Bonaparte’s Gull, Vesper Sparrow and other bird notes, Nov. 29, 2014

Bonaparte’s Gull at Lake Hopatcong

Bonaparte's Gull, Lk. Hopatcong, NJ, Nov. 29, 2014 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Bonaparte’s Gull, Lk. Hopatcong, NJ, Nov. 29, 2014 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

The outside temperature on the Prius dashboard read 16 degrees Fahrenheit at 7:30 this morning at the north end of Lake Hopatcong. It felt colder. The lake is frozen again from slightly south of the Brady Rd. bridge going north. A Bonaparte’s Gull at Nolan’s Point was the highlight of the morning. There are no Tundra Swan reports from Lake Hopatcong this season but the many Mute Swans should be searched more thoroughly than this writer’s frozen body was willing to.

Here are the numbers:
Canada Goose – 109
Mute Swan – 83
Gadwall – 2
Mallard – 32
Bufflehead – 77
Hooded Merganser – 18
Ruddy Duck – 132
Bald Eagle – 1
American Coot – 13
Bonaparte’s Gull – 1
Ring-billed Gull- 156
Herring Gull – 101
Great Black-backed Gull – 2

eBird users note: Most of Lake Hopatcong lies in Morris County – from Lake Forest and Liffy Island in the north all the way to Hopatcong State Park in the south where the source of the Musconetcong River defines the Morris/Sussex border. Bertrand’s, Halsey and Raccoon Islands are all within Morris County Borders. The entire eastern shore and all the coves that go with it are in Morris County. The western shore is Sussex County. The Lake Hopatcong hotpspot in eBird lies in Sussex County. There are many issues with eBird’s geography but, so far, any rants about this have not been heeded. Be careful when submitting eBird checklists and make sure you know the correct borders. Google maps and eBird map county borders cannot be entirely trusted.


Hooded Mergansers at Lake Musconetcong

Approx. half of the Hooded Mergansers at Lk. Musconetcong, NJ,  Nov. 29, 2014 (photo by Jonathan Klizas).

Approx. half of the Hooded Mergansers at Lk. Musconetcong, NJ, Nov. 29, 2014 (photo by Jonathan Klizas).

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Lake Musconetcong is frozen except for the section in the northeast part of the lake pictured above. Approximately 105 Hooded Mergansers and 5 Buffleheads were actively diving in this small section of open water this morning.


Many Morris lakes were frozen last weekend and then thawed on November 24-25 during a warm period. They are freezing once again as the calendar turns into December and Christmas Bird Count season is in the near future.

Mt. Hope Lake is 80-90% frozen with a Gadwall, 4 Hooded Mergansers, 13 Ruddy Ducks and 12 American Coot keeping company with the 28 Canada Geese and 2 Mute Swans in the remaining open water. The two resident Bald Eagles were roosting in the nest tree this morning.

The southern third of Budd Lake is ice-free but this morning there were no birds on it other than 8 Ring-billed Gulls and a Herring Gull.

At dusk, the gull and goose roosts are building at Budd Lake. By 4:20 p.m. 190 Ring-billed and 180 Herring Gulls gathered on the ice at the middle of the lake. 84 Canada Geese, 2 Common Mergansers and 3 Horned Grebes were in the available open water.

Lake Parsippany is almost entirely frozen. A few gulls are on the ice. Mute Swans congregated in the open water near the west beach.


Vesper Sparrow in Hanover Twp.

Also today, Chuck Hantis found and photographed a Vesper Sparrow at Melanie Lane Wetlands. This is a late record for the Morris and Somerset County region. Click on the photo for a larger image.

Vesper Sparrow, Hanover Twp., NJ, Nov. 29, 2014 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

Vesper Sparrow, Hanover Twp., NJ, Nov. 29, 2014 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

Vesper Sparrow, Hanover Twp., NJ, Nov. 29, 2014 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

Vesper Sparrow, Hanover Twp., NJ, Nov. 29, 2014 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

Vesper Sparrow, Hanover Twp., NJ, Nov. 29, 2014 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

Vesper Sparrow, Hanover Twp., NJ, Nov. 29, 2014 (photo by Chuck Hantis)


Somerset County via eBird

6 Sandhill Cranes are reported today from Randolph Road, Franklin Township (Rod MacKenzie).

9 Horned Larks and 55 American Pipits are at Glenhurst Meadows (Jeff Ellerbusch).


View eBird checklists and other data at the following links.
Click on the Checklists tab of the BirdTrax applet to display the most recent checklists. Click on this icon, checklist-nobox ,to view the contents of the checklist:


@mocosocoBirds at Twitter is another communications stream. Instant field reports and links of interest are tweeted throughout the day. The latest tweets appear on the sidebar of this page. One can follow mocosocoBirds at Twitter or link to @mocosocoBirds.

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