Thaw and Monday Bird Notes, Apr. 6, 2015

Common Loon, Duke Farms, Hillsborough, NJ, Apr. 6, 2015 (photo by Chris Duffek)

Common Loon, Duke Farms, Hillsborough, NJ, Apr. 6, 2015 (photo by Chris Duffek)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

2 Common Loons continue in the reservoir at Duke Farms (Chris Duffek). The loons are present at Duke Farms since at least April 3.


The temperature reached 70 F degrees in many locations in the Morris and Somerset areas today. The northwestern lakes of Morris are nearly thawed.

Budd Lake is entirely ice-free and birds are beginning to notice. 2 Common Loons, 2 Horned Grebes, 12 Bufflehead and 95 Common Mergansers are on the water today. Of course, the boaters notice the open water as well. Already in today’s 70 F degree sunny weather, a motor boat was churning the waters of Budd Lake scattering the Common Mergansers.

Likewise, Lake Musconetcong is almost 100% thawed with little islands of ice remaining for the gulls and Mergansers to haul out on. 250 Common, 1 Red-breasted and 14 Hooded Mergansers, 1 Common Loon, 5 Horned Grebes along with 100+ Ringed-billed Gulls and other waterfowl are concentrated in the southeastern section of the lake, viewable from the tennis courts on Koclas Dr. or a pull-out along Center St.

And then there is Lake Hopatcong, the largest freshwater body in New Jersey.

Lake Hopatcong looking south from Nolan's Point, Apr. 6, 2015 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Lake Hopatcong looking south from Nolan’s Point, Apr. 6, 2015 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Ice fisherman were active into last week. Finally, the southern end at Hopatcong State Park is partially thawed. The section north of the Brady Rd. bridge to the Lake Forest area is open and is where most of the waterfowl is located. As one can see in the photo above (click on the photo for a larger image), the lake south of Nolan’s Point and north of Bertrand Island has a thinning sheet of ice covering the major section of the lake. Of course, once the ice sinks, the boat-centric culture of the Lake Hopatcong community will be out in full force.

Whatever open water is available on Lake Hopatcong that does not have Homo sapiens nearby had birds in the following numbers: 100 Ring-necked Ducks, 44 Bufflehead, 10 Hooded and 300+ Common Mergansers, 3 Common Loons and a greater than 2 to 1 ratio of Herring Gulls to Ring-billed Gulls, although not that many in number – approximately 55 to 25, respectively. Canada Geese, Mute Swans and Mallards are present in small amounts.

Other Bird Notes

A varied morning was had at Loantaka Brook Reservation. Leslie Webster reports the following seasonal species to eBird: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Winter Wren, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Palm and Pine Warblers, Chipping Sparrow and Purple Finch as well as the typical species of the area.

Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s BirdCast has migration forecasts including one for the midwest and northeast. The link for that website is here. Of special interest are the sections labeled Beginning to Arrive, Arriving, Peaking and Departing.

There are many reports this time of year, too many to include in a daily newsletter. For further details and to see what people are seeing in the mocosocoBirds region, see local eBirdChecklists 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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1 Response to Thaw and Monday Bird Notes, Apr. 6, 2015

  1. Pingback: Monday Bird Notes Addendum: Lake Parsippany, Loons and Grebes, Apr. 6, 2015 | mocosocoBirds

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