A survey of most of the larger lakes of Morris County today proved that this has been a cold week, especially for November. The northwestern lakes of Mt. Hope, Musconetcong and Budd are 100% frozen. The ice is strong enough to support a goose and is effective in chasing away all of the waterfowl that should be here on this date. Other than a few gulls and stray Mute Swans, these lakes are barren of birds.
Lake Hopatcong has picked up some of the victims of the ice. North of Nolan’s Point is frozen as well as south of Bertrand’s Island to Hopatcong State Park. The major portion of water remains ice free as well as pockets of water along certain parts of the shore. This is where the majority of birds are.
Here are the numbers: 112 Canada Geese, 145 Mute Swans, 6 Gadwall, 86 Mallards, 3 Lesser Scaup, 95 Bufflehead, 50 Hooded Mergansers, 2 Common Mergansers, 312 Ruddy Ducks (so that’s where some of the Mt. Hope Ruddys went), 2 Common Loons, 1 American Coot.
(Click on the photo for a larger image.)
Taylortown Reservoir (next to Pyramid Mountain) in Montville Twp. is also a victim of 100% icing, yet the other larger bodies of water nearby in Kinnelon and Montville remain mostly ice-free.
Lake Valhala has a modest 29 Ring-necked Ducks, 7 Bufflehead, 12 Hooded Mergansers, 2 Common Mergansers and 6 Ruddy Ducks.
The attractive Butler Reservoir, was interesting with 4 Ring-necked Ducks, 21 Bufflehead, 57 Hooded Mergansers, 2 Ruddy Ducks, an adult Bald Eagle and a lone Snow Bunting on the rocks along the edge of the north causeway on Fayson Lakes Road.
Split Rock Reservoir remains low in water volume due to the dam roadway refurbishing project. Present were: 10 Bufflehead, 6 Hooded Mergansers, 92 Common Mergansers (it is not uncommon to get numbers over a thousand here) and 194 Ruddy Ducks.
8 Sandhill Cranes in Franklin Township
Earlier this month, this space expressed concern that only two Sandhill Cranes were at the Randolph Road fields (usually there are more) and was this low number a forewarning of the demise of the cranes at this location. Fortunately, that concern is withdrawn. Eight Sandhill Cranes were reported yesterday seen in two different groups of four. This is the highest known count in Somerset County. Today, all eight were together and photographed (Alan and Cheryl Boyd via eBird). The link to Alan’s Flickr photostream where you can enjoy more of his Sandhill Crane photos is here.
Rough-legged Hawk at Troy Meadows
Roger Johnson reports a light-phased Rough-legged Hawk soaring today above the marsh north of Troy Meadows Road. Fox Sparrows are also present there.
As posted yesterday at Ornithology Exchange and later tweeted by @mocosocoBirds, the American Ornithologists Union Committee on Classification and Nomenclature of North American Birds (NACC) posted a new set of proposals cataloged as 2015-A.
Three of the proposals are:
- Split Painted Bunting into Passerina ciris (Eastern Painted Bunting) and P. pallidior, (Western Painted Bunting).
- Split Le Conte’s Thrasher into Le Conte’s Thrasher and Rosalia Thrasher.
- Move American Tree Sparrow out of the Spizella genus and into Spizelloides.
These are proposals only and requires a vote of the committee to take effect.
The file describing all of the proposals can be found here
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