Great Egret in the Morris Highlands
Great Egrets are regular summer visitors in Morris County but mostly in the south and eastern sections of the county. This is a relatively recent phenomena according to this observer as memory recalls that Great Egrets were not seen regularly during July in Morris 25-30 years ago.
The Great Egret high count for Morris occurred on July 19, 2012 when 21 were at Melanie Lane Wetlands. As many as 17 were at the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits during July 2014. Both of these locations are in the eastern section of Morris. The island at Boonton Reservoir has a large Great Blue Heron and Double-crested Cormorant nesting colony. For the past two summers at least, Great Egrets are regularly seen flying into and out of the island. The New Jersey Breeding Bird Atlas of the 1990’s has Great Egrets as only coastal nesters below the Piedmont.
A Great Egret is reported for the past two weeks in a Hibernia Brook wetland north of Meridan Road and east of Green Pond Road in Rockaway Twp. (Dennis Briede, Alan Boyd). It is unusual to see a Great Egret in the highlands in July. The range map of eBird shows no other July records at all in the Age of eBird for Great Egret in the Morris Highlands along the Green Pond Road area.
From Mike Newlon at Glenhurst Meadows:
“Bobolinks (2 males, 1 female) and Eastern Meadowlarks (3) still present in the field north of the community garden.
Two immature Orchard Orioles at the Gazebo at Glenhurst Nature Trail. The big thistle patch there is attracting several American Goldfinches.
Butterflies: 1 Broad-winged Skipper at Wagner Farm, on milkweed; 1 Common Checkered-Skipper in the oval in the Glenhurst parking lot. Neither allowed a photo. No Monarchs.”
The Great Swamp NWR has numerous nesting boxes set up throughout its vast property. The nesting status of these boxes is checked periodically throughout the season with the data collected by dedicated volunteers. Yours truly was fortunate to accompany Friends of the Great Swamp board of directors member, Jim Mulvey, during an inspection round this morning. Since it is late in the nesting season, some of the boxes were empty, either through recently fledged birds of the year or through no use at all.
The following photo shows a nest with three Eastern Bluebird eggs. This represents the second clutch of the season for the Bluebird parents.
(Click on the photo for a larger image.)
This next nest photo shows what House Wrens do with their time. This box was empty the previous week. Since then, House Wrens have stuffed the box with twigs so much that one wonders how they get in and out of the nest! This was not an isolated occurrence either, as a other boxes in the refuge are in the same condition, some with eggs.
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