While peering into the backyard this afternoon: nesting status…confirmed!
Rockaway River WMA, Jefferson Township
The Rockaway River Wildlife Management Area of the Farny Highlands encompasses 3,667 acres according to the state of New Jersey. It is adjacent to the eastern section of Mahlon Dickerson Reservation. The Beaver Brook Trail comes out of Mahlon Dickerson at Saffin Pond and travels the entire length of the WMA in a north-south direction. The trail is bisected by the Susquehanna-Roseland power line. The trail south of the power line was covered last weekend and is documented here.
The section of the Beaver Brook Trail north of the power line, including Lost Lake, was hiked today. One can bird the Rockaway River WMA, but one must hike it to do so. This is not convenience birding. The Rockaway River WMA is described in various online sources as rugged, mountain goat territory, grueling, etc.
Taking a slight shortcut, today’s trip started at Saffin Rock-Rill (see yesterday’s post). The two Least Flycatchers 0f Saffin Rock-Rill were singing this morning, by the way. The yellow trail, by way of the unblazed yellow-black trail, hooks up with a woods road which intersects with the white-blazed Beaver Brook Trail. The windy conditions this morning made it difficult to hear or it could be that this section doesn’t have the variety of bird life the southern section does.
The trail passes Lost Lake where two beaver lodges stand out in the middle of the water. One beaver was seen swimming into it’s home. The birding highlights were an Acadian Flycatcher, heard along the trail halfway between Lost Lake and the power line; Least Flycatcher, heard in a lovely Mountain Laurel section of an unmarked woods road west of Lost Lake as a Broad-winged Hawk circled overhead; and further west on the same woods road on an up-slope was a singing Cerulean Warbler. Here is an audio recording. The Cerulean Warbler is faint but audible:
Cerulean Warbler (accompanied by a Yellow-throated Vireo and the wind), Rockaway River WMA, NJ, June 15, 2014
Gleanings from eBird
Two Blue Grosbeaks were “flying around the power lines” at Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve (Chris Thomas).
An Eastern Meadowlark was: “In fields on NW side of Tilcon Lake, only present briefly – sang a few times, flew into tree, sang a few more times, flew off” (Tom Smith).