Sunday Bird Notes, Mar. 8, 2015

Today was a gorgeous, sunny day as the thermometer neared 50 F degrees this afternoon. The sight and sound of snow melting is a beautiful thing.

A Long-tailed Duck drake is reported from the Delaware & Raritan Canal near South Bound Brook (Mike Adams via eBird). This is a great find for Somerset County.

Redheads, Lk. Hopatcong, NJ, Mar. 8, 2015 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

Redheads, Lk. Hopatcong, NJ, Mar. 8, 2015 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

And then there were 10. Redhead numbers continue to grow at the little open water existing at Bertrands Island, Lake Hopatcong. 5 males and 5 females are reported by Tom Justesen and Chuck Hantis this afternoon doubling the total seen yesterday.

How often do Common Grackles make the news. They are nearly absent through the winter of 2014-15, other than a sporadic report now and then. Randy Little had one at his feeder in Basking Ridge, March 5. Jennifer Books reports some at her feeder today. Roger Johnson tallied 14 at Troy Meadows today. A pattern is developing. Let’s look at the numbers.

The following data are from eBird. The 2014 and 2015 totals are through the first week of March in both years.  The Total Ind. column is the total number of Co. Grackles recorded during the stated period. The Checklists column is the total number of checklists recording Co. Grackles. Keep in mind that the winter of 2013-14 was the harshest in memory.

Morris Somerset
Total Ind. Checklists Total Ind. Checklists
2015 48 10 67 8
2014 21,374 113 6,666 85

That is not a typo. The totals for Morris and Somerset Counties in 2015 so far are:
115 Co. Grackles on 18 checklists.

During the same time period in 2014 with weather considered even harsher than the winter of 2014-15, the totals for both counties are:
28,040 Co. Grackles on 198 checklists.

A light morph Rough-legged Hawk was at Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve today (Susan Treesh via eBird).

eBird Checklists for the mocosocoBirds region may be viewed via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the website.

@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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4 Responses to Sunday Bird Notes, Mar. 8, 2015

  1. Jennifer Books says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    Interesting data on the common grackles that you reported today, or should I say disturbing? Why do you think there is such a difference in yearly counts and why do you say there is a pattern here developing? Just trying to learn more. Thanks!

    • I don’t think it is anything to be concerned about. It is just a periodic fluctuation. It is nothing new, just an interesting dynamic phenomena. The pattern I referred to is – we should be getting bombarded by Co . Grackles and blackbirds in general in the near future.

  2. cnjersey says:

    Jonathan, The Raritan Estuary CBC had 1 (one) Common Grackle on Dec 28, 2014. This was from 69 birders, in groups covering 15 different areas of the circle. The year before we had 186. Probably not unusual: 1 YB Sapsucker at Duke Farms this afternoon, 1 Pileated WP yesterday.


  3. Pingback: One more Rough-legged Hawk; Grackles, Mar. 10, 2015 | mocosocoBirds

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