Bird reports are slow to materialize recently in the snow-covered icebox of Morris and Somerset Counties. The forecast for the next ten days shows the deep freeze continuing with temperatures staying below freezing. If a body of water isn’t completely frozen now, it will be shortly. The larger rivers, such as the Raritan, are still flowing somewhat, but their liquid state may be short-lived.
Nonetheless, the dynamics of vertebrates with feathers tells us that an avian creature can be on the move somewhere regardless of, or responding to, time and weather conditions. A dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk (RLHA) made an appearance on Pleasant Plains Road, Great Swamp NWR this afternoon. The above photo found the RLHA slightly south of the Bluebird Lot heading west. There are reports from Wallkill NWR, the Meadowlands and scattered reports from other sections of New Jersey in 2014. This is the first detailed report of an RLHA for 2014 in the mocosocoBirds region. An eBird report from the Great Swamp on Jan. 19 has no relevant information included at all. RLHA’s deserve better. It is appreciated that observers state which morph the hawk is, at least, on eBird checklists.
Other than 4+ Red-tailed Hawks, Pleasasnt Plains Road had a few Eastern Bluebirds, American Tree, Song and White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. Approximately 50 chilled looking Canada Geese were curled up and huddled near the Friends Blind along Long Hill Road .