(Click on the photo for a larger image.)
The photo above shows one of six Bald Eagles seen at Lake Hopatcong this morning. Bald Eagles are frequently seen in the area with one confirmed nest on Lake Hopatcong and a possible second nest, as well as the residents from nearby Lake Musconetcong.
When the north wind howls, Culver’s Lake in Sussex County may be the coldest spot in New Jersey. Lake Hopatcong fits that description for Morris County. Whatever the wintertime temperature reads, it feels many bone-chilling degrees less.
Windy with lots of caps on the water equals few birds seen on the lakes surveyed this morning. At Lake Hopatcong, an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull (LBBG) sat in the water, west of Nolans Point this morning. This is the first LBBG of the season reported in Morris and Somerset Counties. Somerset will get its share of LBBG from now through the spring. Surprisingly, even with huge gull concentrations on some of the western lakes of Morris, LBBG is hard to find.
Viewing conditions were difficult; waterfowl numbers were low, but it is hard to miss 114 Mute Swans congregated in several parts of the lake. So far, no Tundra Swans are at the lake this season.
Lake Musconetcong is hosting 150 Hooded Mergansers (believed to be the highest count, so far, in New Jersey for 2014), 20 Common Mergansers, 80+ Ring-billed Gulls and not much else.
Budd Lake has 6 Horned Grebes, 24 Common Mergansers, 3 Ruddy Ducks and Ring-billed and Herring Gulls.
4 Horned Grebes, probably the same group present for weeks, are the only highlight from nearly deserted Boonton Reservoir.
Keeping up with the run of Horned Grebes on Morris lakes, yesterday in the rain, Lake Parsippany added 2 to the Horned Grebe Morris tally. 1 Bufflehead, 76 Common Mergansers and 28 Hooded Mergansers and 3 American Coot round out the numbers there.
The 8 Sandhill Cranes of Randolph Road, Franklin Township continue to be viewed through yesterday. Jim Mulvey captured half of the group in the rain below.
Jill Homcy peeked out her back door in Lincoln Park three days ago and found the following Red-shouldered Hawk 10 feet from her door.