Wednesday Field Notes; Weather, Feb. 26, 2014

Red-necked Grebe, Mendham Twp., NJ, Feb. 26, 2014 (photo by Alan Boyd).

Red-necked Grebe, Mendham Twp., NJ, Feb. 26, 2014 (photo by Alan Boyd).

The Red-necked Grebe, found on Feb. 22, continues today on Clyde Potts Reservoir, Mendham Twp. (Alan Boyd). Joining the Grebe were the usual Common Mergansers and a Ruddy Duck.

A light-morph Rough-legged Hawk (RLHA) was reported from Hillsborough Twp. this morning. It is the only known RLHA report for Somerset County in 2014.

From Tim Vogel, Tuesday February 25,2014:
Confluence of Passaic & Pompton Rivers
Observing from the Morris County side
Redheads 2
Ring-necked Duck 6
Bufflehead 15
Hooded Merganser 8
Common Merganser 10
Common Goldeneye 4
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Mallards, Canada Geese

Indian Lake spillway, Denville
Trumpeter Swan is back

Tim Vogel, Denville
[Editor’s Note: Trumpeter Swans seen in Morris and Somerset Counties are assumed to be escapees from the captive Bernardsville clan and are not countable. They will be immediately invalidated in eBird].

The Pompton River flows into the Passaic River at Two Bridges, Lincoln Park. This is not only a confluence of rivers but a meeting of three county boundaries: Morris, Passaic and Essex.

  • North of the Passaic River and west of the Pompton River is Morris County (Lincoln park).
  • North of the Passaic River and east of the Pompton River is Passaic County (Wayne Twp.).
  • South of the Passaic River is Essex County (Fairfield).

As long as you watch for traffic, which can be busy, and do not mind climbing over a guard rail, you will be able to view the immediate area from various vantage points. A visit this afternoon produced the same species as tallied by Tim but with a greater number of Ring-necked Ducks, 44, Bufflehead, 19, Common Mergansers, 20 and 2 Pied-billed Grebes. There are Common and Hooded Mergansers throughout the length of the Pompton River if you can find suitable viewing spots. Rivers are your best chances of seeing waterfowl with most of the Morris County lakes frozen, and not looking as though they will thaw any time soon.

Weather is always a pertinent subject for naturalists. This winter continues a trend of recent years where the weather dominates the news. Various 10-day forecasts show the temperature will barely reach 32 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime lows will dip into the low teens. This does not bode well for the snow to melt or for lakes to thaw – and we will be into March!

Ironically, and on a global scale, January 2014 is the 4th warmest recorded since 1880 according to NOAA scientists. Below is a map illustrating the temperature deviation from the recent norm for January. NOAA’s global analysis for January 2014 is here.
Temp Departure from average for Jan 2014

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