By now, nearly every lake in the region is frozen. Most rivers are nearly frozen if not completely solid. There are some pockets of open water remaining – Lake Hopatcong north and west of Bertrand Island, for example, but not by much.
(Click on the photo for a larger image.)
The American Coot in the above photo are squeezed by the encroaching ice. Waterfowl may be anxious for the next migrational move as the ice spreads inexorably over one of the few remaining sections of open water at Lake Hopatcong.
Only two days ago, much of the water surface area north of Bertrand Island in the photo below was open. Almost all of it is frozen less than 48 hours later. In the distance, there are Ring-billed and Herring Gulls, Ruddy Ducks and Common Mergansers in a sliver of open water. Lake Hopatcong is entirely frozen other than the little sections of ice-free water nearby Bertand Island,.
120 Mute Swans (the wintering Tundra Swans were not seen), 270 Canada Geese, 4 Gadwall, 3 American Wigeon, 30+ Mallards, 110 Ring-necked Ducks, 4 Buffleheads, 6 Hooded and 5 Common Mergansers, 38 Ruddy Ducks and 29 American Coot are huddled on the western shore or in any available ice-free water. A small portion is illustrated below. One lone Double-crested Cormorant was actively diving.
Two female Common Goldeneye were floating near the docks on Bertrand Island before flying off.
Other Field Notes
From Jim Schlickenrieder:
“This morning, Sunday, around 8:00 my group saw the Greater-White Fronted and the Cackling Goose over at Duke Island Park.
At North Branch Park, just before 9:00 we spotted the Barnacle Goose for just seconds before the goose flock took off without the target bird returning.
We did not see the Sandhill Cranes even with a good search of the surrounding areas.”
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