From Simon Lane, compiler of the Great Swamp-Watchung Ridges CBC:
We had 66 or so participants active during the day, covering nine historically organized sections in the circle, in 11 different groups.
The conditions for the day were a little mixed, with temperatures ranging from 23F to 29F and light to heavier snowfall throughout most of the day. The preceding cold weather in early December meant that open water was at a premium, but there was enough to ensure that most of the expected waterfowl species were found, even if some were in small numbers.
The day’s count reached 14,428 (revision possible) individuals of 84 species – excellent totals for the conditions, and around the average and median for totals over the past ten years. A list of the species and totals, along with the number of groups recording that species can be seen at the base of this mail.
Star of the show was the long-staying Rufous Hummingbird in Fanwood, which becomes the 160th cumulative species in the history of the count. Photographs of the bird on the morning of the count can be seen here:
Many thanks to Natalie Gregorio for the link to these pics of a tremendous winter bird for Northern NJ, and for Ed Zboyan and team for being positioned ready for the bird as it arrived at the feeder.
For the first time in ten years, both Turkey Vulture and Northern Harrier were missed on the day. (and we scraped in with just one Black Vulture)
Waterfowl numbers were generally down, but the Great Swamp Management area, Canoe Brook Reservoir and Kitchell Pond had enough open water to record all the species expected apart from Northern Shoveler, which was also missed for the day. Canvasback at Canoe Brook was a nice find, having only been recorded 10 times in the history of the count.
Raptors were few and far between, with even Red-tailed Hawks at the lowest number recorded in 40 years.
Nocturnal owling was difficult with the approaching snow, but everything expected was recorded, and a bonus Long-eared Owl in the Great Swamp Management area section was welcome.
Woodpeckers were found in numbers: Red-headed Woodpecker was tallied by six different teams, and the total was the second highest for the count in 20 years. Red-bellied Woodpecker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker were recorded in the highest numbers in the history of the count.
Singletons of Red-breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Marsh Wren, Brown Thrasher and American Woodcock, were all good finds given the date and/or general presence in the state this year.
Sparrows were around in good numbers, with counts for American Tree and Song at the higher end of expectations; eleven Eastern Towhees was a very good haul too.
Blackbirds were thin this year, no vast flocks of Grackles or Red-winged, but all were recorded, including Rusty Blackbird by several teams.
An enjoyable count as always, and thanks again for everyone’s efforts. If anyone on the teams can add any birds for Count Week (Wed 12/11 through Tue 12/17) please let me know. I added Turkey Vulture and Fish Crow yesterday.
|American Black Duck||604||7||+720 American Black Duck/Mallard|
|Great Blue Heron||11||4|
|* Bald Eagle||2||3||Great Swamp Bird seen by two groups|
|* American Woodcock||1||1|
|Great Black-backed Gull||1||1|
|Great Horned Owl||4||3|
|Long Earred Owl||1||1|
|* Red-headed Woodpecker||21||6|
|* Pileated Woodpecker||4||2|
|* Eastern Phoebe||1||1|
|American Crow||74||9||+26 Crow Sp|
|* Common Raven||2||1|
|* Marsh Wren||1||1|
|American Tree Sparrow||216||7|