Morris County native, Mahlon Dickerson (1770–1853), was a New Jersey governor and senator, a Secretary of the Navy under Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin van Buren, the elder brother of another New Jersey Governor, Philemon Dickerson, and is the namesake for the largest park in the Morris County Parks system.
(Click on the photo for a larger image.)
3,200 acre Mahlon Dickerson Reservation lies in the northwest section of Jefferson Township and represents the North Country of Morris County.
Some of the most interesting and hard-to-find breeding species in the county are located in this park. The highlights of today’s birding hike in Mahlon Dickerson include Acadian Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, Northern Waterthrush, and Black-throated Blue, Worm-eating, Hooded, Cerulean and Canada Warblers. The complete eBird checklist is here.
Two Acadian Flycatchers were found: one along the Ogden Mine Railroad Trail; the other along the Pine Swamp Trail (white blazes) accessed from Sparta Mountain Road. These are traditional locations. Other species in the Pine Swamp (actually a Rhododendron, Hemlock, Black Spruce swamp bordering on Sussex County) are Louisiana and Northern Waterthrush, and Black-throated Blue, Hooded and Canada Warblers. A Cerulean Warbler was singing along the Ogden Mine RR trail as well (a sound recording is here). Cerulean Warbler was reported from this same location on May 26.
Two Least Flycatchers were singing within 100 meters of each other on the yellow trail at Saffin Rock Rill at the southern end of Mahlon Dickerson Reservation.
Here is a recording of Least Flycatcher #1 (slower and more deliberate):
And here is Least Flycatcher #2 (faster and declamatory):
There are numerous trails and access points in Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, too many for one June morning.
Somerset County Summer Tanager in Nest
Jim Schlickenrieder found the female Summer Tanager sitting in a nest at Lord Stirling Park today. This represents the first known nesting attempt in Somerset County history. Obviously, birders are asked to enjoy the news and leave the birds alone.
Yellow-breasted Chat in Great Swamp NWR
The Yellow-breasted Chat at the northwest corner of the intersection of Pleasant Plains and White Bridge Roads continues today (m.obs.). The last known report of the Yellow-breasted Chat in Lord Stirling Park is June 8.
Northern Parula in Hillsborough Township
On Wednesday, June 11, a Northern Parula was heard near the Neshanic River (Frank Sencher, Jr.). A possible and a probable nesting record of Northern Parula is listed for Somerset County in the New Jersey Atlas of the 1990s. The Hillsborough record is the latest known date in Somerset County during the eBird era.