The 67th Great Swamp/Watchung Ridges Christmas Bird Count took place today in snowy conditions. The cold weather plaguing northern New Jersey since November froze most bodies of water creating a low diversity in waterfowl. Snow began falling shortly after sunrise and continued steadily throughout the day in varying degrees of intensity. The highlight of the day, and one of the all-time highlights in the history of the count, was a continuing Rufous Hummingbird in Fanwood, Union County. Besides being a first record for the count, it becomes the 160th cumulative species in the history of the count.
Here are some highlights prepared by the compiler of the count, Simon Lane. As of this writing, slightly more than half of the count areas have reported their data. The full details of the count will be posted when available.
- Rufous Hummingbird in the Union Co. section becomes the 160th cumulative species seen in the 67 years of the count.
- Good numbers of ducks but low diversity in the Great Swamp Management Area.
- Red-headed Woodpeckers seen in at least 5 different sections of the circle.
- Nocturnal Owls were a tough proposition.
- Long-eared Owl, Brown Thrasher and Marsh Wren amongst 60 species tallied in the Great Swamp Management Area.
- Good numbers of American Tree Sparrows and Common Mergansers in the Basking Ridge section.
- Common Ravens and Eastern Phoebe at the Watchung Reservation.
- American Woodcock in Chatham.
|American Black Duck||504|
|Great Blue Heron||2|
|Great Horned Owl||1|
|Long Earred Owl||1|
|American Tree Sparrow||188|
|TOTAL SPECIES||72 (so far)|
|TOTAL INDIVIDUALS||6896 (approx., so far)|
The full details of the count will be posted when they become available.