Waterloo Valley Road
(Click on the photo for a larger image.)
One of the best kept secrets in western Morris County is the area along Waterloo Valley Road in Mt. Olive Township. It is a secret that will most likely remain so because it is the worst road to drive a car on in the county if not in all of New Jersey. Maintenance is a word unknown on Waterloo Valley Road. The following picture will give you an idea of one of the smoother sections:
Adjacent to Stephens and Allamuchy State Parks (even some of the park rangers are unsure of where each park begins and ends), Waterloo Valley Road and Tilcon Lake form an excellent birding location in the spring.
Tilcon Lake has a small Bank Swallow colony. Approximately 10 individuals were seen today. The lake was formed in the early 2000s when the Musconectcong River overran its banks into what was then a quarry owned by Tilcon. Tilcon Lake was born and the state eventually purchased the land when Tilcon left.
Nearby Waterloo Valley Road runs from International Drive down to Waterloo Road in Warren County. American Redstarts are abundant. Cerulean Warblers probably nest here. A slow drive down the road will display a good collection of warblers, vireos and thrushes. Here is a sampling of species seen today: Eastern Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Yellow-throated, Red-eyed and Warbling Vireos, Veery, Swainson’s and Wood Thrushes, lots of Gray Catbirds, Warblers including, Hooded, Cerulean, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided and Canada, Field and Savannah Sparrows, Indigo Bunting and all of the typical species of the area. Common Loon, Yellow-breasted Chat, White-crowned Sparrow and American Pipit have visited within the past year. Common Raven may have nested at the Saxton Falls Sand and Gravel operation in the recent past.
Here is a brief excerpt of the Cerulean Warbler singing this morning:
Cerulean Warbler, Waterloo Valley Rd., NJ
The previous day’s storm dropped only a few birds into mocosocoBirds’ waters. 4 Horned Grebes were in Lake Parsippany this morning. 1 Common Loon was at Boonton Reservoir.
Tennessee Warbler, Wilson Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Gray-cheeked Thrushes, Lincoln and White-crowned Sparrows were in the Great Swamp NWR this morning (Simon Lane).
Another Tennessee Warbler was heard at Fort Nonsense in Morristown/Morris Township later in the morning. Tennessee Warblers have been reported every day this week (or so it seems) in this section of Morris County (J. Klizas).
2 Glossy Ibis flew past the Overlook on Pleasasnt Plains Road, Great Swamp NWR today – seen and photographed by Chris Thomas. Chris also observed Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos, 2 Tennessee Warblers.
Glossy Ibis, Great Swamp NWR, May 17, 2014 (photo by Chris Thomas)
Virginia Rails were heard this evening at Lord Stirling Park (Jeff Ellerbusch, Mike Almendinger).
I had 1 female Black-throated Blue warbler, Yellow Warbler, many Redstarts, and plenty of Wood Thrushes while I was shooting scenery at Mahlon Dickinson Reservation yesterday in Jefferson/Morris County. The first pull-off for Saffin Rock Rill always seems to perfect for migrants with the damp woods around the sunny and fairly pristine pond. I’m sure more uncommon birds could found with greater effort.