Lesser Black-backed Gull at Lake Hopatcong, Dec. 12, 2013

At Lake Hopatcong, an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was in the water northeast of Bertrand’s Island sitting with Ring-billed Gulls late this afternoon. This is the first Lesser Black-backed Gull of the season in Morris County. As dusk took over the lake, what seemed to be a hundred Ring-billed Gulls burgeoned into a conservative count of 2,000+ gulls, with 1,500 Herring Gulls and 500 Ring-billed Gulls forming an elongated raft stretching hundreds of yards in the water. The lake is frozen south of Bertrand’s Island to Hopatcong State Park. It is assumed to be likewise north of the Brady Road Bridge.

Budd Lake is quickly freezing up with the entire southern portion frozen. Pockets of open water exist mid-lake and to the north but they may soon be gone due to the frigid weather engulfing the region. Approximately 450 Herring Gulls and 50 Ring-billed Gulls were on the ice and in the water. 44 Common Mergansers and 340 Canada Geese were in the remaining open water.

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