Saturday Field Notes; Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz, Mar. 1, 2014

Today’s field reports contain more of the same:

  • A Red-necked Grebe spends day no. 8 at Clyde Potts Reservoir, Mendham (Chris Thomas, J. Klizas, Tom Gorman). Click on the photo for a larger image.

Red-Necked Grebe

(photo by Chris Thomas)

  • A Canvasback hen found Feb. 27 by John J. Collins along with Red-breasted Mergansers, et al, continue on the Raritan River near the dam at the west end of the Duke Island Park bike trail (Andrew Lucas, Chris Thomas).


(photo by Chris Thomas)

There was a possible Greater White-fronted Goose (GWFG) in the vicinity of River and South Branch Roads in Hillsborough Twp. today although a quick fly-by while driving was inconclusive (A. Lucas). Birders in the area should be on the lookout. A GWFG was seen in the Hillsborough area on Feb. 15. The post for that sighting is here.

The Delaware and Raritan Canal Towpath in Franklin Twp. is the best duck show in the mocosocoBirds region if you have the endurance and enthusiasm to walk it. Jeff Ellerbusch tallied a personal Somerset County high of 62 Common Goldeneyes and 9 Red-breasted Mergansers there today. Here are the birds:

46 Canada Goose
2 Wood Duck
57 American Black Duck
118 Mallard
1 Northern Pintail
4 Redhead Drakes
102 Ring-necked Duck
9 Greater Scaup
7 Lesser Scaup
46 Bufflehead
62 Common Goldeneye
7 Hooded Merganser
51 Common Merganser
9 Red-breasted Merganser, drake and 8 hens.
1 Pied-billed Grebe
2 Bald Eagle
58 Ring-billed Gull
3 Herring Gull
17 Great Black-backed Gull

Jonathan’s Woods in Denville Township is closed and posted “keep out heavy construction”. Looks like the logging is going strong, not sure what the timeline is (Tim Vogel).

Jonathan's Woods, Denville Twp. NJ, Mar. 1, 2014 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Jonathan’s Woods, Denville Twp. NJ, Mar. 1, 2014 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

From Tim Vogel:
Two Bridges, Lincoln Park
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Common Merganser 3
Common Goldeneye 6
Ring-necked Duck 47
Bufflehead 15

Wastewater treatment ponds – below Boonton Reservoir
Wood Duck 15
Ring billed Gull 10

Rockaway River – above Boonton Reservoir
Hooded Merganser 6

Tim Vogel, Denville

The Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz begins today, March 1. The Blitz is sponsored by the International Rusty Blackbird Working Group in partnership with eBird, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. Here is an excerpt from eBird: “Previously a common sight in mixed-blackbird flocks and flooded forests, Rusty Blackbirds now face an unfortunate and remarkable notoriety; this species has endured a decline more severe than any other once-common landbird, with population decreases of 85-95% over the past half-century. Understanding the ecology of this vulnerable species is critical for developing strategies to reverse these declines and protect this species.”

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2 Responses to Saturday Field Notes; Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz, Mar. 1, 2014

  1. Theodore Chase says:

    What part of the D&R Canal Towpath? We have 21 miles of it in
    Franklin Township. The Raritan River frontage, parallel to Easton Ave.?
    Ted Chase
    Franklin Twp

  2. Yes, Ted. Unfortunately the footbridge just south of Rutgers Prep is still out. That would be an ideal entry point. Instead, Jeff and others, park in Johnson’s Park, cross the Landing Lane bridge and head up the towpath that way. That is all in Middlesex County. Going north on the towpath, you are in Somerset County once you pass the apartment tower on the left. It is an odd and arbitrary looking county border in that area. The ducks favor a section approximately 1/2 to a mile up the path. If the parking lot at Johnson’s is unfavorable to you, the only other access is the lot just north of the I-287 bridge by the I-287 ramps at the north end of Easton Ave. Either way, it is a hike, especially with all of the snow and ice. I just found this article which says that a new bridge at DeMott Road may be built this year:

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