Bonaparte’s Gull, Long-tailed Ducks and field notes, Dec. 7, 2013

Birds of Lake Hopatcong

A Bonaparte’s Gull (BOGU) was dwarfed by the Herring Gull it was lying next to in the waters in Great Cove off Nolan’s Point at Lake Hopatcong this morning. A nearby boat must have disturbed the BOGU as it and the Herring Gull were gone shortly after. 3 Long-tailed Ducks drakes were also in Great Cove. A drake Common Goldeneye flew past the point headed towards the swans and ducks.

3 Tundra Swans continue with the Mute Swan congregation between Nolan’s Point and Brady Road Bridge. The large numbers of Herring Gulls seen here are roosting birds gone by 8:00 a.m.   The entire lake is ice-free. Here are the numbers from this morning:

Canada Goose – 330
Mute Swan – 151
Tundra Swan – 3
Gadwall – 138
American Wigeon – 16
Am. Black Duck – 10
Mallard – 177
Ring-necked Duck – 1
Long-tailed Duck – 3
Bufflehead – 121
Common Goldeneye – 1
Hooded Merganser – 66
Ruddy Duck – 80
Great Blue Heron – 2
American Coot – 8
Bonaparte’s Gull – 1
Ring-billed Gull – 105
Herring Gull – 576
Great Black-backed Gull – 8

The Gadwall count of 138 represents a record high count for Morris County in the eBird database.

Lake Musconetcong, Budd Lake and Mt. Hope Lake are ice-free this weekend. Budd Lake is also birdless, at least in the late morning. Lake Musconetcong had geese, gulls, swans and a few Hooded Mergansers. Mt. Hope Lake was attended by only 2 Mute Swans, a Bufflehead and 2 Ring-billed Gulls. These lakes were victims of last week’s freeze. Unfortunately, next week’s weather may bring about more lake freezing conditions.

Other Field Notes

Tom Smith found a late Eastern Phoebe at the bridge going to the Friends Blind in the Great Swamp NWR. One was found at the overlook on Pleasant Plains Rd. in late December in 2012 and stayed through the first week of January 2013.

From Chuck Smith:
A short walk at the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits today. I just stayed on the dike between the 2 lakes. Nothing on the swimming lake. The back lake had large numbers of geese, gulls and ducks hunkered near the far shore. I was able to pick out a few Herring Gulls and a single Great Black-backed from all the Ringed-billed Gulls. Gadwalls, No. Shovelers , Black Ducks, Common Mergansers, a few Pied-billed Grebes and lots of Mallards were present as well. An adult Bald Eagle perched close by high in a tree along the shoreline behind the island line but did not bother the mass of birds. On the way out a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was near the parking lot.

Kristi Reed photographed a Common Loon at Duke Farms today, a nice find for that location.

From eBird reports:
3 Sandhill Cranes in fields behind Zarephath, Weston Canal Rd., Franklin Twp. (Chris Williams)

3 Red-headed Woodpeckers continue at Colonial Park in Franklin Twp. (John J. Collins)

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