Thank you to any who expressed concern due to the lack of mocosocoBirds posts this past week. Besides yours truly simply taking a short break to recharge, there simply was nothing of note to write about. The spring migration of 2015 that wasn’t has left us with a June swoon of people birding the same old places and finding the same old species.
Speaking of spring migration, the Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist at Rutgers University published the monthly temperature and precipitation charts for May and the preceding twelve months.
The precipitation chart is below. As one can see, May 2015 was the third driest on record going back to 1895:
If you correctly thought the winter months of 2015 in New Jersey were brutally cold, May 2015 partially made up for it. It was the third warmest May since 1895.
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Pequannock Township
There are no breeding records for Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (YBSA) in Morris County. It is only since the 1990s that YBSA is an established breeder in New Jersey at all, with records from Sussex County. Is the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker found today at Mountainside Park by Dan Brill another late victim of the spring of 2015? Or a wandering individual looking for new territory to establish?
Nightjars at Split Rock
Last evening, Split Rock Reservoir played host to two interesting species of the twilight, a Common Nighthawk, which hunted insects for 20 minutes directly in front of this viewer, and an Eastern Whip-poor-will, which called in the area of the refurbished dam.
These are just some of the reports for today. View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region 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 mocosocoBirds.com 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.
“There are no breeding records for Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (YBSA) in Morris County. It is only since the 1990s that YBSA is an established breeder in New Jersey at all, with records from Sussex County. Is the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker found today at Mountainside Park by Dan Brill another late victim of the spring of 2015? Or a wandering individual looking for new territory to establish?”
Actually I saw Yellow-bellied Sapsucker that very much seemed to be breeding in Rockaway Township back in the late 1980s. The site is in what is now Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management area in a sort of trailess region (unfortunately ATVs made this unique in other ways hidden spot in the area kind of a playground, chopping into the woods and making trails of sorts and a noisy nuisance starting in the early 90s; it seems to have finally largely gone back to a peaceful spot the last 2-3 years though).
There are always some sightings that you think it might have been this or that, but you are maybe not 100% sure but this record is a beyond a doubt one. Zero doubt that YBSA in the area during breeding season and a seeming nest hole. Unfortunately I didn’t realize then that this would be considered quite so rare back then and I was mostly into other things and didn’t 100% verify the breeding, but they were there 100% for sure at the right time at the least. I might have gotten a pic of possible nest tree and hole, might be in a box somewhere. The species ID is pretty simple with such solid views and I was extremely familiar with all the woodpeckers of the region.
Very interestingly, also back then if a different year, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker drilled a giant sap farm in a healthy, mature, sizable Tulip Tree (you can still see the long columns of drilled sap holes in it to this day). I didn’t think they normally went for such large type trees with such bark, but they obviously do. This spot was about maybe just over 1/4 mile from the site mentioned above and just about 100′ past one of the boundaries of Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management area (a shame the boundaries were not just 50′ longer as someone moved in a cut down all the 185+ year old bit of the forest that extended onto their property last summer! Such old forest is extremely rare in the NJ Highlands; one other area Lake Valhalla also having some super old highlands forest looks to have had about 200 acres filled with homes sometimes in the last 20-50 years, some is preserved. A bit of a shame as that would’ve been truly remarkable, nothing of that size at near 200 and over age class of forest in natural state any longer exists in the highlands now AFAIK. Side note: NJ Audubon has been pushing a truly damaging logging bill in NJ. Criminal. I no longer support NJ Audubon in the slightest. All about the money they would get for logging surveys. Disgraceful.)
I could swear there had been talk of them breeding in Sussex pre-1990s by people back then, but maybe not. It seems surprising to read they were only a breeding bird in NJ since the 1990s, anywhere? I could swear there used to be talk about them and some old timers talking about them from decades back. Maybe not.