Tundra Swans at Lake Hopatcong
(Click on the photo for a larger image).
4 Tundra Swans are with 90+ Mute Swans at Lake Hopatcong, viewed from the beach at Hopatcong State Park. If one looks carefully, three of the Tundra Swans are in the middle of the photo above. The fourth is to the left of the photo’s view. For whatever reason, all of the swans moved from the northern end of the lake north of Nolan’s Point where they were on December 13, to the southern end. This is the third known winter in a row Tundra Swans are at Lake Hopatcong.
Elsewhere at Lake Hopatcong:
152 Bufflehead (high count for this and any year in Morris Co. according to the eBird database), 72 Common Mergansers, 4 Gadwall, 4 Hooded Mergansers, 107 Mute Swans, 360 Ring-billed Gulls, 180 Herring Gulls and 1 Great Black-backed Gull were mostly at the north and south ends of the lake. Dawn at the north end saw a parade of crows with at least 100 Fish Crows and 100 American Crows moving north.
Trumpeter Swan of Mt. Hope
Hanging out? Or Hooking Up.
First, to all birders: this Trumpeter Swan is not a countable individual. Yes, the New Jersey Bird Record Committee recently accepted the 2013-14 Assunpink Trumpeter Swans as a valid record and the species is now on the state list. Trumpeter Swan is also a review species, which means that seeing a Trumpeter Swan anywhere in New Jersey is not an automatic valid twitch on the observer’s list. Each Trumpeter Swan report will be reviewed. If the report is from Morris and Somerset Counties, forget about it being accepted, confirmed or validated. Blame the Bernardsville captive Trumpeter Swans for that situation. The story of the Bernardsville swans is told elsewhere at mocosocoBirds. One account is here.
The Mt. Hope Lake Trumpeter Swan is alleged to be one of the Bernardsville swans’ progeny. It has lived at Mount Hope the past two years and is sedentary. When Mt. Hope Lake froze last winter, a Trumpeter Swan was seen at nearby Indian Lake in Denville where there was a patch of open water (that account is here). It is assumed to be the same swan. The Trumpeter Swan never associated with the many Mute Swans usually present on the lake, always keeping separate and to itself. That is, until this morning.
The Bernardsville Trumpeters were born in 2010. Swans take four or more years to reach sexual maturity. Uh-oh, that means the Mount Hope swan is at that age. As the photo above shows, the Trumpeter Swan is looking like companionship may be on the menu. Not that there is any proof other than the two swans were very close together this morning. But if swan-nature takes its course…this could make for some interesting, and potentially undesirable, hybrids further thickening the swan plot in the area.
Geese at Duke Island Park
As every method of reporting birds in New Jersey has broadcast today, the Barnacle, Greater White-fronted and Cackling Geese continue to be observed at Duke Island Park in Bridgewater Twp. Along with the many Canada Geese, a Snow Goose joined the goose fest today.
Boonton Christmas Bird Count Update
The Boonton Christmas Bird Count on December 21 originally tallied 100 species plus 1 count-week species. One area re-checked their list and the only Eastern Towhee of the day was added to the count after inadvertently being left off of the original list. This brings the final count to 101 species.
eBird Checklists for the mocosocoBirds region may be viewed via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:
@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.