Driving is much easier than walking in glacial northern New Jersey this winter. A motor trek through the large northern and western lakes of Morris County this morning confirmed what one already knows – it is a good and safe time period for ice fishing. Not one gull, waterfowl or bird of any kind was seen on the snow covered frozen surfaces of Lake Hopatcong or Budd Lake, nor were any expected.
The Great Swamp is getting more coverage this season thanks to the convenience of Pleasant Plains and other roads in the area. An American Kestrel continues to winter here. A Merlin was reported again today. One is being sporadically reported form The Swamp this winter. A hardy Brown Thrasher was reported for the second day in a row, possibly a leftover from the Great Swamp Christmas Bird Count in December 2013. Brown Creepers are being reported. Plenty of Dark-eyed Juncos, White-throated, Song and American Tree Sparrows can be found, especially near the feeders at the Helen Fenske Visitor’s Center.
Approximately 100 American Robins were in the melt water near the 90-degree bend in the road on Pleasant Plains Road. They would scurry to the trees when a car came and immediately return to the puddles as soon as the car passed. Wild Turkeys were foraging across from the Raptor Trust on White Bridge Road. Yesterday’s light-morph Rough-legged Hawk was not reported today.
Thanks to Jim Mulvey, Margo D. Beller, Jeff Ellerbusch, Simon Lane and Randy Little for their correspondences and/or eBird listings.