The vernal equinox occurred at 12:57 p.m. this afternoon. Lakes and ponds both large and small remain frozen in Morris County giving testament to how cold and for how long this past winter truly was.
Somerset County’s 2nd Eurasian Wigeon
(Eurasian Wigeon photos by Jeff Ellerbusch, Finderne Wetlands, Mar. 20, 2014)
The Eurasian Wigeon found this morning at Finderne Wetlands by Jeff Ellerbusch was not relocated in Somerset County today. The Wigeon flushed from the pond in front of the Van Veghten house at Finderne and flew west. Finderne, Duke Farms and Opie Road were checked later in the day without success. After this morning’s post, it was learned that this is the second record of Eurasian Wigeon in Somerset County, not the first as originally reported. Chris Aquila had one at Colonial Park in Franklin Township in the winter of 1987-88. Well, this is the first for the 21st century then.
Greater White-fronted Geese (Morris and Somerset)
Greater White-fronted Geese occur annually in Somerset County and usually with multiple individuals, at least in the past few years. Not so in Morris County, where the Greater White-fronted Goose found today in Washington Township (Long Valley) is only the sixth of the 21st century for Morris and the first since the Boonton CBC of December 2012 (J. Klizas). The Greater White-fronted Goose was on Beacon Hill Road in a flooded corn-stubble field. There is enough shoulder space, albeit muddy, to view the geese without fear of being run over. Currently, there are large groups of Canada Geese in Washington Township as well as thousands of Icterids, primarily Red-winged Blackbirds. Washington Township contains more than half of all the preserved farmland in Morris County as well as Schooley’s Mountain, the South Branch of the Raritan River, the Columbia Trail and Gillete Trail. There is much habitat in this under-birded area.
Another Greater White-fronted Goose is reported today from the Lord Stirling Park equestrian field (Michael Sherman). It was with 150 Canada Geese. This is the 3rd, 4th or 5th different Greater White-fronted Goose reported in Somerset County in 2014 with individuals listed from Lord Stirling Park, Lyons, Duke Island Park, Hillsborough and North Plainfield.
Other Field Notes
Kelly Martin reports seeing 3 Sandhill Cranes flying over Main Street, Chester while driving in traffic. They flew away from downtown Chester toward Ironia, perhaps to the Black River WMA.
Two Redhead drakes continue at Van Cleef Road Ponds in Franklin Township (Linda Matula).
The drake Redhead continues with Ring-necked Ducks and Common and Hooded Mergansers at Osborn Pond (Kevin Browne).
And, of course, the Red-necked Grebe of Mendham was at Clyde Potts Reservoir for the 27th day (J. Klizas).