Black-crowned Night-Heron in Parsipanny
(Click on the photo for a larger image.)
What is probably one of the earliest Black-crowned Night-Herons (BCNH) in recent memory for Morris County was found today at what is rapidly becoming the Night-Heron spot in the county: Jefferson Road Pond in Parsipanny. Julie Buechner found the adult BCNH on the west side of the pond this afternoon. Night-Herons are not easy species to find in either Morris or Somerset counties. In September and October of 2013, this location hosted two juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Herons and one juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron for over one month. An early arriving juvenile Great Cormorant joined the Night-Heron nursery for a short period last year as well. The pond is in a corporate park at the backside of the Sheraton Hotel and is near the intersections of I-80, I-287 and Rt. 46. This is a solid lesson in never letting any body of water go unexplored.
Eurasian Wigeon at Duke Farms
The Eurasian Wigeon drake frequenting Somerset County was seen again today at Duke Farms in Hillsborough Twp., this time at Great Falls Lake (Thom Almendinger). It was with a group of 12 American Wigeon. It is hard to predict where this duck will appear, although in the past two weeks, it is at either Finderne Wetlands or Duke Farms.
Snowy Owls in Morris and Somerset Counties
In this, the winter of the historic 2013-14 Snowy Owl irruption, most, but not all, reports are from coastal areas as illustrated by the screenshot of an eBird map below.
There are two documented records for the mocosocoBirds region during the 2013-14 season, both confirmed sightings in eBird: one from Somerset and one from Morris. Other reports are second hand without any photographic or written documentation supporting them, as far as is known, and are therefore ignored in this brief survey.
The Somerset County Snowy Owl was a late afternoon discovery on Duke Farms on December 3, 2013 (Jeff Ellerbusch). The owl was photographed. It was never seen again.
Morris County had a Snowy Owl visit Van Every Cove at Lake Hopatcong this past Sunday, March 30. The owl perched for 45 minutes before departing and was photographed by a local resident. Those searching for it today were unsuccessful.
Other Field Notes
Tim Vogel reports 3 Pine Siskins today at Cedar Lake in Denville.
Somerset County’s first reported Northern Shovelers for 2014 were found at Glenhurst Meadows today. The drake seen by David Bernstein in the morning was joined later in the day by a hen (Jeff Ellerbusch). Jeff tallied 23 Fox Sparrows at Glenhurst Meadows along with 42 Green-winged Teal and 59 Ring-necked Ducks.
At least 3 Tundra Swans continue at the southern end of Liffy island at Lake Hopatcong (Alan Boyd).
From Margo D. Beller:
2:15 pm March 31. My husband and I to one of the lesser-known Morris County parks, the end of Reservoir Rd. on the old Greystone Property in Parsippany. The pools had finally unfrozen. Today the lower pool held 9 Ring-necked Ducks (8 of them males) and 3 pairs of Hooded Mergansers. As we did a lap around the pool a calling Raven flew over us. To see the upper pool you have to hike up the hill and it was as we first started walking we found our first Phoebe of the season. The upper pool seemed deserted, until our arrival spooked a pair of Canada Geese out of hiding, which in turn revealed 3 pairs of Wood Ducks. On our last visit on March 27, we saw 3 Red-tailed Hawks; today, the only raptors were Turkey Vultures. As we were leaving, two cars of high school students (looking more prep than Morristown HS), arrived and started hiking up the hill, so this park may not be as unknown as I had hoped.