Saturday Field Notes, Jan. 4, 2014

5:30 a.m. – The temperature at Morristown Airport is recorded as -2.2 degrees Fahrenheit. A short time later, Simon Lane reports -7 degees at the overlook on Pleasant Plains Road, Great Swamp NWR.

Sunrise at Loantaka Brook Reservation, 1 degree Fahrenheit.

Frosty Canada Geese at Loantaka Brook Reservation, NJ, Jan. 4, 2014 (photo by J. Klizas)

Frosty Canada Geese at Loantaka Brook Reservation, NJ, Jan. 4, 2014 (photo by J. Klizas)

Red-headed Woodpeckers continue at Troy Meadows. 8 were observed this morning (a sunny 9 degrees with the temperature rising) covering a small portion of the Snag Forest . Species diversity is low but healthy numbers of White-throated, American Tree and Song Sparrows joined the woodpeckers and many Blue Jays at the Meadows.

Red-headed Woodpecker, Troy Meadows, NJ, Jan. 4, 2014 (photo by J. Klizas)

Red-headed Woodpecker, Troy Meadows, NJ, Jan. 4, 2014 (photo by J. Klizas)

The construction of the power line upgrade, AKA the Susquehanna-Roseland Project, appears to be mostly finished. Troy Meadows is returning to a peaceful wilderness, as peaceful as one can be when bordered by I-80, I-280, Rt. 46 and Rt. 10. Below is a picture taken from the old skeet shoot area looking north. The Meadows namesake, Troy Brook, is in the foreground and the eastern edge of the Snag Forest, host to the many Red-headed Woodpeckers in residence this winter, is in the background.

Troy Meadows, NJ, Jan. 4, 2014 (photo by J. Klizas)

Troy Meadows, NJ, Jan. 4, 2014 (photo by J. Klizas)

The frigid weather is taking a toll on viewing waterfowl in Morris County. Below is a picture of the last remaining open water in New Jersey’s largest lake, Lake Hopatcong. 350 waterfowl are squeezed into this tiny pool, including: 20 Canada Geese, 40 Mute Swans (the Tundra Swans have flown), 2 Gadwall, 85 Mallards, 200 Ring-necked Ducks, 1 Common Goldeneye hen and 1 Ruddy Duck. At one point, 10 of the Mute Swans took flight visiting various parts of the lake in the northern distance. Maybe they did not like the crowded conditions or wanted to feed but 10 minutes later, they returned to the same spot, the only spot.

Lake Hopatcong, NJ, Jan. 4, 2014 (photo by J. Klizas)

Lake Hopatcong, NJ, Jan. 4, 2014 (photo by J. Klizas)

The Chatham Sewage Ponds are ice-free – the fountain helps as I am sure the treated water does, as well. 95 Canada Geese, 4 Wood Ducks, 9 Gadwall, 45 Mallards, 24 Ring-necked Ducks and 14 Hooded Mergansers were enjoying the water.

Chatham Sewage Ponds, NJ, Jan. 4, 2014 (photo by J. Klizas)

Chatham Sewage Ponds, NJ, Jan. 4, 2014 (photo by J. Klizas)

Even Bernardsville Quarry (Old Quarry Rd.), usually reliable when all else in the vicinity is frozen, is freezing up with a small section stuffed with waterfowl: 380 Canada Geese, 34 Wood Ducks, 76 American Black Ducks, 268 Mallards, 4 Northern Pintail, 26 Hooded Mergansers and 1 Ruddy Duck. The Wood Ducks and Hooded Mergansers arrived after 5 p.m. (Jeff Ellerbusch).

Here are some impressive numbers from Lord Stirling Park by Jeff Ellerbusch this afternoon: 4 Red-headed Woodpeckers, 47 Red-bellied, 19 Downy and 7 Hairy Woodpeckers, 13 Northern Flickers, 12 Brown Creepers, 8 Winter Wrens, etc.

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