Field Notes and Preserved Farms in Morris, Jan. 11, 2014

There are lots of Canada Geese and Crows in Washington Township, Morris County. A Barnacle Goose reported on eBird January 10 was not located. This is a reminder to eBirders that comments are an important element of the eBird report. Any species flagged as rare needs to be accompanied by a definitive description of the individual bird being reported. This makes the sighting more valuable to the researchers and scientists for whom eBird’s mission is truly dedicated and also makes a positive impression on the eBird reviewer. Species on the New Jersey Review List should be reported to the New Jersey Bird Record Committee.

Preserved farmland means open space and can mean habitat for wildlife.  There are 121 permanently preserved farms in Morris County totaling 7,448 acres according to the list at this link, Permanently Preserved Farms in Morris. 4,900 of these acres are in Washington Township. Many of these are the farms along West Mill Road in Long Valley and Middle Valley, one of the prettiest and more rural stretches of road in southwestern Morris County.

Preserved does not mean public. Viewing these vast areas of field and various agricultural patches is challenging along the surprisingly busy County Road 513. Geese can be numerous in the corn stubble but a rare species may be the reward for diligent searching.

The Morris County Preservation’s  (new) web site contains links to the various open space projects in the county.
The woods known as the Cathedral Pines at Jonathan’s Woods were devastated by superstorm Sandy in 2012. The post describing that event is here. White Pine saplings, already in place before the storm, will eventually restore a part of the forest. It will be interesting to see what transpires in the rest of the pine forest among the many fallen trees. Grasses took hold this summer. There were no Red-breasted Nuthatches here this morning but plenty of Song Sparrows as well as Swamp and White-throated Sparrows. A Common Raven croaked overhead. A Red-shoulder-Hawk called from another part of the woods.
Yesterday, the season’s only Chipping Sparrow in the mocosocoBirds area appeared at a private feeder in Franklin Township (Zach Batren).

Chipping Sparrow, Franklin Twp., Jan 10, 2014 (photo by Zach Batren).

Chipping Sparrow, Franklin Twp., Jan 10, 2014 (photo by Zach Batren).

Also yesterday, 7 Cackling Geese were at Selody Sod Farm, Montgomery Township (Jeff Ellerbusch).

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