling by the north gate and 1 opposite the Fenske Vistors center. Even more impressive was the 140 Rusty Blackbirds observed between the Friends Blind and Pleasant Plains Rd. 7 Winter Wrens were represented in the same two locations. An Eastern Meadowlark was heard calling in a field near the 90 degree bend on Pleasant Plains Rd. 2 Palm Warblers were seen north of the Fenske Center (all of the above reported by Jeff Ellerbusch). 18 Fox Sparrows and 2 Purple Finches were had earlier in the morning (Simon Lane).

Apparently loud, hovering helicopters do not affect Red-headed Woodpeckers. Today at Troy Meadows, 14 Red-headed Woodpeckers (RHWO) were observed in the snag forest from Alan Drive almost to the skeet area on Troy Meadows Road. Roger Johnson also reported 14 RHWO yesterday. Honestly, there could be 20+ RHWO in these woods. The construction on the Susquehanna-Roseland power line project is a 7 day per week affair. The noise of the hovering helicopters is relentless as they continuously shuttle supplies to the workers in the marsh. Nonetheless, the RHWO and other woodpecker species, Rusty Blackbirds, a roosting Peregrine Falcon, a late Eastern Phoebe and hundreds of sparrows were also in the snag forest (J. Klizas).

Morris Lakes:
Lake Parsippany had 7 Ring-necked Ducks, 2 Lesser Scaup, 2 Hooded Mergansers, 14 Ruddy Ducks and 2 Pied-billed Grebes (Jamie Glydon)

Mountain Lake in Mountain Lakes had 3 American Wigeon, 13 Ring-necked Ducks, 2 Bufflehead, 20 Hooded Mergansers and 2 Ruddy Ducks (Julie Buechner).

Tundra Swans were seen at a fogged-in Nolan’s Point, Lake Hopatcong (Chris Thomas). 6 were seen yesterday.

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